Frank Leslie’s Illustrated History of the Civil War, published in 1895, contained a broad collection of sketches that had appeared during the conflict in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. One of these (shown above) captured an unlikely incident that occurred during the Battle of Shiloh. The caption reads: “Colonel A.K. Johnson of the Twenty-eighth Illinois Regiment has, during the late war, shared in the dangers of many a daring adventure. On the last day of the action at Shiloh, or Pittsburg Landing, and while the Confederates were flying in confusion from their works, three of the officers in their flight passed very near the place where Colonel Johnson was stationed. The colonel instantly started in pursuit. Coming within pistol range he fired at the nearest of his flying foes. This brought the Confederate officer down on his horse’s neck. Colonel Johnson, believing this to be a feint to avoid a second shot, determined to drag him from his saddle by main force. Riding up to his side for this purpose, he seized him by the hair of his head, but to his astonishment and disgust he only brought off the Confederate major’s wig. Instantly recovering his headway, he again started for the delinquent, but his pistol had done its work, and before the colonel reached him his lifeless body had fallen from the saddle.” While the identity of the Rebel officer is unknown, we can say with confidence that he experienced one of the worst “bad hair days” in history.
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