Saturday, January 4, 2014

December 1, 1863

December 1, 1863

---Gen. Braxton Bragg and the Army of Tennessee have retreated, after the disaster at Chattanooga, south to Dalton, Georgia.  Bragg has done little to refit his army since the defeat six days previous.  He has fired Gen. Breckinridge and relieved him of his corps command.  He has sent in his report to President Davis, blaming the soldiers for the defeat: “No satisfactory excuse can possibly be given for the shameful conduct of our troops on the left in allowing their line to be penetrated.”  In another letter, Bragg urges a complete purge of the army, finding the field officers who retreated and stripping them of their commissions.  (He shows no awareness of how completely this would strip the Army of Tennessee of its officer contingent.)  He asserts that an investigation into the defeat be launched, confident that it will be found that “the fault is not entirely mine” and adds his resignation, almost de rigeur---which, to his surprise, has been accepted.  On this date, General Bragg relinquishes his command to the new temporary commander, William J. Hardee, one of his former corps commanders who was foremost in the effort to get Bragg fired several months earlier. 

Bragg, shocked at being relieved, writes again to Davis, suggesting that all of the Confederacy’s armies be united into one grand corps and commanded by Davis himself, and marched to crush the Yankee offenders in one blow.  Davis ignores the strange recommendation.
General Braxton Bragg, CSA

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