Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard

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Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard (born May 28, 1818 in St. Bernard Parish , Louisiana ; † February 20, 1893 in New Orleans , Louisiana, USA ) was an officer in the US Army until 1861 and then a general in the Confederate Army .

Later he was mostly abbreviated PGT Beauregard, he himself abbreviated GT Beauregard (he used the first name Gustave). Since he was very small in stature and a soldier with body and soul, he was also known under the name "Napoleon in Gray".

Youth and Careers Before the Civil War

Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard came from a long-established family of French (Creole) origins from Louisiana and developed into the Confederation's first war hero . His family owned a sugar cane plantation near New Orleans, and French was spoken in the family, and he only learned English at school. He attended private schools in New Orleans and New York City. An admirer of Napoleon from a young age, he chose a military career. After he had finished his studies at the Military Academy in West Point in 1838 as the second best of his class (with training both as an artillery officer and as an engineer officer), he was employed as a pioneer in the expansion of coastal defense. During the Mexican-American War he served on General Winfield Scott's staff and received two brevet promotions (to captain and major) for bravery . He then devoted himself as a senior engineer in the US Army to the expansion and maintenance of waterways and fortifications, especially in Louisiana and on the lower Mississippi, but also, for example, in Florida and Mobile (Alabama) . In 1852 he supported the election campaign of the Democratic presidential candidate Franklin Pierce , whom he still knew from the Mexican War and who after the election entrusted him with the renovation of the main customs office in New Orleans, which was built in 1848 and which settled unevenly due to the poor building site, which Beauregard successfully compensated for could. Dissatisfied with his civilian occupation as a civil engineer, he planned to participate in the Nicaragua adventure of William Walker in 1856 , but his superiors dissuaded him from it, and in 1858 he ran for Mayor of New Orleans, but was narrowly defeated. In 1861 he was appointed superintendent of the West Point Military Academy. After five days, he was fired from this post because he made no secret of his approval of the secession issue .

Civil war career

Beauregard's uniform in the Confederate Memorial Hall Museum in New Orleans

Just days after his home state Louisiana joined the Confederation, he joined the Confederate Army with the rank of brigadier general and was posted to Charleston , South Carolina . There he directed the bombardment of the Fort Sumter harbor fortress . Fort Sumter surrendered after heavy fire on April 13, 1861, with which Beauregard had successfully ended the first combat operation of the American Civil War . Then he got the supreme command of the Confederate units in the First Battle of the Bull Run (in the southern states the battle is called First Battle of Manassas ). This battle, which he prepared tactically and in which he commanded alongside Joseph E. Johnston , who was formally superior to him , was a success for the south. Effective July 21, 1861, Beauregard was promoted to general . Although he was considered a Confederate hero after Sumter and Manassas, President Davis did not entrust him with central command, but sent him away from Richmond to the western theater of war. With Davis, Beauregard was involved in disputes over rank and strategy and was inconvenient to this, as he openly criticized him with politicians and journalists.

After failures in the costly Battle of Shiloh , in which he helped to plan the attack, he was deputy to Albert S. Johnston and took over command from him after Johnston died as a result of an injury in the battle, the subsequent retreat from the overwhelming forces of the Union army and defeat in the first Battle of Corinth in 1862, he was replaced by Jefferson Davis as commander of the western theater of war. He had previously been ill, worn down by the heavy losses of his troops, and when he went to Mobile for treatment for a throat disease without permission and temporarily transferred command to General Braxton Bragg , Davis removed him from his command. The incident reinforced both of their mutual dislike. From September 1862 to April 1864 he was responsible for the coastal defense in Georgia and the two Carolinas and defended Charleston against the blockade of the Union. From his point of view, this was a demotion, Davis continued to deny him his own field command and he declined offers to serve other Southern generals among them. In April 1864 he was dispatched to the defense of the immediately threatened Petersburg and neighboring Richmond . He achieved another great success when he was able to repel the superior James Army General Benjamin Franklin Butler during the Bermuda Hundred campaign and lock off on the peninsula. He then supported Lee in the defense of Petersburg, but was returned to a post (commander of a newly created Military Division of the West ) in October 1864 . Most recently, he tried in vain end of 1864 local opposition to the March to the Sea of William Tecumseh Sherman to organize. The war ended for Beauregard under the command of Joseph E. Johnston in North Carolina.

Post Civil War period

After the war, he became involved in the development of the railroad (he was temporarily president and chief engineer of two railroad companies in New Orleans in the 1860s and 1870s), politics, and writing books. He turned down offers from Brazil, Romania and Egypt for military posts in order to get involved politically on the side of the Democrats against the Republicans, whom he blamed for excesses in the reconstruction era. From 1877 onwards he had the financially lucrative supervision of the Louisiana Lottery with ex-general Jubal Early for 15 years . He wrote several books on the Civil War and was embroiled in bitter debates with Jefferson Davis about the causes of the defeat. He was also from 1879 to 1888 Commander (Adjutant General) of the militia in Louisiana. In 1888 he became the head of the construction department (Commissioner for Public Works) in New Orleans.

Beauregard at an advanced age


He was married to Marie Antoinette Laure Villeré (1823-1850) from one of the most respected Creole families in Louisiana since 1841. With her he had three sons and a daughter. In 1860 he married Caroline Deslonde, also from a respected Creole family and daughter of the owner of a sugar cane plantation, who died in 1864 during the occupation of New Orleans by Union troops.

He died in his sleep of heart problems and is buried in Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans.


His home in New Orleans (Beauregard Keyes House) is a museum.

He is portrayed by Donald Sutherland in the 1999 TV movie Hunley .


  • T. Harry Williams : PGT Beauregard: Napoleon in Gray , Louisiana State University Press 1955
  • Alfred Roman: The military operations of General Beauregard in the war between the States 1861 to 1865, including a brief personal sketch and a narrative of his services in the war with Mexico, 1846-8 , 2 volumes, New York: Harper and Brothers 1884 , Volume 1 , Volume 2 (Beauregard was unofficially involved in the book)
  • Hamilton Basso: Beauregard: The Great Creole , New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1933.
  • Glenn R. Conrad: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard , in: Glenn R. Conrad (Ed.): A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography. Volume 1, New Orleans: Louisiana Historical Association, 1988.
  • John Eicher, David J. Eicher : Civil war high commands , Stanford University Press 2001
  • Steven E. Woodwarth: The failure of civil war command in the west , University Press of Kansas 1990


  • Principles and Maxims of the Art of War , 1863
  • Report on the Defense of Charleston , 1864
  • A Commentary on the Campaign and Battle of Manassas , 1891
  • The Battle of Bull Run , Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, November 1884 (also in Buel, Johnson (Ed.): Battles and Leaders of the civil war , Volume 1, 1887)

Web links

Commons : PGT Beauregard  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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