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Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard (1818-1893) was a U.S. A native of Louisiana, Beauregard resigned from the U.S. Army in February 1861 and ordered the first shots of the Civil War during the bombardment of Fort Sumter in April 1861. Beauregard was instrumental in the early Confederate victory at the First Battle of Bull Run and in 1862 served at the Battle of Shiloh and Siege of Corinth. Beauregard’s outspoken and combative nature led to a strained relationship with Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and in 1863 he was removed from his post and placed in command of the defenses of Charleston, South Carolina, where helped withstand repeated naval assaults by Union forces. Beauregard later returned to the field and led a crucial defense of Petersburg in 1864. After the war Beauregard worked as a railroad director and as a supervisor for the Louisiana Lottery. He died in 1893 at the age of 74.
P.G.T. Beauregard: Early Life and Military Service
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard—more commonly known as P.G.T or G.T. Beauregard—was born on May 28, 1818, into a prominent Creole family in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. He was raised on a sugarcane plantation outside of New Orleans and in his youth attended school in New York City. In 1834 Beauregard was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was a popular cadet, earning several nicknames including “Little Napoleon” and “Little Creole” before finishing second in his class upon graduation in 1838. In 1841 he married Marie Antoinette Laure Villeré, the daughter of a Louisiana sugarcane planter. The two would have three children before her death in 1850. Ten years later Beauregard married his second wife, Caroline Deslonde, but she would die in New Orleans in 1864 following a long illness.
Beauregard served as an engineer during the Mexican-American War (1846-48) and was wounded during the Battle of Chapultepec in 1847. After the war he worked as a military engineer and assisted in improving the defenses of several forts in the Deep South. During this time Beauregard also mounted a failed bid to be mayor of New Orleans in 1858. In January 1861 Beauregard secured an appointment as superintendent of West Point but was dismissed from the job after only a few days, most likely because of his perceived sympathy for the Southern cause. Beauregard then resigned from the U.S. military in February 1861 after his home state of Louisiana seceded from the Union.
P.G.T. Beauregard: Civil War Service
Beauregard entered the Civil War as the Confederacy’s first brigadier general and was placed in command of the defenses of Charleston, South Carolina. In this role he ordered the first shots of the Civil War during the bombardment of Fort Sumter (April 12-14, 1861). After his success in taking Fort Sumter, Beauregard served as second-in-command to General Joseph E. Johnston during the Confederate victory at the First Battle of Bull Run in July 1861. He was then promoted to full general—a rank achieved by only seven other Confederate officers during the Civil War. During this time Beauregard began the first of many quarrels with the Confederate administration over field tactics, particularly over what he saw as Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ failure to adequately pursue the routed Union Army after the First Battle of Bull Run.
Beauregard next served in the war’s Western Theater under General Albert Sidney Johnston. At the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862, Beauregard assumed command of Confederate forces after Johnston was killed. Early Confederate attacks had placed Union General Ulysses S. Grant’s forces on their heels, but Beauregard made the controversial decision to delay a second offensive until the following day. This allowed the Union Army to gain reinforcements and then launch a counterattack that drove the Confederates from the field. The battle resulted in over 23,000 total casualties, and Beauregard’s army was pursued to Corinth, Mississippi, where a month-long siege ensued. Faced with a Union force twice the size of his own, Beauregard elected to withdraw to Tupelo, Mississippi, in May 1862.
Beauregard’s decision to abandon Corinth—a vital rail center—further contributed to his poor relationship with Jefferson Davis, and he was subsequently relieved from duty while on sick leave and replaced by General Braxton Bragg. Beauregard was then placed in command of the coastal defenses of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, and supervised the defense of Charleston throughout 1863 and early 1864. During this time Beauregard implemented many innovative defensive strategies—including the use of mines and submarines—and managed to hold Charleston against repeated attacks by Union navy vessels and ironclads.
In April 1864 Beauregard was transferred again and tasked with leading the Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia. In this capacity he was successful in withstanding an offensive by a much larger Union force during the Second Battle of Petersburg in June 1864. His actions forced the Union Army into what would become a 10-month siege of the city and halted an offensive that would have likely resulted in the capture of the Confederate capital of Richmond.
In October 1864 Beauregard was given a departmental command that encompassed several states in the Deep South and included jurisdiction over General John Bell Hood’s Army of the Tennessee. Beauregard was limited to an advisory role and was ultimately unsuccessful in halting Union General William T. Sherman’s famous “March to the Sea” during the Savannah Campaign in November and December 1864. Beauregard was eventually replaced in his command by General Joseph E. Johnston, and the two later surrendered to Sherman in North Carolina in April 1865.
P.G.T. Beauregard: Later Life
After the Civil War Beauregard went on to a number of civilian jobs, serving as superintendent of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad and as president of the New Orleans and Carrollton Street Railway. Beginning in 1877 he worked as a supervisor of the Louisiana Lottery along with fellow former Confederate General Jubal Early. Beauregard would later serve as the adjutant general of the Louisiana state militia starting in 1879. In his later years Beauregard continued to engage in a long-running feud with Jefferson Davis through his published writings, which included a personal account of the First Battle of Bull Run. He died in 1893 at the age of 74.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical year for this entry is 1863.
