General Braxton Bragg of the Confederate Army is one of the more controversial figures of the Civil War period. Nearly every modern writer on that period of American history has been highly critical of Bragg, both for his incompetence at war and for his failure to win the loyalty of his officers and men. The judgment of Bragg's contemporaries was no less severe; many of Bragg's subordinates were certain something was wrong with their commander. One general swore he would never fight again under Bragg's command; another threatened to resign from the army and to challenge Bragg to a duel.
No one doubted Bragg's ability when the Civil War began. Mexican War hero, retired army lieutenant colonel, he was one of the most distinguished soldiers to join the Confederacy, and for a time one of the most impressive. He rose quickly from brigadier to full general, yet by 1863 Bragg was the South's most discredited commander.
This is the first of a two-volume biography of Braxton Bragg which traces his career from 1817 to 1863 and emphasizes how and why Bragg, as commander of the Army of Tennessee, contributed to Confederate defeat.