“Paladin of old was not more daring and heroic than this Southern knight on the field of battle. No man in the Southern army, no matter how high his rank, displayed more military skill.... He was literally the ‘Swamp Fox’ of Kentucky”

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196. [JOHNSON, Adam Rankin (“Stovepipe”)]. The Partisan Rangers of the Confederate States Army. Edited by William J. Davis. Louisville, Kentucky: Geo. G. Fetter Company, 1904. [i-v] vi-xii, [2], 1-476 pp., 65 photographic plates (including frontispiece, portraits, architecture, scenes). 8vo (23 x 16 cm), original maroon cloth, title in gilt on front cover and backstrip, floral endpapers. Other than minor cover wear and cracked upper joint (holding tight), a fine, fresh copy. Not so scarce as once thought, but difficult to find in collector’s condition.

            First edition. Basic Texas Books 108: “One of the most interesting first hand narratives of Texas.” Coulter, Travels in the Confederate States 257. Graff 2213: “The story of a very brave and daring man. His Indian warfare experiences in Texas in the late 1850s, when he was connected with the Butterfield Stage outfit and also when as a surveyor he surveyed much virgin territory, are almost beyond belief. The same or more can be said of his Civil War service in Kentucky as a Partisan Ranger.” Howes J122. Nevins, Civil War Books I:113. Parrish, Civil War Texana 51.

            In 1854 Kentucky native Adam Rankin Johnson (1834-1922) moved to Burnet County, then considered the edge of the Texas frontier, and established himself as a surveyor of much virgin territory in West Texas, as an Indian fighter, and as a stage driver for the Butterfield Overland Mail. “With the outbreak of the Civil War, he returned to Kentucky and enlisted as a scout under Nathan Bedford Forrest. He was one of the few members of the Fort Donelson garrison who escaped capture by evacuating the fort with Gen. John B. Floyd. His subsequent exploits as commander of the Texas Partisan Rangers within the federal lines in Kentucky earned him a colonel’s commission in August 1862 and a promotion to brigadier general on June 1, 1864. One of his most remarkable feats was the capture of Newburgh, Indiana, from a sizable Union garrison with only twelve men and two joints of stovepipe mounted on the running gear of an abandoned wagon. This episode won him his nickname. When Gen. John Hunt Morgan and his men were surrounded on Buffington’s Island during Morgan’s famous raid, Johnson and his men escaped by swimming the Ohio River. On August 21, 1864, Johnson attacked a federal encampment at Grubbs Crossroads, near Canton in Caldwell County, Kentucky, before daylight; he was accidentally shot by his own men and became totally blind. After capture by the federals he was imprisoned at Fort Warren until the end of the war” (from his gravestone in the Texas State Cemetery). After the Civil War he returned to Texas and founded Marble Falls, worked to develop the water power of the Colorado River, and founded the Texas Mining Improvement Company. See Handbook of Texas Online.

            Thomas S. Miller, formerly one of Johnson’s troopers, wrote of his old commander: “Paladin of old was not more daring and heroic than this Southern knight on the field of battle. No man in the Southern army, no matter how high his rank, displayed more military skill... He was literally the ‘Swamp Fox’ of Kentucky.”


Sold. Hammer: $250.00; Price Realized: $306.25.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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