John Bell Hood “the Fighting General” as he was known by those in the Confederate Army was born on June 1, 1831, in Owingsville Kentucky . He was the second son of Dr. John Wills Hood and Theodosia French.The home in which the Hood family lives still stands today but is currently a private residence. His Siblings were William, James, Olivia , and Elizabeth .
When John was college age he was afforded the opportunity by his father to study medicine in Europe but turned down the offer to follow in the footsteps of his fore-fathers and become a soldier (his Grandfather James French served in the Revolutionary War and his Grandfather Lucas Hood was an indian fighter).
John Bell chose to take the path of a soldier. With help from his Uncle Judge Richard French he received an appointment to West Point and was enrolled in 1841. From here on out John Bell Hood was a soldier
While in the United States Military Academy at West Point John Bell was frequently in trouble ( he received 18 demerits his first year at the academy, 66 his second year, and 94 his third year). He found himself in trouble for doing things like laughing in ranks, chewing tobacco, and not having his hair cut, or for numerous times not having clean barracks.
He had trouble in other areas such as academics. Sometimes the schooling that Southerners received was inferior to the education of those who lived in industrial society of the North. Hood had the most trouble in his Philosophy and French classes.
Despite all of his troubles John Bell Hood did graduate in 1852 though definitely not anywhere near the head of his class. With him graduated such later to be famous people as James B. McPherson, John M. Schofield and Philip H. Sheridan ( though Sheridan should have graduated in 1852 but was expelled for 1 year due to misconduct).
John Bell Served in the United States Regular Army Cavalry before the Civil War . He served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and was wounded twice, the first wound he received at Gettysburg ,that wound caused him to lose the use of his left arm, the second wound he received at the battle of Chickamauga, that wound cost him his right leg. He continued to serve in the Confederate Army throughout most of the war until he resigned from the army in 1865 due to the horrible defeats he suffered at the battles of Franklin and Nashville. After Hood heard that Genl Kirby Smith Surrendered the Dept. of the Mississippi he tendered his surrender becoming one of the last Confederate generals to surrender. I will discuss Hood’s actions in the Civil war in a later post.
After his surrender in late June,1865 John Bell travelled to Houston and San Antonio via New Orleans. Hood made his residence in San Antonio until October 1865 when he went to Washington D.C to visit Ex- Confederate President Jefferson Davis and to see about the state of his parole.
With 10,000 dollars borrowed from a friend in Kentucky John Bell Hood moved to New Orleans. There was more security for a post-war veteran in that city because it had been fairly unhurt by the war.
While in New Orleans Hood married Anna Marie Hennen the daughter of a prominent New Orleans Lawyer the couple had 11 children. Also while in New Orleans he became a partner in a cotton firm. Hood and his cotton firm struggled until 1869 when his former commander James Longstreet offered him a position in his insurance business. Hood began to do well in his new business ventures. John traveled much and lived in a fine house with his new found fortune.
But in 1878 tradagy hit the Hood family and many others in New Orleans. An epidemic of Yellow Fever swept the city and took over 3,000 lives with it. Including that of Anna Marie, Lydia the eldest child and John Bell himself. John and Lydia died on the same day which was only 3 days after Anna died. Thus ended the life of John Bell Hood “the Fighting General”.