Bragg intervened in military operations on several occasions after the spring campaigns opened in May, 1864. He helped to save Richmond by ordering P.G.T. Beauregard to attack Benjamin Butler’s Army of the James on May 16, blunting Butler’s threat to the Confederate capital in the Bermuda Hundred campaign. Then Bragg suggested that Jubal Early invade Union-held Maryland after clearing the Shenandoah Valley of enemy troops and threaten Washington, D.C. Early thus created a crisis in Grant’s management of operations in the East. Bragg never received credit for the role he played in either event yet he received criticism for playing a role in the relief of Joseph E. Johnston as head of the Army of Tennessee. Davis grew distraught at Johnston’s retreat from Dalton before William T. Sherman’s advance during the Atlanta campaign, giving 100 miles of territory without a major battle. Bragg shared the president’s distress. He visited Johnston in mid-July and recommended the general be relieved of command. Davis did so on July 17. Ironically, some members of the Army of Tennessee agreed that Johnston retreated too much and longed for Bragg to once again take command.
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