Location. 32° 46.623′ N, 79° 55.824′ W. Marker is in Charleston, South Carolina, in Charleston County. Marker is at the intersection of Meeting Street and Broad Street on Meeting Street. The marker is located in Washington Park at the intersection of Meeting Street and Broad Street located behind the City Hall and the Fireproof Building. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Charleston SC 29401, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Prayer Composed By Ellison Capers (a few steps from this marker) Francis Salvador (a few steps from this marker) Washington Light Infantry Monument (a few steps from this marker) Robert Gibbes (a few steps from this marker) Captain John Christie (a few steps from this marker) Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson (within shouting distance of this marker) George Washington Statue
(within shouting distance of this marker) Henry Timrod (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charleston.
Beauregard, P. G. T.
Beauregard, P. G. T. (1818), known as the “Great Creole,” became the Confederacy's first field commander.A Louisianian, he graduated second of forty𠄏ive in the U.S. Military Academy Class of 1838. An engineer, Beauregard was brevetted for gallantry in the Mexican War, and in January 1861 became superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy. Relieved because of Southern sympathies, he accepted a commission as brigadier general in the Confederacy's Provisional army on 1 March 1861.
Beauregard commanded rebel forces at Fort Sumter and at First Manassas. Promoted to full general, he assumed command of the Southern army after Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston's death during the Battle of Shiloh, and had to retreat. He defended Charleston brilliantly from late 1862 to 1864. In May 1864, he defeated Union Gen. Benjamin F. Butler in front of Petersburg, then became commander of the Division of the West and fought under Gen. Joseph E. Johnston at war's end.
After the war, Beauregard became a railroad company president and recouped his fortunes as manager of the Louisiana lottery and head of New Orleans's public works. He wrote frequently about the war and ghost‐wrote a biography of himself.
Alfred Roman , The Military Operations of General Beauregard , 2 vols., 1884.
T. Harry Williams , P. G. T. Beauregard , 1954.
Frank E. Vandiver , Blood Brothers: A Short History of the Civil War , 1992.
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With the outbreak of the Mexican-American War in 1846, Beauregard gained an opportunity to see combat. Landing in near Veracruz in March 1847, he served as an engineer for Major General Winfield Scott during the siege of the city. Beauregard continued in this role as the army commenced its march on Mexico City.
At the Battle of Cerro Gordo in April, he correctly determined that the capture of La Atalaya hill would allow Scott to force the Mexicans from their position and aided in scouting routes into the enemy rear. As the army neared the Mexican capital, Beauregard undertook numerous dangerous reconnaissance missions and was brevetted to captain for his performance during the victories at Contreras and Churubusco. That September, he played a key role in crafting the American strategy for the Battle of Chapultepec.
In the course of the fighting, Beauregard sustained wounds in the shoulder and thigh. For this and being one of the first Americans to enter Mexico City, he received a brevet to major. Though Beauregard compiled a distinguished record in Mexico, he felt slighted as he believed that other engineers, including Captain Robert E. Lee, received greater recognition.
Beauregard’s Rude Awakening at Shiloh
In the half-light while the Battle of Shiloh still raged near Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., on April 6, 1862, General P.G.T. Beauregard dictated a telegram to Richmond in which he informed Jefferson Davis and the Confederate government of the death of General Albert Sidney Johnston, as well as the “Complete Victory” of Confederate arms that day. The enemy, he said, had been thoroughly beaten and “the remnant of his army driven in utter disorder to the immediate vicinity of Pittsburg and we remained undisputed masters of his…[camps].” The announcement was premature, of course, and later the Creole lamented, “I thought I had Grant just where I wanted him, and could finish him up next day.”
So Beauregard sent a messenger, his old friend Major Numa Augustin from New Orleans society days, with an order telling all commanders to call off the battle and withdraw to the shelter of the Yankee camps. General Braxton Bragg was dumbfounded. Bragg was convinced, as he stated later in his official report, that he was in the midst of “a movement commenced with every prospect of success.”
“Have you given that order to anyone else?” Bragg demanded. He had been acting, during the attack, as Beauregard’s chief of staff. “Yes sir, to General Polk, on your left, and if you look, you will see it is being obeyed,” Augustin told him. Bragg was aghast. “My God, my God,” Bragg cried. “It is too late!”
Bragg’s lament was too true. Every 15 minutes or so, steamers brought another several hundred of Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell’s men across to the landing, and before morning he would have more than 17,000 fresh troops on the field. Not only that, but well after dark the much-sought division of Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace at last concluded its bizarre odyssey from Crump’s Landing and emerged from the Owl Creek swamps near Brig. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s position at the far right end of the Union line. This now gave Ulysses S. Grant nearly 23,000 completely new troops— more men than Beauregard could muster in the entire Confederate army at that point, considering the casualties and stragglers.
It seems almost a criminal error of military intelligence that nobody—not Sidney Johnston, Beauregard or anybody else—thought to put a close watch on the routes Buell might have used to march to Grant’s relief. But in those days the term “military intelligence,” if not exactly an oxymoron, was at best an expression of a vague and more or less unrefined concept that smacked of being “undignified.” Spying on the enemy—though it is absolutely necessary—was considered somehow “sneaky,” even “ungentlemanly,” and usually was relegated to the cavalry.
In fact there was somebody watching out for Buell, and for whatever else lurked in the Confederates’ far right quarter, and that somebody was Nathan Bedford Forrest and his cavalry regiment. All day Colonel Forrest had been itching to do something useful with his horsemen, but in a fight like Shiloh, often the best thing cavalry can do is stay out of the way and guard roads and bridges. Forrest tested that notion once and found it was held for a good reason. Late in the morning as the battle raged around the Peach Orchard, Forrest chafed at his orders to guard against any Federal attempt to cross Lick Creek. As the roar of battle swelled in the west, Forrest reportedly told his men, “Boys, you hear that shooting? And here we are guarding a damn creek! Let’s go and help them!”
