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Braxton Bragg
Civil War Encyclopedia >> People - Confederate Military
February 22, 1847
February 23, 1847
Battle of Buena Vista (Mexican-American War)
  George Thomas
  Jefferson Davis
  Mexican American War
  Zachary Taylor
March 11, 1861 Braxton Bragg assumes command of Florida forces Florida
April 10, 1861 Braxton Bragg assumes command of the Department of Alabama and West Florida Florida
Alabama
April 15, 1861 Braxton Bragg places Lt. John Worden under arrest in Pensicola, Florida, making him the first prisoner-of-war in the American Civil War
  Civil War Firsts
March 29, 1862 The Central Army of Kentucky and the Army of Alabama and West Florida, and is merged into the Army of Mississippi in Corinth under Albert Sidney Johnston with P. G. T. Beauregard as second-in-command. Corps commanders are Braxton Bragg, Leonidas Polk, William Hardee and George Crittenden. Mississippi
  Albert Sidney Johnston
  P. G. T. Beauregard
  Leonidas Polk
  William Hardee
  Central Army of Kentucky
  Army of Mississippi
April 6, 1862
April 7, 1862
Battle of Pittsburg Landing [Union]
Battle of Shiloh [Confederate]

Ulysses S. Grant [US] defeats Albert Sidney Johnston [CS] in southwest Tennessee. P. G. T. Beauregard assumed command following Johnston's death

Confederate Losses
1,723 dead
8,012 wounded
959 missing
Union Losses
1,754 dead
8,408 wounded
2,885 missing
Tennessee
  Ulysses S. Grant
  Sherman's Memoirs on Shiloh
  P. G. T. Beauregard
  Battle of Shiloh
  William Tecumseh Sherman
  Bloodiest Civil War battles
  Don Carlos Buell
  Albert Sidney Johnston
  John Breckinridge
  William Hardee
  William 'Bull' Nelson
  Lew Wallace
  Lew Wallace at Shiloh
  Army of the Tennessee
  James McPherson
  Army of Mississippi
June 17, 1862 Braxton Bragg assumes command of the Army of Mississippi, relieving P. G. T. Beauregard Mississippi
  P. G. T. Beauregard
July 21, 1862 In a tersely worded telegram, Braxton Bragg informs Jefferson Davis that he will move his army in force from Tupelo, Mississippi to Chattanooga, Tennessee Mississippi
Tennessee
  Confederate Invasion of Kentucky
  Jefferson Davis
July 23, 1862 Moving his men by railroad from Tupelo, Mississippi, Braxton Bragg reappears in Chattanooga, Tennessee after a journey of more than 770 miles. It was the largest troop movement by rail during the war for the Confederates. Tennessee
  Army of Mississippi
July 31, 1862 Braxton Bragg [CS] and Kirby Smith [CS] meet in Chattanooga to agree on strategy against the Army of the Ohio.
  E. Kirby Smith
  Confederate Invasion of Kentucky
August 28, 1862 Braxton Bragg [CS] leaves from north of Chattanooga, heading to join Kirby Smith in Kentucky Tennessee
  Army of Tennessee
  Confederate Invasion of Kentucky
  Army of Mississippi
September 14, 1862
September 17, 1862
Battle of Munfordville

After being initially repulsed by a federal garrison of 4,000, Braxton Bragg [CS] laid a brief seige. Federals surrendered on the 17th.
Kentucky
  Confederate Invasion of Kentucky
  Simon Bolivar Buckner
  Battle of Munfordville
September 25, 1862 Don Carlos Buell arrives in Louisville, KY, beating Braxton Bragg to the Ohio River. Kentucky
  Don Carlos Buell
  Confederate Invasion of Kentucky
  Army of the Ohio
October 4, 1862 Richard Hawes is inaugurated as Confederate governor of Kentucky. Braxton Bragg attends. Kentucky
  Confederate Invasion of Kentucky
October 8, 1862 Battle of Perryville

Braxton Bragg [CS] and Don Carlos Buell [US] fight the largest battle on Kentucky soil. The battle is generally regarded as a draw, although Buell claimed victory. Less than half of Buell's men participated because he did not know a major battle was taking place less than 2 miles from his headquarters
Kentucky
  Don Carlos Buell
  Army of the Ohio
  Army of Tennessee
  Philip Sheridan
  Confederate Invasion of Kentucky
  William Hardee
  Simon Bolivar Buckner
  Benjamin Franklin Cheatham
  Leonidas Polk
  Patrick Cleburne
October 19, 1862
October 23, 1862
Bragg moves south through the Cumberland Gap, essentially escaping the Army of the Ohio Tennessee
Kentucky
  Confederate Invasion of Kentucky
November 7, 1862 Braxton Bragg reorganizes the Department of Mississippi, creating two corps, one under William Hardee and one under Leonidas Polk
  Leonidas Polk
  William Hardee
November 24, 1862 Joseph E. Johnston [CS] assumes command of a reorganized Department of the West with two armies under him, Bragg's Army of Tennessee and Pemberton's Army of Mississippi
  Joseph E. Johnston
  Army of Tennessee
December 31, 1862 Battle of Stone's River [US]
Battle of Murfreesboro [CS]

