|View single post by samhood|
|Posted: Wed Apr 26th, 2006 05:50 pm||
That's a good question that I am frequently asked.
I am a relative of Hood, and have the honor of carrying his surname. The General's grandfather Lucas Hood was my great x 5 grandfather, but I descend directly from his uncle Andrew Hood. I suppose that makes me a first cousin. I live in West Virginia near the Kentucky border, and several generations of my ancestors lived in Kentucky. (Not only is my CWI screen name samhood, my real name is Sam Hood.)
I have always been fascinated by Civil War history, but not until I retired in the late 90s did I find time to dive into a more in-depth study of Gen. Hood. The first book I read was Sword's, and within the first several pages I read assertions that were inconsistent with established family lore. I then read the rest of the book with great skepticism, noting how much historical evidence had been concealed from the reader. In 1999 I attended a Tennessee Campaign battlefield tour/seminar in Nashville, presented by the Blue Gray Education Society, with Ed Bearss, Wiley Sword, and Richard McMurry among the faculty. I was stunned at the one-sidedness of the presentation (by some of the faculty about some facts), and disappointed that many rumors and myths were being presented as fact. The tour concluded with a visit to the Carter House in Franklin, where a staffer gave our tour group a highly caustic portrayal of Gen Hood, and declared that no picture of Hood appears in the museum, and never will. (Fortunately, that policy has since been moderated. Gen Hood's picture now is included with the other commanders, and the Carter House's portrayal of Gen Hood is much more objective.) At that point I decided that both Gen Hood and modern students of the Civil War deserved to have a more objective, and less hyperbolic historical portrayal than what was becoming more and more common.
Within a few months I launched the http://www.johnbellhood.org website, and to date we have received over 85,000 unique visits. Many visitors contacted me expressing thanks that their favorite Civil War general was now being defended and honored, and from that evolved the John Bell Hood Historical Society.
My objective is not to deify Gen Hood. Like all of us, he had flaws. His decisions as commander of the Army of Tennessee are fair game, however attacks on his personal character and honor do not seem appropriate, since he is not around to defend himself. (Even his bitter rival Joe Johnston ceased criticism of Gen Hood after his death in 1879, noting that it was not fair to debate a man who cannot answer for himself.) I try to focus most of my efforts on defending the General's personal honor, not his military decisions, but most discourse seems to evolve into analysis and discussion of his tactics...which is understandable I suppose.
Thanks for your interest and indulgence.