Friday, June 4, 2010

Braxton Bragg (1817-1876)

General Bragg is buried in the Confederate Rest portion of Magnolia Cemetery.  A very controversial  commander for the Confederacy in the Civil War, he was a West Point graduate (1837) with a reputation for strict discipline within the ranks.

Prior to the Civil War, he saw action against the Seminole indians and in the Mexican War. In fact, his use of 'flying artillery' during the Mexican War revolutionized the battlefield use of that arm.  In 1856 he left the Army as lieutenant colonel and became a Louisiana planter.

During the Civil War, he was in charge of the operations against Fort Pickens in Pensacola Harbor, after initially commanding various operations in Louisiana. Early in 1862 he briefly commanded the forces in northern Mississippi for the attack on General Grant at Shiloh.   He later relieved General Beauregard after this battle.

Unfortunately some of his later actions did not result in success for the Confederate forces. On the last day of 1862 he launched an attack on the Union forces in Murfreesboro, Kentucky, but did not carry through the initial success. Having to withdraw, he was driven into Georgia.

He led forces to a victory at Chickamauga, but again failed to follow up the success. Instead, he attacked the Union army at Chattanooga and simply waited for Grant to break through his lines.

All the while he was engaged in disputes with others, namely Leonidas Polk, James Longstreet, and William J. Hardee.  As a result the Army of Tennessee proved less than effective.  He was removed from command after the Battle of Chattanooga and appointed as advisor to Jefferson Davis in Richmond, Virginia.

After the war he served as Alabama's chief engineer, and eventually settled in Galveston, Texas, where he died suddenly while walking down the street with a friend. 

Braxton Bragg's grave in Magnolia Cemetery.

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