Braxton Bragg (March 22, 1817 – September 27, 1876) was a career United States Army officer, and then a general in the Confederate States Army—a principal commander in the Western Theater of the American Civil War and later the military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
Bragg, a native of North Carolina, was educated at West Point and became an artillery officer. He served in Florida and then received three brevet promotions for distinguished service in the Mexican-American War, most notably the Battle of Buena Vista. He established a reputation as a strict disciplinarian, but also as a junior officer willing to publicly argue with and criticize his superior officers, including those at the highest levels of the Army. After a series of posts in the Indian Territory, he resigned from the U.S. Army in 1856 to become a sugar plantation owner in Louisiana.
During the Civil War, Bragg trained soldiers in the Gulf Coast region. He was a corps commander at the Battle of Shiloh and subsequently was named to command the Army of Mississippi (later known as the Army of Tennessee). He and Edmund Kirby Smith attempted an invasion of Kentucky in 1862, but Bragg retreated following the inconclusive Battle of Perryville in October. In December, he fought another inconclusive battle at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the Battle of Stones River, but once again withdrew his army. In 1863, he fought a series of battles against Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans and the Union Army of the Cumberland. In June, he was outmaneuvered in the Tullahoma Campaign and retreated into Chattanooga. In September, he was forced to evacuate Chattanooga, but counterattacked Rosecrans and defeated him at the Battle of Chickamauga, the bloodiest battle in the Western Theater, and the only major Confederate victory therein. In November, Bragg's army was routed in turn by Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in the Battles for Chattanooga.
Throughout these campaigns, Bragg fought almost as bitterly against some of his uncooperative subordinates as he did against the enemy, and they made multiple attempts to have him replaced as army commander. The defeat at Chattanooga was the last straw and Bragg was recalled in early 1864 to Richmond, where he became the military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Near the end of the war, he defended Wilmington, North Carolina, and served as a corps commander in the Carolinas Campaign. After the war Bragg worked as the superintendent of the New Orleans waterworks, a supervisor of harbor improvements at Mobile, Alabama, and as a railroad engineer and inspector in Texas.
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