John Bell Hood
(1831-1879)


        A premier example of the Peter principle is the case of John B. Hood who excelled as a brigade and division leader, was uncooperative as a corps commander, and was an unqualified disaster at the head of an army, which he all but destroyed. A Kentucky-born West Pointer (1853), he became associated with Texas while with the 2nd Cavalry.
        Resigning the first lieutenant's commission on April 16, 1861, he joined the South. His assignments included: first lieutenant, Cavalry (spring 1861); colonel, 4th Texas (October 1, 1861); commanding Texas Brigade, Whiting's Division (known as Forces Near Dumfries and in the Potomac District until March and the Valley District in June), Department of Northern Virginia (February 20 - June 1862); brigadier general, CSA (March 3, 1862); commanding Texas Brigade, Whiting's Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Northern Virginia (June 26 - July 1862); commanding the division, 1st Corps, same army (July-August 30, 1862; September 14, 1862 - February 25, 1863; and May - July 2, 1863); major general, CSA (October 10, 1862); commanding division in the Department of Virginia and North Carolina (February 25 - April 1, 1863); in the Department of Southern Virginia (April 1 - May 1863); temporarily commanding the corps (September 20, 1863); lieutenant general, CSA (February 1, 1864); commanding 2nd Corps, Army of Tennessee (February 28 - July 18, 1864); temporary rank of general, CSA, and commanding the army (July 18, 1864 - January 23, 1865); and also commanding Department of Tennessee and Georgia (August 15, 1864 - January 25, 1865).
        He organized cavalry on the Peninsula and was distinguished at the small action at West Point and saw later action at Seven Pines and Seven Days. He delivered a powerful attack at 2nd Bull Run but was arrested by General Nathan G. Evans after a dispute over some captured ambulances. Allowed to accompany his division, in arrest, he was released by Lee on the morning of South Mountain.
        After distinguishing himself at Antietam he was promoted to major general and fought at Fredericksburg. After service in southeastern Virginia he led his division at Gettysburg where he suffered a crippling wound in his arm.
        He resumed command as Longstreet was headed for Georgia and while commanding the corps at Chickamauga-Longstreet was directing a wing-was wounded in the leg. Recovering in Richmond from the amputation, he received a promotion and was permanently assigned to the Army of Tennessee.
        It was at this time that Hood underwent a change. He had a great deal of difficulty in coordinating with the other corps commanders during the Atlanta Campaign, especially General Hardee. With the army having fallen back to the outskirts of Atlanta, Hood was appointed a temporary general and replaced Joe Johnston.
        In a series of disastrous attacks over the next several days he failed to drive Sherman from the city. After a siege he was forced to evacuate and that fall resorted to attacking Union supply lines to force Sherman north. This failing, he launched a move into middle Tennessee, hoping that a threat to the Ohio Valley might dislodge the enemy from Georgia. After a missed opportunity at Spring Hill, he threw his infantry into a bloody frontal attack at Franklin that decimated them.
        Besieging the Union forces in Nashville, he attacked in mid-December 1864 and his army was annihilated. Retreating into the deep South with the fragments of the army he relinquished his command and his temporary commission in January 1865. After the war he settled in New Orleans and was a prosperous merchant until an 1878 financial crisis. He died the next year in a yellow fever epidemic. His memoirs are entitled Advance and Retreat. (McMurry, Richard M., John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence)
Source: "Who Was Who In The Civil War" by Stewart Sifakis

Additional Biography (Taken from the Confederate Military History)

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