Officers of the Army of Tennessee.
[from our own correspondent.]
Taking the Generals
in the Army of Tennessee in the order of their rank, I would remark that Gen. Braxton Bragg
, the late Commander in Chief
was born in the good old State of North Carolina
about the year 1815, and is consequently about forty-eight years of age. He entered the West Point. Academy in 1833, in the same class with Maj.-Gen. W. H. T. Walker
, of Georgia
, between whom and himself there has ever since existed mutual friendship and confidence.
The country is familiar with Gen. Bragg
's career in Mexico
, and with the distinguished services he rendered during the war with that country as an artillerist.
Some time after the war, and during Mr. Pierce
's administration, he resigned his commission in the army on account of some ruling by Mr. Davis
, the Secretary of War
, and retired to his plantation in Mississippi
When the present war broke out, it found Gen. Bragg
engaged in the peaceful and ennobling pursuits of the planter.
He had married after the Mexican
war and was the possessor of one of the finest estates in the Southwest
Soon after his inauguration as President
of the Provisional Government
, Mr. Davis
, overlooking their former differences, offered him the commission of Brigadier General
in the Provisional Army, which he accepted without a moment's hesitation.
The fact here recorded is creditable alike to the President
and his new Brigadier, since it shows that neither of them would allow private feeling to stand in the way of public duty.
It proves, moreover, that the President
has not been influenced by motives of personal friendship in his support of Gen. Bragg
as the commander of one of our most important armies.
It will not be inappropriate to add in this connection, that the report so persistently circulated to the effect that these two eminent personages are related to each other by blood or marriage, is without the least foundation in fact.
Their relations are friendly and agreeable, but nothing more.
was assigned to the command of the forces at Pensacola
, where he remained until the spring of 1862, and then was ordered to Tennessee
, and finally to Corinth
In the great battle of Shiloh
, fought on the 6th and 7th of April in that year, he and Hardee
commanded the three lines with which the army advanced to the assault, and each one greatly distinguished himself on that bloody field.
The lamented Sidney Johnston
having fallen in the thickest of the fight, Bragg
was immediately promoted to the rank of full of General by the President
, and made Chief of staff under Beauregard
, who succeeded to the command of the army.
Subsequently, upon the evacuation of Corinth
and the removal of General Beauregard
, the command of the army was turned over to Gen. Bragg
But it is not of Gen. Bragg
's career so much as of his military character and qualifications that I propose to speak.
Looking at him in this light, therefore, he may be fully and correctly described in the five following words: "He is simply a soldier." It is not meant to be asserted that he is not a gentleman of intelligence and culture, and of polished manners in general society
--for he is all this — but what I mean to affirm is, that when he is at the head of an army his whole being and character seem to be absorbed and merged in that of the soldier.
He is destitute of diplomacy, and knows neither friends nor foes in the discharge of his duties.
If one of his officers has been taken from civil life where he occupied a large space in public estimation, as in the case of Gen. Breckinridge
, he shows him precisely the same consideration as he does the least distinguished of his subalterns who has won his way with his sword to the same position — neither more nor less.
He expects the one to know his place and obey his orders as implicitly as the other.
That this stern military rule is founded in abstract justice, if not in wisdom, no one can deny; and yet it, with his earnest, perhaps austere manners, when occupied with business, has had the effect to render him unpopular with some of his officers, who, in their turn, have inoculated the subordinate officers in their respective commands with somewhat of their own feelings and opinions.
It is said, but with what truth I am not prepared to decide, that for some time past Gen
. B. has been more conciliatory in his bearing towards persons having business to transact with him. Be this as it may, it is certain that he has never turned aside from his duties in the field to court the favor of the public.
He is the hardest worker I have met with in the Confederate army. Day and night, in sunshine and in storm, in cold weather and in hot, he is ever at his post; and he allows no pleasure, however tempting, and no society, however charming, to take him away from his duty.
He not only works himself, but he requires every one about him to work.
His staff officers, like himself, know not what it is to enjoy a day of relaxation.
I have thought that he remains too closely at his quarters, and that it would be better for his health and for the good of the army if he would inspect his lines oftener and see and judge for himself.
Of his capacity for command I need not stop to speak; the world will judge him by his campaigns rather than by anything I might say. As an organizer of forces and an administrative officer, he ranks deservedly high.
There are no better soldiers in the whole army than his Pensacola
troops, of which he had the exclusive training and disciplining.
He possesses unusual quickness and capacity for business, and is a man of ardent patriotism and undoubted courage.
If he did not seek death in the late battle on Missionary Ridge
, he was certainly indifferent to it. He is a member of the Episcopal Church, and in private life his habits are as exemplary as those of any Christian gentleman in all the land.
His loss of property has been very heavy, the enemy having taken everything he possessed except his land, and driven his wife from her home with only the clothing in which she stood.
In stature, he is a tall, thin man, with piercing black eyes, iron-gray hair, and heavy eyebrows that meet above the nose and impart to his face an aspect of much austerity.
His stern manners, unsocial habits, and devotion to business, have rendered him unpopular with many of his superior officers; while his neglect of those arts by which ambitious men are won't to win popular applause, has had much to do in shaping public opinion against him, in that it left his opponents free to say and publish what they pleased concerning him. As a disciplinarian, he is very rigid and has probably had as many executed as any two commanders in the army; and yet he is far more popular with his soldiers and regimental officers than with those in higher positions.
As a strategist and fighter, his friends may well point to the battle of Chickamauga
and the operations which preceded it; and yet, in a contest before the people through the public prints, the most commonplace of his political Generals
is more than a match for him.
When Gen. Bragg
was about to relinquish the command of the Army of Tennessee, I called, as others did, to bid him adieu.
He spoke freely and feelingly of the recent disaster, and seemed to be far more concerned for the success of our cause and the welfare of the troops than about his own reputation.
He remarked that he did not know but that Sidney Johnston's rule, that a commander should be judged by the results of his campaigns, was a just standard, and that so far as his fall was the consequence of his own conduct, he was prepared to accept it and abide by it; but insofar as it was the result of the incapacity, disobedience or perversity of others he thought he ought to be relieved, and he believed that impartial history, when all the facts were brought to light, would do it. His own disgrace or destruction was a matter of but little consequence; he had lost his property and his health in the service, and was ready to give his life and reputation for the success of the cause, of which he entertained no doubt whatever.
Recalling to mind how much he had lost, and how much he had suffered in health and reputation, I confess, as I bade him farewell, that I could not withhold my sympathy and admiration from a man who was so firm and unselfish in the hour of adversity, and in whose resolute eyes there glistened a tear, not for himself, but for his bleeding country.