Fort Bragg & Distraction Tricks
Updated: Sep 29, 2022
Once again The Naming Commission decides to attack the character and skill of Braxton Bragg to distract readers from the fact that it did not meet the assignment of Congress, which was determining voluntary service.
The Naming Commission does not provide sources for its attack on Braxton Bragg, merely stating that he was hated, caused massive Confederate losses & owned slaves. (pg. 22) You may be so revolted by these statements that you forget to ask for the details necessarily to legally change the fort's name. If the commission refuses to define citizenship in the United States in 1861, then we may need to look to other sources to gage the mindset of Braxton Bragg.
Here is what he writes to his friend, William T. Sherman, later a general in the Union Army on December 26th, 1860:
"You are acting on a conviction of duty to yourself and to your family and friends. A similar duty on my part may throw us into an apparent hostile attitude, but it is too terrible to contemplate and I will not discuss it."
What is this "duty" he speaks of? The Naming Commission clearly did not look at Bragg's own words to his friends in private letters in 1860. It appears that Bragg does not believe he has a choice in the matter--therefore was his eventual service in the Confederate Army "voluntary?" The Naming Commission's report does not give an answer.
Bragg, in the same letter, goes on to say:
"The only question now is; can we reconstruct any government without bloodshed? I do not think we can, and the question is momentous. Yet we find a few old political hacks and barroom bullies are leading public sentiment, and will in many cases represent us in convention. They can easily pull down a government, but when another is to be built who will confide in them? Yet no one seems to reflect that anything more is necessary than to 'secede.' Such a chaotic mass to work on has never presented itself to my mind, and I can see nothing but confusion to come of it."
If Braxton Bragg is so opposed to secession and so critical of the politicians in Louisiana, why does he fight with the Confederate Army? The answer is simple: his future military service was not perceived as voluntary by the man himself. The Naming Commission's attempt to sidestep the issue failed. Moreover, Bragg joined his state militia, which was then aligned with the Confederate Army. This opens up a new set of questions that the commission would need to answer regarding when it believes this voluntary service began.
Students of American history can argue about these issues all day: the relevant issue is that Congress & the Department of Defense cannot change the name of this base until voluntary service is established. The report fails to do so and the historical evidence provides a clear understanding of Bragg's feelings in the run-up to the Civil War.