Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Army of Tennessee in Retreat

When I first encountered a notice of the upcoming title The Army of Tennessee in Retreat: From Defeat at Nashville through "the Sternest Trials of the War" by O.C. Hood (McFarland, Spring 2018), I thought about what we have already in print. Of course, the topic has been addressed in chapter (and probably article) form on numerous occasions, but I don't recall the existence of any exhaustively detailed account of the Army of Tennessee's winter retreat after its disastrous defeat at Nashville in mid-December 1864. For a memorable perspective of the Union cavalry pursuit, the relevant parts of Christopher Perello's The Quest for Annihilation: The Role & Mechanics of Battle in the American Civil War are quite interesting.

But getting back to Hood's book, here's the brief publisher's description: "The Sternest Trials of the War is the detailed account of Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood's Army of Tennessee in full retreat, from the battle lines south of Nashville to the crossing of the Tennessee River at the Alabama state line. It is the story of a fierce, brutal, running battle lasting ten consecutive days over one hundred miles through an impoverished countryside during one of the worst winters on record."

'Hood on Hood' has been a thing before, and not too long ago at that. The Google gremlins tell me that O.C. Hood has previously written a book of Civil War poetry titled Millstream. Also, in the acknowledgements of Stephen Hood's often fascinating John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General (2013), that author does thank Oliver C. "OC" Hood for vital assistance, additionally noting the two are distant relatives.


  1. On Hood's retreat from Nashville, there is In the Lion's Mouth: Hood's Tragic Retreat from Nashville 1864 by Derek Smith, but I have not read it and know absolutely nothing about it other than it exists.

    Andy Papen

    1. Thanks for jogging my memory, Andy. I do recall putting in a request for that one when it was released but wasn't too disappointed to not hear back after I realized the author was the same guy who wrote a Sailor's Creek book I disliked.

    2. Good point. I wasn't familiar with that author at all. The Hood book sounds interesting, but comes with the typical McFarland price.....!

      Andy Papen


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