Valentine Mason Johnson
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Valentine Mason Johnson


Valentine Mason Johnson is the Uncle of Wortley Valentine Johnson and Brother of John Lipscomb Johnson.  His is the namesake for Harriet Valentine Pugnale (Stewart) and Joseph Valentine Pugnale.  He was a Class of 1960 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute.  Valentine served the Confederacy in the Civil War.  He became Superintendent of the Florida Military Institute in 1865.  Florida State University traces its history back to Florida Military Institute (originally known as Seminary West of the Suwannee.  At this time, the cadets fought and won in the Civil War at the Battle of Natural Bridge near Tallahassee, FL.

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Virginia Military Institute

Johnson, Valentine Mason (1860)  -Valentine Mason Johnson, Class of 1860. Genealogy: Born- July 17, 1838 in Spotsylvania Co. Va. Father- Lewis Johnson; Mother- Jane Lipscomb; Pat. Grandfather- Jonathan Johnson; Pat. Grandmother- Nancy Castle; Pat. Gr. Grandparents- Alexander Johnson & Mary Lewis; John Castle & (first name unknown) Roane; Mat. Grandfather- John Lipscomb; Mat. Grandmother- Judy Day; Mat. Gr. Grandparents- Homer Lipscomb & Mary Smith; John Day & Amelia Harris. Married- 1st- Eliza Hart Boggs, daughter of Lewis Boggs and Mary Ann Scott; 2nd- Georgia McVeigh; 3rd- Jane Katherine Edmondson, daughter of Robert Walker Edmondson and Amarilla Ragsdale. Children- (All from 1st marriage) 1- Mary Johnson Meade, who married David Meade; 2- Alfred Rawlings Johnson; 3- Lewis Johnson; 4- Dunbar Hanson Johnson; 5- John Scott Johnson; 6- Valentine Mason Johnson, Jr.; 7- Henry Branch Johnson; 8- Livingston Spottswood Johnson. VMI Record: Entered VMI- July 22, 1856; Graduated July 4, 1860 standing 39th in class of 41. Civil War Record: Enlisted Apr. 30, 1861, Capt. Co. D. 30th Va. Inf.; placed on medical furlough Mar. 1862; Dec. 17, 1862 became 1st Lt. Co. B (Capt. J.M. Olivier's Co.) of Jackson's Light Artillery; may have been among the men transferred to Co. K of 21st Va. Cavalry; June 1863 was put in charge of Quarter Master and commissary supplies for the Virginia State Line; Forced to leave active duty for health reasons and became Prof. of Math and Commandant of Cadets at Florida Military Institute; was in command of the Cadet Corps (also known as Capt. V.M. Johnson's Co.) who fought in the Battle of Natural Bridge (Florida) on March 6, 1865. Johnson himself may not have been in the battle as some records show him constructing fortifications in Tallahassee, FL around that time; Paroled May 13, 1865 at Tallahassee. Careers: In Government Service; Teacher in Florida, Kentucky and Texas. Died- Oct. 19, 1909 in Mountville, Va.

Florida Military Institute

As the Florida Collegiate and Military Institute, the school trained cadets who also attended the usual classes. In a stroke of rare good luck, the school hired for a short while Captain Valentine Mason Johnson, a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute. On March 6, 1865, while under the command of Captain Bannister, cadets from the Florida Collegiate & Military Institute were called upon to defend Tallahassee at the Battle of Natural Bridge 13 miles south of the city. Their presence helped prevent Union soldiers from capturing Florida's capital city. Tallahassee became the only Confederate capital east of the Mississippi not captured by Union forces. Because of the bravery displayed by the cadets of the military institute, the Florida State University Army ROTC cadet corps displays a battle streamer bearing the words NATURAL BRIDGE 1865 with its flag. The FSU Army ROTC is one of only two collegiate military units in the United States with permission to display such a pennant.

Battle of Natural Bridge (Civil War)

    Johnson was commissioned as a captain and served as Superintendent of the Florida Military Institute (West Florida Seminary), now known as Florida State University.  He was appointed a colonel near the close of the War.
    The cadets of the Florida Military Institute participated in the Battle of Natural Bridge and today the several Florida State University's Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) units' colors carry a streamer for the Battle of Natural Bridge.