Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2, 1863 (Wednesday): Bragg Departs

General Braxton Bragg


No. 214. Dalton, Ga., December 2, 1863.
     Upon renewed application to the President, his consent has been obtained for the relinquishment of    the command of this army. It is accordingly transferred to Lieutenant-General Hardee.
The announcement of this separation is made with unfeigned regret. The associations of more than two years, which bind together a commander and his trusted troops, cannot be severed without deep emotion. A common cause and dangers shared on the many hard fought fields from Pensacola to Chickamauga have cemented bonds which time even can never impair.
    The circumstances which render this step proper will be appreciated, however, by every good soldier and true patriot, and the last appeal the general has to make to the gallant army which has so long and so nobly sustained him, is to give to his successor that cordial and generous support so essential to the success of our arms. In that successor you have a veteran whose brilliant reputation you have aided to achieve. He cannot fail, if properly sustained, to fill the measure of our country's expectations.
    To the officers of my general staff, who have so long, so zealously, and so successfully struggled against serious difficulties in support of the army and myself, is due, in a great degree, what little of success and fame we have achieved. In bidding them and the army an affectionate farewell, they have the blessing and the prayers of a grateful friend.

      General, C. S. Army.

RICHMOND, December 2, 1863.
Lieutenant General WILLIAM J. HARDEE, Dalton, Ga.:
     Your dispatch November 30 received and submitted to the President. What general is in your mind for the command which you decline? It is needless to name Lee, who is now indispensable where he is.

     S. COOPER,
     Adjutant and Inspector General.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 31, Part 3, Pages 775-776.

Bragg had offered his resignation on November 29 after the disaster at Chattanooga.  It was done as a matter of form and Bragg was surprised when Davis immediately accepted it.  The depths to which Bragg's reputation had fallen are evidenced by the lack of an obvious successor.  It is interesting also to note Longstreet, who might have been given the task, had worked his way out of the job by his failing to accomplish anything of substance in the Knoxville campaign.  Also, it is ironic to not that on the day Hardee was named to the command he was requesting Lee be given it.

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