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Braxton Bragg


Braxton Bragg was born in Warrenton, North Carolina, on March 22, 1817, and graduated from 3616:West Point] in 1837. He served in the Second Seminole War and the Mexican War where he was promoted for valor displayed at the Battle of Buena Vista. Bragg retired from the service in 1856 and devoted his attentions to his plantation in Louisiana.When Civil War broke out in 1861, Bragg was appointed a brigadier-general in the Confederate Army with responsibility for the Gulf Coast. In 1862 he was assigned to a command under Albert Sydney Johnston and fought at Shiloh. Bragg replaced Johnston after his death.In June 1862, Bragg headed the Army of Tennessee, replacing P.G.T. The incursion into Kentucky in August met with initial success, but was turned into failure at Perryville in October. Late in the year Bragg’s forces fought to a draw at Murfreesboro, but retreated southward in early 1863.In the fall of 1863, Bragg managed to surprise Union forces at the Battle of Chickamauga, but ignored the advice of subordinates who urged immediate pursuit of the enemy. In November 1863, Bragg was decisively defeated at the Battle of Chattanooga by Union soldiers under U.S. Grant. Bragg was removed from his command.Bragg finished out the war as an advisor to Jefferson Davis in Richmond, then later as an observer of the Confederate efforts against William T. Sherman in Georgia.In the postwar period Bragg served as a civil engineer in both Alabama and Texas. He died at Galveston, Texas, on September 27, 1876.Braxton Bragg was one of the most controversial Confederate commanders. He displayed excellent skills in organizing and training soldiers, but was slow to capitalize on the enemy's setbacks. His relationship with Jefferson Davis kept him in command longer than the results warranted.


Braxton Bragg

Commanded the Confederate Army of Tennesse. Braxton Bragg was a talented and brave soldier whose merits took him to high rank his drawback was that he made enemies easily. He was a North Carolinian, a West Pointer (class of 1837) and a Mexican War veteran. He served with the artillery, bringing horse artillery ideas and effectiveness to the United States Army. He won three brevets (so he had the authority of a Lieutenant Colonel, but was paid as a Captain) for his service, almost always at the front. He'd also seen service in the Seminole Wars, but resigned in 1856 to become a Louisiana planter. He was prominent in the Militia, being a Colonel and then Major General even before the Civil War reached his adopted state. For a few weeks he was in charge of Confederate forces in Louisiana, but was moved to the Pensacola area, where a large Confederate force was forming, trying to force the Union garrison out of the forts that blocked the port. He was there for nearly a year (March 1861- February 1862) and earned a reputation as a stickler for discipline and a strong trainer of men. His disciplinary reputation was deserved (he was rumored to have forwarded letters of complaint to himself when he held two overlapping positions) but his men weren't as well trained as the forces in Virginia. From west Florida he moved to northern Mississippi, taking charge of the forces assembling for the attack at Shiloh until relieved by A.S. Johnston. He led a Corps during the battle, afterwards being promoted to full General for his role in it. With Johnston dead, Beauregard was in command of the army, but he fell ill and Bragg assumed command. The army had fallen back to Corinth after its defeat at Shiloh, and when Halleck moved towards the Confederates with overwhelming force Bragg had to retreat. But Halleck moved so slowly that Bragg evacuated Corinth at his leisure, and got all stores, supplies, and men away. Bragg moved onto the offensive, moving through east-central Tennessee into Kentucky, trying to lever the Union forces out of central Tennessee, and also rally Kentucky for the Confederacy. They moved north without much resistance as the Union forces moved to react to the unexpected incursion. But Bragg lacked the strength to make good on the threat. South of Cincinnati and Louisville his advance was checked by Buell at Perryville in a medium-sized battle because Bragg didn't employ all his men. The Confederates fell back into Tennessee, reorganized and re-supplied, and planned to go into winter quarters around Murfreesboro. William Rosecrans had other plans, and led his army out of Nashville on a winter campaign. On the last day of 1862 Bragg attacked the Union right flank, but couldn't break through. The battle was renewed on January 2nd, 1863 and again Bragg made some progress but not enough. He had to retreat from Tennessee but was pinned in the Tullahoma area by the threat of Rosecrans' army. He couldn't beat Rosecrans, nor could he detach major forces to help around Vicksburg.

Rosecrans finally took the offensive, and pushed Bragg back a little, then took the opportunity to move on Chattanooga. He took the city, but Bragg counterattacked the Union forces at Chickamauga. While he routed two-thirds of the Union forces, the rest held and covered the retreat Bragg was not successful in outflanking George Thomas' force and didnt turn the tactical victory into the destruction of the Union Army of the Cumberland. The toll was very high, over 15,000 total casualties for each side, in the Confederate's only major victory in the western theater.

Bragg's character didn't help either. He didn't follow up his success, but merely observed the Union forces penned up in Chattanooga. They were slowly starving, inadequately supplied over roads that Nathan Forrest was harassing, but Bragg spent his time quarrelling with his subordinates (Polk, Longstreet, Hardee, and others about the only man Bragg didn't quarrel with was Jefferson Davis) rather than pursuing his advantage. Grant took the opportunity handed to him to re-open the supply lines, then launched an attack up Seminary Ridge that unexpectedly broke Bragg's line. The whole fruits of Chickamauga had turned to ashes.

Bragg couldn't be kept on as an army commander, but Davis protected him, appointing him as an advisor. He couldn't do much: in the eastern theater the real decisions were always made by Lee, and the western commanders had the advantage of distance when they disagreed with orders from Richmond. Eventually he stopped twiddling his thumbs and went to North Carolina, but he didn't do much to bolster Fort Fisher and the second Union attack succeeded. The Confederacy was now without a single major port, and Lee's army was starving that much faster. In early March 1865 Joe Johnston took command in North Carolina, since he had the only sizeable force there. Bragg, from being commander of all Confederate forces in the west was reduced to overseeing Hoke's single division of North Carolinians. The only result was that he had to surrender the division instead of Hoke.

After the war he moved to Alabama, putting his engineering knowledge to work, then moved on to Texas.


Braxton Bragg (1817-1876)

Bragg, a West Point graduate, was an army full general during the American Civil War. Image courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC.
Image courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC.

Serving the Confederate States of America, Braxton Bragg was an army full general of the American Civil War who fought primarily in the western theatre. Born in Warren County, North Carolina, Bragg later attended West Point. He fought in Florida during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842) and under Zachary Taylor’s command in the Mexican American War (1846-848). For gallant service in both wars, he earned promotions.

During the Civil War, the North Carolina West Pointer served as head of the Army of Tennessee and was involved in action along the western border of the Confederate States. He commanded men at the Battle of Shiloh, Fort Chickamauga, and Chattanooga. He was later transferred to the eastern theatre of war, where he defended Fort Fisher from invasion.

Bragg is a controversial figure. Military historians have criticized him as an unimaginative, inept, and incompetent general. To them, he was one of the primary reasons the Union captured the western theater with relative ease. Some scholars, however, have been working to rehabilitate Bragg’s military reputation. They argue that the North Carolina native has been given an unfair amount of blame for the Confederate losses.

Braxton Bragg died on September 27, 1876. He is buried in Galveston Texas. Fort Bragg,
North Carolina near Fayetteville is named in his memory.

Sources

John G. Barrett, The Civil War in North Carolina (Chapel Hill, 1963) and Ronnie W. Faulker, "Battle of Fort Fisher," in William S. Powell, ed., Encyclopedia of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, 2006)


Devoted to the Confederate cause

Bragg's comfortable life in Louisiana came to an end in early 1861, when America's Northern and Southern sections went to war. These regions had been angry with one another for years over the continued existence of slavery in America. The Northern states felt that slavery was immoral and wanted to abolish (completely get rid of) it. The South, however, wanted to keep slavery because many of its economic and social institutions had been built on the practice. In addition, Southerners argued that individual states had the constitutional right to disregard Federal laws that they did not like. This belief in "states' rights" further increased the divisions between the two sides. As Northern calls to make slavery illegal grew louder, Southerners became increasingly resentful and defensive. The two sides finally went to war in early 1861 when the Southern states tried to secede from (leave) the Union and form their own country that allowed slavery, called the Confederate States of America.

When the Civil War began, Bragg immediately volunteered his services to the Confederacy. He strongly believed in the theory of states' rights. He also felt a great loyalty to his adopted home state of Louisiana, which voted to join the Confederacy in January 1861. When Confederate leaders learned of Bragg's decision to fight on the side of the South, they wasted no time in appointing the veteran soldier to a position of responsibility. He was made a brigadier general and ordered to Pensacola, Florida, where he trained volunteer soldiers for the upcoming war.

Bragg's skill at turning inexperienced recruits into disciplined soldiers attracted a good deal of attention. In September 1861, he was promoted to major general by Confederate president Jefferson Davis (1808–1889 see entry), even though the two men had clashed in the 1850s over various military issues. A month later, Bragg was assigned command of Confederate troops in western Florida and all of Alabama.


Braxton Bragg - History

Braxton Bragg
(1817-1876)
(From the Confederate Military History)

General Braxton Bragg was born in Warren county, North Carolina, March 22, 1817. He was graduated fifth in the class of 1837 at the United States military academy, and received his lieutenancy in the artillery. He served mainly in Florida during the Indian troubles, until 1843, then was in garrison at Fort Moultrie until 1845, when he took part in the occupation of Texas. In the subsequent war with Mexico he served with distinguished gallantry, and 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. He became captain, Third artillery, June, 1846, was on the staff of General Gaines, and on garrison duty until 1855, when he declined promotion to major of First cavalry. He resigned January 3, 1856, and became a planter at Thibodeaux, Louisiana, serving his State, 1859-61, as commissioner of public works.
In February, 1861, he was put in command of the army of Louisiana, and on March 7th was commissioned brigadier-general in the provisional army of the Confederate States, and assigned to the command of the troops and defenses at Pensacola, which he held until January 27, 1862, in the meantime having been promoted major-general and lieutenant-general and assigned to the command of the department of Alabama and West Florida.
In March, 1862, he marched his forces to Corinth, whence in command of the second corps of the army he participated in the movement against Grant and the battle of Shiloh. In this famous combat Albert Sidney Johnston fell, and Beauregard succeeded to the general command, while Bragg was promoted general and assigned to the command of the army of the Mississippi, with Polk, Hardee and Breckinridge as his corps commanders. When after the evacuation of Corinth the army had retired to Tupelo, Beauregard, on account of illness, turned over the command temporarily to Bragg and went to Mobile. Beauregard was thereupon relieved and Bragg appointed as his successor.
He was now in command of the department and all the forces arrayed against the Federal invasion between the Mississippi river and Atlanta, except the command of General Kirby Smith, in East Tennessee. He planned a campaign into Kentucky before Buell was ready to oppose him, hoping by a bold offensive movement to arouse the friends of the Confederate cause in the border States and drive the enemy beyond the Ohio. He transferred his troops to Chattanooga, and set out on his northward movement about the middle of August, Kirby Smith moving with a separate command in cooperation. At Munfordville he captured over 4,000 Federal soldiers, and then moved his army to Bardstown, and with his staff joined Kirby Smith at Lexington, where on October 4th, Hon. Richard Hawes was installed as Confederate provisional governor of Kentucky. At Perryville he encountered Buell's army and was victorious at every point, striking such a severe blow that he was able subsequently to move without loss to his large trains of captured stores, back to Knoxville. Preparing at once for a movement into Middle Tennessee he reached Murfreesboro November 26, 1862, about the date when General J. E. Johnston was appointed to the general command of the new department of the West, including the forces of Smith, Bragg and Pemberton. On December 30th-31st he repulsed the advance of Rosecrans' army upon his position, gaining a notable victory, but on January 2d he was himself repulsed in an attack on the Federal left. He retreated to Tullahoma, where Johnston was empowered to relieve him of command if that commander thought best, but the result of a visit by Johnston was the retention of Bragg in command. In the latter part of June, 1863, he withdrew to Chattanooga, and thence in September, on account of the Federal forces appearing to the south, fell back into Georgia, where near the Tennessee line the great battle of Chickamauga was fought by the Confederate army under his command September 19th and 20th. It resulted in the complete rout of Rosecrans, the command of George H. Thomas alone holding its ground during the battle. Subsequently he besieged the beaten Federals at Chattanooga and sent Longstreet against Knoxville. When the beleaguered Federals were on the point of starvation they were heavily reinforced by Grant, and the Confederates were forced to retire from Missionary Ridge.
On February 24, 1864, he was assigned to duty at Richmond, under direction of the President, charged with the conduct of the military operations of the armies of the Confederate States. In November following he was given command of the department of North Carolina, and in January, 1865, he commanded the army at Wilmington, and the troops of his department in the final operations against Sherman including the battle of Bentonville. After the surrender at Appomattox he accompanied President Davis through South Carolina and into Georgia, and after peace was restored, having lost all his property, he became engaged as a civil engineer at New Orleans, and superintended harbor improvements at Mobile. He died at Galveston, Texas, September 27, 1876. He was an officer of remarkable industry and conscientiousness, and unspotted character. He never praised others nor allowed himself to be flattered. His devotion to duty led him to neglect those amenities of social life which are valuable even in war, and he suffered in consequence, but no one ever questioned his patriotism, or his courage.


