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he received his first wound, a fragment of shell striking him on the
head. He refused, however, to avail himself of leave of absence,
and within a fortnight was on duty with his battery.

After "Sharpsburg" came a period of rest, grateful beyond ex-
pression to the worn veterans of Jackson's corps. Recrossing the
Potomac, they went into camp, after the brilliant combat at Shep-
herdstown, along the Opequan in the lovely valley of the Shenan-

Thus passed October.

In November, Jackson moved slowly in the direction of Millwood,
and early in December was ordered to rejoin Lee in the neighbor-
hood of Fredericksburg. Here, in the action of the 13th, Pegram
bore his usual part. Jackson, riding along the front of Lane and
Archer, said curtly: "They will attack here." On the right of that
front, crowning the hills nearest Hamilton's Crossing, ioxxrieGn picked
guns were posted by his order. These guns consisted of the batteries
of Pegram and the intrepid Mcintosh, of South Carolina, with a sec-
tion each from the batteries of Crenshaw, Johnson and Latham.
On the left were posted twenty-one guns, among them the " Letcher

14 Southern Historical Society Pajjers.

Artillery" — the whole commanded by Captain Greenlee Davidson of
that battery.

As the sun came bursting through the mist on that glorious morn-
ing, the army from its position looked down upon a scene which
stirred the heart of conscript and veteran alike. Countless batte-
ries, supported by serried masses of infantry, were moving in all the
pride and circumstance of war across the plain, sworn to wrest vic-
tory from the perch to which she so obstinately clung — the tattered
battle-flags of " Rebellion." Far on the right, as the steady march-
ing columns passed the "River Road," the youthful Paladin, Pel-
ham, his cap bright with ribbons, was seen manoeuvering his single
"Napoleon" within close range of the looming masses of the enemy,
doing his devoir with a valor so gay and debonnaire as drew to him
the heart of an army. Pegram, always generous and quick to
recognize extraordinary daring, broke out into eager expressions of
admiration as he watched the young soldier stubbornly holding his
advanced position. Those who in turn watched his own faintly
flushing cheek, and the light of battle kindling in his eyes, looked at
each other and smiled, knowing how he himself was burning to
"go in."

Nor did he have long to wait. The great columns were now
marching straight upon his guns. Not until the enemy were within
eight hundred yards did these batteries open fire. Before the storm
of shot and shell the enemy broke and fled. Again the "Grand
Divisions" (as they were then called) of Hooker and Franklin came
surging up, and pierced the gap between Lane and Archer. Jack-
son's second line was now advanced, and the enemy speedily driven
back. In both attacks the picked guns performed superb service,
but their loss was severe. Not only were they subjected to a galling
infantry fire, but the artillery of the enemy admirably served, and
opposing thrice as many guns, poured upon them an unceasing rain
of shot and shell. But the Confederate batteries were never
silenced. It was here that Magruder, of "the Purcell," and James
Ellett, of " the Crenshaw," two daring officers, both fell.

Shortly after "Fredericksburg," Pegram received his majority.
His energy, his devotion to duty, his brilliant skill and valor, had
won the commendation of all of his superior officers, from his imme
diate Chief of Artillery to the General commanding the army.

He spent the winter much as he had done the last, attending to
the administration of affairs in camp, and busying himself in pro-
moling the comfort of his men. His letters to his family at this

Annual Reunion of Pegram Battalion Association. 15

time breathe the constant prayer that he may be enabled to do his
duty by his men as a Christian and as a good officer. One of his
first cares on going into winter-quarters, as you remember, was to
assemble the men and say a few words to them concerning the im-
portance of building a chapel and holding regular prayer-meetings.
All these services he attended himself with earnest pleasure, and it
was a common sight to see him sitting among his men in the rude
log-chapel, bowing his young head reverently in prayer, or singing
from the same hymn-book with some weather-beaten private, from
whom he had ever exacted strictest military obedience. His disci-
pline was, indeed, that of long-established armies. He justly con-
sidered it mercy in the end to punish every violation of duty, and he
knew that men do not grow restive under discipline the sternest at
the hands of officers who lead well in action. He performed with
soldierly exactness every duty pertaining to his own position, and
held officers and men to a rigid accountability. His closest personal
friends ceased to look for any deviation in their favor from his strict
enforcement of the "Regulations." For four years he maintained
such discipline, and with notable results. Not only in his lifetime
were his men ever ready, nay, eager, to meet the enemy, but when
he himself had fallen in action, the old Battalion followed its officers,
many of the men through their very homes, to Appomattox Court-
house, with ranks intact save from casualties of fight.

