Turtledove
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Bell
Fictional Character
The War Between the Provinces
Fantasy
Appearance(s): Sentry Peak;
Marching Through Peachtree;
Advance and Retreat
Type of Appearance: Direct POV
Nationality: Detina (joined breakaway Geoffreyist kingdom)
Religion: Detinan pantheon
Occupation: General
Military branch: Army of Franklin

Bell was a Northern Detinan general loyal to "King" Geoffrey during the Detinan Civil War. He commanded a division of James of Broadpath's wing of the Army of Southern Parthenia. He was wounded at the Battle of Essoville and lost the use of his left arm but quickly returned to duty. He accompanied James to Peachtree Province just two months later and commanded James's wing at the Battle of the River of Death. He was wounded even more severely than he had been at Essoville, when a boulder from a catapult crushed his right leg. Doctors were forced to amputate.

Remarkably, he returned to duty the following spring, serving as a wing commander in the Army of Franklin rather than returning to the Army of Southern Parthenia. However, Bell had become addicted to laudanum during his recovery and had lost much of his once-sharp military judgment. Always bold, Bell became reckless. He frequently feuded with his superior officer, the capable but cautious Joseph the Gamecock, whose strategy during the Marthasville campaign was to keep the army intact and force Hesmucet's far larger Southron forces to follow him on a slow treacherous campaign rather than bring on a general engagement with a numerically superior foe. This strategy infuriated Geoffrey, who had never been enamored with Joseph, and Bell began writing letters to Geoffrey promising that he would defend Marthasville far more energetically. However, when given the opportunity to attack Southron forces outside Fat Mama, Bell inexplicably refused, claiming he would expose his wing to catapult fire, a threat which no other Northern officer perceived and which the South, in fact, was not capable of producing.

When the Army of Franklin reached the outskirts of Marthasville, Geoffrey had had enough. He sacked Joseph and installed Bell as commander. Bell immediately launched a series of devastatingly costly counterattacks against Hesmucet but was unable to defend Marthasville. After the fall of Marthasville, he did not even bother opposing Hesmucet's further advance through Peachtree but instead launched an ill-advised invasion of Franklin Province. Here his laudanum-dimmed judgment became even more erratic, and he managed just one Pyrrhic victory among a number of devastating defeats, which he blamed on his increasingly resentful wing commanders. After effectively destroying his army, Bell was finally sacked by Geoffrey. The two developed a deeply intense mutual hatred, as each blamed the other for the loss of the Army of Franklin.

It was a matter of opinion if Bell was a good commander for the bedraggled northern forces. If not for his insane orders that lead to the death of many expereinced northern soldiers, the outcome of the war might have changed.

Literary comment[]

General John Bell Hood

Bell is very closely based on Confederate general John Bell Hood, who became addicted to morphine after sustaining identical wounds to Bell's at the battles of Gettysburg and Chickamauga, on which Essoville and the River of Death, respectively, are based.

Military offices
(Fictional Work)
Preceded by
Joseph the Gamecock
Commander of the Army of Franklin Succeeded by
Richard the Haberdasher

References[]

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