tv The Civil War Confederate General John Bell Hood CSPAN November 24, 2017 11:20am-12:45pm EST
get here but he is here happily. m. hood is a distant relative of confederate general john bell put. he is the author of "john bell hood: the rise, fall, and resurrection of a confederate general." and also, "the lost papers of confederate general john bell hood. president of the confederate museum in new orleans. without further do, sam. [applause]
sam: hello, and thank you. you mentioned my odyssey. my wife and i moved to myrtle beach, south carolina, five days ago. and if you think it is bad when the airlines lose your luggage, we weren't able to move into the so we arere buying living out of boxes and crates and things. it sounds strange to say i drove up from south carolina. i'm used to driving down here. i have been looking forward to this for several reasons. theis, when the theme of symposium is "generals you love ," i don't
have to worry about what people's expectations are. , ended a fan of john bell hood even though i am not as closely related as the name implies. i am a collateral descendent. i think i am a second cousin. grandfather,s andrew hood, comes off a different branch, but i am a big ,an of general hood because like most people i am a big fan of an underdog. fan ofm also a huge people who are not around to defend themselves, and they deserve a defense. i, for probably 20 years, have been researching general
hood. and there is the old saying, we have heard it a million times, "if it sounds too good to be true it usually is." is,what we don't here "usually if something sounds too bad to be true, it is usually not. " there is a saying that, "the more fantastic of the accusation, then the more fantastic the evidence should be." so, with john bell hood, there and so manymyths totally extreme things, that i'm assuming you have all heard,
that i decided i got to start looking into these things because it just doesn't make sense. woodworthk stephen summed it up perfectly in a book or an article a while back, and he was talking about braxton bragg and john bell hood. and he said, if you read the recent writings on these two generals, you would wonder why -- you wouldn't wonder why they were in command of armies, but why they weren't in insane asylums. [laughter] sam: and the fact is, so much of the stuff that has been written about john bell hood, and i am sure others, as well, just has no evidence at all. where the evidence has perhaps taken too
much literary license in their paraphrasing. i like to use this as an example. evening, ande this we can turn on the news to see what happened in the world today . and you can turn on msnbc, for example, and they are going to tell you what happened today, and chances are it will be true. and then you will turn on fox news, and they will tell you what happened today, and it will probably be pretty much true. but the two things you are hearing are going to be totally different. so you can spin things. you can accentuate things. errors ofare also commission and there are also whyrs of omission, which is they tell you, you don't just have to tell the truth, you have to tell the whole truth.
so, in my book, it starts out with a quote from cicero. and i am not going to read it to you but it states basically, the first law of a historian is --r dare after an untruth untruth andtter an never suppress something that is true. love the ultimate in a couple of things about my book, which is of aages, or 250 pages, thingsefense of all the that have been written and said about john bell hood. if there is 300
pages worth of stuff to answer, that is a lot. and i am only going to touch on, obviously, i have about one hour, i'm only get a touch on some of them. and when i get into them here, some of the ones that i touch on intentionally, or admittedly, they are kind of silly. an example of a myth or something that is silly, but it permeates history and permeates the civil war history community the sillier it is, the whittier it is, the cuter it is, the more it spreads, quicker. and it spreads deeper.
anyway, i'm going to get into a few of these. i first decided i was going to write a book defending general hood into 2011 or so. and i contracted with a vislishing company, sadness bay. me,ted was so hard on double checking, triple checking, quadruple checking, i wanted to go to california to strangle him. i growled, and darned if i didn't find something that needed to be fixed. so he was right and i was wrong. i had a contract to write a book and the title of the book was "history versus john bell hood."
i had completed the manuscript anyi had not discovered new, primary-source information at all. i went to the, same books, the same primary sources, the official record of the southern historical society, the same records that these recent authors have gone to, and i just found all caps of stuff in the official records which was counter to some of the things actually provided in the book. i had completed an entire book with nothing more than what was available to the authors who have been writing the negative things about hood. funny day, it is kind of day, is kindll one of funny. i have become acquaintances with
you much all of john bell hood's and annabelle hood's direct descendents. and i got a call one day from hood's great-grandson, who lives in pennsylvania. and this gentleman is probably 70, recently retired. he said my mother passed away a few years ago and he was 96. that would have been general granddaughter. and he said when we cleaned up the condo, there were a bunch of boxes, and you know the story. he says, i know you're getting ready to finish your book, and there is probably nothing in here important, but we thought, before it goes to press would you like to come up. look at this stuff? and look atere, this stop? stuff?