Upon reaching the battlefield Forrest rode to the sound of the loudest firing, which, unfortunately, happened to be the Sunken Road in the Hornets’ Nest at its worst, and immediately he sent for permission to charge the enemy. But division commander Ben Cheatham demurred, saying his infantry brigades had already charged several times without success and needed some rest and reorganization, to which Forrest was reported to have declared, “Then I’ll charge under my own orders.”
He formed his command into a column of fours in support of a regiment of Alabama infantry that was trying to drive a body of Federals from a fencerow and charged toward the Sunken Road. Blasted by massed artillery and infantry fire—both of which are anathema to cavalry— Forrest’s bold riders lurched into the knotty thickets of the Hornets’ Nest and immediately found themselves and their mounts hopelessly entangled in the branches of the thick scrub oak. They—most of them, anyway—somehow managed to extricate themselves from the jungled thicket, but it was obvious now, if it wasn’t before, that mounted cavalry has little business in the middle of a serious infantry fight.
After that, Forrest led his regiment to the far Confederate right and hovered behind a series of Indian mounds along the Tennessee River, watching for trouble, of which Buell’s army was the paramount example. In the distance Forrest’s scouts could see some kind of activity on the far shore of the river, and the moving of steamboats, but when they attempted to get closer one of the Federal gunboats opened up and drove them back into the woods.
Night found Forrest suspended between curiosity and suspicion, and he ordered a squadron to strip a dozen dead Federals of their uniforms and sent a reconnaissance team under a Lieutenant Sheridan, dressed in Yankee blue, to get a better look at Pittsburg Landing. Soon they returned during a tremendous rain and electrical storm with news that was at once ominous and promising. Buell’s army had indeed arrived and was crossing the river, Sheridan said, but in his opinion there was such disorder at the landing that a surprise night attack might end the affair on the spot.
Forrest immediately set out in search of a superior officer, the closest being Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers, who was asleep. After being awakened he replied that Forrest needed to find a corps commander, if not Beauregard himself, for such a portentous operation. Continuing on, Forrest came upon Third Corps commander Maj. Gen. William J. Hardee and told him that if the Rebel army did not immediately launch a night attack, “[We] will be whipped like hell before ten o’clock tomorrow.” Hardee replied that Beauregard was the man to see, but somehow, in the rainstorm and the dark, Forrest was unable to locate Beauregard’s headquarters at the Shiloh church. About 2 a.m. he returned to Hardee but was told only to “maintain his pickets.” If there was in fact a “lost opportunity” for the Confederacy at Shiloh, that was probably it.
Don Carlos Buell stern old martinet with a superiority complex who from the was a beginning did not like Grant or anything else about the Battle of Shiloh. He was most especially disturbed by the horde of stragglers at Pittsburg Landing and hinted—or so Sherman claimed—that he was considering not bringing his army across at all rather than have it mingle with such cowardly riffraff. To Sherman it suggested that the ever-cautious Buell didn’t want to risk the possibility of his army getting whipped by the Confederates, just like Grant’s had been.
But Buell rebutted this years later by pointing out that he began bringing his army across to the landing as soon as it arrived on the opposite bank of the river. Brig. Gen. Thomas Crittenden, however, one of Buell’s division commanders, worried that the cowardice in Grant’s army would be contagious and found himself “so disgusted” by the mob at the landing that “I asked General Buell to let me land a regiment and drive them away. I did not wish my troops to come in contact with them.”
Grant seemed unperturbed by any of this. When the rainstorm began he sought shelter in the cabin atop the bluff, which had once been his headquarters, but found that it had been turned into a surgery that was still operating at full capacity. Repelled by the gory work, he returned to the tempest and took refuge beneath a large oak tree, which is where Sherman found him in the pouring rain stretched out in his overcoat, his slouch hat pulled down, and smoking his eternal cigar.
“Well Grant, we’ve had the devil’s own day, haven’t we?” Sherman remarked.
“Yes,” replied Grant. “Lick ’em tomorrow, though.”
There were many in the army, if not most, who would have declared that Grant was living in a fool’s paradise— but not all. Lt. Col. William Camm at least was confident that they were safe from the Rebel onslaught.
“For the first time we had a continuous line,” he wrote in his diary. “There was no chance to flank us, and of the men who bore the brunt that day there was none left in the ranks that would not have died on the line.”
For the Yankee Army, April 7, 1862, began before sunrise, which was slightly after 5 a.m. What Grant had in store for the Confederates was almost the exact opposite of what they had planned to do to him the day before. Starting from Pittsburg Landing, the Union line would attack in a giant wheeling motion, pivoting on Sherman and Lew Wallace, who held down the far western end of the line, sweeping across the battlefield until they drove the Rebel army against the boggy wilds of Owl Creek, where it would have to surrender. As with everything else at Shiloh, this was easier said than done.
Buell’s divisions, which were nearest the landing, moved out first, crossing Dill Branch, now deserted except for the dead. Musician fourth class John Cockerill, who had been told that his father, the colonel of his regiment, was shot and killed on Sunday, had a miserable night at the landing. He had been near enough to witness the grisly beheading of Union Captain Irving Carson by a cannonball and had curled up in the rain beside a hay bale but was unable to sleep because of the constant firing of the gunboats.
