Library of Congress
JOHNSON, Herschel Vespasian (1812-1880)
Senate Years of Service: 1848-1849

JOHNSON, HERSCHEL VESPASIAN, a Senator from Georgia; born near Farmer's Bridge, Burke County, Ga., September 18, 1812; attended private schools and Monaghan Academy near Warrenton; graduated from the University of Georgia at Athens in 1834; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1834 and commenced practice; moved to a plantation, "Sandy Grove," in Jefferson County in 1839 and practiced law in Louisville; unsuccessful Democratic candidate in 1843 for election to fill a vacancy in the Twenty-eighth Congress; presidential elector on the Democratic ticket 1844; moved to Milledgeville, Ga., in 1844 and continued the practice of law; unsuccessful candidate for nomination as Governor in 1847; appointed as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Walter T. Colquitt and served from February 4, 1848, to March 3, 1849; was not a candidate for election to fill this vacancy; chairman, Committee on the District of Columbia (Thirtieth Congress); judge of the superior court of the Ocmulgee circuit 1849-1853; presidential elector on the Democratic ticket 1852; Governor of Georgia 1853-1857; returned to his plantation near Louisville, Jefferson County, in 1857; unsuccessful candidate for Vice President of the United States on the Douglas Democratic ticket in 1860; delegate to the State secession convention at Milledgeville in 1861; a Senator from Georgia in the Second Confederate Congress 1862-1865; president of the State constitutional convention in 1865; presented credentials in 1866 as a Senator-elect to the United States Senate but was not permitted to qualify; resumed the practice of law in Louisville; appointed judge of the middle circuit of Georgia in 1873 and served until his death on his plantation near Louisville, Ga., August 16, 1880; interment in the Old Louisville Cemetery.

Atlanta History Center
Atlanta, GA
Papers: In Telamon Cruger Smith Cuyler papers, 1847-1967.

Duke University
Special Collections Library
Durham, NC
Papers: 1812-1880. 830 items and 31 volumes. Correspondence, speeches, writings, clippings, and portraits.

Emory University
Robert W. Woodruff Library
Atlanta, GA
Papers: Portrait engraving in Graves family papers, 1818-1939 (bulk 1836-1910); correspondence in Tomlinson Fort family papers, 1808-1882; and Alexander Hamilton Stephens papers, 1826-1935.

Georgia Department of Archives and History
Atlanta, GA
Papers: Gubernatorial papers.

Georgia Historical Society
Savannah, GA
Papers: 7 letters.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Washington, DC
Papers: 1847, 1854, 1877. 3 items.

Pierpont Morgan Library
New York, NY
Papers: 1844-1867. 3 items.

University of Georgia
Hargrett Library for Rare Books and Manuscripts
Athens, GA
Papers: 1832-1894. Ca. 50 items. Correspondence, writings, autobiographical material, and other papers. Also correspondence in Cobb family papers, 1837-1913.

  • Flippin, Percy Scott. Herschel V. Johnson of Georgia, State Rights Unionist. Richmond: Deitz Printing Co., 1931.
  • "From the Autobiography of Herschel V. Johnson, 1856-1867.'' American Historical Review 30 (January 1925): 311-36.
  • Greeman, Elizabeth Dix. "Stephen A. Douglas and Herschel V. Johnson: Examples of National Men in the Sectional Crisis of 1860.'' Ph.D. dissertation, Duke University, 1974.
  • Mellichamp, Josephine. "Herschel V. Johnson.'' In Senators from Georgia, pp. 122-26. Huntsville, AL: Strode Publishers, 1976.
  • Morrison, Chaplain Willis. "The Confederate Career of Herschel V. Johnson: An Application of State Rights Doctrine.'' Master's thesis, Emory University, 1959.