thinking, i'm from virginia and of a construction contractor. but i'm also, being a southern guy, i didn't want to be rude. so i said, ok, i will come up and look. and i was sitting there thinking, if i say no he's going to think i majored. if i say yes i'm going to waste a day of my life, never to be recovered. am, i told smart i my wife and said i'm going for an overnight eerie i didn't even take a change of close and i thought i would go up there and go through these and it will be nothing. and i get up there, and it's unbelievable. it is general hood's long-lost, thought-to-not-even-exist personal papers. wife,and his
had 11 children. they had three sets of twins. h andad 11 children, mrs. hood got yellow fever in 1879 and she died. general hoodand got yellow fever and he died. just 72 hours,f 10 children were orphaned, all under the age of 10. and if you're a friend of john and an end there are 10 children needing three meals a day, you are not going to be too worried about john papers. so it was always assumed that a family friend had just thrown
them away or they had gotten lost. but as it turns out, they hadn't. had been passed along. and they end up in pennsylvania, and i show up, and here they are. and i end up staying three days, and i wasn't finished looking at them, and kind of archiving them. the family had to go out of town, so i went back later on with my wife and stayed three more days. i spent six days going through all these. i very quickly went through some of the papers that i sensed might be important from a scholastic standpoint and from the controversies of wood, mostly his tenure in the west, the army of the tennessee -- the army of tennessee.
really much bad, to talk about what hood in the army of northern virginia. lettersanscribe these and i picked up the phone and i called ted and i said, ted you want to believe this. i sent him some of the stuff and he called me back a few days later and said, we were going to go to press with his next month but he said, you have got to put this stuff in there. , five,ok another four six months, and redid the book by putting the material in their that i had discovered, that was likey, really important, what happened at spring hill on november 20 9, 1864, and other things like that. to changed i decided the hiatal, not "history versus ." n bell hood we changed it to "john bell hood: the rise, fall, and resurrection of a confederate general." because ted and i felt it largely exonerated him from the
most outrageous stuff. some of the most outrageous stuff. so, that is my journey from being somebody that is just the civil war history not to actually having a book published. and then, of course, after we published the first book with this information in it, ted and i discussed doing an annotated and that those papers, is "the lost papers of john bell hood." i want to get into some of the i don't have time to get into all of these. i am going to touch base on a few quickly. these kind of controversies they are in the book.
know if this is mostly a eastern theater centric group here or how familiar -- i am thinking you are all total civil war western theater. he did not call his men cowards. he did accept responsibility for his defeat. he was not angry at franklin. he did not like just frontal assaults. you read that all the time, he only ordered one. that apparently did not matter. he did not position any of the units to take the harsh worst casualties. did not go to nashville and sit there and do nothing. believe it or not he actually had a recent to send people to murfreesboro as you hear all the
time. they did not squabble or feud. i use this as a illustration -- there are basically four books that are recognized as definitive books on his tennessee campaign. a author ine was by the early 1920's. the another was written in 1950's. and 1970's finally in the early 90's. if you would read these four shouldn't really
because i am going to write one. like i was telling you about the tv channels and the networks. the same effect can be told differently. yearsauthor, every 20 someone wrote a book on the same subject. it becomes more harsh on good. k starts out with thomas whoussing a army commander partook in a campaign and was defeated. to where it was quite more than that. i have always said, why would anybody in these towns and areas actually name landmarks after a womanizing,d, backstabbing, murderous soul.
in virginia and in georgia it is not surprising that they would name something after him because of his success there. there are landmarks also in tennessee that are suburbs of nashville. two of them and nashville itself, to an franklin. they were landmarks last time i heard they may have changed the name of the street by now but that is a entirely different subject. adid not know that there is straight in los angeles and in florida near fort lauderdale. the only reason i found out about them is because they were going to change them. people back inld and 70's, why would they honor somebody by naming a landmark or street and their honor? if you would read the book in
the 90's or any of the books after that it would be like naming a road charles manson lane. there are a couple of the quotes. he called him a full with a license to kill his own men. then ben stein, for those of you who think you know he is familiar. you talk about jumping the shark. he actually wrote the article in the new york times saturday things the faall pondering whether or not to allow people to talk on their cell phones on flights.
he somehow or another creatively hoodgh that to john bell be one of the most destructive human needs of all time. i am not kidding. you are appear accusing people of exaggerating and i am not doing that. i am telling you. he called him the most instructive american of all time in a article about cell phones. [laughter] i like the guy. , iis a big civil war fan don't know if you know that. he let civil war history. -- loves civil war history. i am going to give examples of cana author or a historian take primary sources and can change the context of a completely. -- i am going to
talk about mr. sword quite a bit here. i am going to be careful because he is a great friend of the site. book is the last that has been written on the tennessee campaign. it was so good. from a running standpoint he is a -- a writing standpoint he is a incredible writer. andt of the smaller books monographs that have been written since then they go by his interpretation and portrayal. you will see him in here several times. i was reading this part of the book from page 350 and i get down to the part where he says -- the army13 gained 160 recruits since tennessee. result to angrily and
bring into the army by conscription all men liable to military duty. writes if recruits his standardsk to he intended to bring the men at the point of a bayonet. that does not sound right. i did what a lot of us don't do enough. i go to the footnotes. all, i know about you hate interrupting my reading. by going to the back of the book am finding it and then finally it tells you that it is a file from a library in tennessee. like you will go there and find it. i did. quite a bit. cited a, the footnote letter that was written.
