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General John Bell Hood, CSA This part of my site is dedicated to General John Bell Hood, Commander of the famed Hood's Texas Brigade, later Commander of the Army of Tennessee in its futile defense of Georgia against the ruthless attack of General William T. Sherman and finally, his efforts to retake Tennessee and rejoin General Lee in Virginia.



General John Bell Hood, CSA; Army of Tennessee, Commanding
General John Bell Hood, CSA; Army of Tennessee, Commanding
Lieutenant-General John Bell Hood, was born in Owensville, Ky., June 1,1831. He graduated from the United States military academy ranked 45th in a class of 45 in 1853. Members of this famed class included men who would soon be his enemies, men such as McPherson and Schofield. During his West Point stay, his classmates would learn of Hood's courage and dogged determination. Years later General O. O. Howard, learning of the Confederates positions near his own, just west of Atlanta, was heard to remark to General Sherman, "General, Hood will attack me here". As General Sherman doubted Hood's and his opposing army's abilities, he thought General Howard was wrong. General Howard replied that he had known Hood at West Point and that, "he was indomitable".


General O.O. Howard, USA
As a second-lieutenant Hood served about two years in California,after graduation. He was later transferred to a new cavalry regiment where he served under Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston and a Lieutenant Colonel named Robert E. Lee.


General John B. Magruder, CSA He later served on the frontier in Texas in the winter of 1855, and in July of that year was wounded at Devil's river. In 1858 he was promoted to First Lieutenant, and in 1859-60 he was assigned duties as a cavalry instructor at West Point. Resigning his commission in April,1861, he entered the service of the Confederate States, reporting to General Magruder on the peninsula of Virginia.


Being appointed with the temporary rank of major he was given command of the cavalry by General Magruder. Once the cavalry was organized as a regiment, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In September 1861, he was commissioned colonel of the Fourth Texas regiment. This began his association with the Texas troops, his regiment of cavalry became beginning of his famous Hood's Texas brigade, and his promotion to Brigadier General was to follow in March, 1862.

Under his leadership, the Texans and troops from Georgia and Alabama filling out his ranks, gained a reputation of valor, hard fighting and reckless courage that would be their standard for the remainder of the war.

Hood's Texas brigade was attached to the command of Gen. G. W. Smith at Williamsburg and Seven Pines. Where General Hood and his brigade are credited with checking General Franklin at Eltham's Landing near West Point, Va. and at Gaines' Mill his brigade along with that of General Law were at the front of Longstreet's attack, as shock troops were noted in reports of General Stonewall Jackson as the first to breech the Federal entrenchments on the left and capture the batteries.


General William B. Franklin, USA
During this battle General Hood was wounded and due to his gallantry won the brevet of major-general. As Commanding Officer of a division which was composed of his now enfamous brigade and that of General Law, and five batteries of artillery, assigned to Longstreet's I Corps, crossed the mountains at Thoroughfare Gap and was instrumental in the Confederate victory at Second Manassas.


General Joseph Hooker, USA During the Maryland campaign General Hood and his division took part in the important delaying action at the passes of South Mountain. At Sharpsburg (Antietam) his division held the left against Hooker on the 16th of September, and fought desperately near the Dunker church on the 17th. Here his division repeled a determined Federal assult and later was heard to remark that his division was "dead on the field".


At Fredericksburg he commanded the right of Longstreet's line, and later in July of 1863 at Gettysburg, stationed on the extreme right of the Confederate army, he led a valiant and successful attack on the second day against Little Round Top and the Devil's Den. Early in the engagement, General Hood received a wound which deprived him permanently of the use of one arm and caused his abscence from his division for over two months.

In September, 1863, General Hood's division was ordered with Longstreet's I Corps, to reinforce the troops of General Braxton Bragg in North Georgia. He was distinguished in the action on the 19th and 20th of September, 1863, when he led his men in a crushing victory over the right center of the Federal forces, capturing artillery, and seizing the Chattanooga road.

It was while leading his men in this action he was wounded in the right leg, necessitating its amputation. His grievous wound necessitated his abscence from the Army, while recovering in Richmond, Va. It was during this recovery that he was transferred and permanently assigned to the Army of Tennessee.

He was promoted to Lieutenant-General, of date September 20th, and during General Johnston's campaign against Sherman he was in command of one of the three army corps. He had many difficulties involving the other Corps commanders, was so badly maimed it was difficult for him to remain upon his horse, and though it was against the recommendations of his superiors, was given command of the army, with the temporary rank of General.


General William T. Sherman, USA
It was General Hood's plan to take Sherman's army at disadvantage in crossing Peach Tree Creek, July 20, 1864, but delays caused the plan to be ineffective. Two days later he fought the battle of the 22nd. General Hood's plan was to attack the Federal supply trains and lines of communication, to draw General Sherman away from the city of Atlanta. Although General Hood had well-devised plans, the superior Federal forces prevented anything more than his checking the Federal advance. On the 28th he struck General Sherman a heavy blow at Ezra Church, but after the Federals had succeeded in breaking his communications, General Hood was forced to evacuate Atlanta. General Hood had successfully held General Sherman at bay for seventy-five days.

