For months Sherman and Johnston had maneuvered. Johnston took up strong defensive positions, trying to lure Sherman into wrecking his army against them. Time and again the Federals frustrated his plans by simply outflanking the Confederate line, and forcing Johnston to order a retreat. In this way, time after time, Johnston retreated through northern Georgia until he was at the gates of Atlanta. Sherman had attacked him once, at Kennesaw Mountain, and had received a serious bloodying from it. But the Federal general just returned back to his old outflanking ways. Johnston's plan was simply not working.
It is a grievous thing to change commander of an army situated as is that of the Tennessee. Still if necessary it ought to be done. I know nothing of the necessity. I had hoped that Johnston was strong enough to deliver battle.... Hood is a good fighter, very industrious on the battle field, careless off, & I have had no opportunity of judging of his action, when the whole responsibility rested upon him. I have a high opinion of his gallantry, earnestness & zeal.Davis made the decision and Johnston replaced Hood 150 years ago today. This change of commanders would rapidly alter the course of the campaign. Hood would move quickly and zealously to implement a very different strategy than that of Joseph E. Johnston.