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Found 7 results

  1. Ozzy

    10th Mississippi Story

    Captain E. T. Sykes and the 10th Mississippi at Shiloh Edward Turner Sykes was born in 1838 in Alabama, but was living in Columbus Mississippi when the Secession Crisis broke out. Joining Doctor Lipscomb’s Southron Avengers early in 1861, that company was soon incorporated into Colonel Seaburne M. Phillip’s 10th Mississippi as Company E and in March arrived in Florida and placed under command of Major General Braxton Bragg (whose expanding force was soon to become known as the Army of Pensacola.) The 10th Mississippi Infantry took part in placing guns in a crescent around the north and west edge of Pensacola Bay, extending from the Navy Yard to Fort McRae; and the men of the regiment were trained in the operation of those artillery pieces (used during the November bombardment of Union-occupied Fort Pickens.) As well as being trained to operate artillery, the men of the 10th Mississippi took part in the October 8/9 Battle of Santa Rosa Island (a successful nighttime raid against Federal forces camped outside Fort Pickens, involving colonels Chalmers, Jackson and Anderson.) During service at Pensacola, Seaburne M. Phillips became incapacited due to illness (he died before October 1861) and 25-year-old Robert A. Smith was elected Colonel in his place. University-educated E. T. Sykes was installed as Adjutant, with the rank of Captain. The 10th Mississippi remained in vicinity of Fort Barrancas and Mobile until after the February 1862 Disaster at Fort Donelson, when the regiment was ordered, along with most of Bragg’s Army, north to Corinth Mississippi. At Corinth the original 12-month term of enlistment expired; and in March the “New” 10th Mississippi was mustered into service (but with only half the 840 men of the original regiment.) What follows is Edward Sykes’ 1873 recollection of his regiment’s part in the Battle of Shiloh: “Having organized his splendid troops, General Albert Sidney Johnston, with General PGT Beauregard as second in command, put in motion on the morning of the 3rd of April, 1862, the “Army of the Mississippi,” to offer battle to the invaders of our soil. The attack was to have been made on the 5th, before Buell, who was marching to the assistance of Grant, at Pittsburg Landing, could possibly reach him, but owing to the bad roads the Confederates were unable to reach the destined point in time. Resting for the night in order of battle, a short distance from the enemy’s camp, with only now and then a picket shot to relieve the suspense, we commenced to advance at early dawn, and by sunrise came fairly upon them. Hardie commanded the front line, with Gladden’s and Chalmer’s brigades of Bragg’s corps on his right; Bragg’s corps, less the two brigades above-mentioned, constituting the second line, followed about 400 yards distant. The corps of General Polk, following the second line at the distance of about 800 yards, in lines of brigades, deployed with their batteries in rear of each, protected by cavalry on their right. The reserves under General Breckinridge followed closely the third line in the same order, its right wing supported by cavalry. Well do I remember, being then Adjutant of the 10th Mississippi infantry, of Chalmer’s brigade, how all were spoiling for their maiden fight, in which, before they were through, they were willing to acknowledge that of choice, they would thereafter exhibit less of reckless anxiety, and more of prudent discretion. As the Tenth Mississippi (Colonel Robert A. Smith, commanding, and who was subsequently killed in the battle at Mumfordsville Kentucky, and than whom no braver spirit or better officer gave up his life during the war,) descended the last hill, in full view of the enemy’s camp, it was discovered by the position of “an Indiana regiment” standing behind an improvised breastwork of knapsacks, a little retired from the crest of the hill beyond, with “arms ready,” that we were too far to the left, and ordered to march by the right flank down the ravine, until our right opposed their extreme left. And now comes the strange part of this sketch: not a gun in our regiment was loaded. In the verdancy of our military career and ardour for fight, we had overlooked one of its most elemental precautions. I heard Colonel Smith, who was sitting upon his horse a few paces in front of his line, and from his elevated position, exposed to the