Fort Bragg was also home to the Psychological Warfare Center

A part of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, the Psychological Warfare Center was an interesting and unique addition to Fort Bragg — though these psychological operations have since been moved from Fort Bragg to Fort Jackson. According to The Post and Courier, the center teaches "persuasion techniques," which are meant to psychologically break down enemies. Often, soldiers are also taught psychological warfare so they can better resist it.

Psychological warfare is generally used to make an enemy feel hopeless and afraid. Ideally, psychological warfare can be used in a deterrent capacity. It can prevent actual confrontation, reducing those who would otherwise be injured, maimed, or killed. An example of psychological warfare might be propaganda dropped upon a city that made victory appear impossible. If the city gives up without a fight, neither side loses people.

The darker side of psychological warfare deals with direct mistreatment and torture tactics, such as not allowing a subject to sleep to make them easier to manipulate. Harassing fire is another element of psychological warfare — random, undirected fire meant to traumatize the other side and lower their morale.


Braxton Bragg

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About General (CSA), Braxton Bragg

Braxton Bragg (March 22, 1817 – September 27, 1876) was a career United States Army officer, and then a general in the Confederate States Army𠅊 principal commander in the Western Theater of the American Civil War and later the military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Early life and military career

Bragg was born in Warrenton, North Carolina,[1] the younger brother of future Confederate Attorney General Thomas Bragg. He was often ridiculed as a child because of his mother's stint in prison. He was of English, Welsh and Scottish descent. He graduated fifth in a class of fifty from the United States Military Academy in 1837 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 3rd U.S. Artillery.

Bragg served in the Second Seminole War in Florida and took part in the occupation of Texas. He won promotions for bravery and distinguished conduct in the Mexican-American War, including a brevet promotion to captain for the Battle of Fort Brown (May 1846), to major for the Battle of Monterrey (September 1846), and to lieutenant colonel for the Battle of Buena Vista (February 1847). Bragg was also promoted to captain within the regular army in June 1846.[2] His conduct in Mexico had gained the respect of his commander, Gen. Zachary Taylor also, he had rescued the troops of Colonel Jefferson Davis, earning the latter's friendship.

Bragg had a reputation for being a strict disciplinarian and one who adhered to regulations literally. There is a famous, perhaps apocryphal, story about him as a company commander at a frontier post where he also served as quartermaster. He submitted a requisition for supplies for his company, then as quartermaster declined to fill it. As company commander, he resubmitted the requisition, giving additional reasons for his requirements, but as the quartermaster he denied the request again. Realizing that he was at a personal impasse, he referred the matter to the post commandant, who exclaimed, "My God, Mr. Bragg, you have quarreled with every officer in the army, and now you are quarreling with yourself!"[3] It is alleged that some of his troops attempted to assassinate him on two occasions in August and September 1847, but he was not injured either time. In the more serious of the two incidents, one of his soldiers exploded a 12-pound artillery shell underneath his cot. Although the cot was destroyed, somehow Bragg himself emerged without a scratch.[4]

In January 1856, Bragg resigned from the United States Army to become a sugar planter in Thibodaux, Louisiana. He also served as Commissioner of Public Works for the state.

Bragg was the only General in command of an Army who has shown himself equal to the management of volunteers and at the same time commanded their love and respect.

Before the start of the Civil War, Bragg was a colonel in the Louisiana Militia and was promoted to major general of the militia on February 20, 1861. He commanded the forces around New Orleans, Louisiana, until April 16, but his commission was transferred to be a brigadier general of the Confederate States Army on March 7, 1861. He commanded forces in Pensacola, Florida, and the Department of West Florida and was promoted to major general on September 12, 1861. His command was extended to Alabama, and then to the Army of Pensacola in October 1861. His tenure was successful and he trained his men to be some of the best disciplined troops in the Confederate Army.[6]

Bragg brought his forces to Corinth, Mississippi, and was charged with improving the poor discipline of the Confederate troops already assembled. He commanded a corps at the Battle of Shiloh and attacked the Hornet's Nest with piecemeal frontal assaults.[7] After the Confederate commander, General Albert Sidney Johnston, was killed at Shiloh, General P.G.T. Beauregard assumed command. On that day, April 6, 1862, Bragg was promoted to general, one of only seven in the history of the Confederacy,[8] and assigned to command the Army of Mississippi.[9] The next day the Confederates were driven back to Corinth. After the Siege of Corinth, Beauregard departed on account of illness, although he failed to inform President Davis of his departure and spent two weeks absent without leave. Davis was looking for someone to replace Beauregard because of his poor performance at Corinth, and the opportunity presented itself when Beauregard left without permission. Bragg was then appointed his successor as commander of the Army of Tennessee in June 1862.

In August 1862, Bragg invaded Kentucky, hoping that he could arouse supporters of the Confederate cause in the border state and draw the Union forces under Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, beyond the Ohio River. Bragg transported all of his infantry by railroads from Tupelo, Mississippi, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, while his cavalry and artillery moved by road. By moving his army to Chattanooga, Tennessee, he was able to challenge Buell's advance on the city. Once his forces had assembled in Chattanooga, Bragg then planned to move north into Kentucky in cooperation with Lt. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, who was commanding a separate force operating out of Knoxville, Tennessee. He captured more than 4,000 Union soldiers at Munfordville, and then moved his army to Bardstown. On October 4, 1862, he participated in the inauguration of Richard Hawes as the provisional Confederate governor of Kentucky. The wing of Bragg's army under Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk met Buell's army at Perryville on October 8 and won a tactical victory against him.

Kirby Smith pleaded with Bragg to follow up on his success: "For God's sake, General, let us fight Buell here." Bragg replied, "I will do it, sir," but then displaying what one observer called "a perplexity and vacillation which had now become simply appalling to Smith, to Hardee, and to Polk,"[10] he ordered his army to retreat through the Cumberland Gap to Knoxville. Bragg referred to his retreat as a withdrawal, the successful culmination of a giant raid. He had multiple reasons for withdrawing. Disheartening news had arrived from northern Mississippi that Earl Van Dorn and Sterling Price had been defeated at Corinth, just as Robert E. Lee had failed in his Maryland Campaign. He saw that his army had not much to gain from a further, isolated victory, whereas a defeat might cost not only the bountiful food and supplies yet collected, but also his army. He wrote to his wife, "With the whole southwest thus in the enemy's possession, my crime would have been unpardonable had I kept my noble little army to be ice-bound in the northern clime, without tents or shoes, and obliged to forage daily for bread, etc."[11]

The invasion of Kentucky was a strategic failure, although it had forced the Union forces out of northern Alabama and most of middle Tennessee it would take the Union forces a year to regain the lost ground. Bragg was criticized by some newspapers and two of his own generals, Polk and William J. Hardee, but there was plenty of blame to spread among the Confederate high command for the failure of the invasion of Kentucky. The armies of Bragg and Kirby Smith suffered from a lack of unified command. Bragg can be faulted for moving his army away from Munfordville, out of Buell's path, a prime location for a battle to Confederate advantage. Polk can also be blamed for not following Bragg's instructions on the day before and of the battle.

Stones River and Tullahoma

In December, Bragg fought the Battle of Stones River, and nearly defeated Union Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, but withdrew his army from the field to Tullahoma, Tennessee, after the urgings of corps commanders Hardee and Polk. The attacks upon Bragg started anew and several of his supporters now turned against him. James M. McPherson wrote about the aftermath of Stones River:[12]

While Washington breathed a sigh of relief after Stones River, dissension came to a head in the Army of Tennessee. All of Bragg's corps and division commanders expressed a lack of confidence in their chief. Senior Generals William J. Hardee and Leonidas Polk asked Davis to put Johnston in command of the army. Division commander B. Franklin Cheatham vowed he would never again serve under Bragg. Breckinridge wanted to challenge Bragg to a duel. Bragg struck back, court-martialing one division commander for disobeying orders, accusing another (Cheatham) of drunkenness during the battle, and blaming Breckinridge for inept leadership. This internecine donnybrook threatened to do more damage to the army than the Yankees had done. Disheartened, Bragg told a friend that it might "be better for the President to send someone to relieve me," and wrote Davis to the same effect.

– James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

Stones River was also another in which blame can be spread beyond Bragg alone. Bragg has to be faulted for the ground on which the battle was fought, which offered few advantages to the attacking Confederate army and offered more advantages to the defending Union army. He also selected his military objective poorly, resulting in a Union defensive line that became more concentrated and stronger as Bragg's became spread out and weaker. The ill-advised assaults he ordered John C. Breckinridge to make on January 2, 1863, weakened his army without gain. But his subordinates were at various degrees of fault. The inexperienced Maj. Gen. John P. McCown was found guilty by court-martial of disobedience to Bragg's orders, which diluted the force of his division's attack and possibly cost the Confederates a victory. The charge of drunkenness pressed against division commander B. Franklin Cheatham was merited, as there were claims that he was so drunk during the battle that he fell off his horse while leading his men forward. Both Polk and Hardee can be faulted for not coordinating their attacks, but instead choosing to attack en echelon, which led to much of the confusion. Fault is also given to Jefferson Davis, who sent Maj. Gen. Carter L. Stevenson's division to the defense of Vicksburg. The loss of these troops weakened Bragg's army and if Bragg had had these troops victory might have been possible.

Many members of Bragg's army sought to get him transferred after the battle, citing the failure of the Kentucky invasion and the recent defeat at Murfreesboro, as well as the lack of faith the army had in Bragg, as reasons to remove him. Polk became the ringleader and tried to influence his friend Jefferson Davis through a series of letters explaining to Davis about why Bragg needed to go as the commander of the army. Hardee became Polk's second-in-command, so to speak, as he went about trying to influence the officers in the army against Bragg, while presenting a friendly face to him. Davis was unwilling to choose between Bragg and Polk, so he empowered Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, commander of all Confederate forces in the Western Theater, to relieve Bragg of command. Johnston visited Bragg, found general morale in the army to be high, and decided to retain him. Bragg was then driven from Tullahoma to Chattanooga and into Georgia during Rosecrans's Tullahoma Campaign in late June 1863, during which the Union general repeatedly turned the Confederate army from their positions.

