Five Tragic Hours: The Battle of Franklin

Five Tragic Hours: The Battle of Franklin


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On a November afternoon in 1864, the weary Gen. John Bell Hood surveyed the army waiting to attack the Federals at Franklin, Tennessee. He gave the signal almost at dusk, and the Confederates rushed forward to utter devastation. This book describes the events and causes of the five-hour battle in gripping detail, particularly focusing on the reasons for such slaughter at a time when the outcome of the war had already been decided.

The genesis of the senseless tragedy, according to McDonough and Connelly, lay in the appointment of Hood to command the Army of Tennessee. It was his decision to throw a total force of some 20,000 men into an ill-advised frontal assault against the Union troops. The Confederates made their approach, without substantial artillery support, on a level of some two miles. Why did Hood select such a catastrophic strategy? The authors analyze his reasoning in full. Their vivid and moving narrative, with statements from eyewitnesses to the battle, make compelling reading for all Civil War buffs and historians.

James Lee McDonough is Justin Potter Professor of History at David-Lipscomb College and is the author of Shiloh and Stones River.

Thomas L. Connelly, professor of history at the university of South Carolina, is the author of Army of the Heartland, The Marble Man, and Autumn of Glory, a two-volume history of the Army of Tennessee.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780870493973
Publisher: University of Tennessee Press
Publication date: 06/28/1984
Edition description: 1
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 351,868
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Thomas L. Connelly, professor of history at the university of South Carolina, is the author of Army of the Heartland, The Marble Man, and Autumn of Glory, a two-volume history of the Army of Tennessee.

Table of Contents

1Dreams of Glory3
2A Gentleman of Fine Address and Elegant Manners19
3The Spring Hill Affair36
4They Were the Very Last60
5The Most Critical Moment92
6Hell... Exploded in Our Faces124
7The Death of an Army152
Commentary on Sources194
Organization of the Infantry, C.S.A.200
Organization of the Infantry, U.S.A.208

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Five Tragic Hours: The Battle of Franklin 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
4bonasa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent telling of the final days of the Army of Tennessee under Gen. John Bell Hood, CSA. After reading this and other civil war treatises I wonder why the fort in Texas bears Gen. Hood's name. Very readable, once started I couldn't put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the waning months of the Civil War, a desperate President Jefferson Davis turned to his fiercly loyal fellow Kentuckian, General John Bell Hood, in an attempt to save the Confederacy. Hood's brilliant and successful combat record as a brigade, division and corps commander under Robert E. Lee and 'Stonewall' Jackson made him the logical choice to attempt to break Sherman's relentless seige of Atlanta. Later, after consultations with Davis and General P.G.T. Beauregard, Hood marched the Army of Tennessee on an invasion of Tennessee, with the goal of liberating Union occupied Nashville. In Five Tragic Hours, authors McDonough and Connelly persistently substitute fact with speculation, and insert conjecture where established historical records should be referenced. Throughout the book, they distort both Hood's motives and actions. With absolutely no basis in historical fact, they outrageously accuse Hood of everything from drug abuse, to intentionally ordering his men to their certain deaths. The authors rarely provide the readers with any of the vast and easily obtained information, historical records, statistics, documents or contemporary quotes that are inconsistent with their Hood-demonization premise. Censored from the book are any and all facts from Hood supporters. Credible sources such as Jefferson Davis, Tennessee Governor Isham Harris, and Hood's immediate superior P.G.T. Beauregard, as well as post-war commentary from common soldiers who served under Hood, are curiously absent from any explanations offered by McDonough and Connelly. The Battle of Franklin was a tragic defeat for the Confederacy. It deserves to be explained accurately, fairly, and objectively. However, in regards to the political and military strategy leading up to the battle, readers of Five Tragic Hours are provided with a little reality, and a lot of 'Hollywoodism.' Unwanted drama, unnecessary fantasy and unwarranted mischaracterization premiate this work.