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Found 1 result

  1. 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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