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Braxton Bragg
About North Georgia

Born: March_22, 1817, Warrenton, North Carolina,
Died: September_26, 1876}_TexasPerhaps the most controversial of all ranking Confederate officers, this North Carolina native was a writer, traveler, respected artillery commander and plantation owner prior to The Civil War. Many of his actions during major Western Theater battles in which he fought are still widely debated.

After graduating from West Point Braxton Bragg entered the U. S. Army as a second lieutenant on July_1, 1837. He fought in the Seminole Wars, 1837-1841 and served under Zachary Taylor during the Mexican American War. At Monterrey, Captain Bragg distinguished himself during bitter street fighting and in an attack on the cathedral and main plaza, but it was during the battle of Buena Vista that his "...prompt and fearless conduct" saved the Americans from defeat. He is credited with repulsing a frontal attack through effective use of his artillery, then holding off an attack on General Zachary Taylor's flank while Colonel Jefferson Davis organized a defense of the position. After his brave action he was twice the target of assassins.

His resignation in 1855 when he disagreed with Secretary of War Davis is cited by some historians as evidence the Bragg-Davis friendship was not as close as many others believe. Bragg returned to serve in the Louisiana militia until he was appointed Brigadier General by the Confederate States of American in 1861. He was promoted to full general shortly after the disastrous defeat of Rebel forces at Pittsburg Landing (Shiloh), eventually relieving General P. G. T. Beauregard because of Old Bory's ill-health and an inability to get along with his commanding officer, Jefferson Davis.

Bragg moved the Army of Mississippi 700 miles on a journey through Alabama and Georgia that completely astounded Don Carlos Buell and his Army of the Ohio by moving 30,000 men from Tupelo, Mississippi to Chattanooga by rail. In August, 1862 he launched the Confederate Invasion of Kentucky, a combined operation with General E. Kirby Smith

After a sweeping move around Buell's army, Bragg moved north on the Cumberland Plateau towards Louisville, Kentucky. General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia moved into Maryland. Many consider this the high-water mark of the Confederacy. The British were on the verge of granting recognition to the South.

Yet it did not hold. After what many consider to be a tactical victory at Perryville, KY. (he lost fewer men but withdrew from the battlefield) Bragg felt the entire campaign had been worthless and retreated across much of the ground he had gained. After the battle of Murfreesboro (Stone's River) on December 31, 1862 and January 2, 1863, Bragg again withdrew across the Duck River and established a headquarters in Tullahoma. Bragg's old friend Jefferson Davis sent Joseph E. Johnston to visit him in Tennessee. Davis actually wanted Johnston to relieve Bragg, but Johnston refused.

Bragg began to suffer serious medical problems and during the Tullahoma Campaign he would frequently be transported by ambulance because boils made it impossible for him to travel by horseback. The Army of Tennessee ended up back in Chattanooga by July 4, 1863, soundly defeated by various opponents, most recently William S. Rosecrans. After delaying for nearly 6 weeks, Rosecrans feinted, moving a small detachment of artillery north of the city while ordering a massive troop movement under cover of the rugged mountains to the south of the city. Bragg retreated to protect his supply line, the Western and Atlantic Railroad. Rosecrans pursued Bragg to the banks of a small North Georgia creek, where the Union general ran into stiffer than expected resistance. He began to move north, protecting his flank with the river. Bragg launched an attack on September 19, 1863 that would be named by the creek near which it started, Chickamauga. Routed on the second day of battle, the Federal Army retreated to Chattanooga. Bragg had won the greatest Confederate victory of the war, but refused the advice of almost all his generals, including James Longstreet and Nathan Bedford Forrest and did not attack the retreating Yankees. When President Davis visited in October to discuss the dissatisfaction of Bragg's subordinates, he kept Bragg and transferred the other generals.

Bragg was soundly defeated at the battle of Chattanooga, after which he returned to Richmond, Virginia, and served as an aide to Davis.

During The Atlanta Campaign, Bragg was ordered to Atlanta as an observer. He met with Joseph E. Johnston a number of times between July 13 and July 15, 1864, after which he advised Davis that the man who had replaced him as Commander of the Army of Tennessee had no plans to do any more than he had already done. Two days later President Davis replaced General Johnston with John Bell Hood. (more)

After the war, having lost his Louisiana plantation, Bragg became a civil engineer.

General Bragg is one of the most controversial figures in the War of Southern Independence. He instilled a sense of discipline when he took over the Army of Mississippi (later renamed the Army of Tennessee) in 1862, turning what one soldier called a mob into an organized group of fighting men. Brilliant military strategy was undermined by an inability to work with subordinates, and his skills on a tactical level were lacking. Repeatedly he showed an ineptness at making critical decisions during major battles, including Pittsburg Landing (Shiloh), Murfreesboro (Stone's River), Chickamauga, and Chattanooga.

For more information including a timeline, see Braxton Bragg


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Beginning with the Great Locomotive Chase and the battle of Chickamauga, to the Atlanta Campaign and the March to the Sea

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Army of Mississippi
Army of Northern Virginia
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Braxton Bragg
Confederate Invasion of Kentucky
Don Carlos Buell
E. Kirby Smith
James Longstreet
Jefferson Davis
John Bell Hood
Joseph E. Johnston
Mexican American War
Nathan Bedford Forrest
P. G. T. Beauregard
Pittsburg Landing
Richmond, Virginia
Robert E. Lee
The Civil War
William S. Rosecrans
Zachary Taylor

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