Pierre Gustave Toutant de Beauregard
Pierre Gustave Toutant de Beauregard (BOH-rih-gahrd) (May 28, 1818 – February 20, 1893), best known as a general for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, was also a writer, civil servant, and inventor.
Beauregard was born in New Orleans, Louisiana to a white Creole family. His nickname to many of his army friends was The Little Creole. He trained at the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1838, and excelled both as an artilleryman and military engineer. He served as a major under Winfield Scott during the Mexican-American War. He briefly entered into politics in his home town, and was narrowly defeated in the election for Mayor of New Orleans in 1858. He then returned to teach at West Point, where he rose to become the Superintendent of the Military Academy, but resigned after only a few days when Louisiana seceded from the Union.
Beauregard was one of eight full generals in the Confederate Army. He recommended stationing strong forces to protect New Orleans, but was overruled by Jefferson Davis; this started friction between Beauregard and Davis that would only get worse as years progressed. Beauregard's first assignment from the Confederate Government was command of the forces in Charleston, South Carolina, where on April 12, 1861 he opened fire on the Union-held Fort Sumter, regarded as the start of the American Civil War. He and General Joseph E. Johnston led Confederate forces to victory in the First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas). He was transferred to Tennessee and assumed command of Confederate forces at the Battle of Shiloh when General Albert Sidney Johnston was killed. Although successful the first day of battle, April 6, 1862, Beauregard called off the attack, prematurely in hindsight. He was forced to retreat the second day after Ulysses S. Grant was reinforced. He later was forced to retreat from his base of supplies, Corinth, Mississippi, by forces under Henry W. Halleck.
Beauregard successfully defended Charleston, South Carolina from repeated Union attacks 1862 – 1864. In 1864 he assisted Robert E. Lee in the defense of Richmond, Virginia, defeating Benjamin Butler in the Bermuda Hundred Campaign near Drewry's Bluff. Success against Butler, his most impressive military victory, caused grandiose thoughts to fill his mind. He proposed to Lee and Jefferson Davis that he lead a great invasion of the North, defeating Grant and Butler, and win the war. Undoubtedly to remove him as an irritant to Lee in Virginia, Beauregard was appointed commander of Confederate forces in the West. Since all of his forces were occupied elsewhere (in Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi), he had insufficient resources to halt the superior Union forces under William T. Sherman in their march to the sea. He and Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to Sherman in North Carolina in April 1865.
After the war he spoke in favor of civil and voting rights for the recently freed slaves, an opinion not common among high-ranking Confederates.
Beauregard's military writings include The Principles and Maxims of the Art of War, Report on the Defense of Charleston, and A Commentary on the Campaign and Battle of Manassas. Beauregard and Jefferson Davis published a series of bitter accusations and counter-accusations, blaming each other in retrospect for the defeat of the Confederacy.
General Beauregard declined offers to take command of the armies of Romania (1866) and Egypt (1869).
He became involved in promotion of railroads, both as a company director and a consulting engineer. He invented a system of cable-powered street railway cars.
He served in the government of the State of Louisiana, first as adjutant general, and then less successfully as manager of the Louisiana Lottery. Though considered personally honest, he failed to reform corruption in the Lottery system.
P.G.T. Beauregard died in New Orleans. He is buried in Metairie Cemetery.