chapter  8
9 Pages

Training in the Light of Experience

Tullahoma became Braxton Bragg's headquarters for the spring months of 1863, and the Army of Tennessee spread across the hills and valleys that surrounded the town. It was a place of no particular significance, but it was not too far to the South, so the scale of the retreat from Stones River would be minimised. The town was also located close to the Highland Rim, a range of small mountains and hills that provided a natural barrier to the Federals and a position of strength for the Confederates. The Southerners had to spread their army over as wide an area as possible. Middle Tennessee was an agriculturally productive region, but much of what was produced was sent directly to Virginia to supply Robert E. Lee's forces. Bragg's commissaries had to do their best to secure as much food as possible, and they were certainly not above usurping food that would otherwise go to Virginia if they could reach it first. Even so, the Army of Tennessee required a larger and larger area for its subsistence. It drew supplies from anywhere commissary officers could locate stocks, including farms that were far beyond enemy lines. 'It was nip and tuck', according to the historian Steven E. Woodworth, 'but somehow [Bragg] kept the army at least minimally fed.'1