Skip to main content


Special Collections Online at UT

Andrew Johnson Letter

Identifier: MS-3798

  • Staff Only

This letter is four pages front and back, handwritten and signed by Andrew Johnson, dated February 7, 1859 from Washington City. This correspondence is first addressed with the greeting “My dear Son;” context reveals that this is most likely Andrew Johnson’s second son, Robert. Johnson writes first in response to morbid concerns and anxiety surrounding the wellbeing of his eldest son, Charles. Next, he includes details of his current session as a Tennessee senator, specifically mentioning a pension bill that he is of the opinion will not pass. He additionally negatively regards Albert G. Watkins, a member of the House from east Tennessee. Finally, Johnson offers fatherly advice, speaking in closing of the importance of self-confidence and self-reliance on the road to success.


  • 1859 February 7


This material is written in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite and must be requested in advance. See for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.

Conditions Governing Use

The UT Libraries claims only physical ownership of most material in the collections. Persons wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants on for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.


0.1 Linear Feet (1 folder )


Four page personal correspondence between Andrew Johnson and his son, Robert Johnson, dated February 7, 1859 from Washington City.

Biographical/Historical Note

Andrew Johnson served as the seventeenth president of the United States. Johnson settled early in his life in Greeneville, Tennessee; he was educated as an attorney and later served in the Tennessee General Assembly. Johnson further served in the offices of governor of Tennessee, U. S. Representative and U. S. Senator. He served as Vice- President of the United States during the Civil War. Upon Lincoln's assassination, Johnson became the new president; however, he and Congress clashed over control during the Reconstruction Era, and in 1868, the House Republicans in Congress impeached Johnson, the first president to face impeachment. Johnson's presidency was spared by a single vote in the Senate. After leaving the White House, Johnson uncharacteristically returned to politics, and he served as a Tennessee Senator before dying from a stroke in 1875.

Charles Johnson was the first-born son of Andrew and Eliza (McCardle). He was born in Greenville, Tennessee in 1830. Upon the start of the Civil War, he became a part of the East Tennessee Unionist movement. He died in 1863 in Nashville, Tennessee from injuries following his fall from a horse. Robert Johnson was the second son of Andrew and Eliza Johnson, born in 1834. During the Civil War he was a Colonel in the Union Army. He resigned his army commission in 1864 to serve as his father's private secretary. In 1869, while on a trip to Greeneville, Tennessee, Robert died of an alcohol and laudanum overdose.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA