Who: John Bell Hood
What: Confederate general in the American Civil War
Where: Born Owingsville, Kentucky
Why: One of the best commanders in the Confederate Army, but his effectiveness waned as he was given larger commands.
When: Born June 1 or June 29, 1831, died August 30 1879
“I can assure you, that the gallant hearts that throb beneath its sacred folds, will on be content, when this glorious banner is planted first and foremost in the coming struggle for our independence.” John Bell Hood.
John Bell Hood is one of the more peculiar characters of the Civil War. Born in Kentucky, he attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and became an infantry and cavalry officer in California and Texas under Col. Albert Sidney Johnston and Lt. Col Robert E. Lee. After the Battle of Fort Sumter, Hood resigned from the US Army and eschewed Kentucky’s neutrality for his adopted state of Texas, joining the Confederate Army. He gained a reputation as an aggressive commander, especially during the Seven Days Battles in 1862, after which he was promoted to division commander. He served under James Longstreet, fighting at the battles of Gettysburg and Chickamauga, where he was severely wounded in each, leaving his left arm useless and resulting in the amputation of his right leg. He returned to action in 1864 in the Atlanta Campaign, where Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was fighting William T. Sherman for Atlanta. In part due to Hood’s insubordinate letters to Richmond, Johnston was removed from command for apparent timidity and Hood given command of the Army of Tennessee, which was promptly destroyed in the Battles of Atlanta, Franklin and Nashville, as Hood was completely outperformed by Sherman, and his recklessness led to huge Confederate casualties. After the war he became a cotton broker and President of an insurance business. He married in 1868 and had eleven children in ten years, before dying in a yellow fever epidemic in 1879 along with his wife and eldest daughter, leaving ten destitute children to be adopted by seven different families.