Braxton Bragg


Who: Braxton Bragg

What: Confederate general

Where: Born Warrenton, North Carolina; died Galveston, Texas

Why: One of the principle Confederate commanders in the Western Theater

When: Born March 22, 1817; died September 27, 1876

Not a single soldier in the whole army ever loved or respected him” – Sam Watkins

Bragg’s career in the military was decided by his father when he was just ten years old. He attended West Point at 16 in the same class as Joseph Hooker, John C. Pemberton, Jubal Early and John Sedgwick. Graduating 5th of 50 in 1837 largely on account of his prodigious memory, he served in the Second Seminole War and with distinction in the Mexican-American War. By 1860, he was a colonel in the Louisiana militia. He joined the Confederate army, becoming a major general, and commanded a corps at the Battle of Shiloh. After Albert Sidney Johnston’s death, he was promoted to full general. After P.G.T Beauregard’s perceived failure at the Siege of Corinth, Bragg was given command of the Army of Mississippi, which would become the Army of Tennessee. Bragg invaded Kentucky, meeting the Union at the Battle of Perryville before controversially withdrawing instead of pressing the attack. At the Battle of Stones River, Bragg’s leadership was called into question when the Union repulsed repeated Confederate attacks. He withdrew to Chattanooga, withdrawing again to Georgia before attacking the pursuing Union at the Battle of Chickamauga, a pyrrhic Confederate victory. After mounting criticism, he resigned in December 1863 and was replaced by Joseph E Johnston, becoming a military advisor to Jefferson Davis. After the war, he became a railroad executive and died aged 59 in Galveston, Texas. His legacy is negative: unimaginative tactics and a persistent disinclination to press the advantage (such as Perryville and Chickamauga), coupled with his poor relationships with subordinates mean he is often thought of as one of the reasons the Confederates lost in the West.

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