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 Post subject: Braxton Bragg
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2006 3:44 pm 
The South's worst general?

Or was he misused and abused?

2nd Lt. Beno
5/2/I AoP
USA


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2006 4:12 pm 
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Certainly not the worst, but far from the best. (I'd give Earl Van Dorn the title for "worst"... though there are a few others fair candidates).

Misused? Perhaps, though the simple fact is that with his personality issues, it was likely impossible to put him in any role where he wouldn't start constant brawls. Maybe he should have been at Davis' side from day one (since JD was the only man in the whole country who could stand him).

Major General Gary McClellan
1st Division, XXIII Corps
AoO,USA


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2006 6:13 pm 
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Location: Mukilteo, Washington, USA - 25 miles north of Seattle
<font face="Andale Mono"><font size="4"><font color="pink">I would say he gets my vote! I can think of the situation back just before the actual battle of Chickamauga, when his army was retreating from Chattanooga, he had several opportunities to hit the Yankees when they were so spread out. He would give orders but because he was soo disliked and mistrusted very little effort was expended.

Then with the Seige of Chattanooga several months later, what does he do but fight with his own generals which ended up with Longstreet leaving just before the big battle. I just can't help but think it would have turned out differently had those troops been there!

Just my two cents worth!

Regards

</font id="pink"></font id="size4"></font id="Andale Mono">

<font color="pink"><font size="4">Nick Kunz</font id="size4">
[img]C:\FrontPage%20Webs\Content\library\vol_1\v1p2_files\CsaGenStaffB.gif[/img]
<font size="4">General
Commandant
Confederate States of America</font id="size4"></font id="pink">
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:57 am 
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He gets my vote as one of the worst, but I will say he cost the South it's last chance at victory at Chickamauga and Chatanooga.

GEN. Tony Malone
Commander Army of Mississippi
"Do your duty in all things, You can never do more, You should never wish to do less".


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 9:05 am 
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Certainly not the worst, but one of the most disliked. Except by Jefferson Davis. In fact, though not a general, I would give Jeff Davis my vote.

Rich


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 3:05 pm 
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Bragg was certainly one of the weakest of the army commanders (excluding Van Dorn), but we are viewing this through the lens of historians. Worst commander? In terms of tactical incompetence, inability to accomplish anything positive, and useless waste of lives when he attempted to do so, few can compare with Leonidas Polk. Bishop he may have been, but the Lord never shown brightly on his dim battlefield "accomplishment". The quintessential political general.

BG Robert Frost
Army of Cumberland


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 3:20 pm 
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Political general? Leonidas Polk was a West Point graduate.

Col Dwight McBride
1st Brigade ("The Regulars")
2nd Division/V Corps/AOP


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 5:47 pm 
Hard to imagine how anyone could function with Polk and Longstreet as subordinates.
http://www.louisville.edu/a-s/history/pat/braggf04.html

Bragg had good strategic insight, but the way he ran battles cost many lives.

2nd Lt. Beno
5/2/I AoP
USA


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 11:21 am 
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Let me rephrase. What I meant by "political" general was that he was able to retain his position more by his ability to play politics and favoritism as opposed to actual battlefield performance. There were many like him on both sides, but the thread refers to the CSA's Worst.

BG Robert Frost
Army of Cumberland


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 7:24 pm 
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If we say worst army commander, then Hood needs to be up there, but he was a great Brigade and Division commander, and a fair Corps commander, but a murderer as an Army commander, I think the Battle of Franklin proves that.

GEN. Tony Malone
Commander Army of Mississippi
"Do your duty in all things, You can never do more, You should never wish to do less".


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 6:20 am 
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<b>Or was he misused and abused?</b>

Certainly he was these things although he did have serious flaws as an Army commander. He certainly had good strategic instincts but tended to become indecisive at inoportune moments. But as has already been pointed out here in this thread, he has little chance to overcome his shortcomings because he could not rely on his subordinates, as Lee could with Jackson (and to a MUCH lesser extent...Longstreet.) Bragg, because of his quarrelsome nature and his often treacherous corps commanders had nobody to rely on when the chips were down. Rosecrans, on the other hand had Thomas...and McCook and Crittenden, while never geniuses, certainly were never actively plotting to overthrow him.


Brig. Gen. Philip Roubaud
1/XX
Army of the Cumberland
United States of America


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 11:13 am 
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As I said, counting true army commanders, I'd still put Van Dorn as the worst. His performances at both Pea Ridge and Corinth were abysmal. (Yes, those were army commands, though not to the size of the AoT or ANV).