At " Chancellorsville," he was with ' Old Stonewall" in his last
march "on the flank." At one time during the battle, owing to the
wounding of some of his superior officers, Pegram held command of
sixty guns. The stern joy of that fight never faded from his mind.
Long afterwards, when a group of his brother-officers were playfully
discussing the days they counted happiest in their lives, one of them
asked him, "Well, Colonel, what day do you reckon your happiest?"
"Oh!" said he promptly, "the day I had sixty guns under me at
Chancellorsville, galloping down the turnpike after Hooker and his

Soon after "Chancellorsville" he sought and obtained leave of
absence to visit his home. While there he was prostrated by a severe
attack of fever and was rallying but slowly when news came that the
army was in motion. Rumor confidently affirmed that our standards
were once more advancing toward the border. Despite the remon-
strances of those whom he loved most tenderly, he set out at once
to rejoin his command. He reached the Battalion the day after it
had crossed the Potomac. Not only did his officers and men give

16 Southern Historical Society Papers.

him joyful welcome on the eve of what all men felt would be the
greatest battle of the war, but General Lee, who had seen him imme-
diately on his arrival, said to A. P. Hill, whom he met a few moments
alter : " General Hill, I have good news for you. Major Pegram is
up." "Yes," said Hill, "that is good news." A staff-officer of
Hill's repeated this to Pegram. The compliment could not fail to
please the youthful soldier, for if ever man weighed his words it was
Robert Lee, and Pegram afterwards said to a comrade over the
camp fire that he valued those few words from the General of the
army and the General of his corps more than another star upon his

The other star he was destined soon to win.

At Gettysburg his Battalion suffered severely, being engaged all
three days. Many of his officers and men were slain or wounded,
and he left eighty horses dead on the field.

But his energy made light of difficulties, and the BattaHon was
speedily in readiness to be " put in " again.

During the next winter he was promoted Lieutenant- Colonel. Of
his services in the campaigns of '64 and '65, in which the fighting-
was continuous, it would be impossible to speak in detail. Time
would fail me to tell of the part played by the Battalion at Spotsyl-
vania Courthouse, Jericho Ford (passage of the North Anna), Cold
Harbor, Reams' Station, the Crater, the actions of August i8th, 19th,
and 2ist for the possession u{ the Weldon railroad (where the brunt
of the fighting fell on the Battalion and Heth's division), second battle
of Reams' Station (of which Heth generously said that he did not
believe that the works would have been " practicable " for any troops,
had not Pegram first shaken the position by the terrific fire of his guns),
actions of September 30th and October rst and 2d on the right of
Petersburg, the actions on Hatcher's Run, and the general action of
March 25th along the whole line of the army.

One more incident I will recall though many of you saw it. In
the action of September 30th, when Heth's and Wilcox's divisions
were sent with two of our batteries to recover the extension of the
line of rifle-pits on " the right " his conduct excited especial remark.
Soon after the troops had become hotly engaged, Pegram opened Bran-
der's and Ellett's guns and then rode forward with the infantry in the
charge with an eye to pushing forward his artillery should occasion
offer. The brunt of the fighting fell on McGowan's veteran South
Carolina brigade, the enemy making a most determined stand in a
skirt of pines immediately in McGowan's front. This little brigade,

Annual Reunion of Pecjram Bitttalion Association. 17

largely outnumbered (as the official reports prove), pushed the
enemy slowly, but steadily, through the pines to an open field beyond.
Suddenly the Federals, who were evidently handled by some resolute
officer, put in two fresh brigades. The South Carolina brigade, in
turn, was being pushed back slowly, stubbornly disputing every foot of
ground, when Pegram, spurring through the line-of-battle, snatched
the battle-flag from the color-bearer and rode with it straight towards
the enemy. When forty or fifty yards in advance of the whole Hne,
placing the color-staff on his stirrup and turning in his saddle he
dropped the reins on his horse's neck and shouted out in tones that
rang clear above the iron storm, ''Follow me, me?i ! " It was a
scene never to be forgotten — the glorious sunset, the lithe, boyish
form now sharply cut against the crimson western sky, now hid for
a moment in billowing smoke, the tattered colors, the cheering lines
of men.

