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for war vessels. Mr. Parks took the boat up Chesapeake bay,
"through the Chesapeake & Delaware canal, the Delaware river,
-the Delaware and Raritan canal, the Raritan river to New York
and Hudson river to Albany, and the Erie canal to Oswego on
Lake Ontario. This was the first trip of a steamer from the At-
lantic to the lakes. Captain Parks examined the upper Roanoke
and Dan rivers for the purpose of using steam on those rivers.
His plan was an entirely original one, but he failed to get capital
to assist him and therefore abandoned it. He subsequently pro-
posed a plan for a ferryboat to carry railroad cars from Ports-
mouth to Norfolk, across Elizabeth river, and the city council of
'.Norfolk appropriated money for the purpose and appointed him
superintendent of construction. He was entirely successful, pro-
curing the building of the Princess Anne at Wilmington, Del., and
established the city ferry. As he was desirous of steamship com-
munication with New York, a friend purchased for that purpose,
just after the Mexican war, the U. S. steamship Spitfire. On his
first trip he encountered a heavy gale, and having lost his smoke-
stack, put into the capes of the Delaware and proceeded to Wil-
mington tor repairs, after which he went on to New York, and
sold the boat at a large profit, it being found that the war vessel
jvas not suitable for mercantile purposes. Many of his steamboat


trips during this period of his life were through the Dismal Swamp
canal, the managers of which annoyed him considerably by their
rule that "no boats should pass during the night." Finding that the
company would make no exception for him, Captain Parks con-
ceived the daring idea of building a canal to parallel the old water-
way. People laughed at his temerity in attempting without money
such a project in opposition to the old canal in which the State, from
which a charter must be obtained, held a two-fifths interest, and
United States government two-fifths. But Captain Parks went
ahead, with the aid of a friend, drew up a charter, put it through
the legislature at Richmond with the aid of friends, and then find-
ing that Norfolk capital rejected his scheme as visionary, went to
New York city, and secured the subscription of five hundred thou-
sand dollars in stock. This was the origin of the great "Albemarle
and Chesapeake canal," which Captain Parks built between 1855 and
i860, and was president of during a quarter of a century. It was the
first canal in which modern methods and the use of steam dredges,
replaced the old pick and shovel. In 1861, after the passage of the
ordinance of secession by Virginia, Captain Parks was appointed
provisional commodore in the merchant marine of the State, and
was instructed to take charge of all the guns at the Norfolk navy
yard, some thirty-two hundred in number, and remove them to a
place of safety, a work which he partly accomplished during the
sixty days which elapsed before Virginia was united with the Con-
federacy. He was then appointed by the governor of North Car-
olina, whose State was yet neutral, a special commissioner for the
establishment of a North Carolina navy. This work he had well
under way, and fitted out several gunboats, when he was ordered
to transfer his vessels to the Confederate States. He had manu-
factured- at Norfolk the flags of North Carolina, bearing the dates
"May, 1775," and "May, i&i," the dates of separation from, Great
Britain and the United States. Subsequently he acted as aide and
adviser to Generals Gwinn and Huger at Norfolk, and placed the
several steamers which he owned at the disposal of these Confed-
erate commanders. At the evacuation he was advised by General
Huger, that on account of his age and absence of military rank, he
should remain at Norfolk, which he did during the remainder of
the war, holding himself in readiness to render the Confederacy
any service required. Since the return of peace he has been en-
gaged, in addition to his steamboat business, in several very im-
portant enterprises. He built the New Bern and Beaufort canal
and the Fairfield canal, and was for many years president of those
waterways; built the Norfolk & Virginia Beach railroad, of which
he was president for some time, and established the now widely-
famous Virginia Beach ocean resort; also founded and named
that portion of Norfolk known as Atlantic City. He has found
time also to serve one term in the Virginia legislature, and to be
the Democratic candidate for Congress in his district on an occa-
sion when unfortunately the ticket was unsuccessful. During
President Cleveland's first term he was appointed supervising in-
spector of steam vessels for the Third district, comprising the coast
from Washington to Florida, a position he held four years. In 1855.
he was married to Sophia Jackson, whp died a few years ago,
leaving three daughters. During recent years Commodore Parks


has led a retired lite in his comfortable home at Norfolk, resting
at the close of an existence of remarkable activity and usefulness.
He has devoted much time to a plan to extend the inland naviga-
tion south, and hopes to live to make a trip from Duluth via the
lakes to Buffalo and thence through the Erie canal to New York
and south inland to Florida.