enemy not fifty yards off, give the commands: “Order arms; Load; “Fix bayonets,” Shoulder arms.” Then followed this pertinent language: “Soldiers, we have been ordered to charge those fellows in blue (he pointed with his sword) and I want you when I give the order to forward, to advance steadily to the top of the hill, fire with deliberation, and then give them the bayonet.” “Forward, then,” was the next sound heard, and Smith’s orders, as always, were observed. Both parties fired about the same time with deadly effect, after which the enemy broke and fled in confusion. General Chalmers immediately rode up to Colonel Smith, and after remarking in my presence, that he deserved to be a Major General, commanded him not again to expose himself so recklessly; but it being a personal, and not strictly a military order, was not obeyed, until soon after Smith’s horse was shot from under him. Throughout that day, the right, under Bragg, did not sustain a reverse, but took position after position, in such quick succession as to justify the confident belief that the entire Federal army under General Grant would be annihilated before the close of the day. About 4 p.m., as we were halted in line of battle to reform, while a brigade of prisoners just captured were being escorted by our cavalry to the rear, and preparatory to our final attack on that day, General Bragg, who justly felt proud of his day’s work, was seen riding alone in front of his victorious lines, and rapidly approaching our front. As he reached us, General Chalmers, who was likewise exultant over the action of his brigade, raised up in his stirrups, and shouted, “Pensacola troops, three cheers for our beloved commander!” Recognizing the compliment, and feeling that he had troops to follow where he was prepared to lead, he reined up, faced the brigade, and with head uncovered, looked “the noblest Roman of them all.” The white-plumed Henry of Navarre never inspired his fiery Frenchmen with more ardent enthusiasm than did this scene of Bragg’s awaken the glow of patriotism in the breasts of his Pensacola boys. They – officers and private soldiers – mutually felt that the day’s victory beloged equally to both and all. Soon after this exhilarating scene, we were again put in motion to attack the enemy’s last stronghold, being twenty-two guns massed in a semi-circle on an elongated eminence protecting his center and left, and which proved a bulwark between us and their destruction or surrender. Amidst the confusion of orders, some to “advance,” some to “retreat,” occasioned by the general order of Beauregard to retire for the night, we were in a fated hour repulsed, never again to enjoy the pleasure of having them so near in our grasp. Time, such as Wellington prayed for on the plains of Waterloo, “Oh! For Blucher or for Night!” was given to them, and they profited thereby. Buell crossed the Tennessee, and the next morning, the 7th, was as disastrous to our arms as the day before had been propitious…”
  2. Ozzy

    Bragg's Letter of April 8

    What follows is a letter written Tuesday evening, 8 April 1862 by Braxton Bragg to his wife, Eliza, and sent from Corinth. In it, General Bragg details his impressions of the two-day fight at Shiloh; why Day Two was necessary; and other observations. Written so close to the actual event, this letter provides insights not to be found elsewhere, including "Bragg was nearly shot twice," the "difficulty" with Randall Gibson on Day One, the capture of Ross' Michigan Battery on Sunday afternoon, and "the intelligence" provided by General Prentiss. [Found in Braxton Bragg: General by Don C. Seitz (1924) pages 111 - 3 at http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015000586084;view=1up;seq=127 ]:
  3. [Sketch of Corinth Mississippi by Adolph Metzner, on file with Library of Congress.] The following Letter of 20 March 1862 from Braxton Bragg to wife Eliza is of interest due the following: Bragg reveals the lack of discipline discovered upon his arrival in Corinth; "draconian measures" put in place by Major General Bragg to instill discipline at Corinth; discusses feeble health of General Beauregard (who is still at Jackson Tennessee, attempting recuperation) reveals pre-planning stage, before General Johnston arrives (and before decision taken on "what is to come in April.") Corinth, Miss. 20th March My dear Wife, By a hasty note from Bethel Station I announced my sudden departure for this place. Since that