After William S. Rosecrans had consolidated his gains and secured his hold on Chattanooga, he began moving his army into northern Georgia against Bragg's army. Bragg began to suffer from inattention to his orders on the part of his subordinates. On September 10, Maj. Gens. Thomas C. Hindman and D.H. Hill refused to attack the outnumbered Federal column under Brig. Gen. James S. Negley, as ordered. On September 13, Bragg ordered Leonidas Polk to attack Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden's corps, but Polk ignored the orders and demanded more troops, insisting that it was he who was about to be attacked. Rosecrans used the time lost in these delays to collect his scattered forces.[13] Finally, on September 19 and September 20, 1863, Bragg, reinforced by two divisions from Mississippi, one division and several brigades from the Department of East Tennessee, and two divisions under Lt. Gen. James Longstreet from Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, turned on the pursuing Rosecrans in northeastern Georgia and at high cost defeated him at the Battle of Chickamauga, the greatest Confederate victory in the Western Theater during the war. After the battle, Rosecrans's Army of the Cumberland retreated to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where Bragg laid siege to the city. He chose to use the victory to rid himself of his enemies within the army and managed to get Polk and D.H. Hill transferred. Bragg blamed Polk for the numerous occasions on which he disobeyed instructions. Hill, one of the many generals who were allies of Polk, spoke out against Bragg so much that Jefferson Davis removed him from command and canceled his endorsement of Hill's promotion to lieutenant general.

Things came to a boil in the Confederate high command in the aftermath of Chickamauga. Some of Bragg's subordinate generals were frustrated at what they perceived to be his lack of willingness to exploit the victory by driving the Union Army from Chattanooga and pursuing them. Polk in particular was outraged at being relieved of command. The dissidents, including many of the division and corps commanders, met in secret and prepared a petition to the president. Although the author of the petition is not known, historians suspect it was Simon Buckner, whose signature was first on the list.[14] Lt. Gen. James Longstreet wrote to the Secretary of War with the prediction that "nothing but the hand of God can save us or help us as long as we have our present commander." Nathan Bedford Forrest, dissatisfied after a long association with Bragg, and bitter about his failure to pursue the defeated Union forces after Chickamauga, refused to serve under him again. He told Bragg to his face, "You have played the part of a damned scoundrel. . If you ever again try to interfere with me or cross my path it will be at the peril of your life."[15] With the Army of Tennessee literally on the verge of mutiny, Jefferson Davis reluctantly traveled to Chattanooga to personally assess the situation and to try to stem the tide of dissent in the army. Although Bragg offered to resign to resolve the crisis,[16] Davis eventually decided to leave Bragg in command and denounced the other generals and termed their complaints "shafts of malice".[17]

Finally reinforced and now commanded by Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, the Union Army broke the siege by driving the Confederates from their commanding positions on Lookout Mountain (the famous "Battle Above the Clouds") on November 24, and Missionary Ridge the following day. The Battle of Chattanooga at Missionary Ridge resulted in a rout, with the Confederates narrowly escaping total destruction and retreating into Georgia. The loss of their hold on Chattanooga is partially attributed to poor placement of artillery instead of locating the guns on the military crest, they were placed on the actual crest of the ridge, allowing the approaching infantry to remain in defilade. Bragg, on the advice of Davis, sent James Longstreet and his divisions, as well as Simon B. Buckner and his division, to Knoxville, Tennessee, to lay siege to Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside and his forces in the city. This move was gladly accepted by Longstreet, and Bragg believed he could prevent Burnside from marching to Grant's aid. Only after the Confederate collapse at Chattanooga did Davis accept Bragg's resignation and replace him with Joseph E. Johnston, who commanded the army in the Atlanta Campaign against Sherman.

In February 1864, Bragg was sent to Richmond, Virginia his official orders read that he was "charged with the conduct of military operations of the Confederate States", but he was essentially Davis's military advisor without a direct command, a post once held by Robert E. Lee. Bragg used his organizational abilities to reduce corruption and improve the supply system. He reshaped the Confederacy's conscription process by streamlining the chain of command and reducing conscripts' avenues of appeal. Later he commanded in turn the defenses of Wilmington, North Carolina, the Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia, the defenses of Augusta, Georgia, the defenses of Savannah, Georgia, the defenses of Charleston, South Carolina, and in January 1865, the defenses again of Wilmington. His performance in the Second Battle of Fort Fisher caused the loss of the latter city, but he managed to escape with the bulk of the garrison and win a small victory at Kinston. Near the end of the war he served as a corps commander (although his command was less than a division in size) in the Army of Tennessee under Joseph E. Johnston in the Carolinas Campaign against Sherman and fought at the Battle of Bentonville. After Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, Bragg accompanied Jefferson Davis as he fled through South Carolina and into Georgia.

After the war Bragg served as the superintendent of the New Orleans waterworks and later became the chief engineer for Alabama, supervising harbor improvements at Mobile. He moved to Texas and became a railroad inspector.

Bragg was walking down a street with a friend in Galveston, Texas, when he suddenly fell over dead. A local legend holds that there is a mysterious light near the place of his death, which is called Bragg's Light. He is buried in Magnolia Cemetery, Mobile, Alabama.

James McPherson's reference to "the bumblers like Bragg and Pemberton and Hood who lost the West"[18] sums up the judgment of many modern historians. Bragg's shortcomings as an army commander included his unimaginative tactics, mostly his reliance on frontal assault (such as the Hornet's Nest at Shiloh, Breckinridge's assault at Stones River, and numerous instances at Chickamauga), and his lack of post-battle followup that turned tactical victories or draws into strategic disappointments (Perryville and Chickamauga). His sour disposition, penchant to blame others for defeat, and poor interpersonal skills undoubtedly caused him to be criticized more directly than many of his unsuccessful contemporaries. Historian Peter Cozzens wrote about his relationship with subordinates:[19]

Even Bragg's staunchest supporters admonished him for his quick temper, general irritability, and tendency to wound innocent men with barbs thrown during his frequent fits of anger. His reluctance to praise or flatter was exceeded, we are told, only by the tenacity with which, once formed, he clung to an adverse impression of a subordinate. For such officers𠅊nd they were many in the Army of the Mississippi𠅋ragg's removal or their transfer were the only alternatives to an unbearable existence.

– Peter Cozzens, No Better Place to Die: The Battle of Stones River

Some counterarguments have emerged in recent years. Judith Lee Hallock called the blaming of Bragg for Confederate defeats in the west the "Bragg syndrome." While most agree he was a poor army commander, historians such as Hallock and Steven Woodworth cite his skills as an organizer and that his defeat in several battles can also be partially blamed upon bad luck and incompetent subordinates, notably Polk. Of his troublesome subordinates, Hardee was considered to be a solid soldier even by Bragg. Polk, although personally brave and charismatic, was simply an average tactician known for insubordination and piecemeal attacks.[20] Unfortunately, he was a close friend of Davis, who was unwilling to relieve him. Bragg also never got the support Davis gave to Robert E. Lee and Sidney Johnston.[21] That his abilities were only properly utilized in 1861 and 1864 also shows the inability of the Confederacy to make proper use of many of its generals.[22] Despite his faults, Bragg was able to impress on occasion his superiors, such as Taylor, Davis, Beauregard, and Sidney Johnston.

Historians Grady McWhiney and Steven Woodworth have pointed out that, contrary to popular belief, Davis and Bragg were not friends, having bitterly quarreled during the antebellum years.[23] Davis was impressed with Bragg, but was willing to relieve him in early 1863. He did not relieve him, in part because no suitable replacements could be found, a consistent problem for Davis. Even Bragg's harshest critics have generally failed to suggest a suitable replacement.

A few geographic features memorialize Braxton Bragg:

Fort Bragg, a major United States Army post in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and home of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Fort Bragg, California, a town in northwestern California, which was named for him years before he became a general. An Army officer named the place for his former commanding officer, Braxton Bragg.

Bragg, Texas, a ghost town, also known as Bragg Station, which lies about ten miles (16 km) west of Kountze, Texas, in Hardin County.

Braxton Bragg (March 22, 1817 – September 27, 1876) was a career United States Army officer, and then a general in the Confederate States Army𠅊 principal commander in the Western Theater of the American Civil War and later the military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Early life and military career Bragg was born in Warrenton, North Carolina,[1] the younger brother of future Confederate Attorney General Thomas Bragg. He was often ridiculed as a child because of his mother's stint in prison. He was of English, Welsh and Scottish descent. He graduated fifth in a class of fifty from the United States Military Academy in 1837 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 3rd U.S. Artillery.

Bragg served in the Second Seminole War in Florida and took part in the occupation of Texas. He won promotions for bravery and distinguished conduct in the Mexican-American War, including a brevet promotion to captain for the Battle of Fort Brown (May 1846), to major for the Battle of Monterrey (September 1846), and to lieutenant colonel for the Battle of Buena Vista (February 1847). Bragg was also promoted to captain within the regular army in June 1846.[2] His conduct in Mexico had gained the respect of his commander, Gen. Zachary Taylor also, he had rescued the troops of Colonel Jefferson Davis, earning the latter's friendship.

Bragg had a reputation for being a strict disciplinarian and one who adhered to regulations literally. There is a famous, perhaps apocryphal, story about him as a company commander at a frontier post where he also served as quartermaster. He submitted a requisition for supplies for his company, then as quartermaster declined to fill it. As company commander, he resubmitted the requisition, giving additional reasons for his requirements, but as the quartermaster he denied the request again. Realizing that he was at a personal impasse, he referred the matter to the post commandant, who exclaimed, "My God, Mr. Bragg, you have quarreled with every officer in the army, and now you are quarreling with yourself!"[3] It is alleged that some of his troops attempted to assassinate him on two occasions in August and September 1847, but he was not injured either time. In the more serious of the two incidents, one of his soldiers exploded a 12-pound artillery shell underneath his cot. Although the cot was destroyed, somehow Bragg himself emerged without a scratch.[4]

In January 1856, Bragg resigned from the United States Army to become a sugar planter in Thibodaux, Louisiana. He also served as Commissioner of Public Works for the state.

Civil War Early Civil War career Bragg was the only General in command of an Army who has shown himself equal to the management of volunteers and at the same time commanded their love and respect.

Before the start of the Civil War, Bragg was a colonel in the Louisiana Militia and was promoted to major general of the militia on February 20, 1861. He commanded the forces around New Orleans, Louisiana, until April 16, but his commission was transferred to be a brigadier general of the Confederate States Army on March 7, 1861. He commanded forces in Pensacola, Florida, and the Department of West Florida and was promoted to major general on September 12, 1861. His command was extended to Alabama, and then to the Army of Pensacola in October 1861. His tenure was successful and he trained his men to be some of the best disciplined troops in the Confederate Army.[6]

Bragg brought his forces to Corinth, Mississippi, and was charged with improving the poor discipline of the Confederate troops already assembled. He commanded a corps at the Battle of Shiloh and attacked the Hornet's Nest with piecemeal frontal assaults.[7] After the Confederate commander, General Albert Sidney Johnston, was killed at Shiloh, General P.G.T. Beauregard assumed command. On that day, April 6, 1862, Bragg was promoted to general, one of only seven in the history of the Confederacy,[8] and assigned to command the Army of Mississippi.[9] The next day the Confederates were driven back to Corinth. After the Siege of Corinth, Beauregard departed on account of illness, although he failed to inform President Davis of his departure and spent two weeks absent without leave. Davis was looking for someone to replace Beauregard because of his poor performance at Corinth, and the opportunity presented itself when Beauregard left without permission. Bragg was then appointed his successor as commander of the Army of Tennessee in June 1862.

