Would anyone want to help this Confederate Navy Sailor to go home?
Continue on Lieutenant Edward J. Johnston, CSN
On Lieutenant Edward J. Johnston, CSN
Subject: Re: TIME LINE
Date: Tue, Mar 5, 2002, 10:02 PM
I meet with Col. Otto on Monday, March 11 to discuss in general terms the arrangements for the disinterment of Lt. Johnston's remains and removal of the gravestone. Based on your timeline, he may have received the required documentation from Ben by next Monday and he can tell me if all is in order and any specific requirements to be followed and what sort of ceremony might be appropriate at that time. (The Massachusetts Commissioner of Veterans Services -- a CMH recipient during the Vietnam War and a US Navy Captain -- acting on behalf of the Governor and/or the Dept. of Defense, will make an official statement turning over/releasing the POW from his imprisonment in the Commonwealth to either or both Ben and/or a representative of the Confederacy.) Also I have referred the Commander of the New England Chapter of the SCV to John Adams. He contacted me and indicated that the New England SCV wish to participate in whatever ceremonies might be held at Fort Devens. I will pass on to all of you whatever Col. Otto has to say about the subject. I assume that you folks will determine the content of the disinterment ceremony (e.g., Who should participate? Should a chaplain be present to say a blessing over the remains? Will a Confederate honor guard place a National Flag on his casket and carry his remains to the hearse? Will there be a military salute or a bugle call? etc.) Our Department has already had indications that there will be State and perhaps National press coverage with TV and newspaper reporters and cameramen present so a ceremony of some sort has to be planned. I'll do what I can to help you at this end with whatever arrangements you want to make. Bob Hall
Subj: Re: Edward J. Johnston, CSN Confederate States Navy Research Center / Ft. Warren
Date: 3/10/2002 9:02:50 PM Eastern Standard Time
To: Gordonkwok@aol.com, Greetings and thank you for sending this information. This is a very nice gesture for your group to do and is much appreciated. I too feel he would be properly buried next to his wife in Fernindina. I have a copy of Johnston's wife's pension appl. here in file. I am a member of several Naval SCV camps, one of which is the Stephen R. Mallory Camp in Pensacola, Florida which includes membership in the Florida Division. Time permitting, I would like to attend the reburial ceremony in my CSN Captains uniform. Will put a link to your page under Johnston's grave image. Please keep me informed. Thanks again. Regards,
John E. Ellis, Founder, Confederate States Navy Research Center, Mobile, Alabama.
Subj: Update on Lt. Johnston
Date: 3/12/2002 6:03:45 PM Eastern Standard Time
Ben Korbly: This is an update for you, but I've also addressed it to a few others who might have a need to know. You are certainly free to forward it to others who you feel should be alerted also. Yesterday, after visiting and photographing Lt. Johnston's grave (which had the first flag of the Confederacy flying over it) I met with Col. Otto and others of his staff. They were extremely receptive to your wishes and stressed their desire to assist in transferring your great-grandfather's remains with the utmost dignity and respect. I indicated to them that you wished to have the transfer made in the early autumn and they suggested that the move should be completed prior to October 15. So any date you want to set for late September or early October is acceptable to the Army. Col. Otto indicated there would be no red tape or delays on his part in approving your written request along with the affidavits to move Lt. Johnston on receiving them from you. (I don't think you need be concerned about locating every last possible descendent, either.)
It was requested that the undertaker who is coming up from Georgia speak by telephone with Debbi Charboneau about the arrangements that have to be made. She is the Army's Installation Services Officer who oversees the cemetery and has been designated by the Colonel as the point of contact at Fort Devens. She has a toll-free number the undertaker can use if he wants to call: 1-888-871-5638 x3074/3899, or someone (John Adams? Dana Chapman?) should contact Debbi and give her the name and phone number of the undertaker so she can contact him. The specific arrangement is that the disinterment of the remains has to be done the day before the scheduled "disinterment ceremony." The Army's designated "gravedigger" is a civilian contractor for the Army and there will be a charge for his services estimated at between $500 and $1,000 that the SCV will have to pay. (I was told he accepts credit cards.) Here's what he has to do: 1.) The day before the disinterment ceremony, the gravestone which weighs about 1,000 lbs. has to be lifted from atop the grave along with the 4 granite pillars on which it sits and wrapped in quilts or padded or boxed and placed in a truck (provided, I assume, by the FL or GA SCV) to be transported back to FL. 2). Once the stone has been removed, the "gravedigger" plumbs the ground using push rods to locate the casket or box containing your Great-grandfather's remains. (There is some speculation that he may have been buried in a metal box). 3.) Once located, the metal box or the remains are placed in a new box or casket provided by the undertaker. The new box is then carefully arranged in the open grave for removal the following day. This is felt to be much more dignified and respectful rather than having a crowd gathered around while all of that heavy work takes place. 4.) After the hearse leaves, the gravedigger is responsible for closing the now empty grave.
