Braxton Bragg's early, pre-Civil War life was the stepping-stone to a life filled with failures and disappoints. He was born in Warrenton, NC on March 22, 1817. His dad, Thomas Sr. was a carpenter and a successful family contractor. Braxton's mom, on the other hand, was a true disappointment to Braxton through his whole life. Marcia Grossland Bragg spent time in prison for killing a black woman she believed committed impertinence. Bragg lost all respect for her and never once talked about her to anyone outside his family. Braxton had three brothers. His brother John went on to become a U.S. Congressman. His brother Thomas Jr. (my great-great-great-great grandfather) was involved in the Civil War as a Confederate Attorney General. He later went on to become the governor of North Carolina and a U.S. Senator. Another little known brother, William, was killed in the Civil War. Growing up in Warrenton presented a major challenge that would follow him throughout his life. Although his dad was successful, he and his family, was looked down upon by the citizens of Warrenton. They were not nearly as rich or sophisticated, or so it seemed, as the others and this presented a hardship to Braxton and his whole family. Warrenton was a town filled with snooty, upper-class people who had no respect for those that were not as privileged as them. The fact that his mom was an ex-jailbird did not help at all. He faced hardships throughout his life here and his father wanted to help his sons escape this pain. He felt that a good military career would help Braxton so, at the age of 16, he entered military school.
Braxton entered West Point military school in 1834 and truly discovered his calling. He was one of the top students in his class. This is something to not brush aside, seeing the other members of his class. He was in the famous Class of 1837. Other members of his class included Fighting Joe Hooker, John C. Pemberton and Jubal A.