Braxton Bragg forces William Rosecrans to retreat, but Rosecrans returns to defeat Bragg on January 2, 1863.

Union 13,249

Confederate 10,266
Tennessee
  Bloodiest Civil War battles
  William S. Rosecrans
  George Thomas
  John Breckinridge
  Army of the Cumberland
  Philip Sheridan
  Stone's River
June 23, 1863 Army of the Cumberland begins the Tullahoma Campaign against the Army of Tennessee Tennessee
Georgia
  Tullahoma Campaign
  Army of the Cumberland
  Leonidas Polk
  William S. Rosecrans
July 7, 1863 Braxton Bragg completes his withdrawal from Tullahoma to Chattanooga Tennessee
  Tullahoma Campaign
July 25, 1863 Department of East Tennessee, comprised of 17,800 men under Simon Bolivar Buckner, is merged into Braxton Bragg's Department of Tennessee. Major General Buckner is assign command of a corps.
  Simon Bolivar Buckner
September 9, 1863 Federal troops enter Chattanooga, Tennessee following its evacuation by the Army of Tennessee Tennessee
  Chickamauga Campaign
  Army of Tennessee
  Army of the Cumberland
September 10, 1863
September 11, 1863
Battle of Davis Crossroads Georgia
  Chickamauga Campaign
September 19, 1863
September 20, 1863
Battle of Chickamauga

General Braxton Bragg [CS] tries to split General William Rosecrans [US] forces as they try to return to the safety of Chattanooga. A second day breakthrough at the Brotherton Cabin forces the federals into a retreat, halted only by the Rock of Chickamauga, General George Thomas on Snodgrass Hill

The bloodiest two days in American history cost the Federals 1,657 dead, 9,756 wounded, and 4,757 missing for a total of 16,170 casualties out of 58,000 troops. The Confederate losses were 2,312 dead, 14,674 wounded and 1,468 for a total of 18,545 out of 66,000 troops.
Georgia
  Gordon Granger
  Bloodiest Civil War battles
  William S. Rosecrans
  George Thomas
  John Bell Hood
  Army of the Cumberland
  Philip Sheridan
  Nathan Bedford Forrest
  Lafayette McLaws
  Battle of Chickamauga
  James Garfield
  Leonidas Polk
  Daniel Harvey Hill
  James Longstreet
  Chickamauga Campaign
October 13, 1863 President Davis approves Braxton Bragg's request to relieve Major General Daniel Harvey Hill [CS] of duty.
  Jefferson Davis
  Daniel Harvey Hill
October 29, 1863 Jefferson Davis grants Nathan Bedford Forrest's request for an independent command in north Mississippi and west Tennessee. This frees him from Braxton Bragg. Mississippi
Tennessee
  Nathan Bedford Forrest
November 4, 1863 Braxton Bragg orders James Longstreet to Knoxville to operate against Ambrose Burnside. Longstreet is the last of the generals that complained to Jefferson Davis about Bragg. Tennessee
  James Longstreet
  Siege of Knoxville
November 22, 1863 Completely unaware of the federal build-up in Chattanooga, Braxton Bragg detaches Buckner's Corps and orders him to join Longstreet in Knoxville. Tennessee
  Simon Bolivar Buckner
November 24, 1863 Battle of Lookout Mountain
Battle Above the Clouds

Joseph Hooker [US] engages forces under Carter Stevenson [CS] on the slopes of Lookout Mountain
Tennessee
Georgia
  Ulysses S. Grant
  Battles for Chattanooga
  Joseph Hooker
November 25, 1863 Battle of Missionary Ridge, Chattanooga