Army of Tennessee Perryville In August 1862, Bragg invaded Kentucky, hoping that he could arouse supporters of the Confederate cause in the border state and draw the Union forces under Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, beyond the Ohio River. Bragg transported all of his infantry by railroads from Tupelo, Mississippi, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, while his cavalry and artillery moved by road. By moving his army to Chattanooga, Tennessee, he was able to challenge Buell's advance on the city. Once his forces had assembled in Chattanooga, Bragg then planned to move north into Kentucky in cooperation with Lt. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, who was commanding a separate force operating out of Knoxville, Tennessee. He captured more than 4,000 Union soldiers at Munfordville, and then moved his army to Bardstown. On October 4, 1862, he participated in the inauguration of Richard Hawes as the provisional Confederate governor of Kentucky. The wing of Bragg's army under Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk met Buell's army at Perryville on October 8 and won a tactical victory against him.

Kirby Smith pleaded with Bragg to follow up on his success: "For God's sake, General, let us fight Buell here." Bragg replied, "I will do it, sir," but then displaying what one observer called "a perplexity and vacillation which had now become simply appalling to Smith, to Hardee, and to Polk,"[10] he ordered his army to retreat through the Cumberland Gap to Knoxville. Bragg referred to his retreat as a withdrawal, the successful culmination of a giant raid. He had multiple reasons for withdrawing. Disheartening news had arrived from northern Mississippi that Earl Van Dorn and Sterling Price had been defeated at Corinth, just as Robert E. Lee had failed in his Maryland Campaign. He saw that his army had not much to gain from a further, isolated victory, whereas a defeat might cost not only the bountiful food and supplies yet collected, but also his army. He wrote to his wife, "With the whole southwest thus in the enemy's possession, my crime would have been unpardonable had I kept my noble little army to be ice-bound in the northern clime, without tents or shoes, and obliged to forage daily for bread, etc."[11]

The invasion of Kentucky was a strategic failure, although it had forced the Union forces out of northern Alabama and most of middle Tennessee it would take the Union forces a year to regain the lost ground. Bragg was criticized by some newspapers and two of his own generals, Polk and William J. Hardee, but there was plenty of blame to spread among the Confederate high command for the failure of the invasion of Kentucky. The armies of Bragg and Kirby Smith suffered from a lack of unified command. Bragg can be faulted for moving his army away from Munfordville, out of Buell's path, a prime location for a battle to Confederate advantage. Polk can also be blamed for not following Bragg's instructions on the day before and of the battle.

Stones River and Tullahoma In December, Bragg fought the Battle of Stones River, and nearly defeated Union Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, but withdrew his army from the field to Tullahoma, Tennessee, after the urgings of corps commanders Hardee and Polk. The attacks upon Bragg started anew and several of his supporters now turned against him. James M. McPherson wrote about the aftermath of Stones River:[12]

While Washington breathed a sigh of relief after Stones River, dissension came to a head in the Army of Tennessee. All of Bragg's corps and division commanders expressed a lack of confidence in their chief. Senior Generals William J. Hardee and Leonidas Polk asked Davis to put Johnston in command of the army. Division commander B. Franklin Cheatham vowed he would never again serve under Bragg. Breckinridge wanted to challenge Bragg to a duel. Bragg struck back, court-martialing one division commander for disobeying orders, accusing another (Cheatham) of drunkenness during the battle, and blaming Breckinridge for inept leadership. This internecine donnybrook threatened to do more damage to the army than the Yankees had done. Disheartened, Bragg told a friend that it might "be better for the President to send someone to relieve me," and wrote Davis to the same effect.

– James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

Stones River was also another in which blame can be spread beyond Bragg alone. Bragg has to be faulted for the ground on which the battle was fought, which offered few advantages to the attacking Confederate army and offered more advantages to the defending Union army. He also selected his military objective poorly, resulting in a Union defensive line that became more concentrated and stronger as Bragg's became spread out and weaker. The ill-advised assaults he ordered John C. Breckinridge to make on January 2, 1863, weakened his army without gain. But his subordinates were at various degrees of fault. The inexperienced Maj. Gen. John P. McCown was found guilty by court-martial of disobedience to Bragg's orders, which diluted the force of his division's attack and possibly cost the Confederates a victory. The charge of drunkenness pressed against division commander B. Franklin Cheatham was merited, as there were claims that he was so drunk during the battle that he fell off his horse while leading his men forward. Both Polk and Hardee can be faulted for not coordinating their attacks, but instead choosing to attack en echelon, which led to much of the confusion. Fault is also given to Jefferson Davis, who sent Maj. Gen. Carter L. Stevenson's division to the defense of Vicksburg. The loss of these troops weakened Bragg's army and if Bragg had had these troops victory might have been possible.

Many members of Bragg's army sought to get him transferred after the battle, citing the failure of the Kentucky invasion and the recent defeat at Murfreesboro, as well as the lack of faith the army had in Bragg, as reasons to remove him. Polk became the ringleader and tried to influence his friend Jefferson Davis through a series of letters explaining to Davis about why Bragg needed to go as the commander of the army. Hardee became Polk's second-in-command, so to speak, as he went about trying to influence the officers in the army against Bragg, while presenting a friendly face to him. Davis was unwilling to choose between Bragg and Polk, so he empowered Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, commander of all Confederate forces in the Western Theater, to relieve Bragg of command. Johnston visited Bragg, found general morale in the army to be high, and decided to retain him. Bragg was then driven from Tullahoma to Chattanooga and into Georgia during Rosecrans's Tullahoma Campaign in late June 1863, during which the Union general repeatedly turned the Confederate army from their positions.

Chickamauga After William S. Rosecrans had consolidated his gains and secured his hold on Chattanooga, he began moving his army into northern Georgia against Bragg's army. Bragg began to suffer from inattention to his orders on the part of his subordinates. On September 10, Maj. Gens. Thomas C. Hindman and D.H. Hill refused to attack the outnumbered Federal column under Brig. Gen. James S. Negley, as ordered. On September 13, Bragg ordered Leonidas Polk to attack Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden's corps, but Polk ignored the orders and demanded more troops, insisting that it was he who was about to be attacked. Rosecrans used the time lost in these delays to collect his scattered forces.[13] Finally, on September 19 and September 20, 1863, Bragg, reinforced by two divisions from Mississippi, one division and several brigades from the Department of East Tennessee, and two divisions under Lt. Gen. James Longstreet from Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, turned on the pursuing Rosecrans in northeastern Georgia and at high cost defeated him at the Battle of Chickamauga, the greatest Confederate victory in the Western Theater during the war. After the battle, Rosecrans's Army of the Cumberland retreated to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where Bragg laid siege to the city. He chose to use the victory to rid himself of his enemies within the army and managed to get Polk and D.H. Hill transferred. Bragg blamed Polk for the numerous occasions on which he disobeyed instructions. Hill, one of the many generals who were allies of Polk, spoke out against Bragg so much that Jefferson Davis removed him from command and canceled his endorsement of Hill's promotion to lieutenant general.

Things came to a boil in the Confederate high command in the aftermath of Chickamauga. Some of Bragg's subordinate generals were frustrated at what they perceived to be his lack of willingness to exploit the victory by driving the Union Army from Chattanooga and pursuing them. Polk in particular was outraged at being relieved of command. The dissidents, including many of the division and corps commanders, met in secret and prepared a petition to the president. Although the author of the petition is not known, historians suspect it was Simon Buckner, whose signature was first on the list.[14] Lt. Gen. James Longstreet wrote to the Secretary of War with the prediction that "nothing but the hand of God can save us or help us as long as we have our present commander." Nathan Bedford Forrest, dissatisfied after a long association with Bragg, and bitter about his failure to pursue the defeated Union forces after Chickamauga, refused to serve under him again. He told Bragg to his face, "You have played the part of a damned scoundrel. . If you ever again try to interfere with me or cross my path it will be at the peril of your life."[15] With the Army of Tennessee literally on the verge of mutiny, Jefferson Davis reluctantly traveled to Chattanooga to personally assess the situation and to try to stem the tide of dissent in the army. Although Bragg offered to resign to resolve the crisis,[16] Davis eventually decided to leave Bragg in command and denounced the other generals and termed their complaints "shafts of malice".[17]

Chattanooga Finally reinforced and now commanded by Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, the Union Army broke the siege by driving the Confederates from their commanding positions on Lookout Mountain (the famous "Battle Above the Clouds") on November 24, and Missionary Ridge the following day. The Battle of Chattanooga at Missionary Ridge resulted in a rout, with the Confederates narrowly escaping total destruction and retreating into Georgia. The loss of their hold on Chattanooga is partially attributed to poor placement of artillery instead of locating the guns on the military crest, they were placed on the actual crest of the ridge, allowing the approaching infantry to remain in defilade. Bragg, on the advice of Davis, sent James Longstreet and his divisions, as well as Simon B. Buckner and his division, to Knoxville, Tennessee, to lay siege to Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside and his forces in the city. This move was gladly accepted by Longstreet, and Bragg believed he could prevent Burnside from marching to Grant's aid. Only after the Confederate collapse at Chattanooga did Davis accept Bragg's resignation and replace him with Joseph E. Johnston, who commanded the army in the Atlanta Campaign against Sherman.

Final days In February 1864, Bragg was sent to Richmond, Virginia his official orders read that he was "charged with the conduct of military operations of the Confederate States", but he was essentially Davis's military advisor without a direct command, a post once held by Robert E. Lee. Bragg used his organizational abilities to reduce corruption and improve the supply system. He reshaped the Confederacy's conscription process by streamlining the chain of command and reducing conscripts' avenues of appeal. Later he commanded in turn the defenses of Wilmington, North Carolina, the Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia, the defenses of Augusta, Georgia, the defenses of Savannah, Georgia, the defenses of Charleston, South Carolina, and in January 1865, the defenses again of Wilmington. His performance in the Second Battle of Fort Fisher caused the loss of the latter city, but he managed to escape with the bulk of the garrison and win a small victory at Kinston. Near the end of the war he served as a corps commander (although his command was less than a division in size) in the Army of Tennessee under Joseph E. Johnston in the Carolinas Campaign against Sherman and fought at the Battle of Bentonville. After Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, Bragg accompanied Jefferson Davis as he fled through South Carolina and into Georgia.

Postbellum After the war Bragg served as the superintendent of the New Orleans waterworks and later became the chief engineer for Alabama, supervising harbor improvements at Mobile. He moved to Texas and became a railroad inspector.

Bragg was walking down a street with a friend in Galveston, Texas, when he suddenly fell over dead. A local legend holds that there is a mysterious light near the place of his death, which is called Bragg's Light. He is buried in Magnolia Cemetery, Mobile, Alabama.

Controversial legacy James McPherson's reference to "the bumblers like Bragg and Pemberton and Hood who lost the West"[18] sums up the judgment of many modern historians. Bragg's shortcomings as an army commander included his unimaginative tactics, mostly his reliance on frontal assault (such as the Hornet's Nest at Shiloh, Breckinridge's assault at Stones River, and numerous instances at Chickamauga), and his lack of post-battle followup that turned tactical victories or draws into strategic disappointments (Perryville and Chickamauga). His sour disposition, penchant to blame others for defeat, and poor interpersonal skills undoubtedly caused him to be criticized more directly than many of his unsuccessful contemporaries. Historian Peter Cozzens wrote about his relationship with subordinates:[19]

Even Bragg's staunchest supporters admonished him for his quick temper, general irritability, and tendency to wound innocent men with barbs thrown during his frequent fits of anger. His reluctance to praise or flatter was exceeded, we are told, only by the tenacity with which, once formed, he clung to an adverse impression of a subordinate. For such officers𠅊nd they were many in the Army of the Mississippi𠅋ragg's removal or their transfer were the only alternatives to an unbearable existence.

