Comparing Picketts Charge w/ Charge up Missionary Ridge and Longstreet at Chickamauga

edfranksphd

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The Confederate assault on the Sunken road was a critical turning point in the attack. The local commander specifically asked Bragg for artillery support. He denied it as being unnecessary. Had he granted the artillery support when requested, the entire battle could have been sped up. Grant's entire position could have been eliminated. His army could have been forced into submission. There very well could have been no second day and a total victory for the Confederate battle.
Right, I get the counterfactual, but, again, ur the first person to ever make the claim that Bragg's decision was the key to Shiloh? Could you point me to sources they lay this burden on Bragg. I've studied Bragg for 30 yrs, and seen him accused of just about everything, but never this. That's my point, not that he didn't make tactical blunders from time to time. Who said Bragg said it was not needed? When did he say it? How was this exchange documented, and how many and which scholars agree that Bragg's role was key to not winning Shiloh on day one?
 

edfranksphd

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Davis was not an "idiot" but he was hobbled by his extreme loyalty to those he considered his friends or allies. That loyalty, while a desirable trait if done in moderation, set the stage for Davis' dealings with those he favored (e.g., Bragg, Pemberton, Polk), and those he disfavored (e.g., Beauregard, Johnston) regardless of their specific military strengths and weaknesses. There is certainly blame to go around for subordinates who had their own agendas, and whose attempts to undermine Bragg may have bordered on being mutinous. It should be noted that the Union armies were not entirely free of command conflict and dissension as was the case with Burnside and Hooker particularly. But the leadership flaw in the AoT was especially unique and extreme, and for that Bragg must be accountable for a good portion of it.
Why must Bragg be accountable for a good portion of it? Everything you said up to your conclusion was reasonable. But then your conclusion is dropped on the discussion like a bomb - none of the assertions made prior to your conclusion support that conclusion. You could just have easily, and more credibly, concluded that given the large numbers of subordinates that were involved in his mutinous cabal, the cabal "must" be accountable for a good portion of the blame?!
 

Belfoured

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Right, I get the counterfactual, but, again, ur the first person to ever make the claim that Bragg's decision was the key to Shiloh? Could you point me to sources they lay this burden on Bragg. I've studied Bragg for 30 yrs, and seen him accused of just about everything, but never this. That's my point, not that he didn't make tactical blunders from time to time. Who said Bragg said it was not needed? When did he say it? How was this exchange documented, and how many and which scholars agree that Bragg's role was key to not winning Shiloh on day one?
Narrowly focusing on Bragg's refusal of a request for artillery at the Hornets Nest, Larry Daniel (who as we know turned out a book on the battle) wrote the following for the NPS in 1998:

"His brigade repulsed by the murderous Federal fire, Randall Gibson desperately appealed to General Bragg for artillery support, but the general only ordered another assault. When Col. Henry Wakins Allen, of the 4th Louisiana, questioned the order, Bragg snapped: "Colonel Allen, I want no faltering now." The wounded Louisiana colonel, shot in the mouth, a bullet having passed through both cheeks, waved his sword in one hand and, supporting the regimental colors in his other, shouted: "Here boys, is as good a place as any on this battlefield to meet death." And meet death they did. In two short hours, the brigade was badly damaged in three, perhaps four, futile assaults into the well-defended thicket. About 2:30 Gibson withdrew his survivors to a position of support in the rear. Never accepting his role in ordering near suicidal frontal attacks against superior enemy forces occupying a position of great natural strength, Bragg later wrote his wife that Gibson was "an arrant coward."'
 

jackt62

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Why must Bragg be accountable for a good portion of it? Everything you said up to your conclusion was reasonable. But then your conclusion is dropped on the discussion like a bomb - none of the assertions made prior to your conclusion support that conclusion. You could just have easily, and more credibly, concluded that given the large numbers of subordinates that were involved in his mutinous cabal, the cabal "must" be accountable for a good portion of the blame?!
Bragg was certainly not by himself the sole contributor for the command problems in the AoT. Many of his Kentucky bred subordinates were angered by the failure of the Heartland Campaign, for which they may have unfairly attributed too much blame to Bragg. Similarly, Bragg's repeated withdrawals through Kentucky and Tennessee discouraged subordinate officers. But Bragg had a responsibility as top commander for engaging and motivating his officer corps and attempting to deal with their issues, no matter how unreasonable. Bragg's personality, for whatever reason, was not suited to that type of managerial control.
 

neyankee61

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Oct 30, 2018
Isn't there a story about pre-war Bragg as a post commander requesting some supplies and as he was also the post's quartermaster turning down the request? Then as post commander Bragg wrote a letter to Bragg the quartermaster defending the request which was again rejected by Quartermaster Bragg.
 

