Original Author: Unknown
Created: ca. 1862–1863
Medium: Hand-tinted ambrotype
Publisher: The Museum of the Confederacy

General John Bell Hood

John Bell Hood, who would rise to the rank of lieutenant general in the Confederate army, appears in his uniform frock coat and clutches a sword in this hand-tinted ambrotype made circa 1862–1863. Born in Owingsville, Kentucky, in 1831, Hood graduated from West Point but resigned from the U.S. Army after the outbreak of the war. When Kentucky failed to secede from the Union, Hood joined Texas forces fighting for the Confederacy. Hood proved to be an aggressive—and at times foolhardy—commander. He fought in the Peninsula Campaign, the Seven Days' Battles, the Second Battle of Manassas, as well as at Fredericksburg and Antietam. He was wounded at Gettysburg, leaving his left arm incapacitated for the rest of his life. Within months of that injury he was transferred to the Army of the Tennessee. He joined his forces on September 18, 1863, and two days later was severely wounded in the right leg during the Battle of Chickamauga in Georgia. Hood survived, but had almost his entire leg amputated at a field hospital. G. W. Well and Brothers, a Charlottesville company that manufactured artificial limbs, made a prosthetic leg for Hood while he was recuperating in Richmond during the winter of 1863–1864. At some point Hood also received an artificial limb from Europe, for his friend Mary Boykin Chesnut referred to it in her diary of February 1865, writing, "The Charlottesville leg is a far better looking one than the French one … "

In light of his bravery during the Battle of Chickamauga, Hood was elevated to the rank of lieutenant general. Despite his injuries, he returned to active service and eventually became overall commander of the Army of Tennessee. His troops fought unsuccessfully in the campaign around Atlanta and much of his army was destroyed at Nashville; he was relieved of his command in January 1865. After the war Hood moved to New Orleans and married. He fathered eleven children—including three sets of twins—in a decade. He and his wife both died of yellow fever in 1879.