Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2/5/13 cwn

5, One Confederate officer's opinion of General Bragg; "he is almost universally hated by all our troops, especially by the Tennesseeans."


An Intercepted Leter from one of Bragg's Officers

From the Nashville Union*

We have been permitted to copy portions of a very amusing letter, written by Maj. B___, of Bragg's army, to his dear friend M___, in this city, which shows that the great skedaddler of Stone's River is not regarded as a NAPOLEON by all his officers. The letter is as follows:

Wartrace, Tenn., Jan. 10, 1863.

Dear M_____: My young friend, G. H. M., wrote you yesterday morning, sent the letter and a number of late papers by Mrs. H. 

* * * * * 

Hope you received them. I have been here one week. Left Murfreesboro Sunday morning last, at daylight, on the last train leaving there. Did not know until 10 o'clock at night that we intended to retreat the following morning, or rather the same night. Do not believe the retreat was necessary. Do not believe Gen. Bragg knew what he was doing; in other words, that he is not a man competent to command on the field. Every Tennesseean is bitter beyond expression. Some swear he is a fool. I think myself he has been blessed with very little sense, and no genius; and you know I have no cause to think hardly of him. He has recently had me promoted. Our official intercourse has been exceeding pleasant, and this is more than many of his officers can say, for several of them have been under arrest since the army left Mississippi.

But it is useless to disguise the fact that BRAGG'S career, as a Commanding General, has eventuated in a disaster and disgraceful failure. Added to this, he is not popular. I may go further, and say he is almost universally hated by all our troops, especially by the Tennesseeans. At the same time I think him a soldier-a man who has a sense of duty, and will perform his duty to the best of his ability; that he is a fine disciplinarian and an officer of spendid administrative ability. But it is sheer folly to call him a General.

I am of opinion that history will relate that all the battles around Murfreesboro were fought well, contested with desperate valor, but that they were fought without generalship. Gen. BRAGG attacked and drove back their left wing on Wednesday, because he had massed his heaviest forces on their right wing, believing from demonstrations made by the Yankees, that their heaviest force was there. Our attack on the left extended gradually toward the right, hoping to move first one division after another until the whole army would be forced to retreat. But having weakened ourselves on the right and centre, in order to enable us to drive back their right, we found on attacking their whole line that we were too weak to pierce his centre or drive back his right. So Wednesday's battle closed without a decisive result. We had captured, it is true, thirty-one pieces of artillery, upwards of three thousand prisoners, and held the battle-field, which we continued to hold until we evacuated our entire defences. But we had gained, you perceive, no decisive advantage except on their right. They maintained their original position everywhere else, having repulsed the several attempts made to carry their position on the centre and right. On Thursday we were inactive except in taking care of the dead and wounded. We secured the trophies of the fight on the left, and shipped all the prisoners captured, ordnance, &c., safely to Chattanooga. On Friday evening BRAGG foolishly (I can't conscientiously use a more expressive term) ordered BRECKINRIDGE'S Division to charge their centre again. We took the first front battery of the enemy, but after capturing it, discovered we were immediately under the fire of numerous other batteries that had up to that time remained silent. The inevitable consequence was a hasty retreat, leaving the captured battery on the field, to fall again into the enemy's hands; nor was this all-we lost many of our bravest and most gallant officers and men. Gen. HANSON was wounded, and has since died. Col. PRESTON CUNNINGHAM was killed. Capts. WOMACK, SAVAGE and SPURLOCK, of Warren County, were all dangerously wounded. Defeated in our design, repulsed with heavy loss, we retired to our former position. 

* * * * 

Early Saturday night the entire army commenced moving. I started seven long trains off crowded to overflowing with the sick and wounded.

* * * * * 

BRAGG discovered his mistake, and prepared for an evacuation, after having declared he would win that battle or die on the field. Our next line of defence will be immediately south of Duck River. Our headquarters will be next to Tallahoma.________


New-York,Thursday, February 5, 1863






February, Friday 5, 1864
Jane doing very well, the ball although passing so near the kidneys, & spine, missed both. Dr. Shaw has examined it by daylight, and thinks she will be up again in five or six weeks - 
Peter and I went over to Mrs. Duke's - I went to Memphis in Mr. Armstrong's wagon - got the Morphine & Chloroform. Mr. Armstrong drove me out to Mrs. Duke's - I mounted old McGruder, Peter old Sam, we got home early. Jack ran off this morning, we don't know where to - but expect he has gone to Memphis - 

January - November, 1864 




     5, "Dead Mules;" Public Health Obstruction in Nashville

Large numbers of the carcasses of dead mules and horses are rotting upon the commons close by the corner of Summer and Crawford streets, filling the air with an intolerable stench, which is admirably calculated to increase the business of physicians and undertakers.[1] As all other plans of ridding the city of this nuisance have failed, we beg leave to suggest the building of a large furnace, in which to burn these carcasses. We are of the opinion that not o­ne-tenth part of the amount of wood some people suppose would be required, and even then should a large quantity be needed, the health of the city its worth more than all the wood that could possibly be consumed. If any person has a better idea, or an idea at all, o­n the subject, we would be glad to hear it; o­nly do not say anything about burying them; that idea played [out last time it was tried].

Nashville Dispatch, February 5, 1864.
[1] Because the germ-theory of disease was unknown at this point and time, it was commonly believed that "miasmas," noxious odors such as these described here, caused disease.

James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-532-1550  x115

(615)-532-1549  FAX


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