Captain Richard S. Parks, of Luray, Va., was born in Rappa-
hannock county, June 4, 1839. After receiving an education in his
native county he removed to Luray, studied law and was admitted
to the bar early in 1861. The war coming on, his prospect of
forensic contests was changed to one of battle in the field. He
entered the service in April, 1861, as second lieutenant of Company
K, Tenth Virginia infantry. His regiment. Col. S. A. Gibbons
commanding, was assigned to the brigade of General Johnston's
army in the Shenandoah valley, which was commanded then by E.
Kirby Smith, and included among its regimental commanders Ar-
nold Elzey, George H. Steuart, John C. Vaughn and A. P. Hill.
At the reorganization in 1862 Lieutenant Parks was elected captain,
the rank in which he served until the spring of 1864, when he was
honorably discharged on account of wounds and disability. He par-
ticipated in the battle of First Manassas, and during the Valley cam-
paign of 1862 fought at McDowell, Cross Keys and Port Republic.
During Jackson's campaign on the Chickahominy he received a
severe wound in the foot which practically put an end to his service
on the field. Previously he had received two slight wounds while
fighting at First Manassas under the leadership of General Elzey.
During his service he was twice captured, but on each occasion
managed to escape. A distinguished member of Captain Parks'
company was Charles F. Crisp, who afterward occupied the exalted
station of speaker of the national house of representatives. Charley
Crisp, as his youthful comrades knew him, enlisted in Captain
Parks' company at its organization and served to the end. Captain
Parks wears a watch which was presented him by the lamented
speaker, and the memorial volume published by authority of Con-
gress contains an appreciative account of the statesman's military
service from the pen of his old captain, embodied in the address
by Hon. Henry St. George Tucker. After his retirement from the
service Captain Parks returned to Luray and for about two years
was occupied in teaching school. Then he embarked in the prac-
tice of law, for which he had prepared himself before the war, and
in this profession is still actively engaged. Since 1883 he has held
the office of commonwealth attorney for Page county, and in 1895-
96 and 1897-98 he served in the Virginia legislature. In February,
1861, he was married to Miss B. M. Grayson, and they have two

Richard L. Parry, a prominent architect and builder, of Wash-
ington, is a native of Virginia, which he served faithfully during
the war of the Confederacy, in the field and in the prison camp at
the North. He was born in Middlesex county in November, 1839,
and was reared to the age of seventeen years in Essex county. He
then was apprenticed to the trade of the carpenter at Richmond
and served in this apprenticeship for four years. In April, 1861,
when the State had declared its adherence to the Confederacy, he
unlisted in the Taylor Greys, a volunteer organization which be-


came Company D of the Fifty-third regiment of Virginia infantry.
He served with this command as a private until June, 1863, when he
was promoted sergeant. His service in the field embraced the bat-
tle of Seven Pines and the subsequent Seven Days' fighting in the
Peninsular campaign, the operations at Suffolk, Va., the siege and
capture of Harper's Ferry, the battle of the 17th of September at
Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg in December, 1862, and the three days'
fighting at Gettysburg. On the third day, July 3, 1863, he was
among the captured. Then began a long and wearisome experience
as a prisoner of war at Fort Delaware, which he endured through
all the subsequent campaigns and until after the surrender of the
army. He was not released from confinement until June 20, 1863,
when company, regiment, brigade and army of Northern Virginia
had all alike disappeared. Going back to Richmond he went
quietly to work at his trade, and remained at Richmond until i86g,
when he made his home at Washington. Since then he has steadily
prospered in his enterprises, and has been in business as an archi-
tect and builder for the last twenty years. In 1872 he was married
to Ella H., daughter of the late William Williams, of Washington,
and they have a family of three sons and three daughters. Ira E.
Parry, brother of the foregoing, served gallantly throughout the
war in Field's brigade, receiving three wounds. He is now a resi-
dent of Florida.