With a rousing yell the sturdy little brigade closed up on the col-
ors and never after gave back a single inch. The young color-bearer
ran forward to him, the tears standing in his eyes, and cried out,
" Give me back my colors, Colonel ! I'll carry them wherever you
say ! " " Oh, I'm sure of that," answered Pegram cheerily, handing
over the flag. " It was necessary to let the whole line see the colors,
that's the only reason I took them."

In the action of the next day, October ist, he received a slight
wound, being struck in the leg by a minie-ball while riding along the
skirmish line. He would not, however, leave the field during the
fight, despite the remonstrances of General Heth and his own officers,
nor would he apply for leave of absence afterwards.

In the latter part of October General Heth applied for him to
be assigned with the rank of Brigadier-General to command Field's
and Archer's (consolidated) brigades, and shortly afterwards Lieu-
tenant-General R. H. Anderson, knowing nothing of Heth's appli-
cation, recommended that he be assigned with the same rank to a
brigade in his corps.

The recommendation of General Heth was forwarded to army
head-quarters by Lieutenant General A. P. Hill with this endorse-
ment: " No officer in the Army of Northern Virgiiiia has done more
to deserve this promotion tha7i Lieutenant- Colonel Pegram. ' '

Fortunately the papers were returned with the endorsement that
" the artillery could not lose the services of so valuable an officer,"
§nd he received instead of the appointment to a brigade a com-
mission as full colonel of artillery, a rank reckoned in every service

IS Southern Historical Societij Papers.

higher than Brigadier of infantry. General Lee after the war wrote
to one of Pegrani's officers as follows: " The appointment was not
denied for want of confidence in his ability, for no one in the army
had a higher opinion of his gallantry and worth than myself. They
were conspicuous on every field. Colonel Pegram had the com-
mand of a fine battalion of artillery, a service in which he was sig-
nally skilful, in which he delighted, and in which I understood that
he preferred to remain."

The last few months of his life were inexpressibly saddened by the
death of his noble brother, General John Pegram (who fell at the
head of his division in February of 1865 on Hatcher's Run), but as
the days grew darker and still more dark for " the Cause," Hke a true
soldier he put aside his own grief to speak cheering words to those
about him.

On the first day of April, just as the earth was beginning to grow
glad again with flowers, came to him the last of many fights. The
brilliant artillerist, the pride of his corps, who, during four years of
active service, had never lost a gun, while he could boast that of his
twenty every piece had been captured from the enemy, was to fall at
Five Forks with all his wounds in front, fighting such odds as had
never yet confronted him.

For two days previous to the battle he had undergone immense
fatigue— in the saddle day and night with slight intermission during
the forty-eight hours ; wet, hungry, no blankets ; engaging almost
continuously the cavalry of the enemy.

On the very morning of the fight his breakfast consisted of a
handful of corn, taken from the horses' feed, which he parched over
his camp-fire, and generously shared with a comrade.

In the centre of the line-of-battle were posted one gun from his
own Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Hollis of the Crenshaw Bat-
tery, and a section from Braxton's Battalion, commanded by Lieuten-
ant Early. Further to the right, sweeping the Gilliam field, were the
remaining three guns of " the Crenshaw," commanded by one of the
best officers in the Battalion, Captain Tom Ellett.

There had been during the morning some sharp skirmishing with
the enemy, but towards noon everything had grown quiet, and old
soldiers doubted whether there would be any general engagement.

Pegram, utterly worn down with fatigue, was sleeping soundly
among E^llett's guns on the right, when sudden, ripping volleys of
musketry from the centre told that the enemy were charging the
three pieces under Early and Hollis. Vaulting into the saddle, he

Annual Reunion of Pegram Battalion Association. 1 9

rode at full speed down the line-of-battle to his guns. As the survi-
vors of HoUis' gun will remember, the little salient in which they
were posted was literally ringed with flame. Hollis and Early were
using double canister at short range, and their cannoneers were serv-
ing their pieces with a coolness and rapidity beyond all praise.
Within thirty yards or less of the guns the dense columns of the
enem)'' were staggering under their rapid fire.