– Peter Cozzens, No Better Place to Die: The Battle of Stones River

Some counterarguments have emerged in recent years. Judith Lee Hallock called the blaming of Bragg for Confederate defeats in the west the "Bragg syndrome." While most agree he was a poor army commander, historians such as Hallock and Steven Woodworth cite his skills as an organizer and that his defeat in several battles can also be partially blamed upon bad luck and incompetent subordinates, notably Polk. Of his troublesome subordinates, Hardee was considered to be a solid soldier even by Bragg. Polk, although personally brave and charismatic, was simply an average tactician known for insubordination and piecemeal attacks.[20] Unfortunately, he was a close friend of Davis, who was unwilling to relieve him. Bragg also never got the support Davis gave to Robert E. Lee and Sidney Johnston.[21] That his abilities were only properly utilized in 1861 and 1864 also shows the inability of the Confederacy to make proper use of many of its generals.[22] Despite his faults, Bragg was able to impress on occasion his superiors, such as Taylor, Davis, Beauregard, and Sidney Johnston.

Historians Grady McWhiney and Steven Woodworth have pointed out that, contrary to popular belief, Davis and Bragg were not friends, having bitterly quarreled during the antebellum years.[23] Davis was impressed with Bragg, but was willing to relieve him in early 1863. He did not relieve him, in part because no suitable replacements could be found, a consistent problem for Davis. Even Bragg's harshest critics have generally failed to suggest a suitable replacement.

In memoriam A few geographic features memorialize Braxton Bragg:

Fort Bragg, a major United States Army post in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and home of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Fort Bragg, California, a town in northwestern California, which was named for him years before he became a general. An Army officer named the place for his former commanding officer, Braxton Bragg.

Bragg, Texas, a ghost town, also known as Bragg Station, which lies about ten miles (16 km) west of Kountze, Texas, in Hardin County.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braxton_Bragg General in the Confederate Army Braxton Bragg (March 22, 1817 – September 27, 1876) was a career U.S. Army officer and a general in the Confederate States Army, a principal commander in the Western Theater of the American Civil War.

Early life and military career

Bragg was born in Warrenton, North Carolina, the younger brother of future Confederate Attorney General Thomas Bragg. He was often ridiculed as a child because of his mother's stint in prison. He graduated fifth in a class of fifty from the U.S. Military Academy in 1837 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 3rd U.S. Artillery.

Bragg served in the Second Seminole War in Florida and took part in the occupation of Texas. He won promotions for bravery and distinguished conduct in the Mexican-American War, including a brevet promotion to major for the Battle of Monterrey and to lieutenant colonel for the Battle of Buena Vista. He gained the respect of Gen. Zachary Taylor.

Bragg had a reputation for being a strict disciplinarian and one who adhered to regulations literally. There is a famous, perhaps apocryphal, story about him as a company commander at a frontier post where he also served as quartermaster. He submitted a requisition for supplies for his company, then as quartermaster declined to fill it. As company commander, he resubmitted the requisition, giving additional reasons for his requirements, but as the quartermaster he denied the request again. Realizing that he was at a personal impasse, he referred the matter to the post commandant, who exclaimed, "My God, Mr. Bragg, you have quarreled with every officer in the army, and now you are quarreling with yourself!" It is alleged that some of his troops attempted to assassinate him on two occasions in August and September 1847, but he was not injured either time. In the more serious of the two incidents, one of his soldiers exploded a 12-pound artillery shell underneath his cot. Although the cot was destroyed, somehow Bragg himself emerged without a scratch.[1]

In 1856, Bragg resigned from the U.S. Army to become a sugar planter in Thibodeaux, Louisiana. He also served as Commissioner of Public Works for the state.

Before the start of the Civil War, Bragg was a colonel in the Louisiana Militia and was promoted to major general of the militia on February 20, 1861. He commanded the forces around New Orleans, Louisiana, until April 16, but his commission was transferred to be a brigadier general of the Confederate States Army on March 7, 1861. He commanded forces in Pensacola, Florida, and the Department of West Florida and was promoted to major general on September 12, 1861. His command was extended to Alabama, and then to the Army of Pensacola in October 1861. His tenure was successful and along with friend Richard Taylor he turned his men into some of the best disciplined troops in the Confederate Army.

Bragg brought his forces to Corinth, Mississippi, and was charged with improving the poor discipline of the Confederate troops already assembled. He commanded a corps at the Battle of Shiloh and attacked the Hornet's Nest with piecemeal frontal assaults.[2] After the Confederate commander, General Albert Sidney Johnston, was killed at Shiloh, General P.G.T. Beauregard assumed command. On that day, April 6, 1862, Bragg was promoted to full general, one of only eight in the history of the Confederacy, and assigned to command the Army of Mississippi.[3] The next day the Confederates were driven back to Corinth. After the Siege of Corinth, Beauregard departed on account of illness, although he failed to inform President Davis of his departure and spent two weeks absent without leave. Davis was looking for someone to replace Beauregard because of his poor performance at Corinth, and the opportunity presented itself when Beauregard left without permission. Bragg was then appointed his successor as commander of the Army of Tennessee in June 1862.

In August 1862, Bragg invaded Kentucky, hoping that he could arouse supporters of the Confederate cause in the border state and draw the Union forces under Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, beyond the Ohio River. Bragg transported all of his infantry by railroads from Tupelo, Mississippi, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, while his cavalry and artillery moved by road. By moving his army to Chattanooga, Tennessee, he was able to challenge Buell's advance on the city. Once his forces had assembled in Chattanooga, Bragg then planned to move north into Kentucky in cooperation with Lt. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, who was commanding a separate force operating out of Knoxville, Tennessee. He captured over 4,000 Union soldiers at Munfordville, and then moved his army to Bardstown. On October 4, 1862, he participated in the inauguration of Richard Hawes as the provisional Confederate governor of Kentucky. The wing of Bragg's army under Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk met Buell's army at Perryville on October 8 and won a tactical victory against him.

Kirby Smith pleaded with Bragg to follow up on his success: "For God's sake, General, let us fight Buell here." Bragg replied, "I will do it, sir," but then displaying what one observer called "a perplexity and vacillation which had now become simply appalling to Smith, to Hardee, and to Polk,"[4] he ordered his army to retreat through the Cumberland Gap to Knoxville. Bragg referred to his retreat as a withdrawal, the successful culmination of a giant raid. He had multiple reasons for withdrawing. Disheartening news had arrived from North Mississippi that Earl Van Dorn and Sterling Price had failed at Corinth, just as Robert E. Lee had failed in his Maryland Campaign. He saw that his army had not much to gain from a further, isolated victory, whereas a defeat might cost not only the bountiful food and supplies yet collected, but also his army. He wrote to his wife, "With the whole southwest thus in the enemy's possession, my crime would have been unpardonable had I kept my noble little army to be ice-bound in the northern clime, without tents or shoes, and obliged to forage daily for bread, etc."[5]

The invasion of Kentucky was a strategic failure, although it had forced the Union forces out of Northern Alabama and most of Middle Tennessee it would take the Union forces a year to regain the lost ground. Bragg was criticized by some newspapers and two of his own generals, Polk and William J. Hardee, but there was plenty of blame to spread among the Confederate high command for the failure of the invasion of Kentucky. The armies of Bragg and Kirby Smith suffered from a lack of unified command. Bragg can be faulted for moving his army away from Munfordville, out of Buell's path, a prime location for a battle to Confederate advantage. Polk can also be blamed for not following Bragg's instructions on the day before and of the battle.

In December, Bragg fought the Battle of Stones River, and nearly defeated Union Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, but withdrew his army from the field to Tullahoma, Tennessee, after the urgings of corps commanders Hardee and Polk. The attacks upon Bragg started anew and several of his supporters now turned against him. James M. McPherson wrote about the aftermath of Stones River:[6]

Stones River was also another in which blame can be spread beyond Bragg alone. Bragg has to be faulted for the ground on which the battle was fought, which offered few advantages to the attacking Confederate army and offered more advantages to the defending Union army. He also selected his military objective poorly, resulting in a Union defensive line that became more concentrated and stronger as Bragg's became spread out and weaker. The ill-advised assaults he ordered John C. Breckinridge to make on January 2, 1863, weakened his army without gain. But his subordinates were at various degrees of fault. The inexperienced Maj. Gen. John P. McCown was found guilty by court-martial of disobedience to Bragg's orders, which diluted the force of his division's attack and possibly cost the Confederates a victory. The charge of drunkenness pressed against division commander B. Franklin Cheatham was merited as there were claims that he was so drunk during the battle that he fell off his horse while leading his men forward. Both Polk and Hardee can be faulted for not coordinating their attacks, but instead choosing to attack en echelon, which led to much of the confusion. Fault is also given to Jefferson Davis, who sent Maj. Gen. Carter L. Stevenson's division to the defense of Vicksburg. The loss of these troops weakened Bragg's army and if Bragg had had these troops victory might have been possible.

Many members of Bragg's army sought to get him transferred after the battle, citing the failure of the Kentucky invasion and the recent defeat at Murfreesboro, as well as the lack of faith the army had in Bragg, as reasons to remove him. Polk became the ringleader and tried to influence his friend Jefferson Davis through a series of letters explaining to Davis about why Bragg needed to go as the commander of the army. Hardee became Polk's second-in-command, so to speak, as he went about trying to influence the officers in the army against Bragg, while presenting a friendly face to him. Davis was unwilling to choose between Bragg and Polk, so he empowered Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, commander of all Confederate forces in the Western Theater, to relieve Bragg of command. Johnston visited Bragg, found general morale in the army to be high, and decided to retain him. Bragg was then driven from Tullahoma to Chattanooga and into Georgia during Rosecrans's Tullahoma Campaign in late June 1863, during which he constantly outflanked the Confederate army of their positions.

After William S. Rosecrans had consolidated his gains and completed his hold on Chattanooga, he began moving his army into northern Georgia against Bragg's army. Bragg began to suffer from inattention to his orders on the part of his subordinates. On September 10, Maj. Gens. Thomas C. Hindman and D.H. Hill refused to attack the outnumbered Federal column under Brig. Gen. James S. Negley, as ordered. On September 13, Bragg ordered Leonidas Polk to attack Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden's corps, but Polk ignored the orders and demanded more troops, insisting that it was he who was about to be attacked. Rosecrans used the time lost in these delays to collect his scattered forces.[7] Finally, on September 19 and September 20, 1863, Bragg, reinforced by two divisions from Mississippi, one division and several brigades from the Department of East Tennessee, and two divisions under Lt. Gen. James Longstreet from Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, turned on the pursuing Rosecrans in northeastern Georgia and at high cost defeated him at the Battle of Chickamauga, the greatest Confederate victory in the Western Theater during the war. After the battle, Rosecrans's Army of the Cumberland retreated to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where Bragg laid siege to the city. He chose to use the victory to rid himself of his enemies within the army and managed to get Polk and D.H. Hill transferred. Bragg blamed for Polk for the numerous occasions in which he disobeyed instructions. Hill, one of the many generals who were allies of Polk, spoke out against Bragg so much that Jefferson Davis removed him from command and canceled his endorsement for Hill's promotion to lieutenant general.

