As a Confederate soldier he had a brilliant career, and was ever loyal to the cause he fought for. He ever took a deep interest in Confederate affairs, and was Commander of the local Camp of Veterans. He was the Alabama member of the Board of Trustees of the C. M. A.
General Johnston enlisted in the army on April 15, 1861, as second lieutenant of Company G, 4th Alabama Regiment. His promotion was fine, being made major of the 25th Alabama on January 29, 1862, lieutenant colonel of the same regiment in April, 1862, and its colonel September 6, 1863. He was made a brigadier general, C. S. A., in April, 1864, and served gallantly in that office until the close of the war.
After the war he held a great many distinguished public positions. He was the commandant of cadets in the University of Alabama from 1871 73, and from 1885 90 was Superintendent of the South Carolina Military Academy at Charleston.
Under Cleveland's administration he was appointed United States Civil Service Commissioner, living in Washington with his family, serving with Theodore Roosevelt He was always a stanch Democrat, and after returning to Tuscaloosa to live, he represented his county as a State Senator. He was a wise and trusted leader in all public affairs.
In religious faith he was a stanch Presbyterian from his early years. His faith was serene and his confidence in a blessed future life was steadfast. Some time before his last illness he had made arrangements for his funeral services, even designating the hymns to be used. ...General Johnston was married three times. His first wife was Miss Euphradia Poellnitz, of Marengo County, whom he married in 1853. They had three sons and one daughter. His second wife was Miss Maria Barnett, who left no children. He married Mrs. Stella Searcy Harris in 1876, who, with their son, George D. Johnston, Jr., survives him. Mrs. Johnston's other children mourn a father's death.
General Johnston was an eloquent speaker and a popular lecturer. His "Memories of the Old South" and "The Women of the South" are remarkably fine. General Johnston was a true Southern gentleman of the old school, the soul of courtesy and chivalry, and a most delightful companion. He was a man of the highest integrity and profound convictions. The entire community feels its loss, and his friends are numbered in all the walks of life, among the rich and poor alike. General Johnston was honored and revered at home and abroad. The South and the nation possessed in him all that is noblest in soldier, scholar, and man.
General Johnston's Funeral.
[The Tuscaloosa papers had elaborate reports of General Johnston's career and the funeral. From the News's account of the funeral extracts are made.]
To pay tribute to the memory of the man they loved and admired, Confederate veterans who fought with him in the sixties, ministers of the gospel who had been inspired by his beautiful faith, public men who had counseled with him in important crises, students who had listened to his eloquent lectures, and men, women, and children from all walks of life crowded the Presbyterian church, where lay the remains of Gen. George Doherty Johnston.
Dr. J. G. Snedecor conducted the services and delivered a beautiful eulogy of General Johnston, saying in part: "Generally death brings to sorrowing friends the keenest pangs because of its untimeliness and the unreadiness of those called to go, but neither cause for sorrow exists here to day. There was no untimeliness in the departure of this beloved man. Born in 1832, it is given to few to come to such a good old age, possessed of all faculties, and preserving to the last, as he did, his soldierly bearing and grace. Nor was there any lack of readiness. He faced his end with the composure of the great apostle, who declared, I am ready to be offered, and the tittle of my departure is at hand,' and with humble sincerity he could have added: I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course. I have kept the faith.' Any one who was in the presence of General Johnston during the past few years saw that he was no timorous mortal standing by Jordan's brink and fearing to launch away. Never have I seen such supreme composure in the prospect of death. He welcomed it as the crown of life. He was an implicit believer in those things which 'eye' hath not seen, nor ear heard.' It was a joy to be in his company and an inspiration to those of weaker faith. He solved our doubts and kindled anew our love to God. His favorite expression was: 'The good God will do all things well.'. A strong man who was with him in his last illness said: I have had my times of doubt, but nevermore .shall I doubt that the unseen world i! s a. world of reality.' So, my friends, he, being dead, yet speaketh to us of the better life and the surer faith. I should like to refer to the bravest act of his life. To do this I pass by his splendid record on the field of battle, though he was the peer of any there. I come to his own home, to a time about fifteen years ago, when there was from this very pulpit an appeal made for some one to volunteer to superintendent a Sunday school to be established for the instruction of the negroes of the town. Though he had since early manhood been a member of the Church, he had worn his profession of religion with, modest reticence and had taken little active part in public services. But when this call was made, he rose in his place and said: I suppose I am about the only one here who could afford to do this. I will take the Sunday school.' Until recent months, when the infirmities of advancing age prevented, he was there in his place every Sunday, and God alone knows what poor, b! enighted souls he has enlightened and uplifted. To his companion and sons, therefore, I hold up the consoling promises of God's Word, and over their sorrow we draw the veil of sympathetic love,"
Following Dr. Snedecor's address, the Rev. Dr. D. D. Little delivered an eloquent tribute to the man who had been a great help and inspiration to him in his own work in behalf of the negro. Dr. Little said that General Johnston was preeminently a man of the Old South, the embodiment of all the honor, chivalry, and hospitality preserved in romance and tradition. He referred to the exemplary character of the deceased, and declared that if he had been surrounded by all his friends his last message to them would have been: "Be true to the Old South and its ideals, be good to the black man in our midst, and keep faith in God"