Joshism

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Isn't there a story about pre-war Bragg as a post commander requesting some supplies and as he was also the post's quartermaster turning down the request? Then as post commander Bragg wrote a letter to Bragg the quartermaster defending the request which was again rejected by Quartermaster Bragg.

Yes, although the story is considered apocryphal.
 

edfranksphd

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Bragg was certainly not by himself the sole contributor for the command problems in the AoT. Many of his Kentucky bred subordinates were angered by the failure of the Heartland Campaign, for which they may have unfairly attributed too much blame to Bragg. Similarly, Bragg's repeated withdrawals through Kentucky and Tennessee discouraged subordinate officers. But Bragg had a responsibility as top commander for engaging and motivating his officer corps and attempting to deal with their issues, no matter how unreasonable. Bragg's personality, for whatever reason, was not suited to that type of managerial control.
He was not suited to such command (!?) even though he did lead the army to the CSA greatest single battlefield victory of the war at Chickamauga?! Seriously? He wasn't suited for the job?! And ur focus on the retreat from KY and thu TN overlooks the fact that he was the one who assembled the forces and led the invasion of the north from barely over the border from GA, from Chattanooga across TN and into KY all the way to the capital of KY before being forced to retreat by an army twice his size and thx to Gen Kirby Smith deciding to embark on his own strategic command at precisely the same time that he was needed by Bragg (but Bragg did not have command authority over Smith). When Bragg began the invasion of KY, the nearly entire state of TN was emptied of CSA troops. By the end of that campaign, Rebs were firmly ensconced in central TN for the next 9 mths and much of the rest of the state to boot.
 

Joshism

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Jupiter, FL
He was not suited to such command (!?) even though he did lead the army to the CSA greatest single battlefield victory of the war at Chickamauga?!

Braxton Bragg had enough intelligence and experience to be an army commander, but was temperamentally unsuited for the job. That Bragg was done wrong by his subordinates and superiors is not mutually exclusive to Bragg's own limitations.

P.S. i would say 2nd Bull Run was a greater victory than Chickamauga. Lee crushing Pope opened the way to Maryland. Chickamauga was, in Dave Powell's words, "a barren victory." It's worth noting that in both cases the breakthrough was largely the work of Longstreet but substantially aided by a Union blunder (Pope's tunnel vision ignoring his left flank and Wood opening a gap by complete coincidence).
 

jackt62

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New York City
He was not suited to such command (!?) even though he did lead the army to the CSA greatest single battlefield victory of the war at Chickamauga?! Seriously? He wasn't suited for the job?! And ur focus on the retreat from KY and thu TN overlooks the fact that he was the one who assembled the forces and led the invasion of the north from barely over the border from GA, from Chattanooga across TN and into KY all the way to the capital of KY before being forced to retreat by an army twice his size and thx to Gen Kirby Smith deciding to embark on his own strategic command at precisely the same time that he was needed by Bragg (but Bragg did not have command authority over Smith). When Bragg began the invasion of KY, the nearly entire state of TN was emptied of CSA troops. By the end of that campaign, Rebs were firmly ensconced in central TN for the next 9 mths and much of the rest of the state to boot.
Bragg was not suited for the job despite the fact that his military ability was actually quite high, as you mention. If it were not for his managerial deficiencies, he would probably be rated much higher.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Right, I get the counterfactual, but, again, ur the first person to ever make the claim that Bragg's decision was the key to Shiloh? Could you point me to sources they lay this burden on Bragg. I've studied Bragg for 30 yrs, and seen him accused of just about everything, but never this. That's my point, not that he didn't make tactical blunders from time to time. Who said Bragg said it was not needed? When did he say it? How was this exchange documented, and how many and which scholars agree that Bragg's role was key to not winning Shiloh on day one?
Regarding this specific fact, the first time, I came across it was at Shiloh when I took the Ranger's tour. He specifically stated that the Confederate commander had specifically requested artillery support to breach the Union defense of the Sunken Road, requested it repeadedly. If for no other reason I remember this dialogue because the year before I had visited Antietam and it's Sunken Road. During the tour I asked the ranger where the Sunken Rd was and he told me I was standing in it. The amount of sink was maybe 3-4 inches below ground level. What amazed me was that the year prior I had visited Antietam and had seen its Sunken Rd which could have contained London double decker busses, with room to spare.

