At the same time that Sherman made his fearsome march through Georgia, Hood moved into Tennessee in a desperate gamble. The Confederate commander hoped that by threatening Nashville, which the North had captured in 1862, he might somehow lure Sherman out of Georgia or regain rebel control of central Tennessee. But Sherman ignored Hood's offensive, and Union general George H. Thomas (1816-1870) quickly moved against the rebel army.
As Hood traveled through southern Tennessee, the Confederate general understood that his chances of waging a successful attack on Nashville were very slight. After all, his army had been reduced to fewer than forty thousand men, and Thomas had assembled fifty thousand Union troops to defend the city. But he pressed forward, unable to devise any other plan of action.
On November 30, Hood attacked Union troops under the command of Major General John Schofield (1831-1906) in the town of Franklin, twenty-five miles south of Nashville. But the entrenched Federal troops turned back the Confederate assault, inflicting terrible damage on Hood's valiant but exhausted men in the process. Two weeks later, Thomas finished the job at the Battle of Nashville. This clash, fought on December 15 and 16, shattered Hood's dreams of conquering Nashville. It also removed the Confederate Army of Tennessee from active participation for the remainder of the war.
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