His death-scene, as described not alone by his friends who were present, and by the letters to his family and myself of James T. Brady, Esq., and Dr. Weston, but as reported by his enemies, was one of the sublimest spectacles in history.
It exhibited courage without bravado, tenderness without weakness, resignation without stoicism, a protest against what he considered a murder without resentment against the murderers.
It united to ease, dignity; to manliness, a sense of responsibility; composure to freedom.
It combined at once firmness, selfpos-session, inflexibility, patience, intellectuality, fortitude, and cheerfulness.
It was all that his friends could hope, or Christianity demand; all that his country could be proud of in chivalry, or his enemies dread in the example of martyrdom.
I have spoken of General J. E. B. Stuart
, ‘the flower of cavaliers,’ who said to President Davis
, who stood at his dying bedside: ‘If it were God's will, I should like to live longer and serve my country.
If I must die, I should like to see my wife first; but if it is His will that I die now, I am ready and willing to go if God and my country think that I have fulfilled my destiny and done my duty.’
Colonel Wm. Johnson Pegram—
, the boy artillerist,’ we used to call him—left the University of Virginia in April, 1861, at the age of nineteen, and enlisted as a private in an artillery company, but, by superb courage and splendid skill, rose to be colonel of artillery and the idol of the whole army, when he fell on that ill-fated day at Five Forks
which caused the breaking of Lee
's lines and the fall of the Confederacy
In an every way admirable sketch of him, written by his adjutant and intimate friend, Captain W. Gordon McCabe
, it is said of him, while in winter-quarters near Fredericksburg
He spent the winter much as he had done the last, attending to the administration of affairs in camp and busying himself in promoting the comfort of his men. His letters to his family at this time breathe the constant prayer that he may be enabled to do his duty by his men as a Christian and a good officer.
One of his first cares in winter-quarters was to assemble the men and say a few words to them concerning the importance of building a chapel and holding regular prayer-meetings.
All these services he himself attended with earnest pleasure; and it was a common sight to see him sitting among his men in the rude logchapel,