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12353Re: OR's - Breckinridge's Report for Stones River

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  • aot1952
    Jul 1, 2002
      Mr. Joe-
      No question about it and I have long agreed with your conclusion that
      someone was trying to "cook the books". However, unlike you I am not
      as ready to jump to the conclusion that it was Bragg and not
      Breckenridge who was the Chef.
      Although I also feel that the whole exercise of 'counting' losses to
      prove or imply just how determined an assault may or may not have
      been may be a little too Hood-like to be particularly revealing.
      However, I do think the differing numbers is indicative of the fact
      that two divergent stories of the January 2 assault were being told.

      > This is what I have found so far. In Vol.20, Chap.32, on page
      > in Breckinridge's battle report, he states:
      > "Many of the reports do not discriminate between the losses of
      > Wednesday and Friday. The total loss of my division, exclusive of
      > Jackson's command, is 2,140 of which I think 1,700 occurred on
      > Friday."
      > So he is saying he lost 440 men on the 31st. He also reported a
      > strength of 5,663. On page 779, Hardee reports Breck's loss at
      > (not much difference), but on page 780 reports Breck's strength at
      > 6,824. Furthermore, Bragg attached an addendum to Breck's report
      > (this is on page 789). Bragg states the following:
      > "The tabular statement No. 7, February 8, 1863, accompanying my
      > report of the battle, shows the force of this division on
      > December 31, to have been 7,053. The loss of Wednesday, the 31st,
      > was 730, not 440 as made by the division commander; and the loss on
      > Friday, the 2nd, was 1338, not 1,700. The loss of Wednesday, 440,
      > stated by the division commander, deducted from his whole strength,
      > leaves 6,613. Deducting again the regiment and battery he was
      > ordered to leave out, and adding the two batteries of Captain
      > Robertson, leaves him still with over 6,000 infantry and artillery,
      > instead of 4,500, with which he says he made the attack; and
      > correcting his error in making the loss too small on Wednesday and
      > too large on Friday, he still has understated his force by more
      > one-fourth." Braxton Bragg, General, Commanding
      > Bragg uses Hardee's total casualty figure. Hardee stated the
      > difference in strengths reported by him and Bragg was due to the
      > exchanging of some regiments in reorganization. I find it
      > interesting that Jackson's brigade (which lost 303 men) is not
      > included with Breck's others in the casualty count. I am thinking
      > that it was considered detached (as reported by Hardee), and yet I
      > think both Hardee and Bragg seem to be including it for strength
      > purposes, but excluding it in regards to casualties. I find it
      > interesting that Bragg states as a fact (without offering any
      > evidence) that Breck's loss on the 31st was 730. Where did he get
      > that figure? If you add Jackson's 303 to Breck's 440 you would get
      > 743!! But Hardee's casualty number of 2,068 does not include
      > Jackson's brigade, which is reported seperately as 303.
      > My opinion, for what it's worth, is Bragg is trying to "cook the
      > books" in his favor to cover his butt. But then again, in your own
      > immortal words Wakefield, "I could be wrong!"
      > Best Regards,
      > Joe H.
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