James A. Johnson

Company A, 40th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

James A. Johnson and his father, Christotpher C. Johnson enlisted together on August 12, 1861 in IL 40th, Co. A. James was born on January 7, 1843 and Christopher C. was born in 1822. Both were born in Greene County, TN. Around 1855, the family moved from Greene County to Hamilton County, IL where they were farmers near Macedonia. Patriotic service ran long in this family. Christopher's grandfather, Zopher Johnston Sr, had been a soldier in the Revolutionary War serving tours of duty both at Williamsburgh, VA and at Yorktown, VA, culminating with the surrender of Lord Cornwallis.

Both father and son fought side-by-side at the battle of Shiloh. James was injured and "left for dead" on the battlefield on the first day of fighting. He was able to rejoin his unit for the second day of flighting. While Co. A was under heavy fighting, being an expert marksman, father, Christopher, "shot a rebel sharp shooter out of a tree".

The war would not be kind to this family. IL 40th moved into their winter quarters in Memphis, TN during the later part of 1862. Both father and son became very ill with dysentary. Christopher's wife, Kathern Kerbaugh Johnson, along with their infant son, Ellsworth, went to Memphis to visit, and presumably to nurse them back to health. Kathryn, too, became sick and died at Memphis on October 4, 1862. Baby, Ellsworth, also secumbed to the disease. Father, Christopher, lived on until November 27, 1862, when he, too, died. Christopher is buried at the National Cemetery at Memphis.

With the death of father, Christopher, and mother, Kathryn, three minor children became parentless. Their oldest daughter, Elizabeth Jane, and her young husband, Enoch Johnson, took custody of the minor children, Zopher A., Phebe A. and Sarah A.

Son, James A, recovered from the disease, but it is unlikely he ever fully recovered from the heartbreak of losing his parents and infant brother. James A. was seriously injured at the battle of Missionary Ridge in 1863, being shot in the foot. He was sent to the field hospital for awhile, but was able to rejoin his unit. Although no longer fit for active field duty, he continued to participate in the war effort by being assigned to guard baggage. At age 20, James A. was crippled and would have to walk with a cane for the rest of his long life.

As though the sacrafice by this family was still not enough, James A.'s younger brother, Zopher A. Johnson, also joined the war effort when he became of age. Zopher A. joined the 13th IL Cavalary, Co. H. in 1863. He, too, became sick with dysentary and measles. Younger brother, Zopher, never fully regained his health. He died in 1887 because of the effects of war upon his health.

James A. went home to Macedonia on furlough to recover from his injury. He married Minerva Adeline Carney on March 31, 1864, before rejoining his unit. To this union, eleven children were born, eight of whom survived to adulthood.

James A. Johnson was discharged from IL 40th Co. A near Atlanta on August 14, 1864. He later joined IL 49th, Co. G on March 13, 1865, and was mustered out of this unit on September 9, 1865. He returned to Macedonia, IL where he resided with his ever growing family until 1900. At that, he and wife, Minerva Adeline, and their younger children moved to Jefferson County, near Mt. Vernon, IL. James A. Johnson died in his home near Mt. Vernon, IL, on October 21, 1927.

The descendants of Christopher C. Johnson and James A. Johnson are grateful for their patriotic service and the great sacriface this family made to keep the Union forever together.

No known photo exists of Christopher C. Johnson.

Submitted by Stevie Hughes.

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