On this day in 1865, Confederate General John Bell Hood is officially removed as commander of the Army of Tennessee. He had requested the removal a few weeks before; the action closed a bleak chapter in the history of the Army of Tennessee.
A Kentucky native, Hood attended West Point and graduated in 1853. He served in the frontier army until the outbreak of the Civil War. Hood resigned his commission and became a colonel commanding the 4th Texas Infantry. Hood's unit was sent to the Army of Northern Virginia, and fought during the Peninsular Campaign of 1862. Hood, now a brigadier general, built a reputation as an aggressive field commander. He distinguished himself during the Seven Days Battles in June 1862, and was given command of a division. His counterattack at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland in September 1862 may have saved Robert E. Lee's army from total destruction.
After being wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in July 1863, Hood was transferred to the Army of Tennessee. He was soon wounded again, losing a leg at Chickamauga in September. Hood was promoted to corps commander for the Atlanta campaign of 1864, and was elevated to commander of the army upon the removal of Joseph Johnston in July. Over the next five months, Hood presided over the near destruction of that great Confederate army. He unsuccessfully attacked Union General William T. Sherman's army three times near Atlanta, relinquished the city after a month-long siege, then took his army back to Tennessee in the fall to draw Sherman away from the Deep South. Sherman dispatched part of his army to Tennessee, and Hood lost two battles at Franklin and Nashville in November and December 1864.
There were about 65,000 soldiers in the Army of Tennessee when Hood assumed command in July. On January 1, a generous assessment would count 18,000 men in the army, which was no longer a viable fighting force.