Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Bragg, Gen. Edward Stuyvesant (1827-1912)

Wisconsin Civil War Officer, Lawyer, Politican, "War Democrat", U.S. Congressman, U.S. Ambassador

Bragg, Gen. Edward Stuyvesant (1827-1912) | Wisconsin Historical Society
b. Unadilla, New York, February 20, 1827
d. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, June 20, 1912

Gen. Edward S. Bragg rose through the ranks of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry to become general of the famous Iron Brigade. He was also active in politics at the local and national level and served as a diplomat to Mexico, Cuba, and Hong Kong.

Early Years

Bragg studied at Geneva (later Hobart) College and was admitted to the New York bar in 1848. In 1850 he moved to Wisconsin and settled in Fond du Lac where he opened a law practice. He was also active in local politics as a Democrat and attended the Charleston Convention in April 1860. In the months that followed, Bragg became a "War Democrat" and endorsed suppression of slavery by force.

Civil War Service

When the Civil War broke out, Bragg raised a company for the 6th Wisconsin Infantry and was elected its captain. Promotions to major, lieutenant-colonel, and colonel of the 6th followed in rapid succession until, in June 1864, he was appointed a brigadier general with command of the Iron Brigade.

Bragg led his troops at the battles of Gainesville, South Mountain, Antietam (where he was severely wounded), Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Laurel Hill, North Anna, and Cold Harbor. In June 1864 he led the assault on Petersburg and an advance at Fitzhugh's Crossing. By the time the war ended, he had taken part in every one of the Iron Brigade's battles except Gettysburg, from which he was kept by illness. He was mustered out October 9, 1865.

Postwar Life

Bragg returned to Fond du Lac after the war, resumed his law practice, and continued his political activities. He served as state senator from 1868 to 1869 and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1872. He represented his district in the U.S. Congress 1877-1883 and 1885-1887. He was also chairman of the Wisconsin delegation to the Democratic National Convention in 1884 and 1896.

In 1888-1889 he was ambassador to Mexico and served as consul general at Havana, Cuba, in 1902 and at Hong Kong from 1903-1906. Bragg died in Fond du Lac on June 20, 1912.

Links to Learn More

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin Biography (Madison, 1965); E.B. Quiner, The Military History of Wisconsin Chicago, 1866); New York Evening Post, June 21, 1912; Register to the Papers of Edward S. Bragg at the Wisconsin Historical Society.]