Re: [civilwarwest] Braxton Bragg at Chattanooga
- The problem with Bragg seems to be that people can see the good things
he did, but you can just as easily (and maybe more easily) point to the
bad things he did. I, for one, would take Bragg over Johnston or Hood
any day (either Johnston). Yes, his KY campaign ended in retreat, but
it was pretty impressive to have even managed to take it as far as he
did. I would take issue with Bragg's command problems having allowed
Buell to get to Louisville ahead of Bragg. My impression is that Bragg
simply didn't want to face Buell in a showdown battle without Smith,
which I see as a faltering of Bragg's nerve. Bragg was not an idiot in
either strategy or tactics, and had he turned and offered Buell battle I
like the CSA's chances to have established a new defensive perimeter
along the Ohio. Whether they could have maintained that perimeter in
the long run is an entirely different story...
P.S.: I find it interesting that the piece on Bragg describes
Chickamauga as resulting from Rosey overextending himself. I think it
would be more accurate to say that Rosey refused to believe Bragg wasn't
in headlong retreat. Credit Bragg with showing some spunk (Johnston
wouldn't have) and fault Rosey for wanting to believe too much (and you
won't find me saying a lot of bad things about Rosey). In fact, I have
read of how Chattanooga was evacuated by Bragg, who then decided to turn
and fight. My impression is that Bragg evacuated Chattanooga not so
much because it was untenable, but rather because once he knew where
Rosey was going to strike (i.e. not at Chattanooga) he concentrated his
forces to repel him.
> FLYNSWEDE@ posted the folowing information on Bragg:
> "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.
> [D.H.?] 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."
> Longstreet certainly performed poorly at Chattanooga. Bragg, however,
> committed many, many tactical and strategic blunders there which
> permitted the Federal victory. Even if he was blameless in his
> dealings with his subordinates, a good leader has to deal with them as
> best as can be done.
> Bragg also made several major mistakes--as did his subordinates--at
> Murfreesboro and Chattanooga. You may argue that he wasn't the worst,
> but I can't see how he can be considered all that good.
> P.S. I thank you, though, for the kind words in the article about
> George Thomas.
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