Alternatives to Braxton Bragg?

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#21
1. Retreat during the Peninsula Campaign.
2. Passiveness during the Vicksburg Campaign.
3. Retreat during the Atlanta Campaign.

Those three gave him a reputation of "most skilled and most frequent retreater" of the Civil War. Combined with his enigmatic personality and being unwilling to share his plans with his superiors... It's no wonder that it brought a great share of mistrust towards him.
Thanks for the reply. I have read Hess' book on Bragg but have never read a book on Johnston.
 

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#22
If, say, we are replacing Bragg after Murfreesboro (I'm going to believe that it will be due to the fallout of the Newspaper Affair), then I think the best choice, out of many bad ones, is Stonewall Jackson.
He has proven himself fully capable of organizing and leading an independent command, as seen in the Valley and Secpmd Bull Run. His accomplishments so far in the war make him a prime canadaite for Army Command.
 

Carronade

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#23
I didn't see in posts when exactly Davis' letter was written?

Davis' comment about Bragg's administrative talents puts me in mind of Halleck, who did a fine job once he was removed from field command; perhaps the Confederates should have done the same with Bragg. The CSA did not have a general-in-chief position until 1865, so Bragg could have functioned simply as chief of staff.
 

Saruman

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#24
If, say, we are replacing Bragg after Murfreesboro (I'm going to believe that it will be due to the fallout of the Newspaper Affair), then I think the best choice, out of many bad ones, is Stonewall Jackson.
He has proven himself fully capable of organizing and leading an independent command, as seen in the Valley and Secpmd Bull Run. His accomplishments so far in the war make him a prime canadaite for Army Command.
Good choice - at the very least it would have saved Jackson's life :wink:
 

jackt62

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#25
The Army of Tennessee had several capable division and corps commanders such as Pat Cleburne, Alexander Stewart, William Hardee, and Benjamin Cheatham. While not always successful (and as Cheatham was, hobbled by allegations of drinking), any of these individuals would probably have been as satisfactory or more effective than Bragg was.
 
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#26
If, say, we are replacing Bragg after Murfreesboro (I'm going to believe that it will be due to the fallout of the Newspaper Affair), then I think the best choice, out of many bad ones, is Stonewall Jackson.
He has proven himself fully capable of organizing and leading an independent command, as seen in the Valley and Secpmd Bull Run. His accomplishments so far in the war make him a prime canadaite for Army Command.
Which leads to the next question ; why don't Davis appoint Jackson?
Leftyhunter
 
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#27
Which leads to the next question ; why don't Davis appoint Jackson?
Leftyhunter
IDK. I just thought about the other possibilities.
First excuse is that he couldnt find a good replacement for Jackson, but then, wasnt A. P. Hill being eyed for a Corps command? Were they
Second excuse is that Jackson is more at home commanding Virginians, which were few if nonpresent in the AoT, but that is statest in mindset and i doubt Davis is that bullheaded, since he had appointed Virginians throughout the confederate high command.
Third excuse, and most likely, is that Davis doubted his ability, Jackson himself turned down any suggestion of the sort, or Davis overlooked the idea completely. I dont know much about Davis' opinion on Jackson to make any definitive assumption.
 
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#29
I've always wondered if D.H. Hill might have succeeded, if he could have kept his snarky remarks to himself. He seemed to have the intellect and drive for high command.
Harvey Hill was a difficult person to deal with at times. And, difficult people can be treated with difficulty. Hill did exactly as ordered when lee took most of the army to deal with John Pope. Hill could not do much to McClellan because of the Union gunboats on the James, but Hill did capably keep the Federals from causing any mischief. I do not think Lee very fond of Hill personally, and lee reported to president Davis that he felt Hill was not up to administrative duty,etc, and that another should hold the the defensive post.....all, I think, subtrafuge to get Hill and a large division on the road north to join the ANV . I think Lee was very happy to have Hill with him.
The next summer Hill is going to play the same role in defending Richmond-Petersburg, but Lee gets exasperated with Hill. Preparing for the march north, Lee made inquiries of Hill about various units in the Dept.of SE VA and NC. HIll could not give satisfactory answers. Longstreet had left the Dept. without a command structure, and Lee did not know that..Hill had only the troops in NC under him. That gets resolved, but Lee still has to find a way to get as many veteran troops into the ANV as he can...without being obvious.Hill offers to trade recruited brigades from his Dept to Lee, and Lee refuses to trade his veteran, but depleted brigades. Davis intercedes, and Lee begins his march without two brigades he wanted. Hill really did nothing wrong, but Lee is not happy.
To cut to the quick, how well Hill might have commanded the AoT after Chickamauga probably would have depended on how well he could work with Longstreet. Under Bragg, Longstreet absolutely booted his assignment to guard the river... excluding that, I doubt Hill would have been pushed out of Tennessee so easily as Bragg. It is possible Hill and Longstreet might have given U S Grant a hard time over the Winter of '63-'64. But if that happened, what would Lee do without Longstreet's troops come Spring? It would take many volumes to begin answering the what-ifs here.
 
