Replacing General Johnston
Original Author: Jefferson Davis
Created: July 12, 1864
Medium: Handwritten letter
Publisher: National Archives

Replacing General Johnston

In a handwritten letter to Confederate general Robert E. Lee dated July 12, 1864, President Jefferson Davis forcefully urges the immediate removal of General Joseph E. Johnston as commander of the Army of Tennessee. Johnston had drawn Union general William T. Sherman deeper and deeper into Georgia, hoping but failing to isolate Sherman's forces, cut his dangerously extended supply lines, and lure him into a trap. Convinced that Johnston was willing to give up Atlanta without a fight, and alarmed by Johnston's suggestion that Union prisoners being held south of the city at Andersonville prison be moved, Davis writes that it "seems necessary to relieve him at once." Davis then mentions John Bell Hood, an aggressive fighter who had lost use of his left arm at Gettysburg (1863) and lost his right leg at Chickamauga, as a possible successor. Five days later Johnston was relieved of his command and replaced with Hood.

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