The Gallant Hood

The Gallant Hood

The Gallant Hood

The Gallant Hood

Excerpt

ON A dreary, cold, rainy night in late December 1864, a gaunt emaciated figure in the uniform of a full Confederate general slumped wearily on the camp chair in his tent pitched for the night by the side of a road near Nashville. His left arm dangled almost useless at his side. It had been that way since Gettysburg. His right leg was hardly a stump. The rest of it had been buried on the field at Chickamauga. His head was bowed in grief and despair, and great tears ran down his long face into his flowing beard. John Bell Hood was drinking his bitter agonizing cup of defeat and humiliation. This was the end for him and his army.

That afternoon one of his officers had seen him make pitiful efforts to control the mob of men stumbling over each other in their efforts to make more speed. But no one paid any attention to the tall crippled man who was having such difficulty handling his crutches and the reins of his horse at the same time. The troops flowed on past him. Many of the men were barefoot. The rain turned the roads into slushy, freezing quagmires. Wagon trains, caissons, cavalry and infantry were all blended in inextricable confusion. This mob which had once been a valiant army was now obsessed with only one thought--to get out of Tennessee as fast as it could.

But it had not always been so with Hood. Under Lee he was a "blond young giant of fine military mien." At Gaines's Mill he . . .

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