Summary

Confederate general during the American Civil War. Hood had a reputation for bravery and aggressiveness that sometimes bordered on recklessness. Arguably one of the best brigade and division commanders in the Confederate States Army, Hood became increasingly ineffective as he was promoted to lead larger, independent commands late in the war, and his career was marred by his decisive defeats leading an army in the Atlanta Campaign and the Franklin-Nashville Campaign.

Conflict Period:
Civil War (Confederate) 1
Branch:
Confederate Army 1
Rank:
General 1
Birth:
01 Jun 1831 1
Owingsville, Kentucky 1
Death:
30 Aug 1879 1
New Orleans, Louisiana 1
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John Bell Hood
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Uniform coat of C.S.A. General John Bell Hood, The Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, VA.jpg
B-5274 Gen. John B. Hood, C.S.A.
B-5274 Gen. John B. Hood, C.S.A.

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Personal Details

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Birth:
01 Jun 1831 1
Owingsville, Kentucky 1
Male 1
Death:
30 Aug 1879 1
New Orleans, Louisiana 1
Cause: Yellow Fever 1
Burial:
Burial Place: Hennen family tomb at Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans 1
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Birth:
Mother: Theodosia French Hood 1
Father: John Wills Hood 1
Marriage:
Anna Marie Hennen 1
1868 1
New Orleans LA 1
Spouse Death Date: 1879 1
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Civil War (Confederate) 1

Branch:
Confederate Army 1
Rank:
General 1
Service Start Date:
1861 2
Service Start Date:
1961 1
Service End Date:
1865 2
Service End Date:
1965 1
Battles:
Peninsula Campaign, Battle of Gaines's Mill, Second Battle of Bull Run, Battle of Antietam, Battle of Fredericksburg, Battle of Gettysburg, Battle of Chickamauga, Atlanta Campaign, Franklin-Nashville Campaign 2
Commands held:
Texas Brigade; Second Corps, Army of Tennessee; Army of Tennessee 2

Other Service 3

Branch:
Army 3
Service Start Date:
1853 2
Service End Date:
1861 2
Edit
Education:
Institution: United States Military Academy 1
Place: West Point, NY 1
From: 1849 1
To: 1853 1

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Stories

General John Bell Hood

Born in Owingsville, Kentucky in 1831 and a West Point Graduate at the age of 22, John Bell Hood was one of the most rapidly promoted leaders in the Confederate history of the Civil War.  After serving in California and Texas for the United States Military, he resigned his commission in April of 1861 to join the Confederacy as a cavalry captain.  From there, he was soon promoted to colonel of the Texas 4th Infantry.  Thereafter he distinguished himself on a dozen fields, beginning in the Peninsula Campaign and at Second Manassas. At the Battle of Gaines' Mill on June 27, he distinguished himself by leading his brigade in a charge that broke the Union line - arguably the most successful Confederate performance in the Seven Days Battles. While Hood escaped the battle without an injury, every officer in his brigade was killed or wounded.

He was promoted to major general in 1862 serving with distinction at Sharpsburg and at Fredericksburg.  Hood was a significant player at the Battle of Gettysburg, being ordered by Longstreet to attack the Union’s left flank against his own wishes.  His command was bloodily blunted by union forces in Devils Den, and finally undone at Little Round Top. Hood was severely wounded in the arm at Gettysburg and was forced to hand off command, and soon thereafter lost a leg at Chickamauga.  After some recovery, he was appointed to lieutenant general serving under J.E. Johnston, whom he would surpass in rank in the spring of 1864.  Hood conducted the remainder of the Atlanta Campaign with the strong aggressive actions for which he was famous. He launched four major offensives that summer in an attempt to break Sherman's siege of Atlanta, starting almost immediately with an attack along Peachtree Creek; however, all of the offensives failed, with significant Confederate casualties. Finally, on September 2, 1864, Hood evacuated the city of Atlanta, burning as many military supplies and installations as possible.

Hood marched his army into Tennessee where his forces were crippled trying to break through Union breastworks at the Battle of Franklin.  His army suffered again at the Battle of Nashville from Union forces lead by General Thomas.  Hood was relieved of his rank (at his own request) in January of 1865 and returned to his post as lieutenant general.  He desired to take control of the Texas army, but they surrendered before his arrival. In May 1865, Hood gave himself up to Union forces in Natchez, Mississippi.  After the war, Hood moved to New Orleans and lived there with his wife and children until he died in 1879 of yellow fever. 