Things came to a boil in the Confederate high command in the aftermath of Chickamauga. Some of Bragg's subordinate generals were frustrated at what they perceived to be his lack of willingness to exploit the victory by driving the Union Army from Chattanooga and pursuing them. Polk in particular was outraged to being relieved of command. The dissidents, including many of the division and corps commanders, met in secret and prepared a petition to the president. Although the author of the petition is not known, historians suspect it was Simon Buckner, whose signature was first on the list.[8] Lt. Gen. James Longstreet wrote to the Secretary of War with the prediction that "nothing but the hand of God can save us or help us as long as we have our present commander." Nathan Bedford Forrest, dissatisfied after a long association with Bragg, and bitter about his failure to pursue the defeated Union forces after Chickamauga, refused to serve under him again. He told Bragg to his face, "You have played the part of a damned scoundrel. . If you ever again try to interfere with me or cross my path it will be at the peril of your life."[9] With the Army of Tennessee literally on the verge of mutiny, Jefferson Davis reluctantly traveled to Chattanooga to personally assess the situation and to try to stem the tide of dissent in the army. Although Bragg offered to resign to resolve the crisis,[10] Davis eventually decided to leave Bragg in command and denounced the other generals and termed their complaints "shafts of malice".[11]

When finally reinforced and now commanded by Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, the Union Army broke the siege by driving the Confederates from their commanding positions on Lookout Mountain (the famous "Battle Above the Clouds") on November 24, and Missionary Ridge the following day. The Battle of Chattanooga at Missionary Ridge resulted in a rout with the Confederates narrowly escaping total destruction and retreating into Georgia. The loss of their hold on Chattanooga is partially attributed to poor placement of artillery instead of locating the guns on the military crest, they were placed on the actual crest of the ridge, allowing the approaching infantry to remain in defilade. Bragg, under advice from Davis, sent James Longstreet and his divisions, as well as Simon B. Buckner and his division, to Knoxville, Tennessee, to lay siege to Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside and his forces located in the city. While this move was gladly accepted by Longstreet, and Bragg believed he could prevent Burnside from marching to Grant's aid. Only after the Confederate collapse at Chattanooga did Davis accept Bragg's resignation and replace him with Joseph E. Johnston, who commanded the army in the Atlanta Campaign against Sherman.

In February 1864, Bragg was sent to Richmond, Virginia his official orders read that he was "charged with the conduct of military operations of the Confederate States", but he was essentially Davis's military advisor without a direct command, a post once held by Robert E. Lee. Bragg used his organizational abilities to reduce corruption and improve the supply system. He reshaped the Confederacy's conscription process by streamlining the chain of command and reducing conscripts' avenues of appeal. Later he commanded in turn the defenses of Wilmington, North Carolina, the Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia, the defenses of Augusta, Georgia, the defenses of Savannah, Georgia, the defenses of Charleston, South Carolina, and in January 1865, the defenses again of Wilmington. His performance in the Second Battle of Fort Fisher caused the loss of the latter city, but he managed to escape with the bulk of the garrison and win a small victory at Kinston. Near the end of the war he served as a corps commander (although his command was less than a division in size) in the Army of Tennessee under Joseph E. Johnston in the Carolinas Campaign against Sherman and fought at the Battle of Bentonville. After Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, Bragg accompanied Jefferson Davis as he fled through South Carolina and into Georgia.

After the war Bragg served as the superintendent of the New Orleans waterworks and later became the chief engineer for Alabama, supervising harbor improvements at Mobile. He moved to Texas and became a railroad inspector.

Bragg was walking down a street with a friend in Galveston, Texas, when he suddenly fell over dead. A local legend holds that there is a mysterious light near the place of his death, which is called Bragg's light. He is buried in Magnolia Cemetery, Mobile, Alabama.

James McPherson's reference to "the bumblers like Bragg and Pemberton and Hood who lost the West"[12] sums up the judgment of many modern historians. Bragg's shortcomings as an army commander included his unimaginative tactics, mostly his reliance on frontal assault (such as the Hornet's Nest at Shiloh, Breckinridge's assault at Stones River, and numerous instances at Chickamauga), and his lack of post-battle followup that turned tactical victories or draws into strategic disappointments (Perryville and Chickamauga). His sour disposition, penchant to blame others for defeat, and poor interpersonal relationships undoubtedly caused him to be criticized more directly than many of his unsuccessful contemporaries were. Historian Peter Cozzens wrote about his relationship with subordinates:[13]

Some counterarguments have emerged in recent years. Judith Lee Hallock called the blaming of Bragg for Confederate defeats in the west the "Bragg syndrome." While most agree he was a poor army commander, historians such as Hallock and Steven Woodworth cite his skills as an organizer and that his defeat in several battles can also be partially blamed upon bad luck and incompetent subordinates, notably Polk. Of his troublesome subordinates, Hardee was considered to be a solid soldier even by Bragg. Polk, although personally brave and charismatic, was simply an average tactician known for insubordination and piecemeal attacks.[14] Unfortunately, he was a close friend of Davis, who was unwilling to relieve him. Bragg also never got the support Davis gave to Robert E. Lee and Sidney Johnston.[15] That his abilities were only properly utilized in 1861 and 1864 also shows the inability of the Confederacy to make proper use of many of its generals.[16] Despite his faults, Bragg was able to impress on occasion his superiors, such as Taylor, Davis, Beauregard, and Sidney Johnston.

Historians Grady McWhiney and Steven Woodworth have pointed out that, contrary to popular belief, Davis and Bragg were not friends, having bitterly quarreled during the antebellum years.[17] Davis was impressed with Bragg, but was willing to relieve him in early 1863. He did not relieve him, in part because no suitable replacements could be found, a consistent problem for Davis. Even Bragg's harshest critics have generally failed to suggest a suitable replacement.


Contents

World War I Edit

Camp Bragg was established in 1918 as an artillery training ground. The Chief of Field Artillery, General William J. Snow, was seeking an area having suitable terrain, adequate water, rail facilities, and a climate suitable for year-round training, and he decided that the area now known as Fort Bragg met all of the desired criteria. [6] Camp Bragg was named for Braxton Bragg, a former U.S. Army artillery commander and West Point graduate who later fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War.

The aim was for six artillery brigades to be stationed there and $6,000,000 was spent on the land and cantonments. [7] There was an airfield on the camp used by aircraft and balloons for artillery spotters. The airfield was named Pope Field on April 1, 1919, in honor of First Lieutenant Harley H. Pope, [7] an airman who was killed while flying nearby. The work on the camp was finished on November 1, 1919. [7]

The original plan for six brigades was abandoned after World War I ended [7] and once demobilization had started. The artillerymen, and their equipment and material from Camp McClellan, Alabama, were moved to Fort Bragg and testing began on long-range weapons that were a product of the war. [7] The six artillery brigades were reduced to two cantonments and a garrison was to be built for Army troops as well as a National Guard training center. [7] In early 1921 two field artillery units, the 13th and 17th Field Artillery Brigades began training at Camp Bragg. The same year, the Long Street Church and six acres of property were acquired for the reservation. [8] The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. [9]

Due to the post-war cutbacks, the camp was nearly closed for good when the War department issued orders to close the camp on August 7, 1921. General Albert J. Bowley was commander at the camp and after much campaigning, and getting the Secretary of War to visit the camp, the closing order was canceled on September 16, 1921. The Field Artillery Board was transferred to Fort Bragg on February 1, 1922.

Camp Bragg was renamed Fort Bragg, to signify becoming a permanent Army post, on September 30, 1922. From 1923 to 1924 permanent structures were constructed on Fort Bragg, including four barracks. [7]

World War II Edit

By 1940, during World War II, the population of Fort Bragg had reached 5,400 however, in the following year, that number ballooned to 67,000. Various units trained at Fort Bragg during World War II, including the 9th Infantry Division, 2nd Armored Division, 82nd Airborne Division, 100th Infantry Division, and various field artillery groups. The population reached a peak of 159,000 during the war years. [10]

Cold War Edit

Following World War II, the 82nd Airborne Division was permanently stationed at Fort Bragg, the only large unit there for some time. In July 1951, the XVIII Airborne Corps was reactivated at Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg became a center for unconventional warfare, with the creation of the Psychological Warfare Center in April 1952, followed by the 10th Special Forces Group. [11]

In 1961, the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) was activated at Fort Bragg, with the mission of training counter-insurgency forces in Southeast Asia. Also in 1961, the "Iron Mike" statue, a tribute to all Airborne soldiers, past, present, and future was dedicated. In early 1962 the 326 Army Security Agency Company, de-activated after the Korean War, was reactivated at Ft. Bragg under XVIIIth Corps. In August of that year, an operational contingent of that Company was relocated to Homestead AFB Florida, due to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Circa 1963, that contingent was reassigned to the newly created USASA 6th Field Station. [12] More than 200,000 young men underwent basic combat training here during the period 1966–70. At the peak of the Vietnam War in 1968, Fort Bragg's military population rose to 57,840. In June 1972, the 1st Corps Support Command arrived at Fort Bragg. [13]

In the 1980s, there was a series of deployments of tenant units to the Caribbean, first to Grenada in 1983, Honduras in 1988, and to Panama in 1989. The 5th Special Forces Group departed Fort Bragg in the late 1980s. [14]

Middle East wars Edit

In 1990, the XVIII Airborne Corps and the 82nd Airborne Division deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. In the mid- and late 1990s, there was increased modernization of the facilities in Fort Bragg. The World War II wooden barracks were largely removed, a new main post exchange was built, and Devers Elementary School was opened, along with several other projects. [15]

As a result of campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, the units on Fort Bragg have seen a sizeable increase to their operations tempo (OPTEMPO), with units conducting two, three, or even four or more deployments to combat zones. As directed by law, and in accordance with the recommendations of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission, Fort McPherson, Georgia, closed and U.S. Army Forces Command and U.S. Army Reserve Command relocated to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. A new FORSCOM/U.S. Army Reserve Command Headquarters facility completed construction at Fort Bragg in June 2011. Forces Command hosted June 24, 2011 an Army "Casing of the Colors" ceremony on Fort McPherson and an "uncasing of colors ceremony" on August 1, 2011, at Fort Bragg. On March 1, 2011, Pope Field, the former Pope Air Force Base, was absorbed into Fort Bragg.

The major commands at the installation are the United States Army Forces Command, the United States Army Reserve Command, and the United States Army Special Operations Command. Several airborne and special operations units of the United States Army are stationed at Fort Bragg, notably the 82nd Airborne Division, the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), and the Delta Force. The latter is controlled by the Joint Special Operations Command, based at Pope Field within Fort Bragg.

    :
    • Headquarters, XVIII Airborne Corps
    • 82nd Airborne Division
      • Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division
      • 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team "1st Devil Brigade Combat Team"
      • 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team "2nd Falcon Brigade Combat Team"
      • 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team "3rd Panther Brigade Combat Team"
      • 82nd Airborne Division Artillery
        • Headquarters and Headquarters Company
        • 1st Special Forces Command Intelligence Battalion
        • 1st Theater Sustainment Command
        • 1st Battalion, 313th Regiment (Logistics Support Battalion)
        • 127th Brigade Engineer Battalion
          (SFOD-D) (a.k.a. "Delta Force")
    • Fort Bragg is at 35°8'21" north, 78°59'57" west (35.139064, −78.999143). [16]

      According to the United States Census Bureau, the post has a total area of 19.0 square miles (49.2 km 2 ), of which, 19.0 square miles (49.1 km 2 ) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km 2 ) of it is water. The total area is 0.32% water.

