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This Day in Georgia History

July 17, 1864

Hood Replaced Johnston

In face of the continuing Union advance on Atlanta, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Secretary of War James Seddon decided to replace Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, commander of Confederate forces defending Atlanta, with Gen. John Bell Hood. Around 10 p.m. that night, the following message was delivered to Gen. Johnston at his headquarters north of Atlanta:

“Lieut. Gen. J.B. Hood has been commissioned to the temporary rank of general under the late law of Congress. I am directed by the Secretary of War to inform you that as you have failed to arrest the advance of the enemy to the vicinity of Atlanta, far in the interior of Georgia, and express no confidence that you can defeat or repel him, you are hereby relieved from the command of the Army and Department of Tennessee, which you will immediately turn over to General Hood.”

An hour later, Gen. John Bell Hood received the following telegram from the Confederate Secretary of War:

“You are charged with a great trust. You will, I know, test to the utmost your capacities to discharge it. Be wary, no less than bold. It may yet be practicable to cut the communication of the enemy or find or make an opportunity of equal encounter whether he moves east or west. God be with you.”