“There was never a night so long, so hideous, or so utterly uncomfortable,” he wrote later. At dawn, however, young Cockerill was awakened by, of all things, strains of the overture from Il Trovatore, “magnificent[ly]” rendered by the 15th Infantry Regiment band, serenading from the top deck of the steamboat War Eagle.
“How inspiring that music was!” wrote Cockerill, “Even the poor wounded men lying on the shore seemed to be lifted up, and every soldier received an impetus”—including Cockerill himself, who grabbed a rifle and, after a jolt from a swig of “Cincinnati whisky,” joined up with the 15th Infantry Regiment and marched on the enemy. As they crossed Dill Branch, it didn’t look like the same ground anymore—and it wasn’t.
Cockerill noted that “the underbrush had been literally mowed off by the bullets, and great trees had been shattered by artillery fire.” Moving on, he found “In places the bodies of the slain lay upon the ground so thick that I could step from one to the other….I remember a poor Confederate lying on his back, while by his side was a heap of ginger cakes and bologna sausage. [He] had evidently filled his pockets the day before with edibles from a sutler’s tent, and had been killed before he had the opportunity to enjoy [them].”
Farther on, Cockerill “passed the corpse of a beautiful boy in gray, who lay with his blond curls scattered about his face, and his hands folded peacefully about his chest. He was clad in a bright, neat uniform, well garnished with gold, which seemed to tell the story of a loving mother and sisters who had sent their household pet to the field of war. He was about my age,” Cockerill said wistfully, and later, when reminded of it, he broke into tears.
All across the line of march it was the same. “The blue and the gray were mingled together, side by side. Beneath a great oak tree I counted the corpses of fifteen men, lying as though during the night, suffering from wounds, they had crawled together for mutual assistance, and there all had died.”
As they neared the Peach Orchard, Cockerill remembered, they came upon “an entire battery of Federal artillery which had been dismantled in Sunday’s fight, every horse of which had been killed in his harness, every gun of which had been dismantled, and in this awful heap of death lay the bodies of dozens of cannoneers.”
Among the most piteous sights, everywhere on the field “were the poor wounded horses, their heads drooping, their eyes glassy and gummy, waiting for the slow coming of death. No painter ever did justice to a battlefield such as this, I am sure.”
Soon enough they encountered the Confederate army. Lieutenant Ambrose Bierce had found himself experiencing an odd sort of disappointment that morning when Colonel William B. Hazen’s brigade moved out “straight as a string,” but through woods that seemed strangely unmarked by yesterday’s battle. But shortly, “we passed out of this oasis that had singularly escaped the desolation of battle, and the evidence of the struggle was soon in great profusion.” Bierce marveled that every single tree that remained standing was covered in bullet holes “from the root to a height of ten to twenty feet,” [and] “one could not have laid a hand [anywhere on the trunk] without covering several punctures.” Soon Hazen’s men began to come upon the dead, and a few of the living wounded, including a Federal sergeant whose brains were oozing out through a hole in his skull. So brutalized had things become that one of Bierce’s men asked if he should put the victim out of his misery with his bayonet, but Bierce said no. “It was [an] unusual [request], and too many others were looking,” he said.
The brigade kept moving through open fields and past the Bloody Pond and the Peach Orchard. Ahead they caught glimpses of Rebel cavalry, but no infantry, and Bierce had convinced himself that the Confederates, “disheartened” by the arrival of fresh Union troops, had retreated to Corinth, Miss. Onward they marched unmolested, until they came to “a gentle acclivity, covered with an undergrowth of young oaks.” He could not have known it then, but Bierce was looking at the rear of the Sunken Road.
The brigade pushed into the open field and halted then there were orders to press forward. When they reached the edge of the oaks, Bierce said, “I can’t describe it—the forest seemed all at once to flame up and disappear with a crash like that of a great wave upon the beach.” There was “the sickening ‘spat’ of lead against flesh, and a dozen of my brave fellows tumbled over like ten pins. Some struggled to their feet, only to go down again. Those who stood fired into the smoking brush and retired. We had expected, at most, a line of skirmishers” instead, he recalled bitterly, “what we found was a line of battle, holding its fire till it could count our teeth.”
If there could be any humor in such a sanguinary encounter Bierce was the one who found it, relating the “ludicrous incident of a young officer who had taken part in this affair walking up to his colonel—who had watched the whole thing—and gravely reporting, ‘The enemy is in force just beyond that field, sir.’ ”
From the tangled protection of the Sunken Road the Confederates were giving the Yankees a dose of their own medicine. Advance was impossible for the Federal troops, and the two armies “flamed away at one another with amazing zeal,” Bierce said, “while the riddled bodies of my poor skirmishers were the only ones left on this ‘neutral ground.’”
Cannons were brought up. Brig. Gen. William “Bull” Nelson’s division’s artillery had been left behind at Savannah, Tenn., because it could not be moved on the mud march through the swamp, but Buell sent him two batteries from elsewhere, including one commanded by Captain William Terrill, a West Point–educated Virginian whose entire family was in the Rebel army. This was a heavy battery consisting of 12-pounder cannons that “did much execution,” and it fell to Bierce’s platoon to protect, or “support,” them. “The shock of our own pieces nearly deafened us,” Bierce groused while his men lay in the woods with the battle “roaring and stammering” all around them. “Oh, those cursed guns,” he said with trademark sarcasm. “Had it not been for them, we might have died like men.”
What had happened was this. At dawn the noise of heavy firing from the direction of Owl Creek had startled Beauregard, who with almost a sense of leisure savored the notion of finishing off Grant and destroying the main Federal army in the West in fact, the Great Creole halfway expected to find the Yankees had evacuated downriver during the night.
