[CIVIL WAR]. HOOD, John Bell (1831-1879), Lieutenant General, CSA. Autograph letter signed (''John B Hood'') to Governor Beriah Magoffin (1815-1885), Camp Wood, Texas, 15 January 1861. 1 page, 4to, light blue stationery, evidence of attachment on verso at top.
[CIVIL WAR]. HOOD, John Bell (1831-1879), Lieutenant General, CSA. Autograph letter signed ("John B Hood") to Governor Beriah Magoffin (1815-1885), Camp Wood, Texas, 15 January 1861. 1 page, 4to, light blue stationery, evidence of attachment on verso at top.
"I OFFER MY SWORD AND SERVICES TO MY NATIVE STATE": JOHN BELL HOOD SIDES WITH THE SOUTH
A historically significant letter in which Hood, responding to the recent secession movement that was igniting the South, offers his military services to his home state of Kentucky. After a difficult four years at West Point where he earned 196 demerits and ranked 44th out of 52 cadets in his class, Hood graduated in 1853 as a second lieutenant in the 4th Infantry Regiment. After Lincoln's election and the secession of South Carolina, the Kentuckian believed that warfare was imminent and felt certain that his native state would join the South. Here, Hood offers his services to the Governor of the state, Beriah Magoffin: "I see that dissolution is now regarded as a fixed fact, and that Kentucky will have an important part to perform in this great movement. I thereby have the honor to offer my sword & services to my native state, and shall hold myself in readiness to obey any call, the Governor of said state may choose to make upon me. I was reared in Montgomery County Ky. where my family now live, and was educated at West Point."
After Texas seceded from the Union and General David Twiggs surrendered federal property in the state to the Confederacy in February, the 2nd U.S. Cavalry was ordered north, but Hood departed from its ranks before the regiment reached its final destination. When his home state of Kentucky did not secede after the fall of Fort Sumter, Hood submitted his resignation from the U.S. Army and offered his military services to his adopted state of Texas. Earning the reputation as a hard fighter at the head of the Texas Brigade and ultimately a division of the Army of Northern Virginia, Hood was chosen to replace General Joseph Johnston, whose army faced William T. Sherman's outside of Atlanta. Lee, who was very familiar with Hood's leadership qualities, had warned of his aggressive style, commenting that he was "all lion[with] none of the fox" (McPherson, James, Battle Cry of Freedom, p. 753).