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Nashville

December 15 - 16, 1864

Davidson County, Tennessee

Despite a series of defeats in the closing days of November, 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood continued to drag his bloodied Army of Tennessee, approximately 30,000 strong, north towards Nashville. The city was protected by 55,000 men, which should have precluded further offensive operations, but Hood was determined and his situation was dire. Hood reached Nashville on December 2 and staked out a position south of the city, hoping to draw the Union forces into a costly attack. Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln urged ranking general George Thomas to attack but he delayed for nearly two weeks, citing freezing weather and limited cavalry support. On December 15th, Thomas finally moved forward. The Union plan called for a demonstration on the Confederate right while the main assault struck a cluster of earthen redoubts on the Confederate left. The diversionary attack broke against artillery posted along present-day Battery Lane. To the west, fierce close-range combat erupted as Thomas’s men swept over the redoubts. That night, Hood retreated two miles further south. Thomas renewed the attack the next afternoon. After several hours of fighting, Brig. Gen. John McArthur broke through the Confederate left at Shy’s Hill. Hood ordered a hasty retreat south, and only a skillful rearguard action allowed his army to escape. The Union victory at Nashville shattered the Army of Tennessee and effectively ended the war in Tennessee.
Learn More About This Battle
The Battle of Nashville

The Crushing Blow of a Forlorn Hope

Historian Greg Biggs provides an in-depth look at the battle that destroyed the Army of Tennessee and effectively ended the Civil War in Tennessee.

Civil War Trust News Releases

Featured Article

John Bell Hood

The Decisive Battle of Nashville

Read Franklin Cooling's assessment of the importance of the Battle of Nashville and the state of preservation efforts in the area.

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Acres Saved

This battlefield was identified in our annual report History Under Siege™ in 2003 »

Photos

From Travellers Rest to Fort Negley to Shy's Hill, see our collection of Nashville battlefield images.

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Recommended Reading

The Confederacy's Last Hurrah

" The Confederacy's Last Hurrah: Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville"
by Wiley Sword

Buy »

Shrouds of Glory

"Shrouds of Glory: From Atlanta to Nashville: The Last Great Campaign of the Civil War"
by Winston Groom

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