Grant, of course, had done no such thing, and Beauregard, now alerted that strong reinforcements must be on the field, hastily began assembling a defensive line with which he at least hoped to halt the Federal offensive and turn it into a stalemate. He sent Hardee to the far right, Bragg to the far left, and Leonidas Polk’s First Corps and John C. Breckinridge’s Reserve Corps to the center to put regiments in place and make a stand.
If Beauregard had sent people to keep close tabs of Buell’s whereabouts, at least he could have ordered the men to construct defensive fortifications during the night, which likely would have made all the difference in the world. Instead, he found himself in the same position that the Yankees had been in yesterday—having to defend against massed assaults with whatever protection was at hand. That the Hornets’ Nest provided good natural cover was some consolation it would have to be, since Beauregard could scarcely muster 20,000 men of arms in the entire Confederate army.
The main Union thrust would be in the center, around the Hornets’ Nest, just as the Confederates’ efforts had been the day before. There the Rebels had gathered an odd assortment of depleted regiments and the ragtag of a few brigades totaling probably no more than 4,000 men to contend with the roughly 9,000 fresh troops of Nelson’s and Crittenden’s divisions.
The fighting, some of it hand-to-hand, seesawed all morning and into the afternoon, with Confederates pushing the Yankees back across farm fields and into woods, only to find themselves ambushed by fresh Federal troops and driven back to their original line. As the day wore on, Beauregard was hard-pressed to shuffle regiments from one part of the field to another as more commanders cried for help. It was as maddening as using one’s fingers to plug ever-multiplying holes in a bursting dike.
It went on like this all morning, small, fierce, desperate attacks—until the weight of numbers began to tell and the Rebels began to give ground. Back across the bloodstained Peach Orchard they went, across Sunken Road, giving up ground but making the Yankees pay for every yard. Pat Cleburne’s brigade, the mere sight of whose once proud white-moon-on-a-black-field flag had shaken the Yankee soldiers the day before, could now put only 800 men in the line out of his original 2,700.
When Ambrose Bierce’s company of Federals was finally relieved of its support duty at Terrill’s battery, he found himself wandering in a part of the now-emptied Hornets’ Nest that had caught fire yesterday. “Death had put his sickle into this thicket,” Bierce said, “and fire had gleaned the field.” Here lay the bodies, “half buried in ashes their clothing was half burnt away—their hair and beard entirely,” he said. “Some were swollen to double-girth, others shriveled to manikins.”
As the hours wore on, more were wounded and carried off or killed. Most men in the Confederate ranks began to sense they were fighting a futile battle by now most everyone knew that Buell and Lew Wallace were on the field, and the implications thereof were clear. Still they persisted, sullen, bitter and deadly, though without the savage fury of yesterday because they had been simply fought to a frazzle.
The tension mounted as Beauregard watched the Yankee host prepare to drive his troops from the Shiloh church. It was about 2 p.m. and men were streaming back from the roaring, flaming, stinking cauldron of the fight on Bragg’s front.
The Creole found himself surrounded by reluctant regiments that balked at returning to the fray. No one wants to be the last man killed in a losing battle, and words could not move these shaken men their commanders tried, Beauregard tried, Governor Isham G. Harris of Tennessee tried—to no avail.
So Beauregard “seized the banners of two different regiments and led them forward to the assault in the face of the fire of the enemy,” recorded Colonel Jacob Thompson, one of his aides, adding in a pensive note, “I became convinced that our troops were too much exhausted to make a vigorous resistance.” No one could say that Beauregard was not a brave leader. Thompson rode to him with a plea that “you should expose yourself no further…but to retire from Shiloh Church in good order.”
This seemed the crux of the battle. The Shiloh church soon was recaptured the Yankees were closing in nearly all the gains of the previous day had been lost. Still Beauregard fought on, more out of a sense of honor and fury than anything else. Finally Colonel Thomas Jordan rode up and, employing a Napoleonic-sounding military figure of speech, compared the present condition of the Rebel army to “a lump of sugar, thoroughly soaked with water, yet preserving its original shape, though ready to dissolve— would it not be judicious to get away with what we have?” he asked.
With this dainty metaphor jangling harshly in his ears, Beauregard surveyed the mounting chaos in front of him, as more and more men straggled out of the fight, and solemnly replied, “I intend to withdraw in a few moments.”
Breckinridge was sent for and told to serve as rearguard. With that, the Confederate army began its painful withdrawal from the Battle of Shiloh. The wounded continued to be carted off in heaps, but much of the captured artillery and other valuable loot from the Yankee camps was lost due to lack of transportation. Beauregard did, however, get away with 34 national, state and regimental stands of colors to prove the Confederates had not come to the fight as pikers. Night soon closed in over another smoke-stained, fiery sunset and, as if to add insult to injury, as the Rebel army slouched south toward Corinth a dismal drizzle of rain began to fall.
Adapted from Shiloh 1862 by Winston Groom (National Geographic Society, March 2012).
Originally published in the May 2012 issue of America’s Civil War. To subscribe, click here.
P G T Beauregard
Pierre Beauregard was a senior Confederate officer during the American Civil War. Beauregard did not overly care for his Christian names and he tended to sign himself as G T Beauregard (Gustave Toutant) and ignored the ‘Pierre’ or ‘P’.
Beauregard was born on May 28 th 1818 in Louisiana. His family had a French-Spanish Creole background and French was his primary language in his early years. Beauregard only learned to speak English at the age of twelve when he started a new school in New York.
