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Ozzy

Bragg's Letter of April 8

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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  ]:

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The man's name sure does describe him. Too bad he was the only good man in the Reb army, else they would have won in a cake walk.

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Jim

For a long time, I believed Braxton Bragg had "deprived Historians of his full story," by never getting around to an Autobiography. The truth has been unexpected and heartening: Braxton Bragg wrote at least 70 wartime letters and perhaps 40 telegrams before the Battle of Shiloh. And most of those records are on file, somewhere... mostly held by six different university libraries, and the Missouri Historical Society. You may not like what Bragg has to say, but it is on record, and it reveals his innermost thoughts and hopes and concerns (especially his letters to/from his wife, Eliza, who appears to be as bellicose as her husband.)

http://cdm.sos.mo.gov/cdm/compoundobject/collection/CivilWar/id/1294/rec/24  original handwritten letter of 8 APR 1862 at Missouri Historical Society.

Regards

Ozzy

 

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Eliza Bragg: Supporter, Confidant and Advocate

Am presenting a Letter written from Louisiana by Eliza Bragg in June 1861, when Braxton Bragg was in command at Pensacola Florida, which illustrates the high level of support received by Major General Bragg in carrying through his agenda. Braxton Bragg obviously put great stock in the advice and opinions of his wife; and that “behind the scenes” support likely galvanized Bragg to be himself, stay the course, and operate his command in the manner he saw fit.

Of particular interest in the following letter:

·         Elisa’s concern with “too many troops being kept in Pensacola”

·         Eliza’s biting criticism of Brigadier General Pillow;

·         A first indication of Eliza’s contempt for Tennessee troops (which leads one to wonder “what soured her on the people of Tennessee?”

·         A condemnation of the “retrograde policy” (as practiced Battle of Bethel);

·         “I don’t want peace until we have done something [in battle] to deserve it.”

·         But after advocating for War so strongly, Eliza Bragg reverts to small talk in regard to tomatoes and cantelopes; and advocates for the use of Leroy Walker (a man Braxton Bragg deemed unfit for command) to take temporary command of Pensacola, and permit Braxton to make a short visit back Home.

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[Letter of June 1861 from Bivouac Plantation, Louisiana found in Seitz pp.43 - 4.]

 

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Had another read of the above June 1861 Letter of Eliza Bragg: was trying to figure out who "the scurvy patients" were, mentioned second paragraph... and it hit me. Union Lieutenant Adam Slemmer and his band of 80 men occupied Fort Pickens from about 10 January until May 1861, living off of whatever bread could be made from abundant flour, and barrels of salt pork. Because of the Pickens Truce (agreed by Florida Senator Stephen Mallory and President Buchanan) the Rebels promised not to attack the Union-held fortification; and the Union promised there were to be no weapons, reinforcements or supplies landed at Fort Pickens... which meant "no fresh fruits or vegetables." By the time Slemmer and his men were relieved, and returned north in May 1861, most of the brave defenders of Fort Pickens required hospitalization -- due to malnutrition and scurvy -- and were kept out of the public eye, until they made a full recovery. Reports then appeared in the newspapers... and those newspapers found their way south... and Elisa Bragg added her Pensacola-pertinent comment to the gossip contained in her June letter.

Always more to the story...

Ozzy

 

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