Camp Beauregard is a U.S. Army installation located northeast of Pineville, Louisiana, primarily in Rapides Parish, but also extending northward into Grant Parish. It is currently operated by the Louisiana National Guard as one of their main training areas. The current base covers 12,500 acres (51 km2) and is home to many different units and elements of the Louisiana Army National Guard. The camp is named for Louisiana native and Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard.
The beginnings of the existing post started in 1917, when the War Department authorized the building of more than thirty such camps around the country to train troops for World War I. The 17th Division was organized in 1918 as a National Army division for World War I. The 17th Division included the 33rd Infantry Brigade(Sep 1918-Feb 1919), with the 5th and 83rd Regiments, and the 34th Brigade with the 29th and 84th Regiments. The 5th Infantry Regiment was assigned on 27 July 1918 to the 17th Division and relieved on 10 February 1919. The 17th Division was intended to be a replacement and school division. The 17th Division did not go overseas and demobilized in February 1919 at Camp Beauregard.
The camp was abandoned in 1919 and given to the state. During that brief time, Alexandria businessman Morgan W. Walker, Sr., started a taxi and bus service to transport soldiers from Camp Beauregard into Alexandria. The operation eventually led to the formation of Continental Trailways Bus lines.
Camp Beauregard was returned to the U.S. government in 1940 for use as a World War II training area. This is the time period during which Beauregard really got busy. The area had been effectively deforested in previous years and was unusable for agriculture. That fact and the hot, muggy weather made this a logical location for training American troops in preparation for East-Asian war efforts.
The camp, and several tens of thousands of acres of surrounding land, including camps Claiborne, Livingston, Cook, Polk and what is now Esler Regional Airport were used for the Louisiana Maneuvers, a training exercise involving almost 500,000 men, preparing them for the battles of World War II that they would soon be involved in. A full two-thirds of the U.S. military rotated through these war games. A large part of the State of Louisiana, centered around these large camps, became almost an occupied territory.
After the war, the camp reverted to the state, which used it as a training area for two years and then deactivated it. The camp was reactivated in 1973 and became one of the premier military training areas in Louisiana. Since then, most of the old buildings have either been torn down or remodeled, and many new buildings have been constructed to support the current mission.
The 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Louisiana Army National Guard often makes use of the Camp's training and lodging facilities. The 225th Engineer Brigade, the largest engineer group in the army, has its headquarters in Camp Beauregard.
The Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections operated the J. Levy Dabadie Correctional Center adjacent to the Louisiana National Guard base on the camp property. It closed in July 2012.
- John J. McGrath, The Brigade: A History, 167.
- "Time in Prison." Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections. 28/40. September 23, 2010.
- "J. Levy Dabadie Correctional Center." (Archive) Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections. Retrieved on October 23, 2012.