In autumn 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood was despatched to Tennessee in a desperate attempt to divert Union General William T. Sherman’s rampaging March to the Sea through the Confederacy. Sherman would not be diverted, but did send General John Schofield with his Army of the Ohio to defend Nashville. Schofield’s troops managed to march right around the Confederates under cover of darkness, leaving Hood ‘wrathy as a rattlesnake’ at his missed opportunity. Pursuing their quarry, they came upon the Union army in a well-entrenched position before the town of Franklin. Still ‘wrathy’, Hood ordered repeated all-out assaults over 2 miles (3 km) of open ground, incurring horrific casualties under merciless fire. When a breakthrough threatened, Emerson Opdycke’s reserves stepped in to save the day. In a total of six assaults, the Confederates suffered over 6,000 casualties, including 14 generals. Hood’s battered army continued to pursue Schofield to Nashville.
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