Beauregard joined the US Military Academy in 1834. It was while he was at West Point that he changed his surname from Toutant-Beauregard and used Toutant as a middle name with Beauregard used solely as his surname. He excelled in military engineering and artillery and passed out second in his class in 1838.
Beauregard fought in the Mexican-American War. He held the rank of temporary major by the time the war ended.
From 1848 to 1860, Beauregard worked on a variety of engineering projects defences against a flooding Mississippi River, building forts in Florida and maintaining ones already built, improving shipping channels at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Just before the outbreak of the American Civil War, Beauregard was charged with saving the New Orleans Federal Customs House from sinking into the soft mud it was built on. He successfully achieved this.
Beauregard was appointed a Superintendent at West Point in January 1861 but the appointment came to nothing when Louisiana seceded from the Union and the appointment was withdrawn. Technically, Beauregard held the post for five days. He claimed that the position had been withdrawn purely because he was a Southern officer and Washington could not accept a man from a state that had seceded from the Union. Beauregard also claimed that his removal from the position badly reflected on himself. For his part, it was a serious cause of anger against the government in Washington.
As war approached, Beauregard returned to Louisiana and brought with him an expert knowledge of federal fortifications built there and in the South in general. He also knew a great deal about how the Mississippi River could be of use to the Confederacy and how it could hinder the North.
Beauregard used his family’s political connections to get advanced promotion in the newly formed Confederate Army. He did little to disguise what he was doing – contacting Jefferson Davis, for instance – and it caused anger among other newly appointed senior military figures in the new army. To appease everyone, Davis appointed Beauregard to take command of the defence of Charleston – an important potential target for the North. The status of commanding the defences of Charleston appealed to Beauregard’s vanity. He was promoted to Brigadier General on March 1 st 1861. He set about assessing the city’s defences with energy and zeal. He found that they were in a poor condition and would need a considerable revamp if the city was to withstand a Union attack.
Beauregard was in a curious position in Charleston as Fort Sumter was the most obvious sign of federal/Union authority near the city. His former teacher at West Point was Robert Anderson, who now commanded Fort Sumter. Beauregard had a high regard for Anderson and sent him cigars and brandy as gifts – which in view of the difficult political position of the time were politely returned by Anderson.
Beauregard knew that Fort Sumter was shortly to receive new supplies, which would make it a far more difficult target to defeat. He therefore called on Anderson to surrender to him. Anderson refused and on April 12 th , Fort Sumter was fired on by Confederate artillery based at Fort Johnson. It was the start of the American Civil War.
Fort Sumter’s surrender made Beauregard an immediate hero in the Confederacy. He was summoned to Richmond to meet Jefferson Davis. He was given the command of what was called the ‘Alexandria Line’ – a line of defences to stop a Union invasion of the South.
Beauregard’s bravery at First Battle of Bull Run (July 1861) cannot be denied. Fearing that his men might be overrun by Union troops, he rode among his men flying his regimental colours and shouting out encouragement. His line held and the Confederate media applauded his leadership in the field. For the part he played in the First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas), Davis promoted Beauregard to full General as of July 21 st .
Beauregard was not an easy man to work with and his promotion to full General further bloated his opinion about his own ability. He publicly criticised Jefferson Davis for interfering with his plans for the First Bull Run and claimed that if Davis had not interfered, the South would not only have won the battle but could have advanced at some speed to Washington. Davis was infuriated. Beauregard also made public his belief that politicians had no military authority over senior commanders in the Confederate Army. However, Davis was in a difficult position. He had promoted Beauregard to full General and in the eyes of the public in the Confederacy, Beauregard was still a hero after his exploits at Fort Sumter. To keep everyone happy, Davis made Beauregard second-in-command of the Army of Mississippi. This senior position appealed to Beauregard’s ego and it also got him away from Richmond where it was felt he could do some harm to the political hierarchy there.
Facing Beauregard in Tennessee was Major General Ulysses Grant and Major General Don Carlos Buell. The armies of both sides fought at Shiloh, which began on April 6 th 1862. The commanding officer for the Army of Mississippi was General Albert Johnson. He was killed during the battle and Beauregard assumed full command of the army once he learned of Johnson’s death. After a full day of Confederate assaults on Union lines, Beauregard decided to call off any further attacks as night fell. By the next day, however, Buell’s army had arrived at Shiloh to support Grant. On April 7 th , Grant launched an overwhelming counter-attack and Beauregard was forced to withdraw to the important railway center at Corinth. He remained in Corinth until May 29 th when he withdrew his men to Tupelo.
Beauregard was subsequently criticised by those he had already fallen out with in Richmond. They wanted to know why Beauregard had not continued his attack on Grant during the night as Confederate junior officers who had survived at Shiloh had made it known that there was a general belief among the men that Grant’s force was so weakened by the constant Confederate attacks during the day, that success was all but guaranteed. When Beauregard took medical leave without permission, Jefferson Davis used it as an opportunity to dismiss Beauregard and replace him with Braxton Bragg.
Beauregard then called on his supporters in Richmond to pressurise Davis so that he would reinstate Beauregard. This did not work. Instead, Davis ordered Beauregard to Charleston where he was given command of Confederate coastal defences along the Atlantic coastline. Though Beauregard did not want the post, he did a good job once he was in Charleston.
