Friday, July 27, 2012

General Manigault on Bragg’s Cavalry

Judith Hallock in her Braxton Bragg and Confederate Defeat, Volume II, pp 23-24 references Brigadier General Arthur Middlton Manigault in both the OR XXIII and in a biography of him edited by R. Lockwood Tower for much of the following:

"Throughout the campaign, Bragg had been poorly served by his cavalry, a serious drawback, as Civil War generals relied upon the cavalry to keep them informed of enemy movements. Morgan's ill-fated raid into Ohio against orders constituted only the first instance of the cavalry's poor performance. The cavalry on the scene left much to be desired. In one request for information, Bragg admonished Wheeler, 'Try and get it soon and accurate.' After being surprised by the enemy early in the campaign, a regimental commander sarcastically reported, 'I had been led to believe that this cavalry was vigilant and would give timely notice of the approach of an enemy. The enemy surprised this invincible cavalry, and to use their language) rode over them.' General Arthur M. Manigault speculated that the blame for the results of the Tullahoma campaign could be placed on the cavalry. He believed that Bragg did not give battle because of the cavalry's failure to furnish him with reliable information. Manigault concluded his critique of the cavalry with a sweeping condemnation: 'It often appeared to me that many of our failures or misfortunes arose from our lamentable deficiency in this branch of the service.'"

The biography Hallock references is A Carolinian Goes to War: The Civil War Narrative of Arthur Middleton Manigault, Brigadier General, C.S.A., ed. R. Lockwood Tower (Colombia, S.C., 1983). While it might seem that everyone in Bragg's army was against him, I have seen hints that perhaps more of his army was for him than was against him, but not at the highest most-influential levels. Most of those guys wanted him out.

So could Manigault have been one of the lower-level officers who supported Bragg? Tower's book is still in print and sold by both and I just bought a used copy for under $4.00.

I couldn't find out much about Manigault on the internet but Edward Longacre in Faust's Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War has this to say about him:

"Manigault, Arthur Middleton. CSA b. Charleston, SC., 26 Oct. 1824. The son of a well-to-do rice planter, Manigault received a solid education but left the College of Charleston in 1841 to enter the export business. In 1846 he fought in Mexico as a lieutenant in the Palmetto Rifles, a commission he won through his experience as a sergeant major of militia. After serving under Winfield Scott, which he considered 'perhaps the happiest and most romantic period' of his life, he returned to Charleston and worked as a commission merchant till the outbreak of civil war.

"When his state seceded Dec. 1860, Manigault was elected captain of a local company of mounted riflemen. He went on staff duty, serving as inspector general to Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was at Beauregard's side during the bombardment of Fort Sumter. 6 weeks later he became colonel of the 10th South Carolina Infantry . . ."

In the Spring of 1862 "he and his regiment were sent to Mississippi to join the Army of Tennessee.

"For the remainder of the war, he served in the West, from the outset as a brigade commander. He fought conspicuously at Corinth, Stone's River (where his command ably supported the center of the Confederate line), and Chickamauga (where his troops menaced the Union left under Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas). On 26 Apr 1863 he was elevated to brigadier general, a promotion whose long delay he attributed to the influence of his family's enemies in the Confederate War Department.

"During the 1864 Atlanta campaign, Manigault was wounded at Resaca but fought through to Ezra Church. Later that year he served under John Bell Hood until again wounded, this time severely, at Franklin. The prolonged effects of this wound eventually caused his death 17 August 1886 at South Island, S.C. . . ."

It wouldn't seem from Longacre's brief biography that Manigualt had a lot to do with Bragg but he probably had some contact and he would have been able to judge the wisdom of what he and his brigade were instructed to do.

While Judith Hallock's book was touted by David Powell as presenting Bragg in a more favorable light than any other of his biographies, she hasn't exactly glossed over any of his failures as far as I've read (to page 50). She does however describe him as being sick during those times. Also, she uses some of his failures as evidence that he must have been sick.

I'm tempted to think that if he was sick he should have "recused" himself (or whatever the proper term is in this case). A baseball pitcher who developed a sore pitching arm might be excused for trying to work through the pain for an inning or so, but if he couldn't get anyone out the responsible thing for him to do would be to confess his ailment to his manager and be replaced by someone else. But it seems as though most of the top Confederate Generals were sick a lot of the time, and maybe a sick Bragg was better than some lesser general in Davis' (who was also sick a lot of the time) view.

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