Three Union armies attacked the Army of Tennessee atop Missionary Ridge, east of downtown Chattanooga. Patrick Cleburne stopped William Tecumseh Sherman from the north, although outnumbered 10 to 1. Joe Hooker was seriously delayed by burnt bridges and failed to hit the southern end of Bragg's line near Rossville, Georgia. Thomas' Army of the Cumberland struck the center, breaking Bragg's line and forcing a retreat. Sheridan, ordered to pursue, was stopped dead in his tracks by William Hardee's rear guard action.
Tennessee
Georgia
  Ulysses S. Grant
  Battles for Chattanooga
  John Breckinridge
  George Thomas
  Philip Sheridan
  Army of the Cumberland
  William Tecumseh Sherman
  Patrick Cleburne
  Joseph Hooker
  William Hardee
  Army of Tennessee
November 26, 1863 Battle of Ringgold Gap

Patrick Cleburne's [CS] rear guard action against Joseph Hooker [US] following the defeat at Missionary Ridge gives Braxton Bragg time to establish a line in Dalton, GA
Georgia
  Battles for Chattanooga
  Patrick Cleburne
  Joseph Hooker
November 28, 1863 In Dalton, Georgia, Braxton Bragg telegraphs his resignation to President Davis Georgia
  Jefferson Davis
  Army of Tennessee
November 30, 1863 President Davis accepts Bragg's resignation and appoints William Hardee in temporary command of the Army of Tennessee Tennessee
  Jefferson Davis
  William Hardee
  Army of Tennessee
December 1, 1863 In a letter to Jefferson Davis, Bragg admits that he (and Davis) erred in leaving him in command after Chickamauga.
  Jefferson Davis


Braxton Bragg

Braxton Bragg is considered one of the Worst generals in the Civil War by the editors of the Blue and Gray Trail

A scant 42 years old at the outbreak of the Civil War, Braxton Bragg was a dour, laconic civil engineer for the state of Louisiana and widely recognized as an FOJD (Friend of Jeff Davis). Although he was unable to deal with either strategic or tactical command, he was brave and did have bouts of military brilliance. In 1862 he completely fooled the Union Army by relocating the Army of Mississippi from Tupelo, Mississippi to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

According to Confederate Generals, Braxton Bragg's mother was released from jail so that she could have her son. She was never prosecuted and freed shortly after Braxton's birth. After attending West Point (graduated 1837, 5 of 50), Bragg became brevet 2nd Lieutenant in the Army. Although apologists like to point to his multiple illnesses as the cause of his behavior during The Civil War, even as a junior officer Bragg was cited for insubordination.

Captain Bragg shone as a artillery officer under General Zachary Taylor. During the battle of Buena Vista, Bragg proved to be pivotal, protecting Taylor's flank as Mexicans attacked. Although Bragg was under his direct command, Taylor never issued the famous quote, "A little more grape, Captain Bragg." Instead, Taylor verbally told Bragg something like "double your shot and give them hell." Finally, with Mexicans approaching on Bragg's front and flank, Colonel Jefferson Davis arrived to support the artillery position with infantry. Davis was thankful that Bragg supported Taylor's flank - Taylor was the father of his late wife.

By the end of the Mexican War Bragg was brevetted twice again, ending the conflict as Lieutenant Colonel. His old friend Jefferson Davis had been instrumental in expanding the Army with two new cavalry divisions, but when Bragg found out that Davis wanted to assign artillery to pursue mounted warriors he visited then Secretary of War Davis. When Davis refused to listen, Bragg resigned his commission and returned to Louisiana where he became a successful planter and state civil engineer.

At the start of the War Between the States, Bragg was tapped to lead Louisiana's militia, but when the Confederate government offered him a commission Bragg accepted. In March, 1861, P. G. T. Beauregard drew duty at Fort Sumter while Bragg drew duty securing Fort Pickens in the harbor at Pensacola, Florida, both among the few last outposts of federal forces in the Confederacy. Beauregard cut all communication with Sumter in early April, but Bragg permitted Lt. John Worden to carry a message to Fort Pickens. Soon Sumter was in Confederate hands while Pickens was reinforced. Worden told the garrison of reinforcements and supplies coming to the fort. Upon Worden's return, Bragg arrested him, the first prisoner-of-war during this great American conflict.

Davis carved the Department of West Florida and Alabama for Bragg, but when Sidney Johnston needed reinforcements in February, 1862, Davis ordered Bragg to advance with his army. On April 6, 1862, western Confederate forces met Ulysses S. Grant at Pittsburg Landing. Bragg ordered repeated attacks against the Union stronghold known as the Hornet's Nest, sacrificing hundreds of men, perhaps needlessly. Once the flanks of the Union Army had been turned and the men in the Hornet's Nest surrendered, Bragg ordered his men to press the attack. Braxton Bragg understood the importance of defeating Grant on the first day of Shiloh. Beauregard, however, opted to call off the attack. The Union defeat of the Confederate Army the following day proved Bragg was correct.