 

John Bell Hood

HOOD, JOHN BELL (1831–1879). John Bell Hood, United States and Confederate States Army officer, was born at Owingsville, Bath County, Kentucky, on June 1, 1831, the son of John W. and Theodocia (French) Hood. He was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point on July 1, 1849, and graduated forty-fourth in the class of 1853; his classmates includedPhilip H. Sheridan, James B. McPherson, and John M. Schofield. He was brevetted on July 1 as a second lieutenant in the Fourth Infantry. After service in Missouri and California, he was promoted on March 3, 1855, to second lieutenant and assigned to Company G of the elite Second United States Cavalry, with which he served on the Texas frontier. Hood, commanding a reconnaissance patrol from Fort Mason, sustained an arrow wound to the left hand in action against the Comanches near the headwaters of the Devils River on July 20, 1857. This was one of the most severe fights engaged in by the Second Cavalry in Texas. Hood was promoted to first lieutenant on August 18, 1858, but resigned from the army on April 16, 1861. Dissatisfied with his native Kentucky's neutrality, Hood declared himself a Texan.

Upon his resignation from the United States Army, he was commissioned a captain in the regular Confederate cavalry on March 16, 1861, and on September 30 was appointed colonel of the Fourth Texas Infantry, superseding Robert T. P. Allen. On March 3, 1862, Hood was promoted to brigadier general and given command of what became known as Hood's Texas Brigade, perhaps the finest brigade of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. This unit, originally composed of the First, Fourth, and Fifth Texas Infantry and the Eighteenth Georgia regiments, plus the infantry companies of Wade Hampton's legion, displayed remarkable courage at the battle of Gaines Mill, Virginia (June 27, 1862); Hood's superiors noticed and, on October 10, 1862, promoted him to major general. His division, which he commanded at Second Manassas (Second Bull Run), Sharpsburg (Antietam), Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg, originally consisted of his own Texas brigade under the command of Jerome Bonaparte Robertson, plus those of Evander McIvor Law, Henry Lewis Benning, and Micah Jenkins. At Gettysburg Hood received a severe wound to his left arm, which was incapacitated for the rest of his life. In the autumn of 1863 he and his division accompanied Gen. James Longstreet's First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia to Tennessee, where the corps played a crucial role in the battle of Chickamauga. Hood's command spearheaded the Rebel attack that broke the Union line on September 20, but Hood was shot in the upper right thigh, a wound that necessitated the amputation of his leg. On February 1, 1864, after a period of convalescence, he was promoted to lieutenant general and transferred to the Army of Tennessee, where he was given command of a corps consisting of the divisions of Thomas C. Hindman, Carter L. Stevenson, and Alexander P. Stewart. Hood managed his corps aggressively during the Atlanta campaign, and on July 18, 1864, he was given command of the Army of Tennessee, superseding Joseph E. Johnston, and a temporary promotion to the rank of full general. This promotion, however, was never confirmed by the Confederate Congress. William T. Sherman forced the evacuation of Atlanta on September 1, 1864, and Hood, hoping to force him back out of Georgia, moved his army onto the Union line of communications in Tennessee. Sherman responded to this threat to his rear by detaching Gen. George H. Thomas's command to deal with Hood while he led the rest of his army toward Savannah, Georgia, and the sea. Strapped to his saddle, Hood led his men toward Nashville, but met disastrous defeats at Franklin on November 30 and at Nashville on December 15 and 16. As the remains of the Army of Tennessee retreated toward Tupelo, Mississipi, it sang, to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas," "You can talk about your Beauregard and sing of General Lee, but the Gallant Hood of Texas played Hell in Tennessee." Relieved of command at his own request on January 23, 1865, Hood was attempting to make his way to Edmund Kirby Smith's army in Texas when the Confederacy collapsed. Accordingly, he surrendered to federal authorities at Natchez, Mississippi, on May 31, 1865.

After the war Hood moved to New Orleans, where he was involved in merchandising, real estate, and insurance businesses. He died there of yellow fever on August 30, 1879. His wife, the former Anna Marie Hennen, and eldest daughter preceded him in death by only a few days, and the couple left ten orphans. General Hood was originally buried in Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans, but was reinterred in the Hennen family tomb at the Metairie Cemetery. His memoir, Advance and Retreat (1880), is one of the classics of Confederate literature. Hood County is named in his honor, as is  Fort Hood in Bell and Coryell counties.

Battle of Franklin

The largest defeat Hood experienced during the Civil War was the devastating Battle of Franklin, 30 November 1864. Hood prepared with a force against the Union and was determined to be victorious after Union troops had sneaked passed his men the night before. Hood wanted to stop the Union before they reached Nashville, but his attempt failed and has been coined the "Pickett's Charge of the West." The battle resulted in the death of six generals and a third of Hood's force.

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