Pegram rode in speaking cheerily to the men, a sweet serenity on
his boyish face, as he watched, when the smoke lifted for a moment,
the effect of his shot. "Fire your canister low, men ! " he shouted
as the blue lines still staggered and stayed under the pitiless fire.

It was his last order on field of battle.

Suddenly he reeled and fell from his saddle.

A moment more and the gallant Early, a lad of seventeen and of
surpassing beauty, fell dead in his guns, shot through the head. But
the men fought on and on, as Hollis cheered them by joyful voice
and valiant example.

Despite the tremendous odds, which were five to one, never could
these guns have been carried in front. Even after the whole position
had been turned and the enemy swarming in our rear, they were liter-
ally fought up to the muzzle, and " number one " of Hollis' gun knocked
down with his sponge staft" the first Federal soldier who sprang upon
the works.

Small wonder that Pegram was first to fall. Pickett's and Ran-
som's men were lying down, by order, firing over the low " cur-
tain " which they had hastily thrown up during the morning. He
was sitting on his white horse on the front line-of-battle cheering, and
encouraging his men.

In a moment, as it seemed, he had received his mortal wound and
knew it. But he krleAv nothing of the bitter defeat. When Victory
no longer perched on this battle flag of his old Battalion, he had
received his last promotion at the hands of the Great Captain.

He met a soldier's death and had but a soldier's burial. Wrapped
carefully in a coarse blanket, he was laid to rest on the bosom of his
mother-state — Virginia.

Brief as was his life, he had been for six years a devoted member
of the Episcopal church, and a comrade read at his grave her grand
and solemn ritual for the dead.

He now sleeps at " Hollywood," beside his knightly brothef, on a
spot sloping to the ever-murmuring James and overlooking this
beautiful city, in whose defence both of them so often went forth to
battle, counting their lives a worthless thing.

20 Southern Historical Society Papers.

Thus passed away " this incomparable young man " at the early
age of twent}'^- three. It was his lot to be tried in great events and
his fortune to be equal to the trial. In his boyhood he had nourished
noble ambitions, in his young manhood he had won a fame greater
than his modest nature ever dreamed, and at last there was accorded
him on field of battle the death counted "sweet and honorable."

In the contemplation of a stainless life thus rounded by heroic sleep,
selfish sorrow dares not raise its wail.

What more can any mortal among men. though he come to four-
score, hope to win than in life to illustrate the virtues which noble
souls reckon the highest, and in death to leave behind him a name
which shall go down upon the lips of comrades ever eager to speak
his biography ?

So of the others.

Is it a small thing so to have lived and so to have died that the
mere mention of their names still stirs the pulse's plaj^-, and that we,
their surviving comrades, pondering in our hearts their unshaken
resolution in the face of cruel odds, their serene constancy in adver-
sity, rise up even to this day from the contemplation of all their stern
and gentle virtues, strengthened for the "homelier fray" of daily

Surely it is meet that, as occasion serves, the survivors of this
historic corps should gather together to renew old ties of com-
radeship, to do honor to the memory of the dead, to discuss the
great events in which they shared. This last shall they do as
becomes brave men — with no bitterness, no bootless railing against the
malice of Fortune, but temperately and with chastened pride, yielding
generous recognition of the soldierly virtues of their old adversaries,
now their fellow-citizens of a common country.

Not one of these old adversaries, I dare affirm, who was steadfast
to his own colors, but can understand and sympathize with our affec-
tion for this tattered flag consecrated by so many proud memories.

And now, sir, to you,* as ranking officer of the Battalion — to you,
who, more than a score of years ago, attested your devotion to this
flag by freely shedding your blood in its defence on the heights of
Fredericksburg, I confide these colors, the gift of Mrs. Virginia
Johnson Pegram to the survivors of Pegram's Battalion.

Here on the wall of this capitol of our ancient Commonwealth
shall it find a fitting place among the proud memorials of our
mother's great renown in other wars.

* Major Brander.

Annual Reunion of Pegram Battalion Association. 21

Here from time to time shall we come with our children that they
may look upon the colors under which their fathers served, and while
teaching them, as is our duty, that their allegiance and our own is now
due the flag of our common country, we shall teach them as well that
the cause in which this flag was unfurled was no unrighteous cause, and
that the blood shed in its defence was not the blood of " traitors,"
but the blood of patriots, who died that they might transmit to their
children the heritage bequeathed them by their fathers.