_ William Dangerfield Peachy, superintendent of the registry di-
vision of the city postoffice at Washington, D. C, was born in 1844
at Alexandria, Va. He was reared in his Virginia home, at Wil-
liamsburg, Va., and educated at William and Mary college, where
he was graduated in 1861. In February, 1863, at the age of eighteen
years he enlisted in the Confederate service. He had left Williams-
burg and gone to Richmond for the purpose of volunteering, where
he was enrolled by conscript officers the morning after the evening
of his arrival, before he had an opportunity to offer his services.
Soon after his enlistment he was detailed in the quarterinaster's de-
partment, in the duties of which, and in active service with the de-
partment battalion, home guards of Richmond, the time was oc-
cupied until the evacuation of the city. During his service with the
forces in defense of Richmond he took part in the battles at Green's
Farm, Fort Gilmer and Fort Harrison and in operations against the
Federal raiders. He surrendered in Richmond in April, 1865, and
soon afterward returned to Williamsburg, and six months later
found employment in a bank at Alexandria, where he remained until
1870. He then removed to Shenandoah county, Va., and for the
next thirteen years was engaged in agriculture. In 1883 he embarked
in mercantile business at Washington, D. C, and was so occupied
until in 1888 he was appointed to an official position in the city
postoffice. He is now superintendent of the registry division and
secretary of the postal board of examiners of the civil service
commission. Mr. Peachy is a member of the Washington associa-
tion of Confederate veterans. In 1869 he was married to Leila R.
Meem, daughter of the late Dr. Andrew Russell Meem, surgeon in
the Confederate States army.

Major George Meredith Peek, late a prominent citizen of Hamp-
ton, was the son of Thomas and Janet (Hope) Peek, and one of six
brothers who served in the Confederate armies. He was born at


Hampton and educated at John B. Gary's military academy. Irt
i8S9 he became instructor in mathematics in a college at Florence,
Ala., where in 1861 he entered the Corjfederate service, and was
made major of the Twenty-sixth Alabama regiment of infantry,
which he drilled for the service. After the regiment reached Rich-
mond Colonel O'Neal, afterward governor of Alabama.was assigned
to command it. Major Peek served with his regiment, in the bri-
gade of General Rodes, in the battles of Boonsboro, Sharpsburg,
Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, the regiment in the latter bat-
tle suffering severe loss while participating in Jackson's flank
movement. After this battle Major Peek, having failed in health,
was detailed as instructor in mathematics on board the naval school
ship the Patrick Henry, under command of Capt. W. H. Parker.
He continued in this service until the evacuation of Richmond.
Subsequently he entered upon the study of law at the university of
Virginia, under John B. Minor, and devoted the remainder of his
life to that profession. He served several years as superintendent
of the schools of Elizabeth City county, held the office of attorney
for the commonwealth one term, and in 1892 was appointed judge
of the county court. He was reappointed in 1896 and held the office
at the time of his death, January 6, 1896. By his marriage to Sarah,
King Holt, a native of Portsmouth, who survives, he had six chil-
dren. William Holt Peek, the second of these children, was born
at Hampton May 30, 1870. He was educated at the Virginia mil-
itary institute, and graduated in 1896, after completing a course in
civil engineering, a profession in which he shows great talent and.
natural aptitude for a successful career. He is a member of the
Hampton camp. Sons of Confederate Veterans. Thomas Peek,
father of Major Peek, mentioned above, was born in Elizabeth City
county in 1803, and was a well-known merchant of Hampton (or
many years, and until his death in 1866. He gave six sons to the Con-
federate service. He was married in youth to Eliza Kirby, and after
her decease he wedded Janet Hope, a cousin of the poet James Bar-
ron Hope, and member of a family that also displayed patriotic de-
votion. The Washington artillery included in 1861 eight members
of the two families. By his first marriage Thomas Peek had three
sons: John, who served in the Washington artillery, later was at-
tached to the war department at Richmond, and died in 1890;.
Thomas, who served as an officer in the commissary department in
the army of the West, and is now a resident of San Antonio, Tex. ;
and Edward K., who enlisted as a private in the Washington artil-
lery in 1861, upon the reorganization became a member of Com-
pany I of the Thirty-second Virginia regiment, was wounded at
Sharpsburg, and paroled at Appomattox, ind is now living at the
soldiers' home in Richmond, Va. The sons by the second marriage
who were of age for military service were William Hope, who
served as an assistant surgeon of the Third Virginia cavalry, and
died at Williamsport during the exhausting labors attending the
retreat from Gettysburg; George Meredith, whose career is men-
tioned above; and Charles Smith, who entered the service as a pri-
vate in the Washington artillery, upon the reorganization became
an assistant engineer in the Confederate States navy, served until
the close of hostilities, then followed the trade of a machinist, later
was engaged in mercantile pursuits, and died in 1887. The only sur-


