Friday, May 9, 2014

Reinforcements Denied By General Bragg

The stubborn defense of Fort Fisher by North Carolina garrison troops against overwhelming odds is a testament to their resolve and patriotism – defending the Old North State to the last extremity.  After enduring a furious barrage of fire from enemy ships, they fought the invaders from traverse to traverse and died like heroic men.  Braxton Bragg refused to reinforce them; their graves were robbed by Northern burial contractors eager for profit.
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"Unsurpassed Valor, Courage and Devotion to Liberty"
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"   

Reinforcements Denied by General Bragg

“After the first attack General [W.H.C.] Whiting appealed to General Bragg, [Department of North Carolina] Commander[,] for reinforcements [to Fort Fisher], asking for [General Johnson] Hagood’s South Carolina Brigade, numbering about 2,000 efficient men, as his (Whiting’s) only consisted of but one raw, inexperienced regiment that had never smelled powder except in the first attack, which did not number over 700 efficient men.

Hagood’s troops were veterans with experience in battle. Further appeals were made for three Brigades of [General Robert F.] Hoke’s Division to be placed where the Federals would possibly attempt a landing.  General Bragg denied the appeal saying he saw no necessity in carrying out these suggestions.

With his small band of brave men, General Whiting continued his efforts to hold his Fort, and within reach of ample reinforcements that failed to come.  An heroic soldier and Commander, he gave his life for his Southland he loved so dearly.

Col. [William] Lamb Addresses the Philadelphia Times, Nov. 18, 1881:

“On revisiting Fort Fisher after the war, I found that the port burial grounds, where enemy soldiers who died previous to the battle were buried [next to Southern dead], had been robbed of all its dead and was told that a contractor for the [Northern] Government had stolen their bones in order to be paid for supplying them with coffins under an appropriation to rebury the dead of the Northern army.   

I had this consolation when contemplating this act, that, although their dust and ashes had been disturbed, their memories were none the less precious to the Southern heart, nor their reward for duty done less complete at the hands of Him who doeth all things well. 

Similar emotion filled my breast when I read the letter of General Braxton Bragg to his brother, in which he seeks to take from the dead of Fort Fisher an imperishable renown, and in which he seeks to excuse his desertion of an heroic garrison.”

(Pictorial and Historical New Hanover County and Wilmington, N.C., William Lord DeRosset, editor, 1938)