Battle of Nashville 1864

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Nashville, Battle of (1864).After losing the Battle of Atlanta, John B. Hood in November 1864 took the Confederacy's chief western army into Tennessee in a quixotic campaign to reverse the situation. Opposing him was George H. Thomas, who would have a very substantial force once he gathered the various Union garrisons in Tennessee.

Hood started well, nearly catching a Federal delaying force under John M. Schofield at Spring Hill, Tennessee. When a Confederate army command error allowed Schofield to escape, Hood became enraged, and the next day recklessly sacrificed much of his army against Schofield's entrenchments at Franklin, Tennessee. After Schofield retired at his leisure to join Thomas at Nashville, Hood followed.

Though he was now outnumbered two to one, Hood took a position outside Nashville and waited for something to turn up. Both Abraham Lincoln, in Washington, and Ulysses S. Grant, near Petersburg, were very anxious for Thomas to get on with the business of smashing Hood; but Thomas was not to be hurried. Sleet, snow, and ice made conditions difficult. On 15 December 1864, Thomas attacked, with 55,000 men to perhaps 28,000 for Hood. The Confederates were driven back to a line of hills about a mile to the rear, but still maintained their cohesion. The next day, Thomas renewed the assault, and that afternoon Hood's army collapsed. Federal cavalry pursued the remnants southward toward Alabama. Union army casualties were 3,061; Confederate were about 6,000, of whom three‐fourths were captured.

One of the most complete victories of the Civil War, the Battle of Nashville was also the last major battle west of the Appalachians.
[See also Civil War: Military and Diplomatic Course.]


Stanley Horn , The Decisive Battle of Nashville, 1956.
Wiley Sword , The Confederacy's Last Hurrah: Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville, 1993.

Steven E. Woodworth

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NASHVILLE, BATTLE OF. The Battle of Nashville (15–16 December 1864) was a dramatic winter conflict in which Gen. George H. Thomas, with a hastily organized army of heterogeneous troops, moved out of Nashville and fell upon the Confederate forces of Gen. John B. Hood. On the first day the Confederates were pushed back. On the following day, while feinting and holding on his left wing, Thomas pressed forward on his right and drove the Confederates in disorderly retreat from the battlefield. Sometimes described as exemplifying perfect tactics, Thomas's victory freed Tennessee of organized Confederate forces and marked the end of Hood's Tennessee campaign.


Hay, Thomas Robson. Hood's Tennessee Campaign. Dayton, Ohio: Morningside Bookshop, 1976.

Sword, Wiley. Embrace an Angry Wind: The Confederacy's Last Hurrah. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.

Alfred P.James/a. r.

See alsoCivil War ; Hood's Tennessee Campaign ; Tennessee, Army of .