Friday, August 17, 2012

Glenn Tucker on Bragg’s Cavalry

Glenn Tucker is (was?) an amateur historian, but he seems to have a fairly good reputation -- at least among those who don't insist on the "Lost Cause" position. He wrote a book on Gettysburg and then a followup book on Lee and Longstreet exonerating Longstreet for causing the loss of the battle.

In Tucker's book Chickamauga, Bloody Battle in the West, written in 1961, he takes a very different position than David Powell on the efficiency of Bragg's cavalry

Tucker page 26 he writes, "Downstream he [Rosecrans] had also the benefits of two mountain ranges, Raccoon and Lookout, to screen his movements and keep Bragg baffled as to where he intended to strike. Bragg's miserable intelligence during these early stages of the Chickamauga campaign was a failure of his methods and not of his cavalrymen. He concentrated his horsemen on his flanks and neglected his front. Nathan B. Forrest's cavalry was far on his right and thus the services of the best of his subordinates were lost to him in the immediate Chattanooga area. . ."

"Bragg learned of Rosecrans' crossing downstream not from any vigilant screen of headquarters scouts, but from a citizen of the Caperton's Ferry area who brought him the intelligence on august 31. Still, information from such an untrained observer could not reassure him whether this was the main crossing or simply a diversion to cover the crossing expected at any moment upstream. Thus it was partly due to Bragg's lamentable intelligence methods that Rosecrans was able to get his army to the south bank without fighting a major battle and to effect his well-nigh bloodless capture of Chattanooga -- one of the great strategic achievements of the war."

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