The Passing of a Creole Hero
General Pierre G.T. Beaurgard is said to have been an enigma “for after the war he helped to destroy the old agrarian way and to build the New — the industrial — South.” Said also to have been a good general rather than a great one, his masterful defense of Charleston and Petersburg against staggering odds are a testament to his tactical abilities, though the independent field command he craved eluded his grasp. His egotistical mind and tongue warred continuously with fellow generals and political leaders of the Confederacy, and left him in a combative spirit long after the war ended.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com
The Passing of the Creole Hero
“Beauregard seemed resigned to death. On Saturday, February 18, 1893, he seemed better, and dressed and came downstairs. The next day he complained of a feeling of oppression around his heart, and that night he did not sleep well.
Still, he got up on Monday, the twentieth, and spent most of the day in the garden and on the balcony. He dined with the family and spoke cheerfully of his recovery. Before retiring that night, he wound his watch so he could follow the doctor’s orders. Before [son] Henri left, Beauregard said, “I will be well tomorrow if I sleep tonight.”
The nurses remained on duty in the room. Shortly after ten they were startled to hear the death rattle in his throat. Before they could summon the family he was dead.
Into the home on Esplanade Avenue the condolences and resolutions of respect poured in a flood. They came from Louisiana and from all over the South – from State and city officials, former comrades, the organizations of which he had been a member, chapters of the United Confederate Veterans from Virginian to Texas.
[New Orleans] Mayor John Fitzpatrick proclaimed a period of mourning until after the funeral and directed that all municipal buildings be closed. Governor Murphy F. Foster ordered the same arrangements at the capital in Baton Rouge. Both the governor and the mayor asked the family for permission to let the body lie in state at the City Hall, and consent was granted.
Accompanied by an escort of National Guard units, the body, resting in a heavy casket finished in burl and ebony and adorned with silver handles, was conveyed to the council room at the City Hall. The walls of the dimly-lit chamber were hung with black drapes and Confederate and United States flags. Three Confederate emblems, one of which belonged to the Washington Artillery, covered the casket.
Above the catafalque stood the battle flag which Miss Hettie Cary had made for him from her own dress in 1861. All that night and throughout the next day, while an honor guard of Confederate veterans stood by, thousands of people passed through the room to gaze on the Creole hero.
On the afternoon of the twenty-third the body was . . . taken for burial to the tomb of the Army of Tennessee in Metarie Cemetery. Riding in a carriage was the chief mourner, Edmund Kirby Smith, now the only surviving full general of the Confederacy, who had come to New Orleans to attend a reunion. A month later he too would be dead.
At the grave, priests chanted the requiem, three volleys were fired in a last salute, and taps were sounded. From above, the equestrian statue of Albert Sidney Johnston looked down on the scene.”
(P.G.T. Beauregard: Napoleon in Gray, T. Harry Williams, LSU Press, 1955, excepts, pp. 320; 326-328)