John Bell Hood is one of those Civil War commanders that seems like he was promoted above his capacity. He’s hardly alone in that category, joined by numerous others who were commanding at a level they should not have been. Early in the war Hood’s men were nearly unstoppable—his breakthrough at Gaines’ Mill, his counter-attack at Antietam— and the Army of Northern Virginia benefited extremely from having him in its ranks.
But the war took its toll; wounds at Gettysburg and Chickamauga should have sidelined Hood for the rest of the conflict. In the summer of 1864 the Army of Tennessee needed someone to stand up to Sherman, but it wasn’t Hood. The three offensive battles he orchestrated outside Atlanta were all bloodily repulsed, and all foreshadowed the gruesome charge at Franklin. He’s a man who should be lauded for his services in the first-half of the war, but he will always bear the responsibility for bleeding the Army of Tennessee of some of its best commanders and manpower.