Braxton Bragg commanded the Confederate Army of Tennessee at the Battle of Chickamauga and the Battles for Chattanooga. He was a graduate of West Point (Class of 1837), a Seminole War veteran, a distinguished veteran during the Mexican-American War, and a long-standing United States Army officer. Bragg resigned from the army in 1856 and was overseeing his Louisiana plantation when the war began.
In 1861, he was appointed and confirmed a brigadier general in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States and was placed in command of the defenses along the Gulf Coast (from Pensacola, Florida, to Mobile, Alabama). Bragg was promoted to major general in September 1861 and assisted General Albert S. Johnston at Shiloh in April 1862. Soon after the battle, he was elevated to the rank of general and, in June, replaced General P.G.T. Beauregard as commander of the Army of Mississippi, later renamed the Army of Tennessee. He led this army into Kentucky, where he met defeat at the Battle of Perryville in October 1862. His next major battle was fought against Major General William S. Rosecrans along the banks of Stones River, Tennessee (December 31, 1862, & January 2, 1863). After being pushed out of Middle Tennessee and Chattanooga, Bragg defeated Rosecrans at the Battle of Chickamauga, fought September 18, 19, & 20, 1863. He then besieged the Union army in Chattanooga until November, when forces under the command of General U.S. Grant forced him to retire into Georgia. He resigned his command and Joseph E. Johnston took his place as commander of the Army of Tennessee. President Jefferson Davis called Bragg to Richmond where he was placed under the direction of the president "with the conduct of the military operations in the armies of the Confederacy." At the end of the war, Bragg found his way back into the field, seeing further service in North Carolina.
Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 2006.
Did You Know?
In 1838, twenty-five years before he led the Confederate army defending Chattanooga, North Carolina native Braxton Bragg was part of a U.S. Army unit assigned to roundup and relocate members of the Cherokee Nation from the very area of much of the eventual Civil War Campaign for Chattanooga.