time I have had no time to write. Everything was in disorder and confusion here, troops arriving in large numbers without supplies, and greatly disorganized by hasty and badly conducted arrangements. Weather bad, and no accommodation, even for the sick. The [Tishomingo] Hotel a perfect pandemonium, thousands of hungry men standing against the barred door, ready to rush in and sweep the tables, regardless of sentinels or officers. Even the kitchen was not safe, meals were seized from off the fires, and the life of the hotel keeper threatened for expostulating. Poor Mr. Lea -- you remember him as the Steward at the Sweet Springs -- said he was over-matched for once. No promise of a fashionable (3 o'clock) dinner would appease the hungry multitude -- but all is now changed. With Gladden in command, and the La. regiments to charge bayonets, the swine are driven back, and the town is quiet and peaceable. It is most difficult to see what is to be our future. The enemy is threatening both flanks. At Island No.10, which is now our highest point up the river, we hold with heavy guns. But the pressure is very great against it, and the evacuation of New Madrid exposes us to be cut off from below. We have another strong position still lower, near Randolph Tenn, but not yet in good condition. My heavy guns from Pensacola are going there, and some of my old troops are there, but they need good commanders. The name of the place is unfortunate -- Fort Pillow. If we can keep them back on the Mississippi, I shall not despair at all of our losses elsewhere. We are to a great extent, however, reduced to the Fabian Policy. Our troops and our supplies are so limited and so disorganized that effective operations are out of the question unless we can have a little time to restore tone and confidence. My forces united to Genl Ruggles are here, about 22.000. Polk's and Johnston's are coming in hourly and taking position on my right and left. Your advice in your letter of the 12th is fully adopted in my own of today, organizing my command. All Tennesseans are scattered among better men in small squads, so that we can hold them in observation. I never realized the full correctness of your appreciation of them, until now. A general order, of which I enclose a copy, was predicated on their infamous proceedings, and I am glad to say had its effect. No plundering has taken place since. It is my fixed purpose to execute the first one caught in such acts. But the order, itself, and the arrest of a Colonel, have produced a very wholesome reform. Genl Beauregard has re-published the order to the whole Army, and ordered its observance. Towson was several days with the fair ladies at Jackson, and had every opportunity of seeing their merits and deficiencies, though ladies ought not to have the latter. Suffice it to say neither will please him. He has not said a word, but I will answer for him -- it is unnecessary to set forth objections. Robert and Mr. [Fader] are still with me. Bob will never do much with the Army, as he cannot stand the hardships -- exposure of any kind, or the inequality of camp life soon disables him. And we are far from being comfortable here. But still, for several days it was very hard to live at all. Genl Beauregard is still in Jackson, but proposes coming here in a few days. His health is still very feeble, and as long as he is distressed and worried, as he has been, he cannot improve. Every interview with Genl Polk [shunts] him back a week. But for my arrival here to aid him, I do not believe he would soon be living. His appeal for plantation bells was somewhat on the order of the "Under the enemy's guns at Castroville [Texas]" -- sensational. We have more guns now than instructed men to serve them. And metal in New Orleans for many more. May God protect and preserve you, Your Husband Braxton Bragg [Handwritten original http://repository.duke.edu/dc/braggbraxtonpapers-000846347/secst0300 at Duke University Library, Braxton Bragg Papers, items 52 - 55.] Thanks to Duke University for making this letter available online. Ozzy References: http://www.loc.gov/item/2017646911/ Tishomingo Hotel sketch by Adolph Metzner (1862) at Library of Congress. http://archive.org/stream/earlysettlersind00sowe#page/n593/mode/2up/search/Castroville resource provided for explanation of Castorville Texas. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Fabian+policy definition of Fabian Policy.
  4. Ozzy

    Do you know Bragg?