i read it. here is what hood wrote. i do not have the date of the letter. this is all he says about recruits. have not had time to address any kind of conscription but hope soon to do so and bring into the army all men liable to do so. with this?at balance he reacted angrily. was there any anger and that letter? going to find am out if you are eligible to be drafted you will be drafted. i know in 1971 i was at the marine corps boot camp at the point of a bayonet. i probably would have preferred that. that is just a example of how
you can really try and spice and he gives the wrong perceptive -- perception of the reader. this next one that i give. i know i met a gentleman from youngstown who has heard my civil war roundtable panel. you only are given 20 or 30 minutes. the next one i am getting ready to give. it takes too long. you guys, you cannot escape. escape and in this next couple of minutes to me it is really incredible. now, i will set it up. again, i don't know how familiar people are with the tennessee campaign. the battle of franklin, the horrible what he battle of franklin. that was november 30 1864.
there were six generals killed lost 4500 casualties. nashvilleved on to and he built fortifications. he basically kind of laid siege to nashville. later george thomas one of my favorite union army andattacked his over a two-day battle at nashville on december 15 and s6th of 1864 they defeat hood' army and chased them back to alabama and mississippi. so, hood a couple of days after the battle of franklin, i think it was the next day. he said they dispatch -- said
they dispatch to general cory gardner and richmond. saying we lost six generals at them andand he named we lament the loss of 4500 men. that he had taken some very heavy casualties of franklin. nashville and he -- isacked at nashville attacked at nashville. on the second day of the retreat he sends a dispatch saying we have just been defeated and we are in full retreat once i safely cross the tennessee river i will get back to you with more details. five or six days later after
hood safely crosses the tennessee river he sends another message saying we have completed thankfully and we have not lost much more sense the battle in front of nashville. gardner --rmed cory and they are in full retreat. hornis from stanley the army of tennessee. 3 itote on january received his first direct word telegraphed from corinth. aat must go down in masterpiece of understatement.
the army has" recrossed the tennessee river since the battle of franklin. he goes on to say that she did not say anything about the shocking loss at franklin and the disaster at nashville. sword writes the same thing. it is the confederacy's last hurrah.-- hood basically lied to his affairs by sin we have not lost any more since the battle of franklin. that is totally untrue because they lost 50 cannons and 4500 more casualties at nashville. here is what happened. if you actually go to the footnotes in the official
mr.swordere is what cited. it is to general cooper. beaureguard that they suffered no material losses since the battle of franklin. you see that little asterisk? it says turn to page 757. here is what he said. the army has crossed without material losses from the battle of nashville. and it sayserisk here is what happened. od sends a dispatch -- he
simply dispatch -- sends a dispatch saying we have not lost anything since the battle of nashville. his staff screws it up. richmond that he is not lost anyone since the battle of franklin. in the official record they decided to give them both. it's a total screw up with asterisks and they decided to give them both. this is what hood told beauregard, but this is what beauregard told richmond. well, mr. horn missed that.tt and by the way, i've been on toursdi of the battle of frankl and nashville and i've heard some very distinguished tour guides talk about how hood
highed to richmond. didn't tell him anything about what happened at nashville, but any way, the problem i have is you know, anybody can make a mistake and mr. horn made a ea mistake. but mr. sword, if he made a mistake, hehe must have missed this. this is the correct one. mr. sword in two other places in his book on two different suggests, use a source on page 436 of his book, sourced the entry and official record one inch away from the correct, the correct entry. these are the kind of things
that have not helped john bell hood's reputation. that he's totally innocent of. some poor staff officer probably just made a mistake.th another thing you hear about hood. is that he was callous. and cold and cruel. and he actually complained when there was not enough blood spilled and used to pleasure success by how many casualties. now youma u all think i'm makin this up. you pick up a few books and read them on the tennessee campaign john bell hood or army of tennessee and you'll read this. one example, the it's in every book. prz one example they give is hood is writing about the battle
of jones borrow. there were four battles around atlanta. when you hear the battle of atlanta, there were actually four battles around atlanta. and the battle of i call decatur or bald hill is actually they call it a battle of atlanta, but it was only one of four. the last battle for atlanta was jonesboro and whens jonesboro fell, that was the last lifeline for tennessee. the scene in gone with the wind, right? everything blowing up and burning and all that. jonesboro had fallen and the army was evacuating atlanta. in hood's official report in january of 1865, he wrote the vigor of the attack maybe imagined when only 1400 were killed. the failure necessitated the
evacuation of atlanta. most authors will comment on that as being cold and cruel and callous and maybe it is. but what did hood write? at the battle of jonesboro, he had three, in atlanta, cheat m's core, hardy's core and steven d. lee's core. when he learned after a yankee movement towards jonesboro, hood sent steven d. lee's core and hardy's core, 20 or 30 miles south of atlanta to meet the union threat. hood stays with frank cheat ham's core. he wasth i afraid it was a diversion, so he sent two-thirds of his t army to deal with it a he stayed with one-third in case
there was an attack on atlanta. hood - assigned william hardy. to be in command of the two core at jonesboro. so it was hardy's core and steven d. lee's core with hardy in command. when the battle was over, hardy was not happy, so he resigned and left and did not give hood an official report of the battle f joepsboro. he got mad and left. the only report on the battle, he had no idea what happened there, came from steven d. lee, the other core commander. leeee wrote in his official rept to hood, the attack was a feeble one and a failure.
