James Steptoe Johnston

Lamar Rifles [Company G, 11th Mississippi], taken on Main St. at side of Court House Square, ca. 1861. Collection: New-York Historical Society

The son of a Mississippi cotton planter, James Steptoe Johnston (1843–1924) left the University of Virginia in 1861 to enlist in the Confederate army. Serving initially as a private in the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment under the command of John Bell Hood, Johnston eventually rose to the rank of second lieutenant after transferring to the cavalry corps under Major General J. E. B. "Jeb" Stuart. The young Mississippian saw action in some of the leading battles of the Civil War, including Seven Pines, the Seven Days, Second Manassas (Second Bull Run), South Mountain, and Sharpsburg (Antietam). Captured by Union forces during the second half of the war, he was imprisoned for a year at Johnson's Island in Ohio. Johnston’s postwar career as an Episcopal minister was noteworthy. Following his marriage to Mary Green, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1871. Beginning in 1888, Johnston was instrumental in establishing the diocese of Western Texas. He was unanimously elected as the first bishop of the diocese in 1904.

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