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Re: Braxton Bragg Biography

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  • Dave Smith
    Yike-o-rama, Sam. Hallock s second volume can scarcely be termed a biography - it s more like an attack on Civil War Bragg detractors. I liked McWhiney s
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 4, 2006
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      Yike-o-rama, Sam.

      Hallock's second volume can scarcely be termed a biography - it's
      more like an attack on Civil War Bragg detractors.

      I liked McWhiney's research and writing in Volume 1, though.

      Dave

      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, SDE80@a... wrote:
      >
      > In a message dated 12/14/2005 11:59:08 AM Eastern Standard Time,
      > billgower@c... writes:
      >
      > > Are there any good biographies out there on Bragg? I am looking
      through
      > > Amazon and can’t find any recent ones.
      > >
      > >
      >
      > The standard Bragg bio is in two volumes, Braxton Bragg and
      Confederate
      > Defeat. Grady McWhiney wrote the first one, that took BB through
      Murfreesboro,
      > IIRC. His student, Judith Hallock, wrote the second one,
      supposedly because
      > McWhiney found Bragg so obnoxious he couldn't go forward. IMO,
      both are pretty
      > good.
      >
      > There's one written in the 40's entitled Braxton Bragg: General of
      the
      > Confederacy. I have only scanned it.
      >
      > Sam Elliott
      >
    • DPowell334@AOL.COM
      In a message dated 1/4/2006 7:35:27 A.M. Central Standard Time, dmsmith001@yahoo.com writes: Hallock s second volume can scarcely be termed a biography - it s
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 4, 2006
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        In a message dated 1/4/2006 7:35:27 A.M. Central Standard Time, dmsmith001@... writes:
        Hallock's second volume can scarcely be termed a biography - it's
        more like an attack on Civil War Bragg detractors.
        I think I'd agree with most of this, though, when I was looking for a sympathetic Bragg portrayal at Chickamauga, trying to offset some of the chorus of those detractors, I still found her not all that helpful. She sometimes damns with faint praise. She does tend to tear down anyone critical of Bragg, that is true enough.
         
        I think her short piece on Longstreet - "A Monumental Failure in the West" or something like that - is actually worse in this regard. It pre-supposes a number of things about Longstreet's intentions (pure evil, of course) that I think are unwarranted, and proceeds from there.
         
        Seitz's bio is a regurgitation of ORs, mostly, IIRC. I was disappointed with the Chickamauga content.
         
        Personally, I think that despite a lot of writing on the west, there is a lot of assumption. Connelly's books are great, but dated, and frankly, there is some need to look beyond Bragg as the engine of Failure for the AOT. The army had a lot of problems, Bragg was only the root of some of them.
         
        I have come to believe that the single greatest point of failure for the CSA in the west was in cavalry and information-gathering. If you look at most of their campaigns after Shiloh, you are struck by how often Cavalry fails. Grant Vs Pemberton? Grant has excellent intel during May, 1863, Pemberton's is abysmal. Perryville? Bragg is completely deceived as to which is Buell's main Column, and orders 15,000 Rebs to attack 50,000 Federals. Stone's River? Why does Bragg let the Federals take so much time to deploy, and then attack? Why not strike on the 30th, instead? If McCook is giving Bragg such a great opportunity, (and he is) why is it wasted? Tullahoma? Crossing the Tennessee?
         
        In each case, I see a serious lack of good intel at Conf. HQ. Too often the Rebels are indecisive and uncertain. Yes, some of this reflects poorly on the commanders themselves, and how they interpret data, but all too often it is very bad data, instead.
         
        1863 was a disastrous year for the Rebels in the west. They had as much as twice as much cavalry in the theater as did the Federals, yet at no time in that year did Rebels dominate the info and intel war. If you are going to put so much of your limited assets (manpower) into one resource (cavalry) they had better deliver.
         
        Too often, however, Bragg bios will simply state that Bragg's 'customary' indecisiveness took over, or some such. Bragg couldn't "adapt" to changing conditions, or Bragg was "paralyzed" with indecision.
         
        There is a real disconnect between Bragg's "indecision" and the reasons for it in the writing.
         
        Dave Powell
      • SDE80@aol.com
        In a message dated 1/4/2006 8:35:27 AM Eastern Standard Time, ... Well, I found the research Hallock did pretty good, Dave. She certainly does a bunch of
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 4, 2006
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          In a message dated 1/4/2006 8:35:27 AM Eastern Standard Time, dmsmith001@... writes:

          Yike-o-rama, Sam.

          Hallock's second volume can scarcely be termed a biography - it's
          more like an attack on Civil War Bragg detractors.

          I liked McWhiney's research and writing in Volume 1, though.

          Dave


          Well, I found the research Hallock did pretty good, Dave.  She certainly does a bunch of attacking, especially against Longstreet.

          Sam
        • Dave Smith
          Ny problem, Sam, is that I don t need a Longstreet attack in a biography of Bragg. I need biographical history of her subject, and I believe she failed
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 4, 2006
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            Ny problem, Sam, is that I don't need a Longstreet attack in a
            biography of Bragg. I need biographical history of her subject, and
            I believe she failed miserably there.

            Dave

            --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, SDE80@a... wrote:
            >
            > In a message dated 1/4/2006 8:35:27 AM Eastern Standard Time,
            > dmsmith001@y... writes:
            >
            > > Yike-o-rama, Sam.
            > >
            > > Hallock's second volume can scarcely be termed a biography - it's
            > > more like an attack on Civil War Bragg detractors.
            > >
            > > I liked McWhiney's research and writing in Volume 1, though.
            > >
            > > Dave
            > >
            >
            > Well, I found the research Hallock did pretty good, Dave. She
            certainly does
            > a bunch of attacking, especially against Longstreet.
            >
            > Sam
            >
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