General Braxton Bragg
||Of the eight men who reached the rank of full general in the Confederate army Braxton
Bragg was the most controversial. The North Carolinian West Pointer (1837) had earned a
pre-war reputation for strict discipline as well as a literal adherence to regulations. At
one time, the story goes, he actually had a written dispute with himself while serving in
the dual capacity of company commander and post quartermaster.
His pre-Civil War career was highly distinguished. After seeing action against the
Seminoles, he went on to win three brevets in the Mexican War, in which his battery of
"flying artillery" revolutionized, in many respects, the battlefield use of that
arm. In 1856 he resigned his captaincy-he was a lieutenant colonel by brevet-in the 3rd
Artillery and became a Louisiana planter.
Initially commanding in Louisiana, he was later in charge of the operations against
Fort Pickens in Pensacola Harbor. Ordered to northern Mississippi in early 1862, he
briefly commanded the forces gathering there for the attack on Grant at Shiloh. During the
battle itself he directed a corps and was later rewarded with promotion to full general.
As such he relieved Beauregard when he went on sick leave and was then given permanent
command in the West.
Having served during the Corinth siege, he led the army into Kentucky and commanded at
Perryville, where he employed only a portion of his force. On the last day of 1862 he
launched a vicious attack on the Union left at Murfreesboro but failed to carry through
his success on the following days. Withdrawing from the area, he was driven into Georgia
during Rosecrans' Tullahoma Campaign and subsequent operations.
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