John Bell Hood was a gallant combat leader and one of the fiercest fighters in the Confederacy, whose brigade of Texans was generally considered by historians to be the best to serve the South. Born in 1831 in Owingsville, Kentucky, Hood graduated from West Point in 1853 near the bottom of his class. He served on the western frontier, and joined the Confederacy when the War began. He gallantly led a Texas brigade during the bloody Seven Days Battles, Second Manassas, and Antie-tam, where his heroism brought him command of a division under Lt. Gen. James Longstreet at Fredericksburg and Gettysburg. He led his men in a nearly successful assault on Round Top in pivotal action on the second day of Gettysburg, and lost the use of his arm. He accompanied Longstreet with reinforcements to Georgia, where at Chickamauga he led the successful assault on the Union right flank, smashing the Federals and sending them retreating back into Chattanooga. During this battle, a .58-caliber lead Minie ball shattered his right leg, which was amputated leaving a 4-1/2 inch stump. His bravery earned him a promotion to lieutenant general, and fought strapped into his saddle. During the Atlanta Campaign he served under Johnston, and wrote letters to Davis undermining Johnston's authority. When Johnston was replaced with Hood, he lost four bloody battles and the city of Atlanta by launching aggressive attacks against Sherman's superior army, which destroyed much of his army's fighting strength and morale. Abandoning Georgia, he made a suicidal strike into Tennessee and met disaster at Franklin and Nashville. Relieved at his own request, he finished the war under P.G.T. Beauregard in Tennessee, and surrendered in Mississippi in May 1865. After the War, he became a New Orleans merchant, but his business failed during the yellow fever epidemic of 1878. The next year he, his wife, and his oldest daughter succumbed to the disease, leaving the surviving 10 children to be divided among various foster homes.
Read and add comments about this page