    The following questions are in reference to Braxton Bragg, controversial personality who acted in support of the Confederacy during the War of the Rebellion. In order to make these questions a bit easier to answer correctly, each question is posed as True-or-False. Good Luck! Leroy Pope Walker was the first Confederate Government Secretary of War (and the man who famously predicted that the Clash of Arms between North and South would be such a short affair that he offered to sop up all the spilled blood with a handkerchief.) Walker resigned in September 1861 and was appointed Brigadier General, and assigned to work for Braxton Bragg at Mobile. However, Major General Bragg found him to be of such little value as military leader that he left BGen Walker behind in Alabama when he moved the bulk of his Army of Pensacola north to take part in the fight at Shiloh. True or False. The loss of Fort Donelson on 16 February 1862 is the event that caused Secretary of War Judah P. Benjamin to order Bragg and his Army north from the Gulf Coast, that order dated 18 February 1862. True or False. Braxton Bragg suffered throughout his life from frequent migraine headaches. True or False. Major General Bragg met personally with General PGT Beauregard at Jackson Tennessee before 7 March 1862. True or False. Braxton Bragg assigned Daniel Ruggles to command of the Post of Corinth on 9 March 1862. And it was Brigadier General Ruggles (on Bragg's orders) who initiated the extensive entrenchments at Corinth Mississippi. True or False. Braxton Bragg was at Corinth and met Albert Sidney Johnston when that General arrived there on 23 March 1862. True or False. At the Battle of Shiloh, Major General Bragg held two official roles: command of a corps, and chief of staff. True or False. Artillery officer Braxton Bragg won national acclaim during the Mexican War for his heroic performance at Battle of Buena Vista. True or False. Get these wrong and a ghostly eyebrow will pay you a visit at 3 o'clock in the morning... Ozzy
  5. Ozzy

    Urgent offer to Bragg

    Just below is transcript of a communication (likely sent by special courier) from Confederate Secretary of War, Judah Benjamin to Major General Braxton Bragg (then commander of the Army of Pensacola, based at Fort Barrancas). Why is this 27 DEC 1861 letter important to the study of Shiloh? reveals "the intended mission of General A.S. Johnston, when he was sent West" confirms "a dispute" of some nature, between Generals Price and McCulloch; stresses intention for Missouri to be the primary scene of Confederate operations in the West; compares the skills of commander: Fremont vs. Halleck; provides a proposal to Major General Bragg (and recognizes his achievements in Florida). < Private and Confidential > Confederate States of America, War Department -- Richmond, 27 DEC 1861 My Dear Sir When we sent Genl A. S. Johnston to take command of the Western Department, it was believed that he would proceed at once to the west of the Mississippi and conduct the Campaign in Arkansas and Missouri. The obtaining possession of the latter State is of such supreme importance that I need not say to you a word on the subject. Before however Genl Johnston reached the Mississippi, the threatened invasion of Tennessee, and the advance of the Federal forces into Kentucky rendered it necessary to detain him in this latter State equally important as Missouri to the Confederacy, and threatening more immediate danger, especially when considered in connection with the menaced attack on our lines of communication by rail road through East Tennessee. At that time too, the Department of Missouri was committed by the enemy to Genl Fremont, whose incompetency is well known to us, was a guarantee against immediate peril. All this is now changed: Missouri is under command of an able and well instructed military commander. [Dispersions] exist between General Price and General McCulloch which prevent their cordial cooperation. We are threatened with grievous disaster: McCulloch has put his army (of about 9000 excellent troops) into Winter quarters in north western Arkansas, while Price has advanced alone, and we fear with fatal rashness, into a district of country where he is likely to be surrounded and cut off by overwhelming forces. And the Army of Missouri is represented to be a mere gathering of brave but undisciplined partisan troops, coming and going at pleasure, and needing a master mind to control and reduce it into order and to convert it into a real army. After long and anxious consultation with the President, we can find no one but yourself in whom we feel we could rely with confidence as Commander in Chief of the trans-Mississippi Department. Yet we do not know how to fill your place at Pensacola. Missouri must not be lost to us, even at some risk of misfortune at Pensacola. You have so thoroughly and satisfactorily prepared the defences at the latter point that we scarcely believe another attempt will be made on your defences, and we hope that by sending Kirby Smith to take your place, if you should leave, that important point will be successfully defended. You see already that my purpose