After the evacuation, he devised a plan to attack the Federal communications, invade Tennessee and carry the war northward. He thought that a serious threat against the Ohio Valley would successfully draw General Sherman from Georgia. This resulted in several engagements in North Georgia, as well as the famous battles of Franklin and Nashville, Tenn.

This campaign proved to be futile and as a result, at the Battle of Nashville, the Army of Tennessee was nearly annihilated. After retreating southward with what was left of his army, General Hood applied to be relieved from command and continued to press his application until finally President Davis complied with his request. On the 25th of January, 1865, General Hood bid farewell to the Army of Tennessee, which he had commanded over eleven months, he reported to President Davis in Richmond, Va. There he was ordered to Texas to assist in recruiting soldiers to continue the fight. While on the way was informed of the surrender of General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House.

While in the vicinity of Natchez, Mississippi, he learned of the surrender from General Kirby Smith. After that he rode into Natchez May 31, 1865, surrendered and was paroled.

After the War Between the States ended, Hood owned and ran an insurance company. Along with his wife and eldest daughter, John Bell Hood died during a yellow fever epidemic on Saturday, August 30, 1879 and is buried in New Orleans, Louisiana in the Metaire Cemetery.


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The Battle of Spring Hill
General John Bell Hood, in a last ditch and desperate try to draw General William T. Sherman's Union army out of Georgia, led the Army of Tennessee northward, towards Nashville in November of 1864. Late that month, 28 Nov. 1864, the Confederates engaged the Union army under the command of General John M. Schofield at Spring Hill, Tennessee, about 12 miles south of Franklin.

Skirmishes broke out all along the line, between the cavalry troops of Union Brigadier General James Wilson and those Confederate troops led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest. General Forrest was unable to force the Northerners from their position allowing General Schofield to reinforce his troops that were holding the crossroads at Spring Hill.


General Nathan Bedford Forrest, CSA
General Hood brought his infantry across the Duck River on the morning of 29 November 1864, and was unbable to coordinate a concentrated attack against the entrenched enemy. Later that evening, General Schofield was able to retreat towards Franklin. This he did, by passing through a breach in the Confederate line nearly two hundred yards wide, under the cover of darkness.


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The Battle of Franklin
Area Map of Franklin/Nashville Battleground
Map Source: "Battle Cry of Freedom" By James McPherson
General John Bell Hood, CSA. General Hood lost what was possibly his greatest opportunity to destroy in place, the Union army he and his troops were facing, when General Schofield was able to escape at Spring Hill. Enraged, suffering greatly from his previous wounds, and in disbelief of what he perceived to be the incredible incompetence of his Lieutenants, General Hood marched his army in quick pursuit of the retreating Federals.


Near sunrise on the morning of 30 Nov. 1864, General Schofield's troops reached the outskirts of Franklin. Where, in earthen works that had been used in an earlier engagement in 1863, he was able to quickly form a defensive line. It was his main concern to hold the Confederate advance, repair bridges leading out of Franklin and prepare to get his wagons and troops across the Harpeth River and on to Nashville.

Later in the afternoon, nearly 4:00 PM, the forward elements of General Hood's Army of Tennesse could be seen on the low hills just south of Franklin. Much to the dismay of his subordinates, General Hood immediately ordered his army to prepare for a frontal assult on the enemy positions.

Confederate General Patrick Cleburne, considered by many to be the "Stonewall of the West", pleaded with General Hood to reconsider. However, General Hood, who was still reeling from the Union army's escape at Spring Hill, steadfastly remained adamant in his orders to attack.


General Patrick Cleburne, CSA; known as the Sonewall of the West
Much like General Hood himself, had done at Gettysburg, General Forrest asked for permission to try to flank the enemy position. Again, General Hood refused the suggestions and pleas of his leading Generals. It is argued today, as to whether he had lost all faith in their abilities, or if he was blind to the futility of such an attack. Whichever, he determined to press the assult and continued to order his army to a frontal assult of the enemy positions.

As the Union defenders looked on, twenty thousand Confederate troops (more than had taken part in Pickett's charge at Gettysburg) began to move as one... across the two miles of open ground from their positions on Winstead Hill to Franklin. The attack started as a march, than on command...the Confederate soldiers began to trot and finally opened into a dead run, towards the Union works.

Union troops under the command of General Wagner, had been placed about a half mile in front og the rest of the Union army. The Confederates quickly routed this small force. As the Union troops began a headlong retreat to their comrades, the others were afraid to shoot for fear of hitting their own men.


