Bragg, Braxton

Bragg, Braxton

Bragg, Braxton, 1817–76, Confederate general in the U.S. Civil War, b. Warrenton, N.C. A graduate of West Point, he fought the Seminole and in the Mexican War was promoted to lieutenant colonel for distinguished service at Buena Vista. He resigned from the army in 1856 and lived on his Louisiana plantation until the outbreak of the Civil War, when he was appointed a Confederate brigadier general and assigned to command the coast from Pensacola, Fla., to Mobile, Ala. Shortly after being promoted to major general (Jan., 1862), he assumed command of Gen. A. S. Johnston's 2d Corps, leading it in the battle of Shiloh (April). With Johnston's death, Bragg was made a general, and he succeeded (June) General Beauregard in command of the Army of Tennessee. His invasion of Kentucky (Aug.–Oct., 1862) was unsuccessful, ending in retreat to Tennessee after Gen. D. C. Buell caught up with him at Perryville. A reorganized Union army under Gen. W. S. Rosecrans was then sent against him and at Murfreesboro (Dec. 31, 1862–Jan. 2, 1863) forced him to withdraw again. In the Chattanooga campaign, Bragg, victorious in the battle of Chickamauga, laid siege to the Union army in Chattanooga, but in Nov., 1863, Gen. U. S. Grant thoroughly defeated him and forced him to retire into Georgia. Gen. J. E. Johnston took over his command (December) and Bragg went to Richmond, where he became military adviser to Jefferson Davis, with nominal rank as commander in chief of Confederate armies. After the war he was chief engineer of Alabama and later lived in Texas, where he died.

Bibliography

See biography by D. C. Seitz (1924, repr. 1971); study by G. McWhiney (2 vol., 1969–91).

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Bragg, Braxton

(1817–76) soldier; born in Warrenton, N.C. He graduated from West Point in 1837 and served in the Seminole, Frontier, and Mexican wars. He left the army in 1856 to run a plantation in Louisiana; when war broke out Bragg commanded his state's militia. He led the Army of Tennessee into Kentucky in the summer of 1862 but withdrew after the inconclusive battle of Perryville in October. He won a smashing victory over Union forces at Chickamauga in September 1863; but his defeat at Chattanooga two months later cost him his command. Dour, irritable, and unpopular with his fellow soldiers, he later became a military adviser to President Davis. After the war, he served successively as public works commissioner in Alabama and as chief engineer of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.