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Re: [civilwarwest] New poll for civilwarwest

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  • FLYNSWEDE@AOL.COM
    In a message dated 3/5/01 10:03:15 AM Eastern Standard Time, LWhite64@aol.com writes:
    Message 1 of 65 , Mar 5 9:18 AM
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      In a message dated 3/5/01 10:03:15 AM Eastern Standard Time, LWhite64@...
      writes:

      << Well, I would have to say Bragg, as he is the most underappreciated and
      needlessly bashed Confederate General of the War. Bragg was far from
      perfect, but he isnt the inept monster he is made out to be. >>

      But Lee, Bragg was his own worst enemy as a result of his personality. The
      following is a little more info on this individual.

      Everybody "knows" that Bragg was a fool, right? Think again. Nothing is as it
      first seems.
      Braxton Bragg, a favorite whipping boy of historians, was a much better
      general than he is made out to be. Of the eight men who reached the rank of
      full general in the Confederate army Braxton Bragg was certainly the most
      controversial.

      He was born on 22 March 1817 in Warrenton, N.C. Confederate officer whose
      successes in the West were dissipated when he failed to follow up on them,
      partially due to dissension among ambitious subordinate generals. After
      graduating fifth in his class in 1837 from the U.S. Military Academy at West
      Point, Bragg served with distinction in the Seminole Wars. In the Mexican Was
      (1846-48 under Zachary Taylor he was brevetted captain for conduct in defense
      of Fort Brown, major for valor at Monterey, and lieutenant-colonel for his
      special services at Buena Vista where his move from the far right to the far
      left with his battery of "flying artillery" probably saved the US army. By
      the way, Taylor's actual order to Bragg was: "Double shot those guns and
      give'em hell!". For the next 8 years Bragg did garrison duty as a
      quartermaster in the regular army and earned a reputation for strict
      discipline as well as a literal adherence to regulations. In 1856 Bragg left
      the army to run his plantation, and he also did civil engineering work for
      the state of Louisiana. After secession, he was commissioned Brigadier
      General CSA on 7 March 1861. He began his Confederate service in command of
      the coast between Pensicola and Mobile and demonstrated an aptitude for
      training, discipline, organization, and effective provisioning of his
      soldiers. Promoted to major general 12 Sept. 1861, he asked to be sent to
      serve under A.S. Johnston in Kentucky and led the Confederate right wing at
      the battle of Shiloh (6-7 April 1862). On 12 April Bragg was promoted to the
      rank of full general and, on 27 June 1862, given command of the Army of
      Tennessee, relieving General P. G. T. who resigned because of ill health and
      differences of opinion with Jefferson Davis. Bragg then carried out a
      successful transfer of troops by means of railroad from Tupelo, Miss. through
      Mobile, and thus beat Buell to Chattanooga. Buell had the shorter route, but
      he had to march, and he was also charged with repairing and guarding 500
      miles of railroad as he went. Bragg's transfer was one of the first such
      operations of the Civil War.