Colonel Emerson Opdycke, USA; Union hero of Franklin. As the Confederate attackers reached the main defenses, they broke through at the Union center. Having been posted in the "rear area", Union Colonel Emerson Opdycke and his men observed this breach of their defenses. He quickly ordered his Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin troops into the fray. This prevented any further breach of the Union positions and the Confederate attack was checked.


However, the battle continued for more than five terrifying hours. Confederate troops were pinned down and unable to go forward or back. Many of them were caught in a cross fire and were simply and methodically shot to pieces. The battle was lost. The Confederates had 6,252 casualties as compared to the Federal losses of 2,326. Of the Confederate losses, General Hood had managed to lose half of his regimental commanders. Of the twelve subordiante Confederate Generals, one was now a prisoner of the North, three were so badly wounded that their military service was at an end, and six were dead...including the indomitable General Patrick Cleburne.

Later that night, General Schofield was able to once again escape with his army, across the river towards Nashville. He left his dead and wounded behind, slipped across the bridges he had had rebuilt and was safely in Nashville by noon on 01 December 1864.


General John M. Schofield, USA; Union Commander at Franklin
As for the Army of Tennesse, commanded by General John Bell Hood....they were essentially wrecked. Unable to immediately continue the chase. They laid, badly hurt on the plain south of Franklin.


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The Battle of Nashville
After evacuating his army across the Harpeth River, General Schofield headed northward, to Nashville. Although holding the field at Franklin, the Confederates could scarcely call what had transpired a victory. They had nearly seven thousand casualties, lost some of their finest General officers, and was nearly destroyed as a fighting force. However, General Hood was able to prod his army forward. Onward to Nashville to continue the fight.

By the 15th of December 1864, General Hood had his army entrenched outside Nashville. General George H. Thomas was now in command of the Union forces in Nashville. There, they numbered nearly fifty thousand, determined to carry the fight to the Confederates. General Hood's troops were believed to number near forty thousand men, not counting thos cavalry troops which had been dispatched to other areas.


General George H Thomas, USA; Union Commander at Nashville
The outer line of Union army at Nashville
The outer line of Union army at Nashville
General Hood had dispersed his troops with General A. P. Stewart's Corps on his right, General Cheatham's Corps to his left and the center was held by the troops under the command of General S. D. Lee. Facing the Confederates were General Andrew Jackson Smith opposite General Hood's left, the center was held by the Union IV Corps, and General Schofield's battle tried troops were on the Union left.


General A. P. Stewart, CSA The battle began as Union colored troops under Major General James Steedman advanced against the entrenched Confederate soldiers on the right. General Cheatham's men were well dug in, but after the Union troops had penned down two of his divisions and delivered a number of strong assaults, General Hood pulled his army back about two miles to a new line anchored on both ends by hills.


General James B. Steedman, USA
The next day, 16 December 1864, General Thomas determined to repeat his successes of the day before, tried to outflank General Hood and cut off any route of retreat to the south. However, the Union assault was delayed until about 4:00 PM and General Hood's troops had thrown up strong defensive positions and were able to make the Union attackers pay dearly for their assaults. In just a few minutes, Union Colonel Post's brigade lost 300 men and his supporting brigade another 250 men.


Later, Union Brigadier General John McArthur and General Darius Crouch are able to lead assaults that turn the Confederate left. Nearly the same time, Union cavalry had gotten around the Confederates and from the rear, forced the Confederates to fight a three sided attack.

From one side to the other, General Hood's positions were rolled up and collapsed. General Hood ordered a retreat down the Franklin Pike, southward. Thousands of the Army of Tennesse surrendered, while still others, in full rout, threw down their arms and equipment to make better time.

Confederate General Stephen D. Lee, realizing his position was unprotected, grabbed a flag and attempted to rally his troops. General Schofield, the Union General assaulting Lee's position was heard to comment after the battle, "I doubt if any soldiers in the world ever needed so much cumulative evidence to convince them they were beaten."


General Stephen D. Lee, CSA
General Hood, standing in a falling rain was aghast to see his army "abandon the field in confusion." The Army of Tennesse was nearly destroyed in whole. The retreating Confederates were pursued by the Union victors, but were able to destroy bridges and pontoons behind them as they fled. This gratly slowed the Union pursuit. the Union army had pontoons of their own but through some mix up they were erroneously sent to Chattanooga instead of to Nashville.


General John Bell Hood, less than month after this defeat, would resign his commission. His army ceased to exist and its survivors were reassigned elsewhere to continue the fight. For all practical purposes, the Confederates had lost the West. General Hood's career ended in defeat and was ordered to Texas to raise troops to come to the aid of General Robert E. Lee's army in Virginia. However, before he could have any effect, General Lee had surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Courthouse.

General John Bell Hood surrendered to Union authorities on May 31, 1865. He was paroled and allowed to travel to New Orleans, La., where on 30 August 1879, he died of yellow fever.