HOOD FIGHTS FOR ATLANTA
In all likelihood he was relieved at being relieved; should
Atlanta fall, not he but would be blamed and his cherished military
reputation would be preserved.
Johnston and Hood received their respective telegrams on the night of
July 17. Early in the morning Hood went to Johnston's headquarters.
There he joined with Hardee and Stewart, who now with the rank of
lieutenant general headed Polk's Corps, in sending a telegram to Davis
asking him to retain Johnston in command until a battle deciding the
fate of Atlanta was fought. Davis refused. To suspend the order
relieving Johnston, he telegraphed back, would make "the case worse than
it was before the order was issued." Hood thereupon formally assumed
command and Johnston went to Atlanta from whence, the following day, he
and his wife took a train to Macon. In all likelihood he was relieved at
being relieved: should Atlanta fall, not he but Hood would be blamed and
his cherished military reputation would be preserved.
LIEUTENANT GENERAL JOHN B. HOOD (USAMHI)|
In his July 15 report to Davis, Bragg had also asserted that naming
Hood to command would give "unlimited satisfaction." This too was a lie.
Reaction in the Army of Tennessee to Johnston being superseded by Hood
was generally, although not universally, negative. Like his good friend
George B. McClellan, Johnston had a knack for making himself popular
with the rank and file. On the other hand, Hood's well-known penchant
for the offensive filled many veterans with apprehension. Last, but not
least, Hardee bitterly resented not obtaining the command himself and
having to serve under a man who was his junior in rank as well as