From Antietam to Chancellorsville: September 1862 to May 1863

Battles For the West

Where was Jefferson Davis?

The Confederate president had completed an exhausting four-week railroad trip to various parts of the Confederacy. There had been uplifting moments, as when he addressed the Mississippi legislature, but there had also been the feeling that the Confederate States were pressed on all sides. Arriving at Richmond on January 5, 1863, Davis received a number of good tidings, including a message sent from Braxton Bragg on December 31, 1862.

Elated over what seemed to be a major victory in the West, Davis prepared a celebration only to learn, on January 6, that it was all a mistake and that Bragg and the Army of Tennessee were on the retreat. The Richmond newspapers lambasted Bragg, putting him in the same category as General Beauregard, who had exulted too much in his telegram after the Battle of Shiloh. There were many calls for Bragg to be replaced, but Davis stuck with his old friend.


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