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  • Writer's pictureThe Naming Commission Facts

P.G.T Beauregard, West Point & the Civil War

The Naming Commission never determines voluntary service for Beauregard, like every other Confederate, and is hesitant to review the facts about his treatment by the Military Academy. On page 10 of Part II, the report tells Congress that he was fired as West Point's superintendent in only 5 days! But why not tell anyone the details of this historically short stint?

Beauregard's appointment to West Point was secure in November of 1860 and was to take effect in January 1861. During the interim period, Beauregard had a conversation in private with General Totten when he visited Washington in December. During that conversation Beauregard stated that if Louisiana seceded, and hostilities began between the North & South, he would need to resign his position. The common theme of loyalty to one's state arises again, without any mention of the political issues surrounding secession or the causes of the dispute. He arrived at West Point on January 23rd only to have his state secede on January 26th. But as hostilities did not start, he intended to keep his position.

The Naming Commission says that Beauregard was "fired." He committed no infraction but because of his personal, private views, he had his appointment rescinded. Letters show that he was upset and took this action as an insult. He wrote:

Now the world knows why P.G.T Beauregard was "fired" as superintendent of West Point: it was not for what he did, but it was for what he thought. While he wanted to wait for hostilities to start before he resigned, this dismissal ensured he would leave the U.S. Military at an earlier date. The Naming Commission must report the facts rather than a twisted version of the truth to make Beauregard's service record appear to be poor--in fact that is exactly what he was concerned about when he made his protest!

What is the point of having a commission with multiple retired military officials if they do not tell the public the facts about US Military Policy in 1860-1861 and the desire to honorably discharge all potential Confederate officers?

P.G.T. Beauregard's effective resignation was February 20th, 1861. Bragg was already appointed the commander of the state forces, so he ended up enlisting as a private in Louisiana's militia. According to his biographer, in at least four letters written around this time, he declared that his services were at the command of his state. Even though he would take a direct role as a Confederate General, it is clear that in his opinion, his service was fully under the umbrella of his state's desires.

The Naming Commission isn't accidentally avoiding details: it is an effort designed to try to comply with what it perceives to be the intent of Section 370 instead of what the law actually mandates.

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