is to ask you if you would consent to go to the West: in that event Genl Johnston's command would be divided by the Mississippi River, giving him as much even then as he can efficiently attend to; and your command would embrace everything west of the Mississippi, except the coast defences. Your Campaign would comprehend the States of Arkansas and Missouri, (together with northern Texas and the Indian Territory. Genl Price will probably be continued in the command of the Missouri troops when mustered with our service, and their number, of course, I cannot approximate. But we could scarcely have less than twenty or twenty-five thousand men from that state. For Arkansas and the Indian Territory, our forces amount to about 12,000 -- a number of other regiments are now nearly organized in Texas and Arkansas, and we would find means of assigning two or three of the new regiments to Pensacola, and these disengaging for your command the two best Mississippi regiments. With all these resources, aided of course by our hearty and cordial cooperation, it seems to me that we may confidently look for brilliant results. If the tide of battle should turn towards the Mississippi River, your operations would be conducted in cooperation with Genl Johnston's, and of course in that event he would rank you, but unless in case of joint operations on the river, your command would be entirely independent, and such joint operations would only be undertaken by special order of the President, and by your own concert with Genl Johnston. Will you undertake this work? I tell you frankly I believe you owe it to your Country, in this her hour of peril, but it will not be urged on you against your will. If we cannot now make available your name and reputation as a soldier, I confess I know not where else to look at this time. The President and myself have anxiously scanned every name on our Army List, and under all the circumstances (many of which it is not possible to communicate in this letter) we invariably fell back on yours as the name. The circumstances are pressing -- I could not say all that was important for your consideration by telegraph, but I must beg you as soon as it is possible to answer me by telegraph, "I accept," if that be your conclusion. If you say in reply, "I refuse," I must see what next best can be done. I am Yours very truly J. P. Benjamin [to Major Genl Braxton Bragg, at Pensacola.] Made available online by Missouri History Museum -- St. Louis Civil War Project http://cdm.sos.mo.gov/cdm/compoundobject/collection/CivilWar/id/1302/rec/2 Ozzy
  6. The following letter written by Major General Braxton Bragg to his wife, Eliza, and sent from Corinth on 29 MAR 1862 reveals the mindset of Confederate leaders in the build-up to Battle of Shiloh. Discussed in the letter: the importance of the Mississippi River to the Confederacy; incompetence responsible for the loss of New Madrid; Bragg's recommended strategy for Arkansas (and use of Van Dorn) Confederate evaluation of Union force (under C.F. Smith) and Smith's likely objectives; Bragg compares his Army of Pensacola to the forces under A.S. Johnston and Leonidas Polk; Bragg evaluates the current state of affairs, and offers suggested remedies; Letter concludes with "personal matters" (acquiring provisions for his family; and answering questions in Eliza's last letter.) Corinth, March 29th 1862 Dearest Wife, Your letters are all coming to hand since they have found me out, and yesterday I had one only three days old, written on my birthday, tho' you probably did not know it. You write under great excitement and despondency, and I must acknowledge, with much reason, but still I hope and trust a change for the better is about to occur. The rapid movement from Jackson to Bethel, and thence to this place, was to prevent the very movement you seem so much to fear. The enemy in large force ascended the Tennessee River, with a view no doubt of striking at or near this point, by which he would divide the forces of Polk and myself from those of Johnston coming west on the rail road. He landed in force and made two assails [against] our stations, one against Bethel, and one here. But finding us not only prepared to receive him, but arranging to attack him, he fell back, crossed the river with his main force, and now confronts us with only a brave few thousand, under cover of his gun boats. Desirous as I was, and Genl Beauregard was for sure, to bring on an action, it became utterly impossible. We could not cross the river; and they would not. In the mean time events have gone on very disastrously on the Mississippi River in Genl Polk's command, not from any immediate fault of his, but from a bad commander [McCown] and the unfortunate result of bad discipline, and too much whiskey. Under orders from Genl Beauregard to hold the place [New Madrid] until the last extremity, they had driven the enemy [Pope] back in New Madrid with a heavy loss. We were supplied, were fortified, and had force enough to hold out until we could reinforce them. But a big stampede got hold of them. Whiskey got into them, and a few, a false alarm that Genl Siegel, who was in front of Van Dorn in