Hood, John Bell

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Hood, John Bell (1831–1879), Civil War general.Hood graduated from West Point in 1853 and served on the frontier before resigning to join the Confederacy. Rising rapidly in rank, he won glory at the head of “Hood's Texas Brigade” in the Seven Days' Battle, Second Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg, being promoted to major general in October 1862.

At the Battle of Gettysburg he was severely wounded, permanently crippling his left arm. Returning to duty, he accompanied his division to Georgia, where at Chickamauga troops under his command made a key breakthrough. Again wounded, Hood lost his right leg.

Promoted to lieutenant general and assigned to command one of Joseph E. Johnston's corps in Georgia the following spring, Hood undermined his commander with a stream of critical letters to President Jefferson Davis. On 17 July 1864, Davis replaced Johnston with Hood. Backed into the outskirts of Atlanta by Johnston's retreat, Hood had no choice but to fight. In eight days, he fought three battles. The Confederates lost because they were outnumbered, because Hood's physical impairment prevented his supervising operations personally, and because William J. Hardee, upon whom he depended, was resentful and uncooperative after being passed over in Hood's favor.

Union general William Tecumseh Sherman cut the Confederate supply line at Jonesboro, forcing Hood to evacuate Atlanta 1 September. Hood then tried threatening Sherman's supply lines in northern Georgia, with moderate success, but in November, when Sherman set out on his march to the sea, Hood invaded Tennessee. He outmaneuvered a Federal force under John M. Schofield near Spring Hill and might have destroyed it except that inexplicably the army's command system again failed. Schofield's force escaped, and at the Battle of Franklin on 30 November, Hood, beside himself with rage, hurled his army at Schofield's entrenched soldiers with devastating casualties for the Confederates. Incredibly, after this slaughter, Hood followed Schofield to Nashville, where the Federals became part of a huge Union army under George H. Thomas. In two days of fighting, 15–16 December 1864, Thomas virtually eliminated Hood's army as an effective fighting force. Relieved at his own request, Hood held no other important command.
[See also Civil War: Military and Diplomatic Course; Confederate Army.]


Thomas Lawrence Connelly , Autumn of Glory: The Army of Tennessee, 1862–1865, 1971.
Richard M. McMurry , John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence, 1982.

Steven E. Woodworth

Hood, John Bell

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Hood, John Bell (1831–79) Confederate general in the American Civil War. He fought in the Second Battle of Bull Run and distinguished himself at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and Chickamauga. He became commander in Georgia (1864), but was unable to stem William Sherman's march. After a series of defeats, he resigned (1865).

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