Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bragg Moves North

The Confederate commanders in Tennessee were Generals Braxton Bragg, and Kirby Smith, each commanding an army. Together, they planned to strike north into Tennessee and Kentucky. They hoped to distract Grant and Buell from moving on Vicksburg by striking north. They were also hoping based that they would be able to pick up many new volunteers for the army from southern sympathizers in Kentucky and Tennessee. But first the armies had to be prepared. Bragg worked in infuse discipline into his men to prepare them for coming battles. Bragg was famous for his short temper. He quarreled very easily. The soldiers told a story of when he was in the United States army as a Lieutenant commanding a company. He was also serving as quartermaster at the post where he was stationed. His company needed supplies, but as quartermaster he knew he could not get them. So he submitted a request as company commander for the supplies, and as quartermaster, he refused to give them. He then referred the matter to his superior. After looking at the notes, the commander said "Mr Bragg, you have quarreled with every officer in the army, and now you are quarreling with yourself!"
Kirby Smith

Before Bragg could move move North, he first had to reach Chattanooga Tennessee. Buell's army was on its way as well, and they had a six week head start. But Bragg had a plan to out wit him. He had been working on repairing the railroad to Mobile, Alabama, and from Mobile to Chattanooga. It was much longer, but it was also much faster. Like Johnston had done at the Battle of Bull Run, Bragg hoped to use the technology of the railroad to make a movement that otherwise would have taken weeks. His men boarded the cars beginning on July 23rd, and withing a week they arrived in Chattanooga, just ahead of the federals. He met with Kirby Smith, who as the Confederate commander in East Tennessee, he would cooperate with in his planned invasion. Together they had 52,000 men, much less that the federal forces. So they intended to follow the example of Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley and destroy the federal armies one by one, moving quickly to avoid being outnumbered.


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