Following his evacuation of Atlanta on September 2, 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood withdrew to Palmetto, Georgia, to rebuild his army. This completed, he advanced into northern Georgia in early October with the object of destroying the Union lines of communication - the railroad between Chattanooga and Atlanta -thereby compelling Sherman to fall back to Tennessee. However, not only did he fail to wreck the railroad, but was forced to flee into northern Alabama to escape Sherman, who then returned to Atlanta.
Having learnt that Sherman was preparing to march from Atlanta to the sea, Hood planned to invade Tennessee, defeat the Union forces there, capture Nashville, and then join Lee in Virginia for an attack on Grant. On November 22 Hood entered Tennessee at the head of an army of 40,000. To confront him, Sherman sent General George H. Thomas with 55,000 troops, the majority of which were already at Nashville. The remainder of Thomas's forces, consisting of IV and XXIII Corps' were at Columbia, Tennessee, under Major General John M. Schofield.
On November 29 Hood attempted to prevent Schofield from joining Thomas at Nashville by swinging his army north of Columbia at Spring Hill. Schofield, however, arrived at Spring Hill first, repulsed a poorly-coordinated, half-hearted Confederate attack, then slipped away during the night without Hood and his generals trying to intercept him.
Early on November 30, Hood gave pursuit, and that afternoon came up on the Union forces south of Franklin. In an attempt to smash Schofield's army before it reached Nashville, Hood ignored advice to turn the enemy flank and instead ordered a frontal assault. For five hours Cheatham's and Stewart's corps assailed the well-fortified Union lines, but failed to break through. When night finally brought an end to the fighting, Schofield again retreated, this time to Nashville. Union losses numbered 2,236; the Confederate nearly 7,000, including twelve generals, six of whom were killed. In attempting to achieve the destruction of Schofield's army, Hood had only succeeded in destroying his own
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