north west Arkansas, was upon them with 20,000 additional men... all was disgracefully abandoned. On the 23rd Genl Johnston reached here, Genl Beauregard came down [from Jackson] to mesh up, and a conference has resulted in changes I hope will save the Mississippi, though time is precious, and much needed. I insisted on a change of subordinate commanders of Island No.10 and Fort Pillow, which is the next point to defend if the first falls. All said they had nobody to put there, their best having been done. I offered my whole force, saying I could put any of my generals there and know they would never be stampeded. Being allowed to designate, I have sent Genl Jones to Island No.10 and Genl Villepique to Fort Pillow. I ought to have the whole command there [of Mississippi River defences] myself, and take my Pensacola and Mobile troops there. But that point I could not urge, of course, as Genl Polk, who commands, is my senior. I thought my Mobile Army was a mob, but it is as far superior to Polk's and Johnston's as the Army of Pensacola was to it. The commander of the disgrace at New Madrid [General McCown] I insist shall be arrested and tried. There is want of nerve to do it, but I shall insist, and hope yet to accomplish it. Stern, dictatorial measures are necessary, and as far as my influence goes, will be adopted. The enemy will operate on both our flanks, striking us here [at Corinth] whenever he is ready. Sooner one could not make him do it, as he is on the other side of the [Tennessee] River, which he controls by gun boats. But it is not so on the Mississippi: we control that below them, and can throw our forces at any point there by steamer. Had my opinion prevailed, we should have assailed him at New Madrid and defeated him there about the time we moved here. But fears were felt for this position, by which Genl Johnston would be divided from us. Swift measures would have saved both [New Madrid and Corinth] but that is now too late. To hold the Mississippi River is my primary object; the loss of its use be about fatal to us, and I shall unceasingly urge its importance. I find my opinions have some weight with both Johnston and Beauregard, and I shall not cease to urge my point. Johnston almost embraced me when I met him, saying, "Your prompt and decisive move, Sir, has saved me, and saved the country. But for your arrival [at Corinth] the enemy would have been between us." A change is to be made today in our organization. I believe the Army here, between the Mississippi and the Tennessee, will be called the Army of the Mississippi, as at present, but largely increased by Johnston's forces. This will all be commanded by Beauregard, and be divided in turn into two grand divisions under Polk and Bragg. Say 25,000 men each. Johnston to command all. And East Tennessee and Missouri. Under my urgent advice, supported by Polk and Beauregard, Johnston has decided to withdraw the forces of Van Dorn from Arkansas, and unite them to ours on this side of the river. This, you may recollect, I advised in January from Pensacola. Where he is, Van Dorn can do nothing; nor can he subsist his army. Arkansas is a wilderness the enemy will never penetrate. And should we unfortunately lose the Mississippi, Van Dorn there would be lost. With his addition, 20,000. If we do our duty, and work our men into soldiers, we shall be able to turn the tide, and redress our losses. But, great labor is before us, and we need not conceal the fact that great danger also threatens us. Our people, our generals, with a few exceptions, are not up to the emergency. Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri are lost to us. Such has been the outrageous conduct of our troops that the people generally and very voluntarily prefer seeing the enemy. Polk and Johnston do nothing to correct this. Indeed, the good Bishop sets the example by taking whatever he wishes -- requiring it to be paid for, it is true. But, every man is not willing to give up his house, his necessities, servants, provisions, etc., etc., even though our Government is required to pay for it. The provision question is embarrassing to us publicly and privately. Financing the great difficulty in New Orleans. And hearing such accounts from Mr. Urquhart, I bought 20,000 pounds of bacon in Mississippi which was offered me as a favor. It will be shipped to Mr. Urquhart and by him one half to you and the other half to Towson. It will be more than either will require, or ought to use. Half of it ought to suffice. The other I thought it prudent to take as we might supply Pierce and your Mother. We face weeks more, not a pound of meat can be had in the country. The money you speak of for the girls, I paid to Towson in cash. He tells me he deposited it to your Mother's credit with Mr. Urquhart for the girls to draw on. That makes it all right. She is charged with it, but look on the other side and see if she is also credited? That might make it all right. Towson and Robert are well. My own health is good, besides a cold. The meantime -- Write. God Keep you Darling Wife Braxton. [The original hand-written Letter of 29 MAR 1862] is on file with Missouri History Museum -- Missouri Digital Heritage -- in the "St. Louis Civil War Collection" and accessible online at the following: http://cdm.sos.mo.gov/cdm/compoundobject/collection/CivilWar/id/1261/rec/20 Thanks to Missouri History Museum for making the original letter available online. Ozzy