with a loss to my core of 1300 men killed and wounded. and it was not made with you know, spirit and determination and all that. lee, hood had no idea what happened at jonesboro, so he took what lee wrote and paraphrased it. you'll read books on john bell hood and they'llug talk about h he was complaining because there wasn't enough blood spilled at jonesboro, but they never say a word about steven lee. this one is another example of misquoting and taking things out of context. a week after john bell hood died, here's an article in the picayune. now, back in those days when somebody died, it was very eloquent you know and this is
not unusual. and you can kind of read it on your own. but it's very eloquent. talking about what a great guy he was and a great soldier and then in the middle, it says as expressed in his own forceful language when last with us five short months since, quote, they charged me with making franklin a slaughter pen, but as i understand, war means fight and fight means kill. then they go on and say some more eloquent stuff about him. well here's an article in san francisco newspaper. nowok keep in mind back in thos days, i'm not joking. they didn't have tape recorders. so if you're a journalist and om somebody's given a speech, you're frantically taking notes, so they're probably going to be a little bit different. well in the san francisco paper, they're talking about the same event where hood was that was referred to in that times
picayune article and hood says i tell you the brave forest was not far from right when he declared quote when it comes to war, war mean t fighting and fighting means killing. that's kindho of a famous quote from nathan bedford forest. hood was actually just quoting forest. so, this comes from mr. sword's book on page 439. hood ultimately was a tragic failure. a sad, pathetic soldier. whose ambitions totally outstripped his ability. essentially, he was an advocate of outvoted concepts and a nen unable to adapt new methods of technology. always prone to blame others and unable to admit his mistakes to the bitter end, hood never understood his failings. quote, they charged me with having made franklin a slaughter pen. heta admonished a group of agei
veterans. but as i understand it, war means fight and fight means kill. he wasn't being admonisheded. he wasn't admonishing them. he was speaking to the army of tennessee veterans association. and they were using his quoting of forest or referral of forest, as part of this real eloquent praise of hood.s but then it comes across in a book 150 years later as that hood was admonishing a group of ageing veterans. he had been inviteded to the ageing veterans meeting. that's more of how you have to be careful with how things are portrayed. by the way, i hear these things all the time. again, you all may want or some of youom may. it's also in books if you all, maybe i'll get some nodding here, but supposedly, at the
battle of ezra church, the third of the four battles around atlanta, the one just before jonesboro, there is a supposedly story that goes that after the battle, and it was a defeat for the army of tennessee. it was a bad defeat.t. d supposedly, it got dark. and one of the yankee soldiers yelleded out across the trenches or over the over fortifications, say, johnny, how many of you are there left? or how many of themof over ther? and all the books will say some frustrated gallows humor type rebel soldier yelled back well, i guess about enough for another killing. and they say, these authors will say this was an example of how poorly the soldiers of the army of tennessee thought of john bell hood.
they knew that hood was just going send them into the slaughter pen and they said well, there's about enough left for another slaughter, one more killing. that shows up all the time in books. well i decided to research it. as it turns out, woops. as it turns out, it happened on july the 20th, at the battle of dallas and it was eight days before john bell hood took command of the army of tennessee. joe johnston was still the army commander at the time, but they say, you'll u read it in books all the time, that it happened atrch ezra church after the bed joe johnston had been let go and replaced by hood and they all hated hood. and one of the reasons they hated him was because he just didn't care about their lives and they used this example. and it happened under joe johnston's watch, actually. all right, the other one i guess
most of you all haeard this. i challenge you to find a book on the army of tennessee that doesn't give the cute little clever little tune of the yellow rose of texas. it's supposedly the soldiers ng sang. you can talkk b about your beauregard and sing of general lee, but the gallant hood of texas playy ed h hell in tennessee. really witty, really cute, so that automatically guaranteed it's going to make it in every book. well, y'all arebe probably thinking man, you must be a bored guy.ed there's not much to do. there's not much to do in west virginia if somebody's going to go find out, no, but it occurred to me, i'm kind of a skeptical, cynical guy any way. and i read stuff and i try to picture. i say well who in the world would take the time to write
down and record for history, the words to a silly song? well as it turns out, not really anybody. so i started researching and most of the books that quote this source, bell wily's life of johnny red.0 it's a bible. the ten commandments sort of a thing. and dr. wily sourced, i'm in brain lock. he source d the story of the confederacy by henry. it's not footnoted. so all of a sudden, it ends
right tr. so i start digging and digging goodness g and thank there's a cool little confederate little library at marshall called a the rosanna blake collection and it actually hides in the corner of the old library building because it has the word confederate in its name. and i found well, keeps a low profile. i found this during the retreat as general hood and his staff were riding along. couple of the sol soldiers had to step out of the way and as he rode by, one soldier mcmurray, actually cited, said he heard a soldier from a north carolina regiment step aside and say, well gallant hood of texas played hell in tennessee, didn't he? well, mcmurray records that in
