A cache of General Hood’s papers

From The Tennessean:

Gen. Hood descendant has a trove of records

FRANKLIN — A descendent of the Civil War general blamed by many for the Confederacy’s loss at the Battle of Franklin will unveil a cache of papers and documents this morning at the Fleming Center.

Sam Hood, a descendent of Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood, and Battle of Franklin Trust Chief Operating Officer and Historian Eric Jacobson will meet with the media and historians to discuss what they’re calling a “significant discovery” of materials.

However, details about the specifics about the contents of those records were not made available to the media beforehand.

Sam Hood, who operates a website devoted to the life and career of John Bell Hood, could not be reached for comment.

An accomplished military strategist before leading his troops into Tennessee, Gen. John Bell Hood and the Battle of Franklin have been synonymous since the calamitous night of Nov. 30, 1864.

On Nov. 29, 1864, troops led by Union Gen. John Schofield snuck by Hood’s men in Spring Hill, allowing them to make it to Franklin and fortify their positions along what is today Columbia Avenue. On Nov. 30, Hood’s troops charged the Union lines and a bloodbath ensued — causing more than 8,000 estimated casualties including 6,261 Confederate soldiers. Hood was criticized for his leadership by some. The loss foreshadowed the Confederates’ defeat just two weeks later at the Battle of Nashville. The Civil War ended five months later on May 9, 1865…. (Original Story)

The Battle of Franklin blog has more details of the press conference.

Just last month we sesquicentennialists highlighted the evolution of interpretation surrounding Antietam. Cast aside are the “three phases” as we reconsider the performance of leaders on both sides of the field. If I had to pick another Civil War campaign ripe for a similar evolution, it would be Hood’s Tennessee Campaign of 1864. There’s more to November 30, 1864 than “Hood wanted to discipline his army.”

I haven’t seen anything from these documents. But if these help re-frame how we understand John Bell Hood, the Battle of Franklin, and other important elements of the war, then this is a remarkable find.

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One response to “A cache of General Hood’s papers

  1. Sir: Thanks for the wise comment about JB Hood not wanting to discipline his army at Franklin. That was indeed not his intent, rather, his intent was to destroy Schofield’s army before it could reach the relative safety of Nashville. The newly found Hood papers have incredible information, with more perhaps to come since the transcription of the papers isn’t complete. I can say that two independent witnesses (officers) wrote to Hood identifying the senior commander who disobeyed Hood’s orders at Spring Hill. There is also a letter from a senior officer explaining Pat Cleburne’s alleged peculiar behavior before and during the Battle of Franklin. Thanks again. Sam Hood

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