Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

The Battle of Nashville, TN December 15-16, 1864 US Civil War

« Back to Projects Dashboard

Project Tags

view all


  • Brigadier Gen. Joseph B. Palmer, CSA (1825 - 1890)
    Joseph Benjamin Palmer (November 1, 1825 – November 4, 1890) was an American lawyer, legislator, and soldier. He served as a Confederate general in the American Civil War, during which he was wounded...
  • Brevet Maj. General Joseph Alexander Cooper (USA) (1823 - 1910)
    Civil War Union Brevet Major General. Joseph Alexander Cooper (November 25, 1823 – May 20, 1910) was an American farmer, soldier, and civil servant. He briefly served in the United States Army duri...
  • Gen. Thomas Benton Smith, CSA (1838 - 1923)
    Civil War Confeferate Brigadier General. He was captured during the battle of Nashville, December 1864. While a prisoner, he was struck over the head with a sword by a Union colonel, which exposed hi...
  • Brevet Brig. General Isaac M. Kirby (USA) (1835 - 1917)
    Isaac Minor Kirby was born February 10, 1835 in Columbus, Franklin Co., Ohio to Judge M.H. Kirby, a prominent early resident of Wyandot County. He raised what became Co. I, 15th Ohio Volunteer Infant...
  • Brevet Brig. General James Biddle (USA) (1832 - 1910)
    Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General. He was appointed a First Lieutenant in the 10th New York Volunteer Cavalry on May 3, 1861, just after the start of the Civil War. He was mustered out on August...

The Battle of Nashville was a two-day battle in the Franklin-Nashville Campaign that represented the end of large-scale fighting in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. It was fought at Nashville, Tennessee, on December 15–16, 1864, between the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood and Federal forces under Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas. In one of the largest victories achieved by the Union Army during the war, Thomas attacked and routed Hood's army, largely destroying it as an effective fighting force.

For further information on the battle, view these sources:

Union Forces

Schofield withdrew from Franklin during the night and marched into the defensive works of Nashville on December 1, there coming under the command of Thomas, who now had a combined force of approximately 55,000 men. The 7-mile-long semicircular Union defensive line surrounded Nashville from the west to the east; the remainder of the circle, to the north, was the Cumberland River, patrolled by U.S. Navy gunboats. Clockwise around the line was the division of Maj. Gen. James B. Steedman on the Union left, Schofield's XXIII Corps, Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Wood's IV Corps, and Maj. Gen. Andrew J. Smith's "Detachment Army of the Tennessee" (Smith's XVI Corps was redesignated with this unusual name on December 6). Maj. Gen. James H. Wilson's Cavalry Corps was stationed just north of the river.

Confederate Forces

Hood's army arrived south of the city on December 2 and took up positions facing the Union forces within the city. Not nearly strong enough to assault the Federal fortifications, Hood opted for the defensive. Rather than repeating his fruitless frontal attack at Franklin, he entrenched and waited, hoping that Thomas would attack him. Then, after Thomas smashed his army against the Confederate entrenchments, Hood could counterattack and take Nashville.

The Confederate line of about 4 miles of fortifications strongly opposed the southeasterly facing portion of the Union line (the part occupied by Steedman and Schofield). From right to left were the corps of Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Cheatham, Lt. Gen. Stephen D. Lee, and Lt. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart. Cavalry commanded by Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest was off to the southwest of the city.

Hood made a tactical error before the battle. On December 5, he detached a force commanded by Forrest—two brigades of infantry and two divisions of cavalry, nearly a quarter of its total army—to attack the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad and the Union garrison at Murfreesboro, a move that proved ineffective in achieving its immediate objective. But by doing so, he further diminished his already weaker force, and also deprived his army of its most mobile units.