P. G. T. Beauregard: Napoleon in Gray

By T. Harry Williams | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER FIVE
Napoleonic Planning at Manassas

BEAUREGARD traveled to Richmond by rail. He rode through an almost continuous ovation. At every station, waiting crowds cried for a speech. The hero of Sumter bowed modestly and asked one of his politician aides to speak for him. Admiring women covered him with flowers as he passed. Reaching Richmond on May 30, he found a crowd and a band to welcome him and a carriage and four to take him to a suite at the Spotswood Hotel, where President Davis was quartered. Quietly he told the welcoming committee that he preferred to go to the hotel in another carriage, accompanied only by his staff. The people and the band followed him to the hotel and shouted for him to speak, but Beauregard did not appear. His aloofness made a favorable impression. It was thought that he disliked demonstrations of worship and that he wished to devote all his time in planning destruction for the Yankees.1

The next day he conferred with Davis and General Robert E. Lee, who was commander of the Virginia state troops and acting commander of all Confederate forces in Virginia. Until now Beauregard's contacts with Davis had been few and, in a sense, routine. The personal and military relations of the two men had been mostly friendly. From the time of this conference their association would be intimate and important and would affect both them and the cause for which they fought. Their careers would touch at almost every turn. In fact, much of what happened to Beauregard after Sumter can be attributed to Davis. The personality of Davis became a vital part of the Beauregard story. The distinguished-looking President was tall, slender, erect; his face was thin and ascetic. He looked like an in

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1
John L. Manning to Mrs. Manning, June 2, 1861, in Williams-Chesnut- Manning Papers (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina Library); [ Sally A. Putnam ], Richmond During the War ( New York, 1867), 46; Freeman, Lee's Lieutenants, I, 2-4; Mrs. Roger A. Pryor, Reminiscences of Peace and War ( New York, 1905), 135; Richmond Examiner, June 1, 1861.

-66-

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