the history of the 20th tennessee regiment. it was published in 1904 and he cites one soldier saying that. if you all google or look at you know, sometime when you're sitting around, google hood played hell in tennessee. you'll come up with thousands of hits and it's funny. these are just a couple of things that were written. stanley horn wrote, he mention ed this song being sung. stanley horn wrote the cold december rain droned down nosily on the tent. said that hood was sit iting in the tent and it was raining. and he could hear something. it sound ed familiar. out in the distance and it urn turns out it was a familiar tune. but because of the rain and stuff, he couldn'tokok
hear the words or it would have broken his heart. so it says the cold december rain droned down niesely lnois tent. if the heartbroken commander haf listened, he might have hard themfa singing as they splashed barefoot along the muddy road. tune was that old favorite, the yellow rose of texas, but the words they used had been improvised byve some camp wit, words that would have dd heart . and that's, it was from one guy. singing that and then another o one, another book, the author and historian sill around, so i won't mention it, but he actually said that grand berry's texas brigade, he talked about how asri they were trapsing acrs the pontoon bridge, trapsing
across unison, were singing this song. it just, you know, the hyperbole is quite something. sally preston, who is thought to have been margaret mitchell's inspiration for scarlet o'hara. i guess most people in here are familiar with mary chestnut's diary from dixie. it's essential reading. civil warrd' history. well, in mr. sword's book, sally buck preston, buck was her nickname, she's all throughout the book. and so many of the things that hood is doing, he's doing to impress sally preston. and then when the army fails at spring hill,hi he's trying to
redeem his honor so as to not lose buck preston. and then after the defeat at franklin, he's thinking oh my goodness, i've got to do something or i might lose buck preston. so he went to nashville. so it's like all the things that john belly hood is doing and n doing is being influenced by a, his girlfriend. and again, that just doesn't sound right, so any way, i just decided to do research on that and h these are, this was just real quick.3 in wily sword's index, on 13 different page, there are 13 different pages that mention sally prestonet and nine that mention susan tarlton. does anybody in here. anybody know who she has? three out of 100. that was patrick claiborne's
fiancee in mobile. so these are are two fiancees. there's 22 mentions or pages in the index of two women. fiancees. of soldiers. i thought well i wonder what thomas hey and conley handled buck preston and susan tarlton. they don't appear in thomas hayes book. they don't appear in the army of tennessee. it's mentioned one time. on one page of thomas conley's also iconic book, autumn of glory. so you got one mention by these three guys and all of these he
cited her diary. i what was also interesting on the battle of franklin and nashville, six confederate generals get killed and there are four of them right there. those are four of the six generals. there was also patrick claiborne and granbury. but these four brigadier generals were killed at the battle ofey franklin and in a bk on the battle of franklin, that's how many times they appear in the index and how many times fiancee's appear in the index. i assume a lot of you all have heard that robert e lee said of john bell hood, all lying, no fox. right? or too much y lying, not enough fox. it's again, if you google hood lying fox or something like that, you'll get hundreds and hundreds. it's in just about every book.
and i remember i thought well that doesn't sound like lee. robert e. lee say stuff like that? and if he did, would he write it? it just or whatever. it just sounded so unlikely, so the guy from west virginia with aa lot of time and thank god fo google, i started googling and i came up with hundreds, now i didn't look at all of them, but hundreds of books, sieve war books, that say that said -- none werebo before 1928. none of them. all were fairly recent books. the first mention of anything about foxes and lions and hoods came from steven vincent's epic poem. the army of northern, john
brown's body. and whatt he's doing is, he's talking about robert e. lee's lieutenants. talking about these wonderful, marvelous, excellent group of support nates that he had. and he writes a couple of verses on longstreet and on stewart. and ap hill maybe. but and jacques ben. any way, this is what he writes about hood.od this is the poet. this isn't robert e. lee. and he basically says that hoods h his shock troops. he mentioned you know, mentions all lion, none of the fox. in a poem in 1928, that was actually lee, the author feeling that lee would be praising john bell hood and it's turned into an insult that lee supposedly said about hood or not an insult
or a criticism, if you will. that's another one that's all over the literature. this one is kind of funny, too. and it'sr dated now. the atlanta psych la rama and history center.g i assume or hope many of you have been there. it's not there now. it's in the process of being moved.d. well, like most you know, museums orer theatres or displa, you have a foyer when you go in, right? you wait for the next show to start or the next film to begin then you go to the event. and then when it's over, they kind of route you out through a gift shop, right? so maybe you'll buy a book you're in the mood and all that. but any way, this is a picture i