Major Thomas A. Brander, President of the Association, then
received the dear old flag in the following appropriate

Reception Address:

Ladies, Friends and Comrades :

As President of this Association it becomes my duty to
receive this precious token, so sacredly preserved and cherished by
the mother of our beloved comrade and gallant Commander, Colonel
William J. Pegram. No one could have presented it to us so hand-
somely and feelingly as his faithful friend and Adjutant, who was
always by his side in danger, and who performed the last sacred office
for him, who was so dear to each one of us.

I feel that any words uttered by me would but feebly express the
fervent attachment we bore to him whom we have so often followed
in battle.

Comrades! this is not a " conquered banner," it never trailed in
the dust, it is the same historic flag snatched from the hands of the
enemy at Cedar Run by our dauntless Commander, and which was
given by him to one whom, like all true men, he most loved and
honored — his mother,

What would have become of us but for the dear women of the
South, who cared for, nursed, and cheered us on to battle, giving
their dearest ones to the cause as freely as they gave themselves to
the sacrifice.

When memory recalls the many gallant deeds of the officers and
men of this Battalion, I am truly thankful that I have been spared to
be present on this occasion, and when my thoughts turn to Ellis and
John Munford, James EUett, Greenlee Davidson, George Cayce,
Mercer Featherstone, Ned Mayre, Ham Chamberlayne, and a num-
ber of others so dear to us, I feel that it is one of the grandest
privileges left us to honor and cherish the memory of these brave

22 Southern Historical Society Fapers.

ones, who, in the last words ot" our glorious Jackson, " have passed
over the river, and are now resting under the shade of the tree."

We accept this flag as a sacred trust, and as a memorial of our
noble Colonel and brave comrades, who laid down their lives for
their native State, the glorious mother of us all, and we had hoped
our honored Governor would be present to promise, in the name of
our mother Virginia, at whose clarion voice we rallied and dared all,
that when the last one of us has joined his comrades, who " have
answered their last roll call," she will cherish, as we have done,
this banner, dyed in the heart's blood of some of her noblest sons.

Presentation of Colonel Pegram's Sabre.

The band then played " Dixie, " after which Major Brander took
up a heavy sabre, at the hilt of which a red ribbon could be seen,
held it up, and said : "Here is the sv\'ord, I can't trust myself to
speak about it."

Nothing could have been more eloquent. This sabre was left with
Major Scott immediately after the surrender by Captain R. B. Mun-
ford, of Pegram's Battalion, who took it from the ambulance that
bore Colonel Pegram off the field. Just before the last attack was made
at the Five Forks Colonel Pegram was lying on an oil-cloth with two
other officers, asleep, when heavy musketry broke out. He imme-
.diately arose, buckled on his sabre, mounted his horse, and rode
into action, and while directing the fire of a portion of his Battalion
and two guns commanded by Lieutenant Early of Lynchburg, Va.,
in a few moments fell from his horse mortally wounded, and was
taken off the field by his gallant adjutant and friend, Captain W.
Gordon McCabe.

After benediction by Rev. M. D. Hoge, D. D., the Association
and invited guests adjourned to Ssenger Halle, where they sat down
to a banquet. After enjoying the elegant Alenu prepared for the
occasion, the following toasts were read and responded to :


" Their glory ne'er sliall be forgot
While Fame her record keeps.
And honor points the hallowed spot
Where valor proudly sleeps."

Responded to by Hon. James N. Dunlop as follows:

Annual Reunion of Pegram Battalion Association. 23

Mr. President :

The toast suggests indeed a solemn theme, and one fidy
expressed in the custom which surrounds it, upon its proposal, with
solemn silence. In accordance with this immemorial usage of the
banquet hall, amid the genial glow with which heart there answers
heart, survivors pause, and "standing and in silence" pay the trib-
ute of their reverence to the memory of the sacred dead.

A minstrel of the South, whose harp was late unstrung as the
fingers that swept it were themselves chilled in death — a priest, not
only of his own communion, but an interpreter also of the heart in
its joys and its griefs — has sung with genuine fervor and profound

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