Today in Texas History – July 17

From the Annals of the Civil War –   In 1864,  CSA President Jefferson Davis appointed Gen. John Bell Hood as commander of the Army of Tennessee.  Hood, a West Point graduate, had been stationed in Texas before the war and offered his services to his adopted state.

Davis was frustrated by Gen. Joseph Johnston who employed a defensive strategy in the Atlanta campaign waged by Union Gen. William T. Sherman.  Johnston and Sherman had maneuvered and skirmished throughout the rugged landscape between Chattanooga and Atlanta but had not met in a full-fledged battle.  Sherman’s efforts to outflank Johnston were blocked, but even though Johnson minimized his losses his army was pushed inexorably back towards Atlanta. By July 17, 1864, Johnston’s army was in the outskirts of Atlanta. As a result, Davis removed Johnston and replaced him with the 33 year-old Hood. Hood had a reputation as a fighting general and he quickly took the offensive by attacking at Peachtree Creek on July 20.  His army was routed.  Undeterred, Hood attacked Sherman two more times with equally disastrous results.  The Army of Tennessee was effectively through as an offensive unit and Hood was forced to evacuate Atlanta.

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