took with my cell phone, so i pardon the quality of the picture. there was in the enter aryiey - this thing is big, like an entire wall and tens of thousands of people hang out by this. as they are getting ready to go through the u cycle rama. again, it's not there now because they're moving it. it's got grant, it's got lee.in don't know why, they didn't have anything to do with the tennessee campaign or the sherman's atlanta campaign. but any way sh there's william t. sherman and joe johnson and john bell hood and it shows the different battles. starts at dalton and resaca and ken saw and all that. you can't read it well here because of my poor, any way, what it says, all it says is john bell hood, a native ov kentucky, west point class of so
and so and it says call old wooden head by his men. it's there. i wish i could clear it. called old wooden head by his men. well i had read probably thousands, not complete letters, i've readr thousands of letter from soldiers, either in full or excerpts of whatever. and a not one time had i ever sn any soldier or read where any soldier called john bell hood old wooden head. wellou to show how maybe i shouldn't have done this, but it's too late now. i was speaking at the cycle rama and history center and my host,
the guy had been so nice to bring me there and make all the arrangements and this, this and the other. he's sitting in the front row and i'm talk about how difficult it is to get myths changed. and how things get engrained. reputation, right? and i said, in front of my host and the assembled multitude and i think cspan, actually. i said what i just told you all. that there's no record of it at all.obod or in there is, nobody has found it. it just isn't true. so i looked down to my host and i said, i have a problposition r you. if you will produce a single letter that actually backs up what'se on your wall, on over there, if you will provide that
to me because i've been looking for years, i will donate 10,0$1 your facility. then i said and if you look in search of l this generous donation, if you look and you cannot find it, if you will call the sign company or the graphic arts, and go out there and fix that, send me the bill and i'll pay for it. that was in may of 2014. and i've not heard a word. i mean you think, they didn't call to collect their ten grand. and it was never fixed. so tens of thousands of people go by and they read that, that just shows how difficult it is to get things changed once
they've you know, once they've got hold.ew now what i'm hoping is when they open the, new facility, i'm gog to go there and wouldn't it be nice if they don't have the old wooden head? anybody want to bet? and i don't think anybody is trying to demean anybody. it's 5:00. we got home. so any t way, but that one is pretty indicative. these are all the cutesy things i've done with them. i'm going to use my remaining time for more substantive things. not that these aren't. on some of the controversies of hood.
has anybody here read hood's memoirs? some? some of you have read them? they're weird. they really are. they're weird. if you read his mem ors, it's like 200 pages long 4 and it's maybe 30 or 40, i'm not exaggerating, 30 or 40 pages. excuse me, 160 or 170 pages answering joe johnston's criticism of him and his handling of the army of tennessee and in 30 or 40 pages on oh, by the way, i'm from bath county, kentucky. i we want went to west point and all that. it's really odd. having memoirs publish ed that are odd, that doesn't help your reputation either. so and i get that. because i always thought it was tough. this is swrus weird. i read them many, many years ago. well, as it turns out, and i
knew that they were published po postuar mousily. he was in the process of writing his mem or yors when he died and they were published years later by a charitable organization formed to help the orphans that was chaired by general beauregard. and i thought well maybe a p publisher would have been like ted. ted would have had a field day editing that. so when i find the book, when i find nnhood's papers, right, at the house in pennsylvania that i was telling you about 45 minutes ago, i'm going through all of these papers. there's a letter from john bell hood to his wife. in january of 1879. that was the year he died. he died in august.
he's in washington, d.c. he tells his wife he ran into randal gibson. he was a big deer general commander oft a louisiana brige and fought pretty much the entire warrd in the west if not all of it. and gibson was a subordinate of hood. he was a commander when hood commanded. he was from new orleans and he became a very close friend of hood's. he was the god father of the oldest child that passed away. well after the war, gibson became a congressman. so hood's in washington and he writes a letter to his wife and it says, you'll can read it there. it says hey, i ran into general gibson. and he read, he says hey why don't you put something in there about your previous life and make it a memoir. so we didn't know until this let thaer hood's book was not supposed to be a memoir or
autobiography. it was going to be an answer to johnston. that's all it was ever meant to be. a pamphlet or a monograph in response to joe johnston. and at the last minute, he decided i'll make a memoir of it. he only lived six more months, six or eight more months and then it was published postmusly. that's why the book is weird because he died and didn't have a chance to finish it and what he was doing was converting the book. one of the things you'll read about hood is that haefs disloyal subordinate, that he joined the army, when he was sent, when he was promoted to lieutenant general andt given a core command under joe johnston, he immediately set out to
undermine joe johnston and to get him fired. so he could get his job. you will read about this quite a bit if you read on hood. that doesn't really sound right. and so i read some of the letters thatnd do exist that ho wrote back to richmond when he was a core commander for joe johnsonng and some sound like hd was answers letters that he had been receiving. there is a will thor from john bell hood to lewis t. wigfall. wigfall was the commander of the texas brigade and he resigned to become a texas senator and then hood was promoted and game commander of the texas brigade.