However, he could not forgive Davis. Beauregard made public his plan that state governors from both sides should meet to thrash out a peace settlement. It had its supporters in the Confederate Congress (where Beauregard still had supporters) and it took a great deal of skill by Davis to have the idea rejected. But the move by Beauregard did show that Davis was to some degree vulnerable.
In April 1864, Beauregard was given command of the Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia. His primary mission was the defence of Virginia and he is best known in this capacity for his successful defence of Petersburg. With an army of 5,400 men, he stopped an attack by 16,000 Union troops on the vital rail city in June 1864. Beauregard hoped to be rewarded by being given an appointment of some worth. However, both Davis and Robert E Lee selected others for any senior appointments that came up. Clearly, Beauregard had made too many enemies as a result of his past behaviour and these were not vanquished by his heroics at Petersburg. He was eventually made commander of the newly created Department of the West. But it was a command in name only as the real authority in the field lay with generals Hood and Taylor. Beauregard’s brief as head of the department was to give advice. Hood effectively ignored any advice given to him and only told Beauregard what he was doing with great reluctance. It was only after the damage had been done that Beauregard found out that Hood’s army had been severely defeated at the Battle of Nashville in December 1864.
Both Davis and Robert E Lee believed that Beauregard exaggerated his reports about the speed of William Sherman’s movements in his drive to the sea and his march north to link up with Grant. Lee persuaded Davis to dismiss Beauregard in February 1865 because of his “feeble health”. Joseph Johnston replaced Beauregard.
After the war he worked as a chief engineer on railroads and in 1866 he was made President of the New Orleans and Carrollton Street Railway – a post he held for ten years. Beauregard made his wealth with the introduction of the Louisiana Lottery in 1877 of which he was the supervisor. Along with Jubal Early, Beauregard presided over lottery drawings. He held this position until 1892.
End Notes History of the Confederate Flags
1. For the best one-volume history of the American Civil War, see James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom (Ballantine Books, 1989) for a more extensive history, see Shelby Foote's three-volume study, Civil War, A Narrative (Vintage Books Edition, 1986). Details on secession and Civil War in Mississippi may be found in William Barney, The Secession Impulse: Alabama and Mississippi (Princeton University Press, 1974) Percy L. Rainwater, Mississippi, Storm Center of Secession (Otto Claitor, Baton Rouge, 1938) John K. Bettersworth, Confederate Mississippi (Louisiana State University Press, 1943) and Edwin C. Bearss, The Armed Conflict, 1861-1865, Vol. 1, 447-492, in Richard A. McLemore, (ed) A History of Mississippi (University Press of Mississippi, 1973)
2. On Brooke's resolution, see E. Merton Coulter, The Flags of the Confederacy, Georgia Historical Quarterly, vol. 37 (1953), 187-199, and Southern Historical Society Papers, vol. 38 (1910), 251-252 for details on the adoption of various Confederate flags see Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr., The Flags of the Confederacy, An Illustrated History (St. Lukes Press, 1988) Howard M. Madaus and Robert D. Needham, The Battle Flags of the Confederate Army of the Tennessee (Milwaukee Public Museum, 1976) Mrs. Lucile Lange Dufner, The Flags of the Confederate States of America, (MA Thesis, University of Texas, 1944) Richard Rollins, (ed.), The Returned Battle Flags (Rank and File Publications, Redondo Beach, CA edition, 1995) and Alan K. Sumrall, Battle Flags of Texans in the Confederacy (Eakin Press, Austin, Texas, 1995) for a study of flags in American history, see Whitney Smith, The Flag Book of the United States (William Morrow & Co., 1970) and Flags Through the Ages and Across the World (McGraw-Hill, 1975)
3. Southern Historical Society Papers (cited hereafter as SHSP, volume number, date for the first entry, and page number), 38, 253-256 E. Merton Coulter, The Confederate States of America, 1861-1865 (LSU Press, 1950), 117-119
5. SHSP, 31 (1903), 68-70 SHSP, 8 (1880), 497-498
7. SHSP, 38, 259-260 SHSP, 8, 498-499
8. SHSP, 38, 259-260 SHSP, 31, 69-70
10. Coulter, Confederate States, 118 SHSP, 8, 155-156, 499 SHSP, 24 (1896), 117
12. For many illustrations, see Rollins, Returned Flags, Madaus and Needham, Battle Flags, and Sumrall, Battle Flags of Texans
13. Cannon, Flags of the Confederacy, 69
16. Cannon, Flags of the Confederacy, 19
19. SHSP, 24, 118 Bradley did note that Colonel Lewis Euker claimed to have seen a representation of the flag in December 1864, three months before its adoption.
Mississippi Historical Society © 2000. All rights reserved.
General Beauregard Statue
The monument to Confederate General G.T. Beauregard stood at the center of a busy traffic roundabout at the entrance to City Park. In the aftermath of the Charleston massacre of 2015, all symbols associated with the Confederacy faced renewed scrutiny and calls for their removal have become commonplace, as have public protests and anti-monument graffiti. What follows is the story of this monument’s origins and the conflicts it has inspired among New Orleans citizens.
When Louisiana native General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, nicknamed the “Little Creole,” died February 20, 1893, in New Orleans, his passing marked the end of an era. Beauregard was the last survivor of the top Confederate military leaders. According to the obituary printed in the Times-Picayune, Beauregard was an ideal soldier and leader “by virtue of courage.” Beauregard commanded the attack at Fort Sumter, the shots of which marked the outbreak of the American Civil War. He fought in the First Manassas and at Shiloh, and he defended Charleston from Union occupation for two years.
