P. G. T. Beauregard


P. G. T. Beauregard : biography

May 28, 1818 – February 20, 1893

Beauregard pursued a position in the Brazilian Army in 1865, but declined the Brazilians’ offer. He claimed that the positive attitude of Pres. Johnson toward the South swayed his decision. "I prefer to live here, poor and forgotten, than to be endowed with honor and riches in a foreign country." He also declined offers to take command of the armies of Romania and Egypt.Williams, pp. 262–65.

As a lifelong Democrat, Beauregard worked to end Republican rule during Reconstruction. His outrage over the excesses of Reconstruction was a principal source for his indecision about remaining in the United States and his flirtation with foreign armies, which lasted until 1875. He was active in the Reform Party, an association of conservative New Orleans businessmen, which spoke in favor of civil rights and voting for the recently freed slaves, hoping to form alliances between African-Americans and Democrats to vote out the Radical Republicans in the state legislature.Hattaway & Taylor, p. 26; Williams, pp. 266–72.

Beauregard’s first employment following the war was in October 1865 as chief engineer and general superintendent of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad. In 1866 he was promoted to president, a position he retained until 1870, when he was ousted in a hostile takeover. This job overlapped with that of president of the New Orleans and Carrollton Street Railway (1866–1876), where he invented a system of cable-powered street railway cars. Once again, Beauregard made a financial success of the company, but was fired by stockholders who wished to take direct management of the company.Hattaway & Taylor, p. 27; Williams, pp. 273–86.

After the loss of these two railway executive positions, Beauregard spent time briefly at a variety of companies and civil engineering pursuits, but his personal wealth became assured when he was recruited as a supervisor of the Louisiana Lottery in 1877. He and former Confederate general Jubal Early presided over lottery drawings and made numerous public appearances, lending the effort some respectability. For 15 years the two generals served in these positions, but the public became opposed to government-sponsored gambling and the lottery was closed down by the legislature.Hattaway & Taylor, pp. 27–28; Williams, pp. 291–303.

Beauregard’s military writings include Principles and Maxims of the Art of War (1863), Report on the Defense of Charleston, and A Commentary on the Campaign and Battle of Manassas (1891). He was the uncredited co-author of his friend Alfred Roman’s The Military Operations of General Beauregard in the War Between the States (1884). He contributed the article "The Battle of Bull Run" to Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine in November 1884. During these years, Beauregard and Davis published a series of bitter accusations and counter-accusations retrospectively blaming each other for the Confederate defeat.Eicher, p. 124; Hattaway & Taylor, pp. 28–29; Williams, pp. 304–18.

Beauregard served as adjutant general for the Louisiana state militia, 1879–88. In 1888, he was elected as commissioner of public works in New Orleans. When John Bell Hood and his wife died in 1879, leaving ten destitute orphans, Beauregard used his influence to get Hood’s memoirs published, with all proceeds going to the children. He was appointed by the governor of Virginia to be the grand marshal of the festivities associated with the laying of the cornerstone of Robert E. Lee’s statue in Richmond. But when Jefferson Davis died in 1889, Beauregard refused the honor of heading the funeral procession, saying "We have always been enemies. I cannot pretend I am sorry he is gone. I am no hypocrite."Eicher, p. 124; Hattaway & Taylor, pp. 28–29.

Beauregard died in his sleep in New Orleans. The cause of death was "heart disease, aortic insufficiency, and probably myocarditis."Jack D. Welsh, Medical Histories of Confederate Generals (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1999), p. 19. ISBN 978-0-87338-853-5. Edmund Kirby Smith, the last surviving full general of the Confederacy, served as the "chief mourner" as Beauregard was interred in the vault of the Army of Tennessee in historic Metairie Cemetery.Williams, p. 328; Hattaway & Taylor, p. 29; Eicher, p. 124; Gallagher, p. 90.