Ben, I retire from the Department of Veterans Services this Friday, March 15 but I will continue working for the Department on this project until next fall when Lieutenant Johnston is returned home to his wife and family. Bob Hall
Subj: APPROXIMATE DATES FOR DISINTERMENT & REBURIAL OF LT. JOHNSTON
Date: 4/9/2002 10:23:51 PM Eastern Daylight Time
As Lt. Johnston died on October 14, 1863, a disinterment date of October 14, 2002 (Columbus Day Holiday) seems appropriate. The Southern folk have told me the undertaker from GA should arrive around October 12 and, as the actual disinterment actually takes place in private the day before the ceremony, depending on when he arrives and the remains are disinterred, the following day is when the ceremony will take place. (In other words, folks don't have to stand around waiting for the grave to be opened and the remains located. That will all take place the day before.) The date of the ceremony should be firmed up by late spring or early summer. Burial in Fernandina, FL is scheduled for either October 26 or October 28 and I've been asked to be one of the escorts on the CSS Bell carrying the remains from Jacksonville to Fernandina. Hope Joe Geden can make it as well. Also, the New England Chapter of the SCV will be actively involved in the ceremony at Fort Devens. Bob Hall
Subj: Re: Photo - Confederate Prisoners at Fort Warren.
Date: 5/2/2002 9:36:56 PM Eastern Daylight Time
To: Terry Foenander
Dear Terry, I have exchanged emails with John Ellis. He said he might go to Fernandina in Confederate Navy Uniform on that day.
Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephen paid tribute to Edward J. Johnston
Our Olde Colony in-house Ft Warren expert, Jack Zeletsky, knew of your Ft. Warren site. He told me he found some document that Alexander Stephen had paid tribute to Edward Johnston when Stephen was jailed in Ft . Warren at the end of the War. He also found record stating that the Confederate prisoners chipped in their money, $45 to buy a coffin for Johnston. He is still looking for the record on the cost of his tombstone.
I got some second hand information. The writer, Latrell Pappy Mickler, was related to Edward's wife, Virginia Pappy Johnston. She was researching the genealogy on Virginia's family tree. The little girl in the picture is Virginia Pappy Johnston's great granddaughter, Frances Rawls Bond, who married Charles Korbly. Their son, Ben Korbly, who is the closest living relative of Ed Johnston, is corresponding to Bob Hall. It is this Ben Korbly who gave permission to remove Edward's remains and ship back to Fernandina. I heard that it was Frances Rawls Bond Korbly who donated the pictures (1) Virginia Pappy Johnston and herself, Frances Rawls Bond (2) John Kent Johnston, son of Virginia Pappy Johnston and Edward J. Johnston, and grandfather of Frances Rawls Bond, to the Florida State Achieves.
Joan Morris, Florida Photographic Collection, Florida State Archives, wrote:
"On the backing is written in pencil Mrs. Bond (We do not know the reason)."
I will answer Ms. Morris's question: Edward J. Johnston and Virginia Papy Johnston had a son, John Kent Johnston, who married Frances Rawls. Their daughter, Letitia Rawls Johnston married Dr. Benjamin Johnson Bond in Leon County Florida, 15 Nov 1905. The "Mrs. Bond" is Letitia Rawls Johnston Bond, Edward Johnston's granddaughter. I presumed she donated the group picture with Ft. Warren as the background, and identified
"the x mark on the person on a shawl as Edward J. Johnston" came from this source.
I presumed that a granddaughter would know what her grandfather looked like, assuming that the fact would be re-assured by her parents (John Kent Johnston and Frances Rawls) and grandmother (Virginia Pappy Johnston).
Good luck. Regards, Gordon.
Olde Colony Civil War Round Table and its members played a role in assisting Edward J. Johnston to go home (from Massachusetts to Florida). When friends who knew of Johnston, from the South and Nationwide sent in information on Johnston, we placed them in the internet to tell the story for the benefit of the readers. Olde Colony CWRT is not responsible on the 100% accuracy of the information sent to us. Let the reader be aware. Thank you.