Beauregard, who participated in more pivotal military events during the Civil War than any other Southern general, is generally considered to have been one of the Confederacy's finest generals and most brilliant military strategists. A West Point graduate who began to display his tactical abilities during the Mexican War, Beauregard returned to the Academy as its superintendent in January 1861, on the eve of the Civil War. He served a mere five days, however, being removed from that position after having expressed his intention to "go with his state" should Louisiana secede from the Union. In late February he resigned from Federal service, and was immediately appointed a brigadier-general in the Confederate army. Initially assigned to command Confederate forces around Charleston, it was Beauregard who, under orders from the Confederate government, fired on Fort Sumter, thus beginning the Civil War. By July, he was in Virginia where he served as second in command to Joseph Johnston at First Bull Run. He served as second in command to A.S. Johnston at Shiloh, succeeding to command upon Johnston's death. He directed the coastal defenses of South Carolina and Georgia 1863-64, then, back in Virginia by the spring of 1864, he defeated Benjamin Butler during a series of engagements, thereby removing Butler as a military force for the remainder of the war. The close of the war found Beauregard once again second in command to Joseph Johnston, this time in the Carolinas. After the war he declined numerous offers to command foreign armies, among them those of Roumania and Egypt, preferring instead to serve as adjutant-general of Louisiana, manager of the Louisiana state lottery, and president of the New Orleans, Jackson & Mississippi Railway.