      Kiest, Simmons, Boundary Line, McFayden, Hurley and Holland lakes are intensively managed to maintain fish populations. Croatan, Quail, Deer Pen, Overhills, Big Muddy, Little Muddy, Texas, MacArthur, Smith, Mott, and Lindsay lakes are managed, but are not normally treated or restocked since their fish populations are respectable and are maintained naturally. [17] A 1.1 MW floating solar plant with a 2 MW battery is being installed on Big Muddy lake at $36 million. [18]

      International security website Globalsecurity.org reports that Fort Bragg occupies approximately 160,700 acres (650 km 2 ). [19]

      Ft. Bragg is the only locality where the endangered Saint Francis' satyr butterfly (Neonympha mitchellii francisci) is known to occur. St. Francis' satyr is found in wetland habitat dominated by graminoids and sedges such as abandoned beaver dams or along streams with beavers.

      Fort Bragg fever, a bacterial zoonotic disease, has been named after it, in reference to an outbreak in 1942.

      In 1990, the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker came under the protection of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This caused a tremendous problem for Fort Bragg, where many of these birds lived. Training stopped, ranges were closed, and troops were temporarily moved to other installations for training.

      The Army and the conservationists eventually came to an agreement, which put in place training restrictions around the woodpeckers' habitat. White stripes were painted on trees to indicate the location of the habitats, and restrictions limited the scope and duration of training that could take place within 200 feet (61 m) of these locations.

      Today, the clusters of woodpeckers has more than doubled in size (200 to 493), and many of the training restrictions have been lifted. [20]

      As of the census [1] of 2000, there were 29,183 people, 4,315 households, and 4,215 families residing on the base. The population density was 1,540.0 inhabitants per square mile (594.6/km 2 ). There were 4,420 housing units at an average density of 233.3 per square mile (90.1/km 2 ). Fort Bragg was not recorded as a census-designated place for the 2010 census.

      Racial makeup Edit

      In 2000, the racial makeup of the base was 58.1% Caucasian, 25.3% African-American, 1.2% Native American, 1.8% Asian, 0.9% Pacific Islander, 8.3% from other races, and 4.4% from two or more races. 15.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

      Households Edit

      In 2000, there were 4,315 households, out of which 85.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 88.9% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 2.3% were non-families. 2.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 0.0% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.72, and the average family size was 3.74.

      Ages Edit

      The age distribution in 2000 was 25.8% under the age of 18, 40.9% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 1.1% from 45 to 64, and 0.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females, there were 217.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 293.5 males. All of these statistics are typical for military bases. [ citation needed ]

      Income Edit

      The median income for a household on the base at the 2000 census was $30,106, and the median income for a family was $29,836. 10.0% of the population and 9.6% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 11.4% of those under the age of 18 and 0.0% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

      Housing Edit

      Corvias-managed housing under IMCOM is attracting national attention because of reports of lead contamination, black mold, and asbestos from base residents. [22]

      • In January 1942, Mickey Rooney visited Fort Bragg to entertain the soldiers. [23] Two years later, he was drafted and served in the Army until the end of World War II.
      • On October 12, 1961, President John F. Kennedy visits Ft. Bragg and the US Army Special Warfare Center and officializes the wear of the Green Beret. [24]
      • On February 17, 1970, Jeffrey R. MacDonald murdered his pregnant wife and two daughters. The events surrounding the murders were retold in the book Fatal Vision, itself made into a television miniseries of the same name. [citation needed]
      • On May 10, 1987, President Ronald Reagan visits during a USO show with Bob Hope and other celebrities. [25]
      • On July 1, 1987, a C-130 crashes during a public demonstration at the Sicily Drop Zone. Four airmen and one soldier die. [26]
      • On March 23, 1994, twenty-four members of Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division were killed and over 100 others injured while preparing for a routine airborne training operation during the Green Ramp disaster at neighboring Pope Air Force base. It was the worst peacetime loss of life suffered by the division since the end of World War II.
      • On October 27, 1995, William Kreutzer, Jr. opened fire at Fort Bragg, killing an officer and wounding 18 other soldiers.
      • On June 28, 2005, President George W. Bush gave a nationally televised speech at Fort Bragg to reaffirm the United States' mission in Iraq.
      • On December 13, 2011, WWE hosted its annual Tribute to the Troops for Fort Bragg at the FayettevilleCrown Coliseum with special guest stars Robin Williams, Nickelback, and Mary J. Blige.
      • On December 14, 2011, President Barack Obama gave a nationally televised speech thanking soldiers for their service in Operation Iraqi Freedom. [27]
      • In 2012, Ashley Broadway, the same-sex spouse of Lt. Col. Heather Mack, was denied full membership to the Association of Bragg Officers' Spouses. [28]
      • On June 28, 2012, Specialist Ricky G. Elder shot and killed Lieutenant Colonel Roy L. Tisdale of the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade during a safety brief. The soldier also shot himself and injured two other fellow soldiers. [29] He later died of his injuries. [30]
      • On January 20, 2013, Army Times highlights the experience of a married same-sex couple at Fort Bragg, both service members, who are denied the housing allowance and other benefits that are available to different-sex married service members. [31]
      • On March 8, 2016, Major League Baseball announced that the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins would play a special neutral-site game, the Fort Bragg Game, at the newly constructed Fort Bragg Stadium, on July 3, 2016. It was the first time that an active military installation has hosted a regular-season game of a professional sports league. The game was attended primarily by military members. [32] In addition, the game was the first Major League Baseball regular season game ever held in the state of North Carolina. [33] The ballpark was built on a disused golf course and sat 12,500 fans for the game, a 5–2 Marlins win televised live on ESPN. Following the conclusion of the game, the grandstands and other facilities were removed, and the field became a multi-use sporting ground. [34]
      • On Oct 21, 2020, the official Fort Bragg Twitter account sent out several sexually charged tweets. [35]
        , author and screenwriter , professional golfer , former NFL linebacker, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1943–2012), Mafia associate , retired U.S. Armylieutenant general , professional wrestler , former NFL football player , Country music artist, founder of the national charitable organization Tribute to the Troops , former Green Beret physician charged with the 1970 murders of his pregnant wife and two daughters convicted in 1979 and serving a life sentence (born 1980), retired mixed martial arts fighter, grew up on Fort Bragg (born 1960), actress , Super Bowl champion and two-time Pro Bowl running back , Olympic track and field athlete who competed in sprinting events

      Actress Martha Raye is buried on Fort Bragg in commemoration of her work with the USO during World War II and Vietnam. [36]


      Braxton Bragg

      One of the most controversial figures of the Confederate army, Braxton Bragg, was born on March 22, 1817, in Warrenton, North Carolina. Bragg’s father, a successful carpenter, determined to send his son to the United States Military Academy. Thanks to the political connections of his older brother, Bragg received his appointment at age 16 and graduated fifth in the class of 1837, ahead of Jubal Early, John Sedgwick, John C. Pemberton, Joe Hooker, and others.

      Bragg served in the Second Seminole War and commanded Fort Marion in Florida, displaying a penchant for strict discipline and the first hints of an argumentative personality. In spite of this reputation, Bragg won promotions for bravery during the Mexican War, where the timely arrival of his artillery at the Battle of Buena Vista, helped the Americans repel the numerically superior Mexican force. This action earned him nationwide fame and the undying gratitude of the commander of a Mississippi regiment, Jefferson Davis. Bragg resigned from the Army in 1856 when he and his wife purchased a sugar plantation in Louisiana.

      Though opposed to secession, Bragg organized Louisiana troops during the secession crisis and seized the Federal arsenal at Baton Rouge on January 11, 1861. After Louisiana’s secession, Bragg was appointed major general commanding the state’s forces before joining the Confederate army in March. In September, Bragg assumed command of the Department of West Florida and supervised the instruction of troops there. In February 1862, Bragg requested that he and his 10,000 troops be transferred to Albert Sidney Johnston’s command in Corinth, Mississippi, where he believed they would be of more use. By that Spring Bragg commanded a corps in Johnston’s army and led it at the Battle of Shiloh, where received a promotion to full general for his leadership.

      Following the loss of Corinth, Mississippi, Bragg replaced Beauregard as commander of the Confederate Army of Mississippi, later renamed the Army of Tennessee. Under Bragg the army scored partial victories—at places like Perryville, Stones River, and Chickamauga—but never delivered the finishing blow. This infuriated his subordinates, who were already frustrated with Bragg’s poor temper and combative personality. Many advocated for Bragg’s removal, but Davis’ support for his old friend was unwavering. Only after Bragg’s defeat at Chattanooga in November 1863, did Davis accept Bragg’s resignation as army commander. Bragg, however, remained active in the Confederate army for the duration of the war, serving as military advisor to President Davis and as a corps commander under Joseph E. Johnston at the Battle of Bentonville in 1865. Bragg attended the last final cabinet meeting of the Confederate government as was captured on May 9 in Georgia.


      General Braxton Bragg is almost universally said to be the most controversial officer of the Army of the Confederate States of America (CSA), known for his combative nature, short temper, and fastidious attention to military precision-which made it difficult for him to work well with those around him.

      Early Life
      Braxton Bragg was born on March 17, 1822 in Warrenton, North Carolina and throughout his young life he did his best to become a part of the upper tier of southern society, though was never truly accepted, regardless of the fact that his father was a rather prosperous carpenter. Some theorize that this rejection early in life may have contributed to his abrasive personality.
      His older brother, Thomas, would eventually go on to be the Attorney General of the Confederate States.

      Early Military Career
      After graduating fifth in his class from West Point in 1837, Bragg was directed to Florida to participate in the Second Seminole War (1835-1842) as a second lieutenant in the 3rd United States Artillery. Following the resolution of the conflict in Florida, Bragg served under General Zachary Taylor in Texas during the Mexican-American War, where he set himself apart during the battles at Monterey and Buena Vista for his "prompt and fearless conduct" and quickly rose through the ranks (http://ngeorgia.com/ang/Braxton_Bragg). By the time Bragg resigned his commission in 1856 he was a lieutenant colonel and decided to run a plantation in Louisiana, and also worked as a commissioner of the public works of Louisiana from 1859 to 1861, though he still remained a member of the Louisiana Militia through the outbreak of the Civil War.

      In 1861, when hostile feelings between the states fully transitioned into war, Bragg was commissioned by the newly appointed President of the Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis as a brigadier general. Bragg again quickly rose in rank, attaining promotions to major and lieutenant general while stationed in Pensacola, Florida and ultimately was placed in command of the Department of West Florida and Alabama.

      Bragg was transferred to Corinth, Mississippi, commanding the Army of Mississippi in order to ready the Confederate troops there for the upcoming conflicts. He then marched his troops to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee and participated in the Battle of Shiloh (April 6-7, 1861), earning another promotion to full general on April 6 after the death of General Johnston. Due to illness, General P.G.T Beauregard resigned from the Confederate military and Bragg replaced him and took on the command of the Army of Tennessee.

      In August of 1862, Bragg led the Army of Tennessee from Mississippi to Tennessee to coordinate with Lt. General Edmund Kirby Smith in an invasion into Kentucky in hopes of luring Major General Don Carlos Buell across the Ohio River. In the Battle of Munfordville (September 14-17, 1862), Bragg's command captured 4,000 Union troops. After installing a Confederate governor of Kentucky on October 4, 1862, he ordered a wing of his army to Perryville (October 8, 1862) and defeated Buell's Army of Ohio, winning the single battle tactically, though resulting in an overall strategic defeat for the invasion of Kentucky. Bragg was forced to withdraw back to Tennessee following the battle, in the face of a harsh winter with few supplies and a considerable loss of troops. This decision, as well as others, was received unfavorably by many of his senior officers, who then appealed for his transfer. Nothing officially came of this insubordination, though the succeeding lack of morale was surely detrimental to Bragg's army.