well at the beginning of this letter, you'll see it's april 15th. this is in hood's hand. it says your letter of the 29th of march has just been received and i hasten to answer your direct questions, which must be purely between us. so hood is getting letters from richmond authorities. saying what is joe johnston doing down there. so one thing we have learned is from the letters that were diskoszecovered, is that at lea one case and probably if all cases, who is receiving letters from brag and from wigfall and letters from sed and saying joe johnston will not tell us what he is doing. so they wrote hood and said what's up, what's going on down
there. so what's hood supposed to do? supposed to refuse to answer? so in this letter, he answered, by the way, if you're wondering, why is a letter from hood to wigfall in hood's papers. i found five letters from hood to wigfall wartime and i didn't know how they got back into hood's personal papers and then i find a letter from louis with wigfa wigfall's daughter, a letter to john bell hood's adult daughter in like 1920 and she said, i was going through daddy's papers. louis wigfall. and i found these letter frs your daddy to my daddy. and i just thought i want to send them back to the family.ck and it was really sweet letter. and so any way, that's how these letters got back into hood's papers. there's another controversy. aisle zip through this real quick.f ca
the battle of or didn't happen, actually. the battle of casseville. joe johnston was criticizeded by rich mopd because he never want ed to fight. just retreat in fwaz and there was time the army was going to a attack sherman at casseville an johnston dug in and said, okay, now is w the time to strike. the way the battle was to begin was it was to start off with hood's core from the right and then poke's core from the center and then hardy's core from the left. it's how all of the big battles went in those days. hood start his move to begin the battle then hood getting bomb boarded from his right and rear. and so he stops and he repositions his core to face the
what he thought is an attack. johnston then calls off the battle.ta then that night resumes his retreat to atlanta. when the war is over, johnston says hood lied. there was no enemy force to his right or rear. he said he got attackeded. he didn't get attacked. well hood said i did, too, get attacked and sustained some casualties, so kind of became a war of words until hood died. in hood's papers is a letter from captain paul oliver. unit yooits army. danielof butterfield's brigade, saying i am the commander of two batteries of artillery that started bombing you at casseville. joe johnston said hood did not get attacked at casseville
and here's a letter from the guy in command of those who did the attacking. so hood was right and johnston was wrong and that's proven. this is, i'm getting here the end here also a big debate, hood and bragg wereer claiming that s johnston sustained big casualties during the atlanta campaign. johnston said no i didn't. you would usually think records would indicate what the army was at the fwing and end. when johnston got fired, his chief of staff got mad and took all the papers and left. the army of tennessee was a
mess. this is true. they took the papers so there were no records. so hood was claiming after the war thatto johnston had lost 20n 25 thousand troops during the retreat, mostly by desertion. johnson said, no, i didn't. in hood's papers is an affidavit from john smith, easy name to remember, who was a member of johnston's staff saying yes, mostly by desertions. there's another affidavit who said the army lost 25,000. here's another from one of the named in history. hippolite. sounds like a good old southern boy. any way, it was a copy of a
letter he wrote to braxton bragg saying yes, we were reduced by about 25,000. and that's a letter, that's and talk st thing i want to about is the spring hill affair and what happened and didn't happen. if you know what happened there, bear with me so i can explain it to the people who are not familiar. after the fall of atlanta, sherman burns what's left of atlanta and starts his march to the sea. hood and the army of tennessee what's left of it around 30,000 troop, hasof escaped atlanta, b they are to the west and north of atlanta. sherman burns what's left of
atlanta and continues to march to the sea, in the northeast. hood's in this northwest, sherman's in the southeast. so richmond iss trying to figur out what to do with the army of tennessee and now this is in late 1864. this is what's going on in this part of the country. what is decided to do by richmond is they cannot catch sherman. because he has a 200 mile lead and he's destroying everything in his path. no railroads, all bridges are are being burned and there's zeroro subsist tans for an army. so sherman is slaughtering the cattle, burning the crops, destroying everything, so a pursuing army has no supplies. even if it could figure out how to catch him with a 200 mile head start. so t what richmond decides to d
instead is to send hood and the army of tennessee on an innovation of tennessee to try to liberate nashville.se by doing that, there were only two sources of troops for lincoln to use in tennessee and kentucky. they would havewo to have sherm turn around and come back and h. would have to do it by sea because we would have no stance. so what would happen is grant would have had to have sent 20, 30, 40, 50,000 troops from here to kentucky and tennessee. that was the plan. so hood begins an invasion going north into tennessee and sherman in his 50,000-man army are going in opposition directions. it's really a strange event. but makes sense if you know what's going on or o you study it.
