On a recent post — Hood’s blunder-failure at Franklin? — Professor Steven E. Woodworth left this comment on Hood’s failure at Franklin. I think it worthwhile to bring it to our attention as a separate post.
A case can be made in defense of Hood’s battle plans at Atlanta, though not his execution of those plans. Such is not the case at Franklin. It’s true that frontal attacks were sometimes necessary and sometimes successful. It’s also true that every truly great Civil War general launched one or two such attacks that he would no doubt have liked to have taken back afterward but that seemed reasonable when he launched them. Yet there simply can be no palliation or excuse for Hood’s Franklin assault. it did not seem at all reasonable when he launched it. By that point in the war, the simplest drummer boy could see that it could not succeed and would lead to the slaughter of the army. Bad as Hood’s situation was, wrecking his army could only make it worse. His only reasonable option was to maneuver in such a way as to maintain his army, since it was one of the Confederacy’s last assets.
Dr. Woodworth has authored many respectable and industry-leading books on the Civil War: see his Amazon.com list.