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John Bell Hood was born June 1,1831 in Owingsville, Kentucky. Since he was educated at the United States Military Academy, he joined the Confederate Army as a calvary captain. Hood was unhappy that his home state of Kentucky declared neutrality, so he decided to serve his adopted state of Texas. In 1862, Hood was promoted to colonel of the 4th Texas Infantry. By March of 1862, Hood was promoted again to Brigadier General. Since Hood developed a reputation for being brave and aggressive in battle, he quickly moved through the military ranks of the Confederate Army.
Failure in Command of the Army of the Tennessee
Hood’s bravery and fierce demeanor in battle also got him into trouble on the battlefield. After being wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg, Hood lost full use of one of his arms. Nevertheless, he returned to service in the Confederate Army and was promoted to General in 1864. Hood assumed command of the Army of Tennessee stationed in Atlanta, Georgia. Hood, however, struggled to command such a large army. He was unsuccessful in attempts to pierce the Union siege of Atlanta in 1864 and lost at least 20,000 men at failed frontal assaults.
Brutal Defeats in Tennessee
He suffered a humiliating defeat with thousands of casualties at the Battle of Franklin, sometimes called the "Pickett's Charge of the West," because of the numerous unsuccessful frontal assaults he ordered into fortified Union positions. Then, Hood led his army to a second defeat to Union forces under Major General George H. Thomas at Nashville in December of 1864, essentially sealing the fate of the Army of Tennessee. He was relieved of command.
After the Civil War
After the war, Hood worked as a cotton broken and president of an insurance company in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1868, he married Anna Marie Hennen. They had eleven children together and three sets of twins. During the winter of 1878, a Yellow Fever epidemic broke out in New Orleans. Hood’s insurance business began to fail because of the outbreak. Both Hood and Anna (and daughter Lydia) contracted Yellow Fever and died, leaving ten of the Hood children as orphans.