During the winter of 1864 the Confederate Army of Tennessee had a bull’s-eye on its back when Union Major General William T. Sherman was given orders to destroy it, and to capture Atlanta as his secondary objective.

Confederate General Joseph Johnston took up several defensive positions against Sherman near Atlanta. This invoked the impatience of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who replaced Johnston, whom Davis had never liked, with John B. Hood.

Hood launched several attacks on Sherman but each failed. The Confederates were forced to abandon Atlanta and Hood and his troops retreated to Alabama.

Sherman decided to give up his pursuit of Hood and instead launched his March to the Sea. Hood headed north into Tennessee. Hood tried to trap part of the Union army under John M. Schofield near Columbia, Tennessee but failed; he then tried to beat the Union Army to Nashville, but Schofield, detecting Hood’s march, ordered a retreat back to Nashville before Hood could get there. Hood caught up with Schofield at Franklin and ordered an immediate frontal assault.  Ignoring the advice of his subordinates to avoid a head-on attack, the results were disastrous. Hood  lost a quarter of his strength, including six generals killed or mortally wounded, another six wounded, and one captured at the Battle of Franklin.

Hood foolishly continued toward Nashville but again he was forced to retreat. Finally Hood was forced to abandon his efforts to capture Nashville and  retreated to Corinth, and then further to Tupelo. All this happened in 1864, 150 years ago this year. Things seemed to be rapidly unraveling for the Confederates. I think I say that every time I write about a battle in the 1863-64 time frame.