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Nashville: The Western Confederacy's Final Gamble

Overview

After Major General William Tecumseh Sherman’s forces ravaged Atlanta in 1864, Ulysses S. Grant urged him to complete the primary mission Grant had given him: to destroy the Confederate Army in Georgia. Attempting to draw the Union army north, General John Bell Hood’s Confederate forces focused their attacks on Sherman’s supply line, the railroad from Chattanooga, and then moved across north Alabama and into Tennessee. As Sherman initially followed Hood’s men to protect the railroad, Hood hoped to lure the Union ...

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Overview

After Major General William Tecumseh Sherman’s forces ravaged Atlanta in 1864, Ulysses S. Grant urged him to complete the primary mission Grant had given him: to destroy the Confederate Army in Georgia. Attempting to draw the Union army north, General John Bell Hood’s Confederate forces focused their attacks on Sherman’s supply line, the railroad from Chattanooga, and then moved across north Alabama and into Tennessee. As Sherman initially followed Hood’s men to protect the railroad, Hood hoped to lure the Union forces out of the lower South and, perhaps more important, to recapture the long-occupied city of Nashville.

Though Hood managed to cut communication between Sherman and George H. Thomas’s Union forces by placing his troops across the railroads south of the city, Hood’s men were spread over a wide area and much of the Confederate cavalry was in Murfreesboro. Hood’s army was ultimately routed. Union forces pursued the Confederate troops for ten days until they recrossed the Tennessee River. The decimated Army of Tennessee (now numbering only about 15,000) retreated into northern Alabama and eventually Mississippi. Hood requested to be relieved of his command. Less than four months later, the war was over.

Written in a lively and engaging style, Nashville presents new interpretations of the critical issues of the battle. James Lee McDonough sheds light on how the Union army stole past the Confederate forces at Spring Hill and their subsequent clash, which left six Confederate generals dead. He offers insightful analysis of John Bell Hood’s overconfidence in his position and of the leadership and decision-making skills of principal players such as Sherman, George Henry Thomas, John M. Schofield, Hood, and others.

Within the pages of Nashville, McDonough’s subjects, both common soldiers and officers, present their unforgettable stories in their own words. Unlike most earlier studies of the battle of Nashville, McDonough’s account examines the contributions of black Union regiments and gives a detailed account of the battle itself as well as its place in the overall military campaign. Filled with new information from important primary sources and fresh insights, Nashville will become the definitive treatment of a crucial battleground of the Civil War.

James Lee McDonough is retired professor of history from Auburn University. He is the author of numerous books on the Civil War, including Shiloh—In Hell Before Night, Chattanooga—Death Grip on the Confederacy, and War in Kentucky: From Shiloh to Perryville.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572333222
  • Publisher: University of Tennessee Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Pages: 390
  • Sales rank: 464,249
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

James Lee McDonough is retired professor of history from Auburn University. He is the author of numerous books on the Civil War, including Shiloh—In Hell Before Night, Chattanooga—Death Grip on the Confederacy, and War in Kentucky: From Shiloh to Perryville.

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Table of Contents

1 Making Georgia howl 1
2 My face is towards Tennessee 21
3 A run of luck in our favor 49
4 General Hood has betrayed us 79
5 Fortress on the Cumberland 113
6 "Siege" at Nashville, folly at Murfreesboro 135
7 A perfect slaughter pen 155
8 Situation perilous in the extreme 179
9 The final gamble 199
10 They came only to die 217
11 The United States flag is on the hill 237
12 It is all over now 257
App. 1 Organization of the Union army 281
App. 2 Organization of the Confederate army 293
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