viving child of the second marriage of Thomas Peek is Jesse Hope
Peek, M. D., now one of the leading physicians of Hampton, Va.
He was born at that city July 3, 1854, and during the war was a ref-
ugee with his mother at Richmond, his native town having been
laid in ruins. After the close of hostilities he was educated at Ran-
dolph-Macon college, and in 1875 was graduated in medicine at the
university of Virginia. After a season of clinical work in the Bal-
timore hospitals, he began practice in 1876, and made his home at
Hampton in 1879. Since then his progress has been rapid in the
esteem of his people and professional associates. He has delivered
some valuable lectures in the line of his profession, was elected a
fellow of the State medical society in 1880, was one of the original
members of the State medical examining board, is a member of the
Hampton medical society, is physician to Dixie hospital, and a
member of the board of pension examiners, by appointment of
President Cleveland. July i, 1880, he was married to Miss Clara
Virginia Outten, of Elizabeth City county, and they have three chil-
dren: Maria, Nellie and Charles K.

Captain Robert Baker Pegram, distinguished in the service of
the Confederate navy, was born in Dinwiddle county, Va., Decem-
ber 10, 181 1, the son of Gen. John Pegram and Martha Ward Greg-
ory. On February 2, 1829, he was appointed midshipman in the
United States navy, and assigned to the sloop-of-war Boston, com-
manded by Capt. George W. Storer. He was called home after
more than a year's service by the death of his father, and a few
months later he joined the frigate United States, of the Mediter-
ranean squadron, and served under Corns. James Biddle and
Daniel Patterson, until 1834, returning home on the John Adams.
On this vessel, as passed midshipman, he started as sailing master,
in 183s, on a cruise around the world which lasted three years. In
1840 he was engaged at Washington with Commodore Wilkes, on
magnetic observations, and in the following year was assigned to
the Constitution, with rank as lieutenant, to serve in relief of ves-
sels in distress between Capes Cod and Hatteras. Subsequently he
served three years as flag-lieutenant to Com. Foxhall A.
Parker, in the East India squadron; participated in the operations
against Mexico as first lieutenant of the Saratoga, David A. Far-
ragut, commander; cruised in 1848-49 on the coasts of Brazil and
Africa on the John Adams, returning with the wrecked crew of the
Yorktown; and was then appointed commander of the City of New
York and one of the commissioners to define the fishing boun-
daries off the coast of Newfoundland. In the Japan expedition he
rendered gallant and conspicuous service as lieutenant of the ship
Powhatan, in which he sailed in 1832. On August 4, 1855, in Hong
Kong harbor, the American commodore being called on for as-
sistance by the British sloop-of-war Rattler, Lieutenant Pegram
commanded a detachment of eighty men from the Powhatan and
forty from the Rattler, in an attack upon over thirty war junks
manned by about three thousand pirates. Successful at the outset,
in cutting ofif a large jimk and driving it under the guns of the men-
of-war, they continued the fight all day, the action resulting in the
capture of sixteen junks, mounting one hundred cannon, and a loss
of 600 men to the enemy. About 30 of American boats' crew were
killed and wounded, and such was the desperate character of the