I'd put Pemberton as second worst, and then I might put Bragg in at 3rd worst. (Though, there's an argument for Joe Johnston... simply because while he was extremely competant, he did have to take a chance at some point, and Seven Pines was the only time he ever did that)

Major General Gary McClellan
1st Division, XXIII Corps
AoO,USA


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 12:19 pm 
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Gents.

$0.02's worth.

I wouldn't be read up on the Western Theatre well enough to pronounce condemnation on Braxton Bragg . . . . but . . . . .

From the little I have read . . . NO General would have come out of a situation with his stats gleaming, if that situation was in any way similar to Bragg's. Don't get Me wrong here . . he was an ill man, with a dire personality and a Staff in open Rebellion. With Polk as Leader and Hardee, Cleburne, Buckner, et al ~ performing the "et tu Brutus" routine on Him . . . . it was only his Friendship with Jeff Davis that kept him in Command.

He had his weaknesses as an Army Commander . . . particularly Indecision at crucial periods of a Campaign . . . .

The circumstances of his Resignation merely indicate to Me, that his bad Health, weariness at fighting 2 Wars - 1 agin the Yank and 1 agin the CSA WT Command - coupled with his recent Military reversals, eventually disheartened Bragg to the degree that He finally threw his hat at the whole ball of Wax.

As to his Military capabilities - Polk and to a lesser degree Hardee strove to disobey or wilfully "misunderstand" Bragg's directives to an extent that - some of his intentions in the field of Military endeavour, were doomed to failure . . . not because they were "Bad Tactics", rather that they were Good on Paper, but were refused the possibility of sucess, by Polk & Co., throwing a spanner in the works at a critical juncture in the execution of his Plans.

Hood - in his determination to "Glorify" the War in the eyes of CSA Public and his conviction to spill as much blood as possible in order to wash away his personal weaknesses as a Corps and particularly an Army Commander . . . . was a much worse General than Bragg.

As to Joe Johnston's performance . . . Jeff Davis placed him in a position where Johnston was arguing that Atlanta was indefensible, Davis insisted that Johnston MUST defend it . . . Joe withdrew a number of times thru' clever and effective manoeuvring by the Yanks and Hood proved Johnston was correct all along . . . . with his disastrous efforts once Johnston had been removed.

Pat.

Patrick G.M.Carroll,
Major General.
Carroll's Corps,(II)
"Spartan Southrons"
Army of Georgia.
C.S.A.Cabinet Secretary

" When My Country takes it's rightful place, amongst the Nations of the World, then and only then, let My Epitaph be written. "


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 1:36 pm 
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I won't comment on Joe Johnston's entire war history, but his taking over the Army of Tennessee befoer the Atlanta Campaign was indeed a Godsend for the South. His clever use of Fabian tactics nearly caused Sherman to rethink his invasion. Had Hood not botched so many of Johnston's attack plans, Sherman would have failed. This is especially true at Cassville.

Had he stayed in command, I'm sure Lincoln would have lost the 1864 election and President McClellan would have called for a peace favorable to the South.

Thank God for Hood and Jeff Davis. Had it not been for these two and others, we would not be the great nation we are today.

But I still like to think about how many battles could have been won. Though I'm glad the South lost, I still like to think about the battles and give prasie the the brave southern soldiers.

I've always wondered if the founding fathers of this great nation would have ratified the Constitution had they known that any attempt to leave the Union would be considered rebellion. The idea of never being allowed to vote for secession seems to violate the ideals of the Declaration of Independence.

Do any of you more learned members know if the issue of future secession was discussed prior to the Constitutional ratification?

I think the South had the legal right to seceed by democratic vote?

Any comments? I'd love to hear about it.

BTW, I believe the emancipation proclamation was an insult to slaves, and a betrayal of the ideas of freedom. Only slaves owned by the enemy sould be considered free. What an insult!

Rich

P.S. Did I open a can of worms??


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 3:12 pm 
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Rich,

In this book, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/140006 ... 54?ie=UTF8 , the author argues that the conception was already there that it was an unalterable union, and that was clearly stated in some of the debates. I'd have to look up the exact references he uses, but he very much takes the position that there was no essential room for a state to secede under the Constitution.

If you want, I can dig around.

Major General Gary McClellan
1st Division, XXIII Corps
AoO,USA


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