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.
In July 1864, when Hood assumed command of the Army of Tennessee, he had more than 50,000 soldiers. By November, battle casualties reduced the number to less than 30,000. The worst was yet to come. Hood’s campaign through Middle Tennessee in the early winter of 1864 reduced the Army of Tennessee by another 13,500 men. The army accumulated 7,000 casualties assaulting the Union’s earthworks at Franklin. Two weeks later, on the outskirts of Nashville, the Confederate army lost another 6,500 men in a vain attempt to defeat a Union army three times its size. By Christmas 1864, the Army of Tennessee had been reduced to a mob of armed men.
Excerpted from John Bell Hood (1831-1879) in The Encyclopedia of Tennessee History and Culture, online edition.
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