P. G. T. Beauregard

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P. G. T. Beauregard : biography

May 28, 1818 – February 20, 1893

The major field operation of the fall was Hood’s Franklin-Nashville Campaign, an invasion of Tennessee, which he undertook despite Beauregard’s counsel that it made little operational or logistical sense. Hood did not treat Beauregard with the respect due to the department commander, communicating his plans reluctantly and making movements without regard to the consequences for his supply line, which Beauregard scrambled to maintain. While Hood traveled through Alabama and into Tennessee, Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman began his March to the Sea from Atlanta to Savannah, which focused Beauregard’s attention back to Georgia. He was ineffective in stopping, or even delaying, Sherman’s advance. He had inadequate local forces and was reluctant to strip defenses from other locations to concentrate them against Sherman. Furthermore, Sherman did an excellent job of deceiving the Confederates as to the intermediate and final targets of his march. Savannah fell on December 21 and Sherman’s army began to march north into South Carolina in January. Also in late December, Beauregard found out that Hood’s army had been severely damaged in its defeat at the Battle of Nashville; there were very few men in fighting condition who could oppose Sherman’s advance.Williams, pp. 243–50; Woodworth, p. 296.

Beauregard attempted to concentrate his small forces before Sherman could reach Columbia, South Carolina, the state capital. His urgent dispatches to Richmond were treated with disbelief—Davis and Robert E. Lee (now the general in chief of all the Confederate armies) could not believe that Sherman was advancing without a supply line as quickly as Beauregard was observing him do. Also concerned about what he considered Beauregard’s "feeble health," Lee recommended to Davis that he be replaced by Joseph E. Johnston. The change of command came on February 22 and Beauregard, although outwardly cooperative and courteous to Johnston, was bitterly disappointed at his replacement. For the remainder of the war, Beauregard was Johnston’s subordinate, assigned to routine matters without combat responsibilities. Johnston and Beauregard met with President Davis on April 13 and their assessment of the Confederate situation helped convince Davis that Johnston should meet with Sherman to negotiate a surrender of his army. The two surrendered to Sherman near Durham, North Carolina, on April 26, 1865, and were paroled in Greensboro on May 2. Beauregard traveled to Mobile and then took a U.S. naval transport to his hometown of New Orleans.Williams, pp. 251–56; Eicher, p. 124.