John Bell Hood


John Bell Hood, commanding general of the Army of Tennessee, was born June 1, 1831, at Owingsville, Kentucky. He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served with several cavalry regiments before the start of the Civil War. On April 20, 1861, he was commissioned as a first lieutenant of cavalry in the Confederate army.

Hood's fighting reputation followed him into the Confederate ranks and served him well. He exhibited tenacity on the battlefield that enhanced his reputation as a hard fighter. By the early spring of 1862, he had risen to the rank of general and commanded a brigade of Texans in the Army of Northern Virginia. After seven months, he received a promotion to major general.

Hood received two life-threatening wounds. The first came at Gettysburg, when an artillery shell left him without the use of his left arm, and the second came at Chickamauga, when a minie ball pierced his right thigh forcing doctors to amputate his leg just below the hip. The injuries entitled him to a medical discharge, but Hood remained in the army and received a promotion to corps commander in the Army of Tennessee on February 1, 1864.

Throughout the summer of 1864, General Joseph E. Johnston, commander of the Army of Tennessee, conducted a campaign to slow the advance of General William T. Sherman's march to Atlanta. Disgusted with Johnston's inability to stop Sherman's progress, President Jefferson Davis replaced Johnston with Hood with disastrous results.

In July 1864, when Hood assumed command of the Army of Tennessee, he had more than 50,000 soldiers. By Christmas 1864, he had less than 20,000, leaving casualties behind at Atlanta, Franklin, and Nashville.

In January 1865 Hood requested to be relieved of command. After the war he moved to New Orleans, where he married Anna Marie Hennen and fathered 11 children. He wrote a memoir during this time, attempting to justify his actions. A yellow fever epidemic ruined his insurance business, and he himself succumbed to the disease in 1879, just a few days after his wife and eldest daughter.

  • Reputation as a tenacious fighter.
  • Severely wounded at Gettysburg and Chickamauga, lost one leg and use of one arm, but remained in the army.
  • Lost 30,000 soldiers in battles at Atlanta, Franklin, Nashville.