Wednesday, November 22, 2006

1864 Hood enters Tennessee

Sherman's March Through Georgia

In a desperate attempt to draw Sherman out of Georgia, General John Bell Hood invaded Tennessee. It was a huge mistake.

The sad saga of the Army of Tennessee in 1864: In the spring, the army, commanded by Joseph Johnston, blocked Sherman's path to Atlanta from Chattanooga. During that summer, Sherman and Johnston fought a series of relatively small engagements as Sherman tried to flank the Rebel army. Johnston slowly retreated toward Atlanta, but kept his army intact.

Unfortunately for both the army and Georgia, Confederate President Jefferson Davis had seen enough territory lost to the Yankees, and in July 1864 replaced the defensive Johnston with the aggressive Hood. Hood made a series of attacks on Sherman outside of Atlanta that did nothing but diminish his own army's capabilities. After a one-month siege, Hood was forced to withdraw from Atlanta.

The invasion into Tennessee marked the start of a new campaign that was nothing but a disaster for the Confederates. Sherman took part of his force, cut loose from his supply lines, and began his March to the Sea. He sent the rest of the force under George Thomas back to Nashville to guard against Hood. Hood took the bait and charged toward Thomas in Franklin, Tennessee. It was a devastating defeat. But he didn't learn his lesson and continued on to attack Thomas at Nashville on December 15.

By the time Sherman made it to Savannah just before Christmas 1864, little remained of Hood's once-proud Army of Tennessee.

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