Braxton Bragg was a senior officer of the Confederate States Army who was assigned to duty at Richmond, under direction of the President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis, and charged with the conduct of military operations of the armies of the Confederate States from February 24, 1864, until January 13, 1865, when he was charged with command and defense of Wilmington, North Carolina. He previously had command of an army in the Western Theater.
Bragg had a reputation for being a strict disciplinarian and one who adhered to regulations literally. There is a famous, apocryphal story, included in Ulysses S. Grant’s memoirs, about Bragg as a company commander at a frontier post where he also served as quartermaster. He submitted a requisition for supplies for his company, then as quartermaster declined to fill it. As company commander, he resubmitted the requisition, giving additional reasons for his requirements, but as the quartermaster he denied the request again. Realizing that he was at a personal impasse, he referred the matter to the post commandant, who exclaimed, “My God, Mr. Bragg, you have quarreled with every officer in the army, and now you are quarreling with yourself!” It is alleged that some of his troops attempted to assassinate him on two occasions in August and September 1847, but he was not injured either time. In the more serious of the two incidents, one of his soldiers exploded a 12-pound artillery shell underneath his cot. Although the cot was destroyed, somehow Bragg himself emerged without a scratch. Bragg had suspicions about the identity of the perpetrator, but had insufficient evidence to bring charges. Later, an Army deserter named Samuel R. Church claimed credit for the attack.
On September 27, 1876, at the age of 59, Bragg was walking down a street with a friend in Galveston, Texas, when he suddenly fell over unconscious. Dragged into a drugstore, he was dead within 10 to 15 minutes. A physician familiar with his history believe that he “died by the brain” (or of “paralysis of the brain”), suffering from the degeneration of cerebral blood vessels. An inquest ruled that his death was due to “fatal syncope,” possibly induced by organic disease of the heart. He is buried in Magnolia Cemetery, Mobile, Alabama.