Beauregard's contemporaries called him the "Napoleon in Gray," and he liked that. No general of the Confederacy began the war with brighter promise, yet few at the end had been dogged by more controversy and acrimony, or unrealized potential. On April 12, 1861, his batteries began the war when they opened fire on Fort Sumter, and the fort's surrender made him the South's first military hero. He followed this with a shared victory with Joseph E. Johnston in the First Battle of Manassas on July
21, which won him promotion to the highest rank of general. But, haughty and proud, he clashed with President Davis, was reassigned from the Virginia theater and became Albert Sidney Johnston's second in command in the campaign leading to the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862. Johnston was killed on the first day, and Beauregard assumed command, but failed to follow up his initial advantage, and retreated. Success in 1863 and 1864, when he probably saved Petersburg and Richmond from capture by Grant, did not diminish the fued with Davis, who ensured that he never held a maior field command again.
Beauregard's uniform blou-se perfectly shows the fastidiousness of the man himself, and also like him it is just a little bit ostentatious. According to Confederate regulations the buttons should have been evenly spaced, but Beauregard had them in groups of three, which was the Federal rule for general officers. Even more glaring is that the gold braid epaulettes were non-regulation, and worn by very few other general officers during the Civil War, whether North or the South. The belt plaque is unlike any other and seems to have been designed by Beauregard himself. It is a sad reflection on a few Confederate officers that they worried so much about their own clothing and accout-erments at a time when their soldiers had barely enough clothing to cover themselves with, nor shoes to walk in.
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