The Tennessee in the Civil War Message Board

Nashville TN CWRT - May 2018 meeting


The next meeting of the Nashville (TN) Civil War Roundtable will be on TUESDAY, May 15th, 2018, in the visitor’s center of Ft. Negley Park, a unit of Metro Parks, Nashville, TN. This is located off I-65 just south of downtown between 4th Avenue South and 8th Avenue South on Edgehill Avenue/Chestnut Avenue. Take Exit 81, Wedgewood Avenue, off I-65 and follow the signs to the Science Museum.

The meeting begins at 7:00 PM and is always open to the public.

Our Speaker and Topic - “Bonnie Blue Flop: Hood and Beauregard in the 1864 Tennessee Campaign”

Confederate General John Bell Hood took command of the Army of Tennessee in mid-July, 1864 with his back literally to Atlanta. Despite three intense battles, the Union army under William T. Sherman soon cut the city’s last rail lines forcing Hood to abandon the city. Sherman took it over on September 2nd, 1864.

Reacting to this event, Confederate president Jefferson Davis created new super department covering the western theater encompassing the sections commanded by Hood and General Richard Taylor’s Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana. Davis placed in command another nemesis, General P.G.T. Beauregard. While this made for a more plausible command situation in terms of controlling events and reacting to Union incursions in the super department, it also had one big problem. Beauregard tried very hard to create a great command and supply situation for the troops under his command, in particular the Army of Tennessee under Hood, which was now heading north from Georgia into northern Alabama and eventually into Tennessee itself with the goal of retaking Nashville. Beauregard was always trying to guide Hood but Hood failed and often disobeyed him during the campaign with tragic results.

Using many untouched sources found in the Official Records and other sources, overlooked by other historians of the campaign, our speaker this month, Steve Davis, will lay out his case like a good prosecutor that the relationship between Hood and his superior was not a good one and indeed contributed to the overall failure of the campaign

Our speaker this month, discussing this command relationship and the Tennessee Campaign, is noted Civil War historian Stephen Davis. A Georgia native, Davis has been a Civil War buff since elementary school and in college studied under the legendary Bell Wiley under whom he earned his PhD at Emory University. Steve has been a prolific author with four books to his credit, all with rave reviews, plus numerous articles in state historic journals, with a focus on aspects of the Atlanta Campaign. He recently had an article in Civil War Times on an aspect of the topic of this month’s presentation regarding what Robert E. Lee thought about Hood as the campaign began. Steve is also the current book reviews editor for Civil War News and past book reviews editor for the now defunct Blue & Gray Magazine. He is the author of several books on the Atlanta Campaign, of which he is an acknowledged expert including a masterful book on the capture and eventual burning of Atlanta. He is currently working on a new project regarding John Bell Hood.

Steve is a very engaging, informed and entertaining speaker and our members will very much enjoy this month’s program. Steve will have copies of his several books for sale at this meeting.