Edward Stuyvesant Bragg


Edward Stuyvesant Bragg was born on February 20, 1827, at the crossroads hamlet of Unadilla, New York. He was educated in the local academies and at what is now Hobart College. He read law and was admitted to the bar in 1848. Two years later he moved to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. A Douglas Democrat in politics, Bragg served as district attorney of Fond du Lac County and was a delegate to the Charleston presidential convention of 1860. Staunchly espousing the cause of the Union, he raised a company which became part of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry and was elected its captain. The regiment was mainly employed in garrisoning the defenses of Washington, D. C, until August, 1862, when it took part in the campaign of Second Manassas. By this time Bragg had been advanced to the grade of lieutenant colonel and, until the end of the war, participated in all but one fight in which the Army of the Potomac was engaged—he was absent from the field of Gettysburg because of illness. The unit of which the 6th Wisconsin was a part, and which Bragg commanded for many months, was the celebrated "Iron Brigade." He was promoted to colonel in March, 1863, and brigadier general of volunteers to rank from June 25, 1864. During the war he was once nominated as a Democrat to Congress from his district but was defeated. After the war he reentered politics as a delegate to the Union national convention of 1866, was elected state senator in 1867, and was a delegate io the Democratic national convention of 1872. He served four terms in Congress and was twice the chairman of the Wisconsin delegation to Democratic conventions. In seconding the nomination of Grover Cleveland for the presidency in 1884, Bragg eyed the Tammany-controlled New York delegation and coined the celebrated political slogan, "We love him for the enemies he has made!" Cleveland subsequently rewarded him with an appointment as minister to Mexico. In 1896 Bragg's lifelong loyalty to the Democratic party wavered on the "free silver" issue, and he refused to support William Jennings Bryan. Thereafter he supported the Republican ticket nationally and was appointed United States consul general at Hong Kong by Theodore Roosevelt in 1902, a post which he held for four years. He died in Fond du Lac on June 20, 1912, and was buried there.

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Reference:  Generals in Blue.  Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Louisiana State University Press.  Baton Rouge.