Confederate general Edward "Allegheny" Johnson, shown in this wartime portrait, was a native of Chesterfield County, Virginia, a West Point graduate, and a veteran of the Mexican War. He earned his nickname fighting in western Virginia at the start of the Civil War, and by the time of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862 he was leading the impressive-sounding but small Army of the Northwest. Johnson had a reputation for being tough and profane, but he was highly respected by Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, who put him in charge of troops at the Battle of McDowell, on May 8, 1862. The battle turned into a Confederate victory, though Johnson was shot in the ankle in the midst of the fighting and dispatched to Richmond to convalesce. His bad limp, which forced him to use a cane, earned him an additional nickname, "Old Clubby," but this didn't stop the gruff old bachelor from partaking of the Confederate capital's social scene.
Writes historian Thomas Power Lowry: "He seems to have commanded attention by his strong personality and loud voice, rather than by physical good looks … he winked without ceasing because of a disorder of one eye, and to literally top it all off, his skull was cone-shaped in layers, described by Mary Chesnut as resembling an antique beehive, or the Pope's tiara. Between his three-tiered skull and his gimpy leg was a bulky, bearlike body that projected a powerful roar, a voice that penetrated every corner of a room."
Johnson led Jackson's old division at the Battle of Chancellorsville (1863), and after Jackson's death, was considered for, but in the end not assigned, a corps command. He again defeated his foe from McDowell, Union general Robert H. Milroy, at the Second Battle of Winchester during the Gettysburg Campaign (1863). In the spring of 1864, Johnson fought at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House, where he was captured. After his release, he fought in the West, and then was captured again.
After he died in 1873, Johnson's body lay in state at the Richmond capitol, but, writes Lowry, "there was no widow to mourn him; the man of 10,000 bellowed sweet nothings and 1,000 proposals had never had a bride."