Publication Date

Summer 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Libra Hilde


Battle of Franklin, Battle of Nashville, Civil War, Confederate, George Thomas, John Bell Hood

Subject Areas



The year 2011 brings us the Sesquicentennial celebration of the American Civil War. Surprisingly, one hundred and fifty years later, students continue to find themselves asking many of the same questions about the great national tragedy faced during the Centennial in 1961. For example, did slavery cause the great conflict, or did constitutional questions act as the catalyst? Does the Battle of Gettysburg represent the turning point of the War, or did that occur elsewhere?

In connection with the last question, Lost Cause advocates, those great pro-Confederacy propagandists, found convenient villains to blame for the southern defeat. One of these, Confederate General John Bell Hood, plays an important role. This paper contends that in his case, the Lost Cause is wrong, and that Hood's historical treatment has been false.

Standard critical treatment of John Bell Hood over the years has tended to characterize the general as rash, overaggressive, and lacking in strategic imagination. For such critical historians, Hood appears as old-fashioned and someone limited logistically to the frontal assault. These accounts mainly stress his negative aspects as a soldier and tend to center around the Battle of Franklin. This thesis, by analyzing every battle that Hood commanded as a leader of the Army of Tennessee, particularly those fought around Atlanta, reveals him to have been a far more bold, imaginative, and complex leader than has previously been portrayed.