Monday, May 28, 2012

Braxton Bragg - You've Got to be Kidding Me.

Greetings Cosmic Americans!

We all know Braxton Bragg - one of the principal Confederate commanders in the war's Western Theater. He was tight with Jefferson Davis, a strict disciplinarian - something of a martinet, really, he was given to irritability - suffering from any number of ailments undoubtedly causing chronic pain, and he was extraordinarily argumentative - a trait that clearly chipped away at his popularity in the army.

But Bragg's prickly personality has at least provided Civil War historians and enthusiasts a swell story to share at parties. Because...everyone likes a good Braxton Bragg story. Ulysses S. Grant recalled Bragg in his memoirs and related a funny little story that should amuse anyone. In the prewar army, Bragg had once been both a company commander and the company quartermaster. As company commander he made an official request to the company quartermaster (himself) for some sort of supply. As quartermaster he denied said request and returned an official explanation for doing so in writing. As company commander he returned the favor arguing that he was entitled to his request. Quartermaster Bragg persisted (again in writing) on denying company commander Bragg's request, at which point company commander Bragg solicited the intervention of his superior officer - presumably to head off any further escalation of the argument. Bragg's commander - mystified by the exchange, declared "My God, Mr. Bragg, you have quarreled with every officer in the army, and now you are quarreling with yourself."

This story may indeed be apocryphal. But even if that is the case, it is probably at least close to the truth....and illustrative of Bragg's general disposition.



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