When the Student Becomes the Master

Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard (lft) and Maj. Robert Anderson (rt)

Most of you probably know that the first shots of the Civil War were fired in the early morning hours of April 12, 1861 at Ft. Sumter. The fort – located off the coast of South Carolina in Charleston Harbor – was being held by Union troops under the command of Major Robert Anderson.

On April 10, Confederate Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard (mentioned in previous blog posts here and here) ordered Anderson to evacuate the fort, and when Anderson refused, Beauregard ordered his men to open fire. By midday April 13, Anderson and his men surrendered and the next day the fort was evacuated.

Now, you may be asking yourself, ‘What makes this event interesting and blog post worthy?’

The interest lies with the two commanders who led each side of the engagement. Prior to the war, Robert Anderson taught at West Point and Beauregard was his student. That alone is an interesting coincidence. But what makes it more interesting is that after graduating, Beauregard became Anderson’s assistant and the two became very close. It can be argued that it was in part due to what Beauregard learned from Anderson (an artillery instructor) that he was able to successfully take Ft. Sumter from his previous instructor.

That the two men had to fight against one another at the opening of the war is just one example of the many instances when friends and family were pitted against one another during the Civil War.

This entry was posted in Fort Sumter, P.G.T. Beauregard, Strange Coincidences. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to When the Student Becomes the Master

  1. Walt Hiteshew says:

    What most people don’t know about the start of the War Between the States is that no one was killed at fort Sumpter. The first deaths in that terrible war were civilians on the streets of Baltimore City, Maryland.

    • saregeo says:

      That’s a very good thing to point out. It’s pretty impressive that despite more than a day of firing no one was killed. Thanks for your comment and for reading butternut and blue!

  2. John says:

    Love your website. Good luck with the rest of this semester and graduation!

  3. Paul says:

    Another interesting story involves this subject as well as Wilmer McLean and the surrender. Lee and Grant met one time before Appamattox. It was in the Mexican War. Lee was about to be promoted to Colonel and Grant was a low ranking supply officer. Lee upbraided Grant for his sloppy dress habits at one time insulting Grant in public.

    At the surrender in McLean’s home, Lee was dressed impeccably with a ceremonial sword that he had worn specifically to surrender to Grant as a gesture of conciliation. Grant showed up (not knowing what would happen that day) in a privates uniform that was mud spattered but did have his Lt General epaulets in place. One of the reports said Grant looked like a ‘fly on a side of beef’ at the meeting.

    Thanks for your interest and the efforts you have made in this blog. Congratulations in your studies and following your heart.

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