Grant and Buell advanced towards Beauregard's base at the Corinth, Mississippi rail center in May, 1862. Without orders, Beauregard decided to withdraw to Tupelo. When Old Bory left his command without permission, Davis seized the opportunity to put his old friend Braxton Bragg in charge. When Don Carlos Buell moved towards Chattanooga, Bragg took a 700-mile circuitous route via rail and steamship through Mobile and Atlanta, arriving at Tennessee's Scenic City in advance of his enemy.

Kirby Smith showed initiative moving on Lexington, Kentucky from Knoxville. there was little Bragg could do other than protect Smith's left flank from Buell. Bragg thought that a strong offensive move north might deter advances by the Union Army along the Mississippi and, as Lee did moving into Maryland, Bragg felt with a strong presence in Kentucky he might encourage enlistments in the Confederate Army.

Crossing the Tennessee River at Chattanooga on August 21, Bragg moved north over Walden Ridge on August 28, 1862. With Buell protecting Murfreesboro and Nashville, the renamed Army of Tennessee crossed the Kentucky-Tennessee border almost due south of Louisville and trapped a federal garrison under Col. John Wilder [US] at Munfordville.

The capture of Louisville would be a major accomplishment for the Confederate government. Grant's Army of the Tennessee supply route would be severed, as would that of Buell. Quartermasters would be forced to reroute trains hundreds of miles around Louisville and the time could cripple the advance Grant had made in the West. Bragg did not feel he could hold Louisville, so he moved to Bardstown, southeast of the city and let Buell reinforce Louisville in late September. Bragg then moved east to Frankfort, the state capital.

After installing a Confederate governor of Kentucky Braxton Bragg moved south to Perryville, where he met the Army of the Ohio in battle. Although most scholars consider the battle a draw, Bragg snapped and retreated to Harrodsburg, where he was joined by Kirby Smith. With almost 70,000 men, outnumbering Buell's army, Smith wanted to attack but Bragg had become fearful of even being in Kentucky. The Army of Tennessee rushed south to Cumberland Gap to escape the Army of the Ohio.

Bragg really didn't have to hurry. Like his friend, George McClellan, Buell delayed any advance, fearful of a larger Confederate Army attacking him. Through newspapers, Bragg learned that Abraham Lincoln had replaced Buell with William S. Rosecrans following Bragg's escape. After moving to Knoxville with Smith, Bragg decided to advance to Murfreesboro in middle Tennessee, not because of a good defensive position but for the crops from the fertile Stone's River valley. Rosecrans chose Nashville.

Both Kirby Smith and Braxton Bragg journeyed to Richmond (Virginia) to meet with Jefferson Davis. Davis told Bragg he fully supported his friend's decision while in Kentucky. Smith, who was unhappy with Bragg's decisions, became the first in a string of commanders to ask Davis to remove Bragg from command. Davis told Smith he would not do that and Smith ended up in command of the Confederate armies in the Trans-Mississippi area.

Bragg's next problem was with former Vice-President of the United States, John Breckenridge. The Kentucky-born Breckenridge and Braxton Bragg were at odds since Breckenridge expressed his opinion that the Confederate Army could not draft Kentucky citizens, they could only recruit them. Breckenridge and his staff made an appeal to spare the life of a deserter condemned to death by Bragg. Rather than stay the sentence, Bragg ordered the deserter's brigade to watch the execution. Bragg made a life-long enemy with these actions.

That wouldn't be his only problem at Murfreesboro. The city was a poor choice for Bragg's army and this was compounded by his lack of knowledge of even nearby topography. In issuing orders for the battle of Stone's River, he sent Leonidas Polk's corps on a route that allowed him to be enfiladed from a Union artillery position. Bragg also wanted to use Stone's River as a defensive obstacle, but the river was too shallow.

Braxton Bragg

Links appearing on this page:

Abraham Lincoln
Alabama
April 6
April, 1862
Army of Tennessee
Army of the Ohio
Army of the Tennessee
August 21
August 28
August, 1862
Confederate Generals
Don Carlos Buell
February, 1862
Florida
Fort Sumter
George McClellan
Jefferson Davis
John Breckenridge
Kentucky
Kirby Smith
Leonidas Polk
Louisiana
March, 1861
May, 1862
Mexican War
Mississippi
Munfordville
P. G. T. Beauregard
Pittsburg Landing
Sidney Johnston
The Civil War
Ulysses S. Grant
West Point
William S. Rosecrans
Zachary Taylor

Civil War Encyclopedia >> People - Confederate Military

Braxton Bragg was last changed on - November 9, 2010
Braxton Bragg was added in 2005





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