Braxton Bragg In The Trans-Mississippi?


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Joshism

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I'm reading Hess & Shea's book about Pea Ridge. It states that before Earl Van Dorn was placed in charge of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department several other candidates were considered. Henry Heth was one, but this caused an uproar since he was a Virginian and also would need to be promoted over quite a few people too.

But the second candidate was more intriguing. Braxton Bragg did a good job organizing and training Confederate soldiers in Pensacola and Mobile. Why not send him to work his magic again out west? He already outranked everyone there too.

Bragg declined, but what if he didn't or Davis wouldn't take no for an answer?

1. Does Pea Ridge turn out differently with Bragg in charge instead of Van Dorn?

2. Does Bragg get ordered to reinforce Johnston for Shiloh (as Van Dorn was), and if so does he arrive in time (as Van Dorn didn't) making a difference?

3. If Bragg stays in the Trans-Mississippi after Shiloh, for whatever reason, does he make a difference?

4. If A. S. Johnston dies and Beauregard is relieved, but Bragg is busy elsewhere who commands the Army of Mississippi/Tennessee? Hardee?
 

Will Carry

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Great post! I have read "Braxton Bragg: The Most Hated Man in the Confederacy" by Hess. He came soooooo close to being a famous general instead of an infamous one. He might could have kept up the attack on the first day of Shiloh. He could have been somebody, he could have been a contender!
 

Rusk County Avengers

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I think Bragg in command of the Trans-Mississippi would have been a disaster for the region. For starters, even up till the Red River Campaign discipline was for some odd reason a generals worst nightmare. Even Richard Taylor, who impressed Stonewall Jackson with his inflexibility and maintaining discipline with his ANV Louisiana Brigade, to the point of there being no stragglers because, "he didn't allow it" which Stonewall had a problem with, couldn't get the Army of the Trans-Mississippi to a proper level of discipline, which frustrated him. With Bragg and his overbearing, and flawed methods, moral would have been a serious issue, along with insubordination more widespread, Pea Ridge would have been a crushing defeat if not route for the Trans-Mississippi Confederacy.

Little Rock, along with most of Arkansas would have fell before 1863, and there would be the Union Army of the Frontier on the doorsteps of Texas, if in Texas before the summer of 1863. Bragg would have blamed everyone but himself, probably have enlisted men and officers constantly trying to assassinate him, (in many Texan memoirs I've come across accounts of this being done with Majors and Colonels who were strict, blame everyone else disciplinarians like Bragg), and it would have been an all around mess.

On the plus side, the Army of Tennessee might have had better fortunes, depending on who was where at what time. But personally I have a hard time seeing Bragg in the Trans-Mississippi, it's highly possible if he had been sent there he would have been gunning for the first chance to back east worse than Van Dorn.

I hold Van Dorn in the lowest esteem possible, as a cavalry officer he was okay, (notice I'm not saying good, or great), but an Army commander he was a disaster in my book. Bragg I feel was a better Army commander than Van Dorn, he certainly had a better head for logistics, which I think was an alien concept to Van Dorn, however his brand of disciplining troops and subordinates, blaming them for his failures, and the independent streak a mile wide in troops stationed in the Trans-Mississippi that faded with their brother who went east, probably would have resulted in a disaster of epic proportions against the Union's General Curtis, and probably Bragg perishing in a hilarious "accident" of sorts. I've yet to read of instance of insubordinate Texan, Arkansan, or Louisianan enlisted men and NCO's succeeding in killing a superior officer, but Bragg's character would have resulted in so many attempts that one would eventually hit the mark.

But that's view.
 

Will Carry

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You mean Bragg, sentencing a man to a firing squad for shooting a chicken, was too harsh? I have come to the conclusion that you just cannot defend the man. I really think he should have been on some kind of medicinal cannabis.
 

archieclement

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I'm reading Hess & Shea's book about Pea Ridge. It states that before Earl Van Dorn was placed in charge of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department several other candidates were considered. Henry Heth was one, but this caused an uproar since he was a Virginian and also would need to be promoted over quite a few people too.

But the second candidate was more intriguing. Braxton Bragg did a good job organizing and training Confederate soldiers in Pensacola and Mobile. Why not send him to work his magic again out west? He already outranked everyone there too.

Bragg declined, but what if he didn't or Davis wouldn't take no for an answer?

1. Does Pea Ridge turn out differently with Bragg in charge instead of Van Dorn?

2. Does Bragg get ordered to reinforce Johnston for Shiloh (as Van Dorn was), and if so does he arrive in time (as Van Dorn didn't) making a difference?

3. If Bragg stays in the Trans-Mississippi after Shiloh, for whatever reason, does he make a difference?

4. If A. S. Johnston dies and Beauregard is relieved, but Bragg is busy elsewhere who commands the Army of Mississippi/Tennessee? Hardee?
1-would think so, Bragg probally would have prefered, the single front suggested Price. As historically Price had success on his front to see McCulloch's fail dismally, it would be a different outcome, whether it ended up overall a success, hard to say, but it's difficult to see amore dismal return on the effort then Van Dorn splitting the forces and lack of performance from the 2nd wing......

2- a wild card.....van Dorn is ordered to do so in part because he failed at PR and continued to retreat. A success or draw at PR I think he doesn't shift troops, if had similar failure as Van Dorn he has roughly the same logistical problems shifting troops east.

3- Probally, I see him being more cautious then Van Dorn, but probally more active then Holmes, Hindman, and Smith

4-Let them have Holmes or Smith:D
 

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