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Andy Cardinal

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#33
Coming in from another theater and taking command of an unfamiliar army does call for some diplomacy, which may not have been Jackson's strong suit....

I wonder how he and Forrest would have gotten along? They were kindred spirits, which can be good or bad.
I wonder how successful Jackson or anyone else would actually have been. I'm not sure Polk would have been any better a subordinate under Jackson or Lee than he was under Bragg.
 
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#34
I wonder how successful Jackson or anyone else would actually have been. I'm not sure Polk would have been any better a subordinate under Jackson or Lee than he was under Bragg.
Given there were officers in the region like Breckenridge, if Polk acted out of line with Jackson, he could have him replaced with someone more in line with his thinking. This is why he had officers like D. H. Hill and Taliaferro removed and replaced. While in lesser circumstances this could lead to Yes men being put in place, i doubt Jackson would be shallow enough to give an important position to someone like that.
But your reminding me of one thing: will his secretive command style work with the AoT, infamous for pettily disobeying orders just because they hated their superiors
 

Andy Cardinal

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#35
Given there were officers in the region like Breckenridge, if Polk acted out of line with Jackson, he could have him replaced with someone more in line with his thinking. This is why he had officers like D. H. Hill and Taliaferro removed and replaced. While in lesser circumstances this could lead to Yes men being put in place, i doubt Jackson would be shallow enough to give an important position to someone like that.
But your reminding me of one thing: will his secretive command style work with the AoT, infamous for pettily disobeying orders just because they hated their superiors
I think Polk was pretty safe as long as Jefferson Davis was president.
 

gary

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#37
How did Joe Johnston get the reputation for being reluctant to attack? I don't know much about Joe Johnston other than his retreat through Georgia and his attack at Bentonville.
Johnston would attack when he identified an advantage with a good chance of victory. Johnston was always outnumbered and would always retreat to save his army than fight a losing battle. He retreated from Yorktown, declined to march to Pemberton's assistance and I just learned ordered Gardner to evacuate Port Hudson. Gardner said, "Too late."
 
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#38
I want a general who wins battles. If I want an administrator, I'd call him a chief-of-staff like Berthier was for Napoleon. I wouldn't want Bragg as a commander of an army but as a chief-of-staff to handle the administrative paperwork associated with running the army.
Rather have him as an artillery commander, than the guy your using to write off orders to your subordinates who hate him passionately
 

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#40
Watched the lecture by historian Earl Hess, given recently at Gettysburg, on the topic of Braxton Bragg, thanks to @Jamieva for putting it up. One quote from it I found most interesting:

"Jefferson Davis clearly said in a letter why I support Bragg. 'I admire his administrative talents and even though he may not be the best general on the battlefield I don't know who else is better and until somebody better comes along he should stay where he is."

Do you agree with Jefferson Davis? Was there any alternative generals available that would have outperformed Bragg? How do you rate him when compared to Johnston, Hood, Hardee and Beauregard?
Jefferson said it himself- Bragg wasn't that great on the battlefield. Johnston wasn't aggressive enough, neither was Beauregard. Hood was, but apparently couldn't make good decisions above the job of corps commander.

Without stealing someone from the ANV, I'd say Polk or Hardee.
 

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