Friday, July 27, 2012

General Bragg’s present reputation

In a biographical note on page 372 of Jefferson Davis and his generals (published 1990), Steven Woodworth writes "Biographies of individual generals have proved far more useful, and several are worth of mention. Grady McWhiney's Braxton Bragg and Confederate Defeat (New York: Colombian University Press, 1969) corrects many of the more outrageous denunciations of Bragg but unfortunately carries Bragg's story only as far as Murfreesboro."

In the introduction to Braxton Bragg and Confederate Defeat, Volume II (published 1991), Judith Lee Hallock writes, "Recently, Richard M. McMurry published a book of essays explaining why the eastern armies of the Confederacy have received more attention than those of the West. One of the reasons, he contended, is that the western armies simply did not have charismatic generals, and he used Braxton Bragg's biographer to support his point. '[Grady] McWhiney found his subject so nauseous that he abandoned the project after completing only the first of a projected two volumes,' McMurry wrote. 'At last report he had turned the disgusting Bragg over to a graduate student.'

"I [Judith Lee Hallock tells us] was that graduate student."

I am as prone to abandoning projects which become nauseous as McWhiney but I am intrigued by Hallock's implied intent, i.e., to make Bragg less nauseous; so perhaps I'll continue on for awhile.

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