  7. Ozzy

    Bragg's Memoirs

    Along with George H. Thomas and Henry Halleck, Braxton Bragg is one of the Civil War leaders whose memoirs -- and raisons d'Etat -- I would most like to read. Many are the reasons given why General Bragg never got around to those musings; and this post suggests one more possibility, and it involves a man named Kinloch Falconer. An 1860 graduate of the University of Mississippi, Kinloch Falconer joined the 9th Mississippi as a Private and accompanied his regiment to Pensacola, Florida in March 1861, and became part of Braxton Bragg's force there, occupying the former U.S. Navy Yard and all the pre-war fortifications... except Fort Pickens. The key to control of access to Pensacola Bay, Fort Pickens was a thorn in the side of General Bragg (who ordered Colonel Chalmers to attempt a night raid against that facility 8/9 October 1861.) A month later, on November 22nd a gunnery duel erupted, pitting Confederate batteries at Fort Barrancas and Fort McRee against Union-held Fort Pickens and a squadron of Federal warships in the Gulf of Mexico. Because the guns at Pickens and Barrancas were not designed to fire all the way across at each other -- about three miles -- neither of these forts suffered much damage. Fort McRee (sometimes spelled Fort McRae) was another matter: only one mile from fort Pickens, on the opposite spit of land controlling the entrance to Pensacola Bay, Fort McRee was the most exposed of the Confederate positions. And it was just outside that wing-shaped fort that the 9th Mississippi was dug in, assigned to guns designed to prevent a landing by Federal troops. (The 10th Mississippi, under command of Colonel J.B. Villepigue, operated the big guns inside Fort McRee.) Over the course of 36 hours, the entire vicinity of Fort McRee was blasted by guns from Fort Pickens and warships USS Richmond and USS Niagara. Fort McRee was reduced to a smoldering ruin; but Colonel Villepigue's spirited defense of the position won acclaim from Braxton Bragg, and he was promoted to Brigadier General. Kinloch Falconer -- who had spent time clerking for General Bragg -- came to the notice of newly-minted General Villepigue, and was assigned as his Assistant Adjutant General. The 9th Mississippi left Florida in early 1862, and went on to fight alongside the 10th Mississippi at Shiloh. But Kinloch Falconer did not accompany his regiment; instead, he was promoted to Captain and followed General Villepigue to his new assignment: defense of Fort Pillow, on the Mississippi River. That position was evacuated just before the fall of Memphis (in June 1862) and John B. Villepigue (alumnus of The Citadel and 1854 graduate of West Point) next found himself assigned as Brigade commander (in Lovell's Division) Earl Van Dorn's Army of West Tennessee. Wounded during the October 3-5 Battle of Second Corinth, Villepigue succumbed to his wounds in November. And Captain Falconer found himself re-assigned to General Braxton Bragg, for whom he worked as AAG until early 1865... when he was again re-assigned, this time to the Staff of General Joseph E. Johnston. (When Johnston accepted terms offered by William Tecumseh Sherman on April 26th 1865 it was Major Falconer's signature that appeared on the Surrender Document.) Kinloch Falconer's war was over, but his usefulness was not. It was known that the AAG to several general officers had kept meticulous records -- and a diary -- during his years of service to the Confederacy. (One element of his diary, for the year 1865, is on file at Vanderbilt University at Nashville.) In the years after the war, General J.E. Johnston frequently contacted Falconer for precise details IRT Operations conducted during the War of the Rebellion. Braxton Bragg, too, contacted Falconer in 1870 with many questions IRT Bragg's military operations (which may indicate that Bragg was contemplating writing his memoirs, before his untimely death in 1876.) Kinloch Falconer, himself, met an untimely death in 1878. Then serving as Secretary of State for Mississippi, while on a visit to seriously ill relatives at Holly Springs he succumbed to the Yellow Fever epidemic then raging. His papers are now on file with the University of Mississippi. Ozzy References: http://clio.lib.olemiss.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/civil_war/id/2108/rec/8 Bragg's 1870 query to Falconer http://ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/UF/00/08/56/93/00002/00067jc.pdf Falconer's involvement with Johnston's surrender 1865 http://clio.lib.olemiss.edu/cdm/search/searchterm/Kinloch Falconer Collection/mode/exact/page/1 Kinloch Falconer Collection http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bordenave_Villepigue General J. B. Villepigue at wikipedia N.B. Thanks to David (Ole Miss) for providing access to the Kinloch Falconer Collection.
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