      In the autumn of that year, Bragg led a bold advance from eastern Tennessee
      across Kentucky almost to Louisville. Many consider this the high-water mark
      of the Confederacy. However, he was hampered by the poorly defined division
      of departmental responsibility between his and that of Kirby Smith, and Buell
      was able to get to Louisville first. Tactically, the ensuing Battle of
      Perryville of 9 Oct. 1862 was a draw. Unable to fight to a decision and being
      short of supplies, Bragg withdrew into Tennessee. He had been further
      hampered by the reluctance of Polk, his effective second in command placed
      there by Davis, to cooperate and follow orders. This behavior on the part of
      Polk degenerated into outright rebellion and undermining of Bragg's authority
      within the Army of Tennessee. Polk even tried to have Bragg relieved (by
      himself), but Jefferson Davis kept Bragg at the head of the Army of
      Tennessee, without increasing Bragg's authority, however. On 31 December 1862
      and 2 January 63 he fought the indecisive Battle of Murfreesboro (Stones
      River) against Gen. William S. Rosecrans, inflicting heavy casualties, but
      again forced to withdraw in the face of an unbeaten and numerically superior
      opponent. During the Tullahoma campaign of 22-29 June 1863 Rosecrans, mainly
      through flanking movements and the use of the new Spencer repeaters, forced
      Bragg back to Chattanooga which he entered on 4 July 1864. Bragg was then
      forced to retire from Chattanooga into North Georgia when Rosecrans and
      Thomas again outflanked him by crossing the Tennessee river downstream and
      occupied key positions on Lookout Mountain. However, Rosecarans outreached
      himself and, on 19-20 Sept. 1863 Bragg defeated Rosecrans at Chickamauga,
      although he was unable to overcome the resistance of George H. Thomas and his
      14th Corps on Snodgrass Hill. Critics thought that Bragg should have pursued
      more vigorously, but having sustained 18,000 casualties on the two days, his
      army was not in much better shape than the Federal army was.

      After the battle Bragg laid siege to the poorly supplied Federals inside the
      strong fortifications of Chattanooga while the rebellion among many of his
      officers, mainly Polk, Hardee, Longstreet and A.P. Hill, flamed up again.
      This time Davis came to the Army of Tennessee in person in order to try to
      find a solution. Again he supported Bragg, sending Polk and Hill to other
      commands, leaving however, Longstreet who did even more damage than Polk by
      practically throwing away Bragg's entire left flank in Lookout Valley on the
      west side of Lookout Mountain. In the meanwhile large Federal reinforcements
      were concentrated under Ulysses S. Grant and George H. Thomas, and the
      decisive battle of Chattanooga (23-25 November 1863) ended in the defeat of
      Bragg's army. On 24 Feb. 1864 Bragg requested to be relieved from of his
      command, whereupon Davis made him his military adviser. he held this position
      until 31 Jan. 1865. During The Atlanta Campaign, Bragg was ordered to Atlanta
      as an observer. He met with J.E. Johnston several times between July 13 and
      15, 1864, after which he advised Davis that Johnston, who had replaced him as
      commander of the Army of Tennessee, had no serious intention to take the
      offensive. Two days after he communicated this to President Davis Johnston
      was replaced by Hood who then lost four straight battles in the defense of
      Atlanta and would later lead the Army of Tennesse to destruction at the
      battle of Nashville. On 19 March 1865 Bragg commanded a division under
      Johnston at the abortive battle of Bentonville, and he was captured on 9 May
      1865 while accompanying Davis on his flight into Georgia. During this final
      period Bragg was observed by a Georgia girl who wrote in her diary: "Generals
      Bragg and Breckinridge are in the village with a host of minor celebrities.
      General Breckinridge is called the handsomest man in the Confederate army,
      and Bragg might be called the ugliest. He looks like an old porcupine."

      After the war he was a civil engineer in Alabama and Texas. He died on 27
      Sept. 1876 in Galveston, Texas while walking down the street with a friend.
      He is buried in Mobile, Alabama. Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is named in his
      honor.

      Historians generally cite the critics most hostile to Bragg and ignore the
      many witnesses in his favor, a few of whom I quote here. In a letter to
      Bragg, Joseph Wheeler (future galvanized US general who served in Cuba in the
      war against Spain) wrote:

      "I have been serenaded twice in the past few days by Pensacola troops who
      said they had come to hunt up Genl. Bragg's friends….They said the only
      enemies you had were a few bad Generals and some newspaper editors. They
      might have included a few soldiers who had been misinformed and influenced by
      designing men."

      On December 10, 1863, just a few days after Bragg had relinquished command of
      the army, the inspector general of the Army of Tennessee wrote him:

      "I have just inspected the army, and I find a general regret at your leaving.
      It is evident, now, to all that the rank and file of this army and the more
      efficient and honest officers prefer you to any other leader that could be
      sent here, and they would hail your return with earnest satisfaction."

