Monday, October 5, 2020

Booknotes: Into Tennessee and Failure

New Arrival:
Into Tennessee and Failure: John Bell Hood by Stephen Davis (Mercer UP, 2020).

As you might recall, I liked Stephen Davis's Texas Brigadier to the Fall of Atlanta: John Bell Hood (2019) quite a bit. Picking up where that first volume left off and addressing the most controversial period of the general's Civil War career is Into Tennessee and Failure: John Bell Hood.

From the description: Into Tennessee and Failure "is the second volume of Stephen Davis's study of John Bell Hood's generalship in 1864. Here Davis picks up the story in September-October 1864, tracing Hood and his army into North Georgia and Alabama. Entering Tennessee in late November, Hood's forces failed to trap Union Maj. Gen. John Schofield's infantry at Spring Hill. On November 30, Hood ordered his soldiers to attack Schofield's fortified lines at Franklin. A tragic and bloody repulse followed. Schofield escaped to Nashville, joining Maj. Gen. George Thomas's forces. With few options left, Hood approached Nashville and had his troops dig in. Though his army was half the size of Thomas's 50,000, Hood hoped to win a defensive victory when Thomas attacked him. Instead, in the battle of Nashville, December 15-16, the Army of Tennessee was routed from the field. By the time it ended its retreat in North Mississippi, Confederate authorities were ready to relieve Hood from command. Hood resigned in January 1865."

The campaign in Tennessee, even more disastrous than the one in Georgia, exposed additional flaws in Hood's generalship and, in the author's opinion, character. A major theme of the first book "was the ambition that drove Hood to seek higher and higher rank. Here, while recognizing Hood's loyalty to the Confederate cause, he discerns Hood's unflattering traits: questioning the courage of his men, bickering with other generals, and concealing from his superiors the extent of his disaster in Tennessee." Looking forward to reading it.

1 comment:

  1. Keep a copy of Sam Hood's books nearby since he has set straight almost all of this with primary documents.


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