The ranger specifically said that Bragg had repeatedly denied the subordinate's request, instead telling him to make a real attack against the Union lines. If so the South could have broken the Union defense at the Sunken Rd and brought the battle to a successful conclusion on day one.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Hood didn't think he had time to accomplish this before the end of the day. I think most historians agree with that conclusion.
You make no sense. Hood has already shown his capacity to maneuver around the Union army and seperate it from rejoining with Thomas. So because he is embarressed by failing to prevent the Union army from maneuvering around his sleeping army, he disregards all advice to again maneuver around the retreating Union army and instead make a frontal attack against his foe. If nothing else is learned in the CW, it is that frontal attacks do not succeed.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Let us enter into the world of personal opinion. You can stack the books up to the roof arguing about Bragg's command style and is relationships with his subordinates. This is especially telling if you compare it with Lee and is subordinates.

As I understand it one of the key factors in Lee's development was the criminal proceeding against his father, Harry Lee, likewise Bragg's mother faced criminal prosecution for the murder of a black man. It is easy to extrapolate Bragg's personal reluctance to accept any personal critricism in light of his mother's blame for the death of a death man.
 

Joshism

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Jupiter, FL
Hood has already shown his capacity to maneuver around the Union army and seperate it from rejoining with Thomas.

He's got a couple problems at Franklin that he didn't have up to this point.

1. Hood correctly deduces Schofield will retreat during the night.

2. To get at Schofield's rear Hood must ford a river with limited crossing points. Schofield's immediate rear at the river crossing is well-guarded.

3. This is the last major river crossing before Nashville so the last real chance to trap Schofield.

When Hood launched the campaign in earnest by crossing the Tennessee he knew exactly where Schofield was and could force Schofield to react. When Hood's army awakens the fateful morning at Spring Hill they don't know Schofield is gone nor where he has gone to.
 

edfranksphd

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Aug 30, 2019
Regarding this specific fact, the first time, I came across it was at Shiloh when I took the Ranger's tour. He specifically stated that the Confederate commander had specifically requested artillery support to breach the Union defense of the Sunken Road, requested it repeadedly. If for no other reason I remember this dialogue because the year before I had visited Antietam and it's Sunken Road. During the tour I asked the ranger where the Sunken Rd was and he told me I was standing in it. The amount of sink was maybe 3-4 inches below ground level. What amazed me was that the year prior I had visited Antietam and had seen its Sunken Rd which could have contained London double decker busses, with room to spare.

The ranger specifically said that Bragg had repeatedly denied the subordinate's request, instead telling him to make a real attack against the Union lines. If so the South could have broken the Union defense at the Sunken Rd and brought the battle to a successful conclusion on day one.
Great, well the ranger makes one source, of dubious scholarly merit? Got any others?
 

edfranksphd

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Aug 30, 2019
Bragg was not suited for the job despite the fact that his military ability was actually quite high, as you mention. If it were not for his managerial deficiencies, he would probably be rated much higher.
Managerial deficiencies? What does that mean? Logistics? Personnel? He was in charge of Army of West for 2 yrs and Davis's chief of staff for 3rd yr. Seems he must've had very few deficiencies, esp given all the offensive battles he fought and the huge victory at Chicka, which everyone plays down simply b/c he won it. If anyone else had led that rebel army, he'd be considered one of the top 3 or 4 reb commanders of the war.
 

edfranksphd

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Braxton Bragg had enough intelligence and experience to be an army commander, but was temperamentally unsuited for the job. That Bragg was done wrong by his subordinates and superiors is not mutually exclusive to Bragg's own limitations.

P.S. i would say 2nd Bull Run was a greater victory than Chickamauga. Lee crushing Pope opened the way to Maryland. Chickamauga was, in Dave Powell's words, "a barren victory." It's worth noting that in both cases the breakthrough was largely the work of Longstreet but substantially aided by a Union blunder (Pope's tunnel vision ignoring his left flank and Wood opening a gap by complete coincidence).
Your assertions are baseless, and I'm not a Bragg-hugger, but I do believe he's treated unfairly, given a close study of his career.
 

Joshism

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Your assertions are baseless

Bragg's men didn't like him. Bragg's subordinates didn't like him. Bragg's biographers don't like him. Nobody liked Braxton Bragg except Jeff Davis.

My evaluation of Bragg as talented but temperamentally unsuited for command is in line with the Earl Hess biography, which tries hard to give him fair and even-handed appraisal.

And to be clear Braxton Bragg was by no means the only general with the talent but not the temperament to command an army.
 

Irishtom29

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Kent, Washington
Managerial deficiencies? What does that mean? Logistics? Personnel? He was in charge of Army of West for 2 yrs and Davis's chief of staff for 3rd yr. Seems he must've had very few deficiencies, esp given all the offensive battles he fought and the huge victory at Chicka, which everyone plays down simply b/c he won it. If anyone else had led that rebel army, he'd be considered one of the top 3 or 4 reb commanders of the war.

As a rebel commander of a major army I consider only Lee superior to Bragg.
 
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