After the war, however, Beauregard advocated reconciliation between Democrats and Republicans in city and state politics, a move many former Confederates saw as a betrayal of “the Cause.” Though a proud and loyal southerner, the Times-Picayune declared, “in peace, he forgot he hated Yankees.” After the Civil War ended, Beauregard became president of the Jackson and Great Northern Railroad and was perhaps the most prosperous of the eight Confederate full generals as well as the most easily adapted to life in the New South.
The Beauregard Monument Association (BMA) formed shortly after Beauregard’s death, and was, like the Lee Monument Committee, composed entirely of men, an anomaly in post-war memorial associations. In their appeals to the public for donations to erect a monument for Beauregard, the Association stated that the monument would be an “enduring expression of his soldiers’ and countrymens’ admiration” and that “every citizen of his native state and city…and every southerner throughout the land” should show their respect and appreciation. By the time this public plea was published in 1895, monuments to Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Albert Sidney Johnston already stood on Louisiana soil.
The Beauregard Monument Association ran into numerous obstacles in their attempts to secure donations, both public and private. Yellow fever outbreaks hit New Orleans in 1897, 1898, 1899 and 1905. As happened with the Lee Monumental Association, most of the original members of the Beauregard Monumental Association, many of them veterans, died.
By 1908, the Beauregard Monument Association secured Alexander Doyle, the artist who created the Robert E. Lee statue, to create a statue of Beauregard. The City Park Association donated a plot of land at the park’s entrance to the monument. Yet after working for over a decade to secure funds, the Association was still short some four thousand dollars. When BMA appealed to the state legislature for an appropriation, it ran headlong into the Jefferson Davis Monumental Association. Each Association argued that their monument was the one most worthy of state funds. Newspaper editors and citizens also voiced their opinions. An editorial in the Times-Picayune stated that Louisianans had already “contributed liberally” to memorials and monuments of Jefferson Davis in other cities (most notably in Richmond) and that a monument to New Orleans’s “illustrious chieftain” whose “devotion to his state has made his example worthy of emulation” should take priority. Members of the Jefferson Davis Monumental Association traveled to Baton Rouge to plead their case in person, but it was almost all for naught. The state did not have the funds it was rumored to have and was only able to appropriate one thousand dollars to each association.
By 1910, the BMA had secured funds through public donation, veterans’ associations, the City Park Commission, the state legislature and the City of New Orleans. In 1913, the BMA laid the cornerstone for the monument and the statue itself was unveiled on November 11, 1915. A large ceremony accompanied the unveiling, with speeches by judges, veterans and chaplains, and musical performances. The bronze-cast monument depicts General Beauregard atop a horse and stands on a marble platform.
For many New Orleans residents, these monuments to prominent men of the Confederacy glorify slavery, racism, white supremacy, and oppression. After a 6-1 vote by the City Council in 2015, this statue was one of four Confederate monuments scheduled to be removed. The statue of General Beauregard was removed on May 17, 2017, in the middle of the night. Many protestors with Confederate flags had stood in the circle on and off for months following the city's decision for removal. The city’s current plan is for the monuments to be removed and housed in a city-owned warehouse until a more permanent location can be determined.
Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard was a rebel hero. Now his statue in New Orleans is gone.
At Fort Sumter, he ordered the attack that opened the Civil War.
At Manassas, he helped rout the Union army and send its rookie soldiers fleeing back to Washington.
And after the battle there in 1861, he championed use of the distinct Confederate flag that would vex the nation for generations after he died.
He was Gen. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, the Confederate States of America’s first mega hero, and early Wednesday morning a statue of him astride his horse was removed from its pedestal in New Orleans under the watchful eye of mounted police and police snipers.
Before Robert E. Lee, “Stonewall” Jackson, and Jefferson Davis, the South had P.G.T. Beauregard. He was handsome, and dashing, with carefully slicked hair, a neat moustache and chin whiskers. As he got older, it was said, he dyed his hair. Raised in the slave-owning Louisiana aristocracy, he had grown up speaking French on a sugar plantation in St. Bernard Parish, New Orleans.
“He was chivalric and arrogant in the best Southern tradition,” biographer T. Harry Williams wrote. “A vague air of romance, reminiscent of older civilization, trailed after him wherever he went. When he spoke and when he acted, people thought of Paris and Napoleon and Austerlitz and French legions…bursting onto the plains of Italy.”
Beauregard attended a French school in New York founded by two men who had served with Napoleon, then went to West Point. He fought in the Mexican War with West Point classmates Lee and future Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, and had been appointed superintendent at West Point when the war broke out.
He threw in with the cause of the Confederacy, and was sent to command in Charleston, S.C., where he besieged and attacked Fort Sumter, starting the war.
He was an instant Southern hero — 43 years old and glamorous in his tightly buttoned uniform with its embroidered collar and sleeves. A special march was later composed for him, according to Encyclopedia Virginia, and he was welcomed by large crowds when he was summoned to Richmond.
On July 21, 1861, at the chaotic Battle of Manassas, or Bull Run as it was known in the North, his southern forces were victorious. But there was confusion on the battlefield because some northern soldiers wore gray uniforms and some rebel forces wore blue — the reverse of the eventual uniform colors of blue and gray. And, crucially, some officers mistook the red, white and blue American flag for the red, white and blue “Stars and Bars” Confederate flag.
After the battle, Beauregard lobbied for a more distinctive Confederate ensign to avoid further battlefield confusion. The result was the red banner with the blue St. Andrew’s Cross that most people recognize today as the Confederate flag.