service under the tropical sun, that most of the remaining fifty died
within the month, and Lieutenant Pegram lay for a long time at
the point of death from brain fever. For his gallantry on this oc-
casion he was presented a sword by the State of Virginia, in-
scribed, "A Mother's Gift to Her Devoted Son," and received the
thanks of the government and board of trade at Hong Kong, of
Sir James Stirling, flag officer of the East India squadron, and of
the British government through Minister James Buchanan, also a
warm expression of gratitude from Commander W. Abdey Fellows,
of the Rattler. Returning to America, Lieutenant Pegram was sta-
tioned at Norfolk until 1858, when he commanded the U. S. S.
Water Witch in the Paraquay expedition. In i860 he was ordered
to the command of the Bibb, and vras engaged in a hydrographic
survey of the coast when Virginia took the first steps toward in-
dependence. Immediately resigning, he reported to Governor
Letcher, and was appointed a captain in the Virginia navy and
assigned to command at Norfolk station, in co-operation with Col-
onel Taliaferro, in charge of land forces. By clever strategy the
Federals were soon persuaded to abandon this important point with
immense loss of naval munitions. By running engines up and
down the railroad back of the navy yard to verify reports of the
arrival of imaginary reinforcements, the Federals were so dis-
tracted that Captain Pegram's men were able to rifle, unnoticed,
the great stores of shot, shell and powder, of Fort Norfolk. His
declaration that he was about to float a fire-raft down the tide from
Dismal Swamp completed the rout of the garrison, and the navy
yard fell inte the hands of the Confederates. Subsequently he
strengthened Fort Powhatan on the James river and erected a bat-
tery, and performed the same service at Pig Point, commanding
the mouth of the Nansemond river. During this work he engaged
the Harriet Lane, moving the buoys which he had placed in the
channel so as to bring her, on the next trip, in range of his guns.
The action was so eflfective that no further operations were at-
tempted on that river. After another battery command at Sewell's
Point, Captain Pegram was assigned to command the steamer
Nashville, then being fitted out at Charleston to convey Hons.
Jarnes M. Mason and John Slidell to Europe. These gentlemen
decided to go in the British mail steamer Trent and were captured,
but the Nashville ran the blockade successfully, on October 26,
1861, and after coaling at Bermuda, proceeded to Europe, on the
way capturing and burning the clipper ship Harvey Birch. Arriv-
ing at Southampton, November 21st, she was soon followed by the
U. S. S. Tuscarora, and both were ordered to leave the port, by
the British government; the Federal ship first and the Confederate
a day later. Captain Pegram shrewdly made a strong protest, and
was permitted to remain until the first favorable opportunity. The
Tuscarora standing out according to orders, and seeing nothing of
its expected prey, came to anchor in the lower harbor. Captain
Pegram then promised to leave in twenty-four hours if the Tus-
carora were held during the following day without communication
with other Federal ships, and thus successfully eluded his pursuers.
Changing the rig of the Nashville he escaped attack and sailed for
the Gulf stream, wherehe captured the Robert Gilfillan from Phila-
delphia and obtained information regarding the blockade, which
enabled him to run into the harbor of Beaufort, N. C, February 28,


1862, without a shot striking his ship. Welcomed at home again,
he was assigned to the James River squadron, superintending the
preparation of the ironclad Richmond and taking her to Drewry's
bluff, and then taking command of the second Virginia, a larger
ironclad. In 1864 he was sent to England to purchase and equip
vessels for the Virginia volunteer navy, and had put in commission
the Hawk, which sailed as far as Bermuda, when the war came to
an end. Captain Pegram was in Nova Scotia from July until No-
vember, 1865, when he returned to Virginia, and was soon after-
ward appointed superintendent of the Petersburg & Weldon rail-
road. In 1873 he became the general agent of the Life insurance
company of Virginia, with headquarters at Norfolk. James West
Pegram, son of the foregoing, also served with distinction in the
Confederate navy. He was born in Sussex county in 1843, and be-
ing taken by hjs parents, in infancy, to Norfolk, was reared at that
city and educated in the collegiate institute and the Norfolk acad-
emy. He had just passed his examination for admission to the
United States naval academy when Virginia took her stand with
the Confederate States. Tendering his services to the governor he
was appointed midshipman in the Virginia navy, and assigned to
the command of General Taliaferro at Norfolk, where his father,
Captain Pegram, was co-operating in command of the naval opera-
tions. When the navy yard fell into the Confederate hands he re-
ported to Captain Fairfax, in charge of ordnance at that place, and
was employed for several months in transporting ordnance to
points where it was needed. After the evacuation of Norfolk he
shared as a volunteer in the gallant repulse of the Federal squadron
at Drewry's Bluff, and afterward fought at the battle of Seven
Pines, receiving a wound in the arm as a testimonial of active
service. After this he was ordered to the command of Com-
modore Hollins at New Orleans, by whom he was assigned to
the gunboat Mobile, then being fitted out at Berwick bay. Be-
fore this boat was in service he was transferred to Charleston,

Online LibraryClement Anselm EvansConfederate military history; a library of Confederate States history → online text (page 126 of 153)