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Who was Sans Peur?

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Besides staff officers, there was another man present who accompanied General A.S. Johnston from Corinth to the Battlefield of Shiloh. This man had also ridden across the desert with Johnston in June/ July 1861 from California to Texas (one of the thirty-five stalwarts, along with Ridley, Frazee, Wickliffe and Hardcastle) and General Johnston described this man in a letter to his wife as, “sans peur – without fear.” But, because this man's name is often abbreviated, or misspelled, he often gets missed in official records (and there is no record of him on this SDG site, until now.)

 

What was this man's name?

 

Bonus: What was his role?

 

[Hint: not a slave.]

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Randolph. He was not a slave because Johnston had manumitted him when Johnston went to the west coast. Randolph, or Ran, went with Johnston to California as a free man and received wages for his services as cook. Johnston also wrote that Ran was a good with the mules. (Source: Life of General Albert Sidney Johnston by Colonel William Preston Johnston)

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Well Done, Hank!

Came across mention of this man as I was attempting to find the remaining names of men acknowledged as members of General Johnston's staff (posted in SDG “Albert Sidney Johnston's Staff.”) And you are right about The Life of General Albert Sidney Johnston: this “fearless man” is indicated as Randolph only a couple of times, and usually as “Ran.” And he experienced a unique perspective of General Johnston that would be worthwhile in tracking down (should he have sent any letters, or told his story...)

It is recorded that 28 year old Randolph was manumitted by Albert Sidney Johnston in 1860 and that he then accompanied the General on the sea voyage from New York to Aspinwall, crossed the Isthmus and continued by sea to San Francisco, where General Johnston took up his last Federal post, as Commander of the Pacific Department on 15 JAN 1861. General Johnston learned of the secession of his state, Texas, by Pony Express and submitted his Letter of Resignation, dated 10 April 1861, to the War Department in Washington. And he maintained the Pacific Department, and acted in good faith to his employer, the U.S. Government, until General E. V. Sumner arrived from the east and relieved him on 25 April. (It is recorded that the Secretary of War, Simon Cameron, received the Letter from Johnston, but did not act on it until 6 May; General Johnston's resignation was accepted, and back-dated to 3 May 1861.)

Due to “intelligence” received indicating Federal authorities would arrest him at Port of New York if he attempted to return east by steamer, A.S. Johnston decided to ride east from Los Angeles: the overland route, much of which was across barren wastes and desert, during the heat of Summer. Members of the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles volunteered to accompany General Johnston on his journey (and some sources record Randolph Hughes as belonging to that organization, while others indicate, “he was a civilian, driving the General's carriage and cooking his meals.” Regardless, it is obvious from letters written that General Johnston enjoyed the man's company and appreciated Ran's contribution to the success of the trek.

The party of 36 men reached Texas in July and disbanded. General Johnston (and Randolph) continued on to the Confederate Capital of Richmond, arriving there early September. Johnston was assigned to command of Department No.2 and took up Headquarters at Bowling Green (now possible due Major General Polk's occupation of Columbus, Kentucky.) And it is likely that Randolph Hughes went in company with General Johnston.

Colonel William Preston Johnston records that, “Ran accompanied the General to the Battlefield of Shiloh, acting as body-servant and cook.” There is no more record of Randolph, except Colonel Johnston indicates after the death of General Johnston, “Ran remained in the Confederate Army until the close of the war.”

ReferencesThe Life of General Albert Sidney Johnston (especially pages 171, 248 & 279).

Albert Sidney Johnston: Soldier of Three Republics by Charles P. Roland, Uni Press of KY (2001) page 242.

http://www.militarymuseum.org/LosAngelesMountedRifles2.html  Los Angeles Mounted Rifles.

 

 

 

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