A Lesson in Leadership:

  • 2013

A Lesson in Leadership:

The Decision by Jefferson Davis to Retain Braxton Bragg in Command after the Battle of Chickamauga
Author:
James Hawthorne
Abstract:

After numerous interventions as Commander-in-Chief not only in written communications but in an extensive visit carried out at great risk and personal sacrifice, Jefferson Davis still maintained Braxton Bragg as army commander. It was not because of Bragg's strategic, tactical, or leadership abilities -- they were limited at best. Was it Bragg's friendship with Davis; the supposed unavailability of an alternate commander; a shared sense of responsibility in creating Bragg's dysfunctional command; or Davis's lack of interest in seeking favor with politicians and the general public that served as factors in this decision? Certainly, these elements may have contributed to this decision; however, Davis's inability to act in the face of overwhelming evidence lies within Davis's complex character. Jefferson Davis expected others to sacrifice all, including their very honor to sustain the Confederacy, but when forced to make the same oblation he could not meet the code of behavior he demanded from others.