george thomas is sent to organize the defense of nashville. when thomas gets to nashville, hehe basically, he has 8,000 troops in nashville and they're mostly corner masters. he has given one small army, the army of the ohio, it's not. but john schofield, he sends a small, sherman gives thomas a 25,000-man army under schofield. he positions himself between hood's army and northern alabam and nashville. so hood begins his march to nashville and schofield then starts a restreet. so you've b got 30,000 confedere
troops and 25,000-man ewan yorn onarmy and they are racing north to get to nashville. schofield wants to get to nashville because it's fort iffeded. hood wants to get between schofield and nashville then attack and destroy schofield and then that will leave george thomas with he'se gathering consolidating troops, putting together a small force in nashville. hood and schofield meet or both converge in the city or the town of colombumbia, tennessee. schofield got there first and he fortifies. so hood has three core and he's sitting there south of columbia and he's got two choices. one is to attack schofield head on. or is other one is to try a flank. he decides to try a flank. so he leaves all 100 cannon or
the army of tennessee and army and infantry in columbia and he takes the other two core and goes to the east and in the middle of the night, krozs the duck river and and does a march on november 29th to try to get on the road to cut the road between columbia andnd nashvill ander basically isolated schofid in the middle. had it turned out right, there would have been two core plus nathan bedford forest and steven d. lee's core to the south of schofield. h he takes off from columbia. hood's two core that did the flanken the night before get to town of spring hill, tennessee. right about dark.
and cheatham does not bhok the road. the next morning, hood wakes up and the entire army wakes up and schofield is gone. schofield who had been trapped between lee's core and all the artillery and the other two had marched up the road,ily the columbia pike and they literally mentioned that it was union soldiers said it looks like an ocean of campfires beside the road. and they marched by all night long and were never stopped. r the next morning, hood and the army wake up.oaas they get on the road and start chasing schofield to try to catch him before he gets to nashville. he gets to franklin and all the bridges are washed out.he digtt
he knows hood's army is is just a couple behind him. that's why the battle of franklinba happened. so those that don't know the battle of franklin, there were more llcasualties in five hours than there were on the d day beaches. it is all on 1100 yard wide front.ay to then the big debates happened. is cheatham swore up and down i never got the orders. hood's lying. hood died in 1879 and cheatham outlive d him for years. i can get in an argument over anything and if i outlive you by 11 year, guess who's going to win the argument. and that's exactly what happened. basically, historians have largelarge ly sided with cheatham because hood wasn't around.
so i'm going through hood's papers and i come across some interesting things. here's a letter from steven d. lee. there were actually three letters, excuse me u. in 1875, lee wrote, it's hard to read. i think you can write, i think you now can write with more profundity than at anyow time t this date and possibly it is now your duty. he's trying to tell hood you've got to tell what happened. by the way, i misspoke. hood didn't say anything about what happened at spring hill until he put it in his memoirsd then it was after he died.
he was taken the robert e. lee thing. just don't argue with confederates about why we lost theba war. don't. he wouldn't say anything bad about anybody. so on the last day, lee write, the blunder was at spring hill. there the responsibility of failure in the campaign rests. a noble and gallant effort was made by commander an army knowing the blunder was ever made and it was the last chance to strike with success. then he writes i hope your book will make clear the spring hill matter. for it is time for that mystery to be cleared up. if you do not, i feel it is my duty to do so after your book comes out. what he was telling hood, what was he telling hood?
another letters i met ap stewart about six weeks ago and why was not battle delivered at spring hill? he replied in substance that cheatham and claiborne determined it is not best to bring on and engagement at nigh. he said he heard claiborne regretted it immediately and said no such weight should be on his mind for similar cause again and in that feel, lost his life at franklin there after. what happened was hood only put in his memoirs he put manl joseph coming and major james rachford, whoho aid that they delivered orders to cheatham and cheatham said i'm not going to attack. it's late. i'm not going to attack. hood put that in his memoirs because steven d. lee basically
gave him an ultimatuultimatum. he says if you don't tell what happened if your book, i will. then there was one other letter that hood didn't include. isn't that great handwriting? and it was a letter from william w. old, who was a member f the staff of ed johnson, who was one of the division commanders. he said, well mixed up here, he mentioned that his colleague on the staff of ed johnson said he heard cheatham give the orders not to attack because it was dark and he didn't want to attack. so the papers we found basically proved hood right. that frank was given orders and didn't want to attack. but they weren't there in the
morning.co these are basically the controversies of hood. there's 300 pages of these things and these are only a few. now i'm just going show you one picture here before wee go to questions of the cool stuff that i found when i found the papers. i reach in the box and here's a frame, simple frame, handwritten letter and i skint and what is this? my famous thumb right there. this is a letter to stonewall to cooper recommending hood to promotion for major general. how would y'all like to be sit
ng a room, it's dark, they're downstairs. they said call me if you need me. you pick up that and go, whoa. and also, we got diplomas and cool things on our wall. if you're a cpa, how old yhow would you like to have your recommendation hanging behind your desk? i signed by james longstreet. any way, there's tons of things in there.at certificates. brigadier general. major general. lieutenant general. that's a whole different e presentation. any way,ak do we have time for few questions? >> we'll take questions tomorrow at the round table.
>> i'll be hanging out. applause applause . you're watching american history tv. 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on cspan 3. follow us on twitter at cspan history for information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. next, sam houston state university professor brian matthew jordan talks about union general benjamin butler, who became known in the south as the beast, for his stern actions as military governor after the fall of new orleans. professor jordan discusses criticisms of his tactics during several fight, as well as questions about sol of his financial dealings and those of subordinates under his command. this hour long talk was part of historical parks symposi
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