      General Philip D. Roddey wrote Bragg:

      "The news has just reached us that you have been relieved of the command of
      the Army of Tennessee. You will please pardon this intrusion, but I am so
      mortified that I cannot, in justice to my own feelings, resist the temptation
      to say that we can never be as well satisfied with a commander as we have
      been with you nor do we believe that any officer on the continent could have
      done more or better with the Army of Tennessee than you have done. I have
      heard a general expression from the officers and men of my brigade, and
      without exception, they prefer you as a commander to any officer in the
      Confederate army."

      In Nov. 1863 Captain E. John Ellis wrote to his father:

      "It was an unbending justice Bragg meted out to his generals, his colonels,
      his captains, and privates alike that brings the ire of officers high in the
      rank down upon General Bragg. His men love Bragg. His army has been held
      together, and has been so disciplined and organized by him as to nearly
      compensate in efficiency what it sadly lacked in numbers. All this is
      attributable to General Bragg. The papers say he is incompetent. His career
      and history gives this the lie. They say the army has no confidence in him,
      but, as I know the men in this army and my acquaintance extends to many
      brigades including men from every state, I am prepared to pronounce this,
      like the former, a lie. No army ever had more confidence in its leaders, and
      Napoleon's guard never followed his eagles more enthusiastically than this
      ragged army has and will follow the lead of its gaunt, grim chieftain."

      Bragg is recorded as being an incompetent battle commander, but in fact
      nobody could have gotten better results from the command structure imposed
      upon him by the government in Richmond. He is recorded as being a tyrannical
      disciplinarian, but as even Sam Watkins admitted, "Johnston had ten times as
      many soldiers shot as old Bragg ever did." In fact, Bragg attempted to
      provide for his troops and made enemies in a losing struggle against an
      archaic and inefficient supply system. As part of this attempt he had an
      officer executed for corruption, the only commander on either side to do so
      in the entire war. Throughout the war, Bragg took a sincere interest in the
      welfare of his soldiers. He was constantly inspecting their camps,
      questioning them about their needs, and visiting the hospitals. I believe
      that Bragg "failed" as a commander because he tried to impose a modern
      command structure on a society which wasn't ready for the discipline this
      entailed, and many of his contemporaries, for personal reasons, turned on
      him. The same thing would have happened to George H. Thomas had he elected to
      fight for the South.

      Finally, if Thomas was the most modern and effective of all of the Union
      commanders, and he was, it makes no sense to not give the credit due to his
      most dangerous opponent, Braxton Bragg.

      Other articles and materials:

      1. The Execution of Captain Jazeb B. Rhodes, CSA by Terry Foenander

      2. Braxton Bragg - Misplaced General by Dr. Grady McWhiney, Cincinnati Civil
      War Round Table

      3. The Civil War Mystery of Braxton Bragg (He always stops to quarrel with
      his generals) by David M.
      Smith, CCWRT

      4. excerpt from Bragg's Advance and Retreat [Perryville and Murfreesboro] by
      David Urquhart, Col. CSA, member of Bragg's staff

      5. excerpt from Manoeuvring Bragg out ot Tennessee [Tullahoma] by Gilbert C.
      Kniffen, Lieutenant-Colonel, USV

      6. excerpt from Bragg's Invasion of Kentucky by Joseph Wheeler,
      Lieutenant-General, CSA.

      7. The Papers of Braxton Bragg are available on microfilm at the Lindsay
      Young Library of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
    • civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
      Enter your vote today! A new poll has been created for the civilwarwest group: How many of the participants here follow the threads by topic and how many by
      Message 65 of 65 , Mar 1 7:01 AM
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        Enter your vote today! A new poll has been created for the
        civilwarwest group:

        How many of the participants here follow the threads by "topic'
        and how many by "individual messages" ?

        Let's see if a poll gives an idea.

        o I typically follow threads by "topic"
        o I typically follow threads by "individual messages"
        o I don't know what you're talking about!


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