August 30, 1879: Confederate Heritage, General John Bell Hood Dies

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A Brief History

On August 30, 1879, American Army and Confederate Army General John Bell Hood died of Yellow Fever, only 6 days after his wife and daughter died of that disease, leaving behind 10 orphaned children and a rich heritage as a fighting man.

Digging Deeper

Hood was born in Kentucky in 1831, and received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point from his uncle, Congressman Richard French.  Nearly expelled for being assigned an excess of demerits, Hood graduated #44 out of 52 graduates of the class of 1853.  The Superintendent of West Point during Hood’s time at the military school was none other than Robert E. Lee, later Hood’s superior officer as the Commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia.

As a Second Lieutenant Hood served in California and in Texas, where he fought Indians and was wounded by an arrow in 1857.  When the US Civil War began with the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, Hood resigned his commission with the US Army and was appointed a Captain of Cavalry in the Confederate Army, then promoted to Major and sent to Virginia.

An effective and brave leader in battle, Hood quickly rose to the rank of Colonel in the Texas 4th Infantry and was again promoted to Brigadier General in 1862, only 31 years old.  That same year Hood moved up to Division Commander and fought in numerous battles, one of those being a dispute over captured enemy (Union) ambulances with his own fellow Confederate Brigadier General Nathan Evans, who had Hood arrested.  General Lee intervened and recovered Hoods command of his division, although Hood had refused to apologize to Evans.  Apparently, Hood’s men were adamant that they be given their commander back.

Hood fought at Antietam and Fredericksburg in 1862, and also at Gettysburg in 1863 where he received a crippling wound to his left arm from a bursting artillery shell.  Hood was back in battle at Chickamauga in 1863 when he was recommended for promotion to Lieutenant General, a promotion that came in February of 1864.  Hood later was given temporary rank as a full General and command of the Army of Tennessee.  He fought in the Atlanta and Tennessee campaigns, with an aggressiveness that was later lamented by Confederate President Jefferson Davis as wasteful of Confederate troops in futile frontal assaults.

The youngest man to command an Army (on either side), Hood failed to stop General WT Sherman’s “March to the Sea” and was relieved of command in January of 1865.  As the Civil War wound down to its inevitable conclusion, Hood went to Richmond and then back West to Mississippi where he surrendered to Union forces along with his old unit.

Hood moved to Louisiana after the War and started an insurance business.  He also wrote his memoirs, which he never completed and were published after his death.  During a Yellow Fever epidemic in 1879 his insurance business was ruined and he died destitute.  John Bell Hood is remembered in poetry and song (notably “The Yellow Rose of Texas”) and in Fort Hood, Texas, the largest military base in the world.  Hood County, Texas is named for him, as were a couple schools that were renamed in 2015 due to pressure of modern political correctness, an effort to erase Confederate history and traditions from the South and throughout the United States.

Today as statues, memorials, monuments, street, school and place names are under attack by those offended by Confederate Heritage, we ask you, the reader, for your opinion.  Should these reminders of Confederate History be removed from the United States?  Defenders claim the Confederate common soldiers were largely draftees, just like Union soldiers.  Confederate officers were usually US Army officers before the Civil War, loyal Americans that fought for and in some cases were wounded on behalf of the US (including Jefferson Davis).  These Confederate heroes are portrayed by one side as treasonous traitors, while the other side claims they were men of honor doing what they thought was right in an age where loyalty to one’s state was greater than loyalty to the Union.  What do you think?  Let us know.

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Historical Evidence

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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.