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General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was one of the senior commanders of Southern forces during the Civil War. It was he who initiated the hostilities by opening fire on Ft. Sumter in Charleston harbor, in April, 1861. In July of that year, having taken command of the Confederate Army of the Potomac, he triumphed in the first serious clash of the war, at Manassas, Virginia. His army, aided by reinforcements from Johnston’s army in the Shenandoah Valley, routed a Federal army under General McDowell. Had it been his army instead that routed, it is possible the Civil War might have ended that same year, as the path to Richmond would have been wide open. This is his account of the battle, including the strategic situation leading up to it. As an afterward, he added a very revealing appraisal of the relations between him and Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and the reasons why, in his opinion, the South failed to win its war of secession.
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