Braxton Bragg: Disputatious Troublemaker

Following is an excerpt from my article about General Braxton Bragg in my book, Civil War Trailblazers and Troublemakers.  With the current controversy over the naming of bases after Confederate generals, knowing who Bragg was is important.  Even his latest biographer calls him “The Most Hated Man in the Confederacy,” though I think Ben Butler is a more likely “winner” in that category.  In any case, here is an excerpt, and the book is available at                                 

“Ulysses Grant wrote the following story about Confederate General Braxton Bragg in his memoirs.  It seems that while serving on the frontier, he once held two different positions at a fort at the same time.  Having made a mistake while serving in one, he brought charges against himself while serving in the other!  Bragg referred the matter to his commanding officer, who responded, “My God, Mr. Bragg. You have quarreled with every officer in the army, and now you are quarreling with yourself!”  The story was likely apocryphal, but Grant’s point was to underline the stiff, formal, uncompromising, cantankerous nature of the man.


Bragg and trouble were almost always close companions during the war, especially because he frequently acted in unexpected ways, almost always to his own detriment.  Even when he won victories, he was disinclined to follow up because he lacked confidence in himself or in his subordinates, with whom he constantly quarreled and/or blamed for mistakes.

Eminent historian James McPherson has posited that “bumblers like Bragg and Pemberton and Hood lost the West.” But of course the Union forces led by Grant, Sherman, Thomas, and Schofield had a lot to do with it too.”

Following are a picture of a young Bragg and the book.  Bragg is pictured as an older man on the cover of the book.

50 men and women who inalterably changed the civil war era



Author: geneofva

Author of "Citizen-General: Jacob Dolson Cox and the Civil War Era," and of seven more Civil War books -- with more to come!!

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