Johnson, Sidney Smith (1840–1910)

By: F. Lee Lawrence

Type: Biography

Published: September 1, 1995

Updated: April 27, 2019

Sidney Smith (Sid) Johnson, Confederate cavalry officer, journalist, and author, son of D. T. M. and Adeline (Smith) Johnson, was born in Choctaw County, Mississippi, on April 19, 1840. He came with his family to Texas in 1849. They lived in Cherokee County until 1854, when they moved to Tyler. Johnson served on the Mexican border with the Texas Rangers under John S. (Rip) Ford in the late 1850s. He enlisted on June 9, 1861, in Capt. D. Y. Gaines's Company K of the Third Texas Cavalry and was elected third lieutenant of his company. He was elected captain a year later and served with this rank until the end of the Civil War. The regiment served in Arkansas and Missouri with Ben McCulloch's Army of the West until McCulloch's death. Johnson fought at the battles of Oak Hill and Elkhorn Tavern. East of the Mississippi River he was elected captain, served during the siege of Corinth, and was in the battle at Iuka, Mississippi, where the Third Texas distinguished itself. After Corinth, he and his company served the remainder of the war in Lawrence Sullivan Ross's Texas Brigade, which saw action in the capture of Holly Springs, Mississippi, and the engagement at Thompson's Station, and later in the Georgia campaign from Resaca to Atlanta and Jonesboro. In the Georgia Campaign Johnson was severely wounded at Lovejoy Station. He campaigned the rest of the war in Tennessee under generals Nathan Bedford Forrest and W. H. Jackson. After the war he was admitted to the bar in Tyler, where he practiced law from 1866 until about 1880. He owned and wrote for various newspapers in the city, including the Tyler Reporter and Courier. Johnson was married to Zelda Smith on October 15, 1867. They had eight children. In 1900 he wrote and published Some Biographies of Old Settlers, Historical, Personal and Reminiscent, which covers the history of Smith County from its organization in 1846 until 1900. This volume was republished by the Smith County Historical Society in 1965. Johnson's second book, Texans Who Wore The Gray, was published in 1907. It consists primarily of biographical sketches and photographs of Texas Confederate veterans. Presumably, most of the sketches were compiled by Johnson. Although both of his books are labeled "Volume I," no second volume of either was published. After 1901 Johnson served as editor of the Confederate Soldier, later the Confederate Soldier and Daughter, published in Tyler, the official organ of the state division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. He was a charter member of the Albert Sidney Johnston camp of the United Confederate Veterans, which he served for two years as an adjutant. Johnson died on January 26, 1910, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Tyler.

Samuel Barron, The Lone Star Defenders: A Chronicle of the Third Texas Cavalry, Ross' Brigade (New York: Neale, 1908; rpt., Waco: Morrison, 1964). Clement Anselm Evans, ed., Confederate Military History (Atlanta: Confederate Publishing, 1899; extended ed., Wilmington, North Carolina: Broadfoot, 1987–89). John H. Jenkins, Basic Texas Books: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works for a Research Library (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1983; rpt. 1988). Victor Marion Rose, Ross' Texas Brigade (Louisville, Kentucky: Courier-Journal, 1881; rpt., Kennesaw, Georgia: Continental, 1960). Albert Woldert, A History of Tyler and Smith County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1948).

  • Journalism
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

F. Lee Lawrence, “Johnson, Sidney Smith,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 1, 1995
April 27, 2019