Pierre Soule, shepherd, French
revolutionary, and U.S. senator, was bom on August 31, 1801, in Castillon,
France, the son of Joseph and Jeanne (Lacroix) Soule. The elder Soule was a
lieutenant general under Napoleon and a local magistrate. Piere, destined for
the priesthood, attended the Jesuit college in Toulouse and the academy in
Bordeaux. After working as a shepherd and a teacher, Soule was admitted to the
bar and set up a practice in Paris. He was sent to prison in 1825 for publishing
revolutionary tracts, but he escaped and fled to England. The next year he left
England for Haiti and later the United States. He worked as a gardener for a
while, mastered English, studied American law, and established a law practice in
New Orleans in the 1830s. The former French revolutionary, a many-sided
character, soon gained success in American politics. He served a term in the
Louisiana Senate, then in 1847 was elected to the U.S. Senate. Soule served in
the Senate until his resignation in 1853. Politically, he was a states' rights
Democrat who nevertheless opposed secession, a stance at some variance with his
youthful opinions. Soule then served two years as a U.S. ambassador to Spain,
authoring the famous Ostend Manifesto, a declaration of American expansionism.
In 1855 he returned to New Orleans and his law practice, and was an active
supporter of William Walker's filibustering expeditions in Central America.
Soule supported Stephen Douglas, a Unionist Democrat, in the 1860 presidential election. However, when Louisiana seceded, Soule went with his adopted state. Early in the war he went to Europe as an agent for the Confederate government. Returning to New Orleans, Soule was arrested for treason by Union troops in May, 1862. Confined at Fort Lafayette, he was paroled to Boston in November of that year. From there he sailed to Nassau and then to Havana, Cuba. Running the blockade in 1863, Soule served on General P. G. T. Beauregard's staff during the siege of Charleston, South Carolina, that year. Late in the war he left the Confederacy and returned to Havana, and was in Cuba when the Confederacy collapsed.
Soule returned, after the war, to New Orleans. Four years later his mind gave way and he was declared incompetent. Soon after; on March 26, 1870, he died in New Orleans. Senator Soule was buried in St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 in New Orleans.
Lonn has Soule made an "honorary" brigadier general of "special services" for his work at Charleston, citing Roman's biography of General Beauregard. Confederate law did not provide for "honorary" generalships, nor for generalships of "special services." And there is no evidence that President Davis, a confirmed enemy of General Beauregard, promoted one of the general's close associates in this irregular manner. However, Soule carried the title "general" during the waró perhaps in reference to some prewar office.
Reference: More Generals in Gray. Bruce S. Allardice. A companion volume to Generals in Gray. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.