      Bragg ushered in 1863 with battle in Murfreesboro, Tennessee called the Battle of Stones River (December 31, 1862-January 2, 1863). General Buell's replacement, William Rosencrans, was ordered to move aggressively against a waiting Bragg, who had just lost 7500 troops sent to Vicksburg. Bragg moved farther south and into Georgia, eventually pursued by Rosencrans and his Army of the Cumberland. They met again for one of the decisive Union defeats of the Civil War on September 18-20, 1863 at Chickamauga in Georgia, causing Rosencrans to retreat back into Tennessee. Once again, however, many of Bragg's officers felt he did not press his advantage following such a great victory, and made further noise against him, causing some of them to be transferred or demoted. Bragg then lay siege to the city of Chattanooga, to which Rosencrans' army withdrew.

      General Ulysses S. Grant marched his forces to Chattanooga, replaced Rosencrans and reinforced the Union Army besieged there. This led to the Battle of Chattanooga (really the 3 rd Battle of Chattanooga, though it is the most famous), from November 23-25, 1863. This battle was a crucial victory for the Union Army, as it was the final defeat of Bragg's army. Bragg was relieved of his command and sent to Virginia to serve as a military advisor and Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate Army to CSA President Jefferson Davis in early 1864.

      In the fall of 1864, Bragg was given a command in North Carolina in an attempt to stop General Sherman's seemingly unstoppable march. He was defeated at several points, and never regained respect or glory.

      Post Civil War

      After the surrender at Appomattox, Bragg worked as an engineer and railroad inspector in Alabama and Texas. He finally died in Galveston, Texas on September 27, 1876.

      Little Known Facts: Bragg served with George Gordon Meade in the 3rd US Artillery in Florida during the Seminole Wars.
      Bragg also served with Colonel Jefferson Davis under General Taylor during the Mexican-American War, and was the target of assassins for his courage.

      Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina is named in honor of General Braxton Bragg.


      Braxton Bragg

      In Braxton Bragg: The Most Hated Man of the Confederacy, prolific Civil War historian Earl J. Hess attempts the near impossible task of resurrecting the reputation of one of the Civil War’s most disparaged generals. Many contemporaries and historians alike have long considered Braxton Bragg to be one of the most incompetent and ineffective generals of the Civil War. Much of the criticism directed towards Bragg tends to focus on his battlefield failures and his reputation as a fierce disciplinarian who would execute soldiers under his command for minor offenses. Hess challenges the popular opinion of Bragg and seeks to defend many of his actions in order to present a balance view and a “sense of historical justice.” (xx). Hess’ biography focuses primarily on Bragg’s Civil War career and places little emphasis on the general’s prewar life. The author’s intention was not to write a general biography, but to examine his Civil War career. In doing so, Hess examines the general’s actions from his first command at Pensacola in 1861 through the fall of the Confederacy and places major emphasis on the general’s relationship with his subordinates because it had a dramatic impact on his performance during the war.

      In his attempt to reshape opinion on Bragg’s career, one of Hess’s key topics of focus is on Bragg’s reputation as a murderous disciplinarian. Bragg first became known as a general who would shoot his soldiers for minor offenses during General Beauregard’s retreat from Corinth in the Spring of 1862. As Confederate forces abandoned the town, Beauregard issued strict orders that no soldier fire his weapon during the retreat. However, some disobeyed the order and Bragg moved to discipline the offenders. A number of variations of wild stories quickly spread that Bragg shot men for stealing corn or shooting a chicken and soon the press and the public picked up on them. Some historians also included these tales in their descriptions of Bragg. Hess, however, successfully presents these stories as mere rumor and presents legitimate eye witness evidence from staff officer Giles Buckner Cooke to illustrate that the stories were simply hearsay. An incident did occur over the shooting of a hog during the retreat, and Bragg considered the possibility of executing the soldier involved but ultimately did not execute the offender. In other cases during the war, Bragg did execute soldiers for desertion or being absent without leave, but Hess points out that Bragg executed a smaller percentage of soldiers than his successor, the soldier favorite, Joseph E. Johnston. In presenting his evidence Hess make a strong case that Bragg’s reputation as an unjust disciplinarian is based largely on myth.

      Hess also attempts to defend Bragg is his battlefield performance, but on this subject he is less convincing. In analyzing Bragg’s battlefield decisions, he credits Bragg with tactical victories and largely blames Confederate defeats on Bragg’s subordinates. Bragg commanded the Army of Tennessee for approximately 20 months and during his period of command, the army fought major battles at Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga. Historians only consider one of these battles, Chickamauga, to be a Confederate victory. Albeit a victory that Bragg’s army failed to capitalize on. According to Hess though, Bragg achieved tactical victories at Perryville and Stones River by achieving some limited goals. However, this argument is difficult to make considering the fact that Confederate forces gave up valuable territory and retreated after both battles. Hess does admit that Bragg had difficulty following up on victories, such as at Chickamauga, but largely attributes those failures to capitalize on factors other than Bragg’s decision making. For example, in his conclusion Hess states: “No general had the opportunity of winning the Confederate war singlehandedly. All labored under a matrix of problems compared with their opponents…disparity of numbers…a miserable logistical system, a decrepit supply apparatus, waning morale, and severe problems of desertion.” Hess continues by stating “This is why Bragg could win fights but not campaigns –the Federals dominated the strategic context of military operations so thoroughly that victory on a large scale was nearly impossible to obtain.” (278). While Hess’ overall statement about the incredible difficulty of Confederate victory is largely true, Bragg’s counterpart in the east Robert E. Lee, won a number of stunning victories, driving Federal forces from the field on a numerous occasions. Bragg only accomplished that feat once, at Chickamauga, and that was largely due to Confederate luck and a disastrous mistake by the Federal Army rather than any brilliant maneuver by Bragg.

      On a number of occasions throughout the book, Hess makes comparisons between Bragg and Lee. Hess rightly points out that Lee occasionally made terrible mistakes, such as his piecemeal attack at Malvern Hill or his decision to order Pickett’s Charge. These actions cost the lives of thousands of Confederate soldiers, and yet Lee did not garner the same criticism as Bragg when he made similar costly mistakes. For example, when analyzing Bragg’s piecemeal attack upon the Hornet’s Nest at Shiloh, Hess stated: “It is true that Bragg was to a large extent responsible for the uncoordinated assault against the Hornet’s Nest…but Robert E. Lee ended his highly praised Seven Days campaign with his army conducting equally uncoordinated piecemeal attacks against strong Union positions at Malvern Hill…” (42). Hess goes on to state that “ Yet Lee was never criticized for this costly exhibition of ineptness in the Army of Northern Virginia” (42). While it is true that Malvern Hill was a tactical disaster for Lee, no one can deny that the overall campaign was a rousing success. At the end of the Seven Days, Lee had driven the Union army down the Virginia Peninsula and saved the Confederate capital of Richmond. Braxton Bragg, on the other hand, could claim no such victories and therefore endured criticism that Lee did not. Hess attributes the difference in battlefield success between Lee and Bragg to greater support from the Confederate government, and while this is true, both Generals faced long odds but Lee often succeeded against long odds while Bragg did not.

      In defending Bragg’s battlefield record, Hess also makes that case that Bragg was the best Confederate commander in the western theater. In making this comparison, Hess is on firmer ground. When comparing Bragg to Beauregard, Johnston or Hood, “Bragg’s record shines more positively than negatively” (275). Hess provides good analysis to prove this point. “If one tallied the result of the army’s fighting record in terms of days of success (for it won only one major battle in its history) versus days of failure, Bragg overwhelmingly comes out on top. The army achieved stunning tactical success on four days and Bragg was responsible for three of them” (276). Meanwhile he also points out that the army “suffered tactical failure on fourteen days and Bragg was responsible for four of them” (276). While this is not a truly stunning record, Hess points out that it holds up well compared to the other western commanders. However, does this make Bragg a “general who authored brilliant tactical victories…” (xvii) as Hess argues in his introduction, or merely the best of a bad bunch?

      Interestingly, in his effort to present a “balanced view” of Bragg’s career, Hess tends to gloss over some of Bragg’s worst mistakes. Bragg failed to exploit his victory at Chickamauga, and suffered a ruinous defeat at the Chattanooga. In each of these failures, Hess largely lays the blame at the feet of Bragg’s subordinates. Following the major victory at Chickamauga, Bragg allowed Union forces to slink back to Chattanooga unopposed. According to Hess, this is largely attributable to Bragg’s belief that Confederate forces had lost the battle. Bragg was apparently unaware that Longstreet’s forces had finally taken Snodgrass Hill on the night of September 20th. Earlier that day, Longstreet requested reinforcements to drive George Thomas off of Snodgrass Hill, but Bragg refused, claiming that “there is not a man in the right wing who has any fight in him” (167). Later in the evening, Thomas’s forces withdrew from the position, but in making his stand, Thomas successfully protected the union retreat to Chattanooga. Hess faults Longstreet in not informing Bragg of such an important development. Longstreet on the other hand argued that “ the loud huzzas that that spread over the field just at dark were a sufficient assurance…” (168). Longstreet argued in his memoirs that because Bragg’s plan to flank the Union left and cut them off from Chattanooga had failed when Polk’s right wing was repulsed, he was “little prepared to hear suggestions from subordinates for other moves or progressive work” (167). Considering Bragg’s famously rigid personality, there is little doubt that there is at least some truth to Longstreet’s argument. In reality though, both generals deserve some of the blame for the failure to exploit the victory at Chickamauga, but Hess places the burden of blame on Bragg’s subordinates rather than Bragg himself. In his concluding paragraph about Chickamauga Hess wrote: “The sad truth was that all three of Bragg’s corps commanders in the Army of the Tennessee…were willful, unreliable subordinates who could not be counted on to obey orders or to cooperate with their commander” (168).

      Hess also declines to give Bragg adequate blame for the strategic defeat at Chattanooga. During the siege of the city, Bragg’s army remained idle for two months, allowing Union forces to reinforce while his army failed to construct solid defensive positions on Missionary Ridge. The reason his army was idle was because Bragg’s focus was on internecine war with his subordinates. To his credit, Hess does point out Bragg’s lack of preparation at Chattanooga: “Even though holding Missionary Ridge for two months, Bragg failed to adequately plan for his defense of the place…Moreover, they had only recently constructed fieldworks on the ridge. Many of these works were not even sited properly to take advantage of the irregularities of the summit. As commander, Bragg bears the ultimate responsibility for all these problems” (201). However, later in the chapter Hess states: “While historians tend to criticize Bragg for fighting with his generals when he should have been taking care of strategy after Chickamauga the truth is he did not ignore the later (212). On a strategic level that may be true, but it is apparent that Bragg’s war with his subordinates was distracting enough to prevent him from preparing a proper defense of Missionary Ridge. As a result this severe tactical mistake became a strategic disaster that opened the door to Atlanta and the heart of the Confederacy.

      Aside from Bragg’s battlefield performance, Hess also examines Bragg’s relationships with his subordinates. In doing so, Hess makes the argument that Bragg’s relationship with his subordinates severely limited his army’s effectiveness. There is much truth to this argument. Hess points out that the turning point in Bragg’s military career was the infamous round-robin letter to his subordinate generals after Stones River. In this letter, Bragg wanted them to state their support for the retreat from Stones River, but Bragg inadvertently asked his subordinates for their opinions of him as a commander. The letter opened a floodgate of criticism and permanently damaged Bragg’s relationship with his subordinates. His generals bluntly stated their opinions of him, and he lashed out over their criticism. Hess points out, that by Chattanooga, Bragg’s relationship to his subordinates had deteriorated so badly that the army’s “command structure was so fragile that the possibilities of the future –that it could take the strategic offensive in order to reap the full benefits of Chickamauga –would be very difficult if not impossible to meet” (168).


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