Who Was Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard?


Quick Answer

Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was an American military officer who was appointed the first brigadier general in the Confederate States Army. Beauregard oversaw the bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, in which the first shots of the American Civil War were fired. The fort's surrender catapulted Beauregard to public acclaim, and he became the first military hero of the Confederacy.

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Beauregard was born in 1818 in Louisiana to a French Creole family. He was trained as an engineer at the United States Military Academy at West Point and served with distinction in the Mexican-American War. Between the wars, most of his engineering work was in building and repairing military forts. When Louisiana seceded, Beauregard enlisted as a private in the Orleans Guards, a battalion made up of French Creole aristocrats. He corresponded with Confederate President Jefferson Davis, angling for a position in the newly formed Confederate States Army. With the crisis over Fort Sumter coming to a head, Davis appointed Beauregard to take charge of Charleston's defenses. On July 21, 1861, Beauregard was promoted to full general and served under Gen. Joseph E. Johnston at the Battle of First Bull Run, also known as First Manassas, which was a Confederate victory. Beauregard and Davis eventually became political enemies, and Beauregard spent the rest of the war frequently being transferred from one theater to another, chafing for opportunities for military glory that never came.

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