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Friday, October 28, 2016

The Letter of Grief-Stricken General Beauregard

Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard (a.k.a. "PGT") is a name so distinct that it is readily recognizable to most Americans, even if little can be recalled. Best known for his service as a Confederate General in the Civil War, PGT also served admirably in several battles during the Mexican-American War. Born to parents of proud pedigree in French Creole Louisiana, Beauregard's family was hardly ever in want. He attended private schools in New York and finally learned to speak English at age 12, having been raised speaking French.

The bilingual young lad eventually made his way to West Point, where he often went just by "G. T. Beauregard" to better fit in with his classmates. He graduated second in the Class of 1838, and then began his storied and controversial military service, which includes such deeds as ordering the first shots fired in the Civil War upon on Ft. Sumter, the First Battle of Bull Run (earning him the title of General), the Battle of Manassas, and several successful coastal defenses.

But before he became the man known to U.S. history, he was the man known to Marie Antoinette Laure Villeré, whom he married in 1841 after an "overwhelming" courtship while stationed at Barataria Bay, LA. She was the daughter of another well-respected French Creole family who found their fortune in the sugar cane fields. The fact that her great-grandfather was the second governor of Louisiana didn't hurt either. Their marriage was a happy one with two boys, René and Henri, whom PGT would steal away from the fort to see at every available opportunity. Their marriage was unfortunately short, when Marie died giving birth to their third child on March 21, 1850, a day short of her 27th birthday.

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