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Adam Rankin Johnson
Personal Information
Born: February 8, 1834(1834-02-08)
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Died: October 20, 1922 (aged 88)
Place of Death: {{{place of death}}}
Nickname: "Stovepipe"
Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
Confederate States of America
Participation(s): {{{participations}}}
Branch: Confederate States Army
Service Years: {{{service years}}}
Rank: Colonel (Brigadier General appointment not confirmed)
Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Battles: American Civil War
Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

Adam Rankin "Stovepipe" Johnson (February 8, 1834 – October 20, 1922) was an antebellum Western frontiersman and later an officer in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.

Permanently blinded during a battle, Johnson in 1887 founded the town of Marble Falls, Texas, which became known as "the blind man's town."

Early life[]

Johnson was born in Henderson, Kentucky, the son of Thomas J. and Juliet (Rankin) Johnson. Educated in the common schools, at the age of twelve he went to work in a local drugstore for the next eight years. In 1854 he moved to Hamilton Valley in Burnet County, Texas, and soon found employment as a surveyor on the West Texas frontier. He was an Indian fighter and provided supplies and animals for the Butterfield Overland Mail stations. On January 1, 1861, he married Josephine Eastland of Austin, who bore him nine children.

Civil War[]

As the Civil War erupted and his native Kentucky struggled to maintain neutrality, Johnson returned home and joined the cavalry of Nathan B. Forrest as a scout. He managed to escape capture from the circling Union lines at Fort Donelson. He later received a promotion to colonel in recognition for his exploits as commander of the Partisan Rangers, a unit that often operated deep within Federal lines in Kentucky. Johnson's men harassed Union supply lines and isolated garrisons. In July 1862, in his Newburgh Raid, he captured the town of Newburgh, Indiana, despite a sizable Union militia presence, with only twelve men and two joints of stovepipe mounted on the running gear of an abandoned wagon to simulate a cannon. His men nicknamed him "Stovepipe" for his ingenuity.

In 1863, Johnson assumed command of a brigade in the cavalry division of Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan. He participated in Morgan's Raid, and, following the Confederate disaster at the Battle of Buffington Island, Johnson led nearly 350 men across the rain-swollen Ohio River to safety. The rest of Morgan's brigade eventually surrendered or were captured.

Johnson was appointed brigadier general on June 1, 1864; this appointment was not confirmed by the Confederate Congress.[1] On August 21, he was blinded by an accidental shot from one of his own men during an attack at Grubb's Crossroads near Princeton, Kentucky. He was subsequently captured by the Federals and imprisoned for much of the rest of the war in Fort Warren.


Johnson returned to Texas after being exchanged and paroled in 1865. Despite being sightless, he founded a town, established a company, and worked to harness the water power of the Colorado River.

Johnson died in Burnet, Texas, and is interred at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas. He rests beside Josephine and near his grandson, Judge George Christian, Sr., and great-grandson, former White House Press Secretary George Christian, Jr.



  1. Eicher, p. 601.

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