President Trump mentioned Fort Bragg (both a city in Northern California and a fort in North Carolina) this week and asked Chris Wallace rhetorically in his Sunday morning interview on Fox if these ought to be renamed after the Reverend Al Sharpton instead, revealing yet again the racism of the President.
I did not know who, in fact, Braxton Bragg was and so I checked Wikipedia and Ron Chernow’s remarkable biography Grant (i.e. General Ulysses S. Grant). Here is part of what I learned:
Wikipedia – (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braxton_Bragg):
“Braxton Bragg (March 22, 1817 – September 27, 1876) was an American army officer during the Second Seminole War and Mexican–American War and later a Confederate army officer who served as a general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, serving in the Western Theater…
In November 1862, Bragg’s army was routed by Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in the Battles for Chattanooga and pushed back to Georgia. Confederate President Jefferson Davis subsequently relieved Bragg of command, recalling him to Richmond to serve as his chief military advisor. Bragg briefly returned to the field as a corps commander near the end of the war during the Campaign of the Carolinas.”
Ron Chernow says of him:
“Braxton Bragg, a North Carolina native and West Point graduate, who had met Grant during the Mexican War and later worked as a Louisiana sugar planter [Bragg was an owner of many human beings as slaves]. A cold martinet with a gaunt, narrow face and beetling brows, Bragg had flashing eyes that suggested his combustible temperament…
He was possessed of an irascible temper, and was naturally disputatious. A stickler for rules, Bragg took sadistic delight in punishing people for violations, forcing fellow soldiers to witness executions of deserters. ‘He loved to crush the spirit of his men,’ said a soldier. ‘Not a single soldier in the whole army ever loved or respected him.’” (p. 316)
At Missionary Ridge, Chernow notes:
“‘An Army never was whipped so badly as Bragg was,’ exulted Grant… ‘Bragg is in full retreat, burning his depots and bridges. The Chickamauga Valley, for a distance of 10 miles, is full of the fires lighted in his flight.’
..For Braxton Bragg, the disgrace was total. ‘Bragg looked scared,’ one Confederate soldier remarked. ‘He had put spurs to his horse, and was running like a scared dog…Poor fellow, he looked so hacked and whipped and mortified and chagrined at defeat.’ When Bragg forwarded his resignation to Richmond, the Confederate government hastened to accept it.” (p. 325)
“Bragg is generally considered among the worst generals of the Civil War. Most of the battles in which he engaged ended in defeat. Bragg was extremely unpopular with both the men and the officers of his command, who criticized him for numerous perceived faults, including poor battlefield strategy, a quick temper, and overzealous discipline. Bragg has a generally poor reputation with historians, though some point towards the failures of Bragg’s subordinates, especially Leonidas Polk—a close ally of Jefferson Davis and known enemy of Bragg—as more significant factors in the many Confederate defeats at Bragg’s command. The losses which Bragg suffered are cited as principal factors in the ultimate defeat of the Confederacy.” (Wikipedia)
From these accounts, Braxton Bragg is presented as a sadistic owner of human beings, a traitor to the Union, and a failed Confederate General.
If Trump wants to keep Bragg’s name on a city and on a fort, that says as much about Trump as a heartless, racist, and failed Commander in-Chief as it does about Bragg himself.