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Annual reunion of Pegram Battalion Association in the Hall of House of Delegates, Richmond, Va., May 21st, 1886.

The Annual Reunion of the Pegram Battalion Association was held in the Capitol of the State Thursday evening, May 21, 1886. At 8 1/2 o'clock the Association marched in a body into the Hall of the House of Delegates with music. The Hall was well filled with an audience of ladies and gentlemen, composed of the mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and friends of the living and of the dead members of the Battalion.

‘The Assembly’ call was then sounded on the bugle, after which a beautiful and touching prayer by Rev. J. Wm. Jones, D. D., Chaplain of the Association.

Captain W. Gordon McCabe, formerly Adjutant of the Battalion, then presented the


Old battle flag

to the keeping of the Association in the following eloquent and historical


[6]

Presentation address:

Comrades of Pegram's Battalion:

On behalf of the mother of Colonel William Johnson Pegram I give into your keeping this flag—for two campaigns the battle-flag of his old battery, ‘the Purcell’—afterwards the head quarter battle-flag of the Battalion.

To those who do not look upon it with our eyes it is but a faded bit of bunting, rent and torn and grimy.

But to us the rents are the rents of shot and shell, each with its stirring story, and the grime is the noble grime of battle, and faded though it be by time, every shred of it is transfigured and glorified by memories which time cannot touch—memories of great deeds greatly done—of victory wrested time and again from desperate odds by skill and daring—of hardness endured as good soldiers in a good cause—of noble blood nobly shed for hearth, home, and country—and our blood taking fire at sight of it, even as David's blood took fire when he saw in the hands of Ahimelech the sword which recalled the unequal contest and glorious victory in the valley of Elah, we re-echo the cry of the warrior-king of Israel three thousand years ago: ‘There is none like this!’

As I unfurl the tattered remnant, it seems but yesterday that we saw our boy-colonel riding along some crimson field (followed by Morton bearing this flag), the sweet austerity of his grave face lit up with the joy of battle, as he was greeted by the hoarse cheering of his batteries and ‘the iron-throated plaudits of his guns’—it seems but yesterday, men of ‘the Purcell,’ that in the dusk of that glorious August evening on Cedar Mountain, when you unlimbered within eighty yards of the masses of Pope swarming through the cornfields straight for the guns, ‘old Jackson,’ sat on his sorrel hard by this flag, sucking the inevitable lemon and nodding approval as your canister tore through the huge columns, while Captain Pegram cried out in great glee: “Pitch in men, General Jackson's looking at you”—it seems but yesterday that A. P. Hill paused near this flag amid ‘the fiery pang of shells’ on the slopes of Gettysburg to shake hands with Major Pegram, who, with the fever still upon him, had ridden ninety miles in an ambulance to command his guns on those fateful three days—it seems but yesterday that we saw Lee and Gordon and A. P. Hill and Early grouped about this flag as it dallied [7] defiance in the centre of the forty guns commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Pegram crowning the heights of Spotsylvania. Who can ever forget the stirring scene as the enemy gallantly debouched from the woods on that day, brigade front, moving across the open ground to attack, colors flying and men cheering. On the Confederate front all was silent; a dozen rounds of canister had been ‘run up’ to each gun, the guns already shotted, primers fixed, lanyards taut—all waiting for the word. Our young commander rode slowly up and down his line, his glorious boyish face flushing through its bronze, his voice deep with the joy of hotly-impending fight, speaking briefly to each battery-commander: ‘Captain, shoot the first man who pulls a lanyard before I raise my sabre as the signal.’ Can you ever forget how he waited and waited until the enemy seemed almost in the guns—then his sabre flashed suddenly and swiftly in the air, and the double canister tore with dreadful accuracy through the cheering lines which seemed to fall as one man. The remnant breaking sought the cover of the woods, where, reinforced by fresh troops, they once more tried the desperate venture; but, recoiling a second time under the withering fire, broke again and finally fled, leaving their dead and dying on the field along the whole front. Yet a third time did these gallant fellows attempt to reach the heights. Then it was that the men of this Battalion, seized as it were by a sort of delirium of disdainful daring, dropping sponge-staff and lanyard, sprang upon the parapets and bade them ‘Come on’ with such a roar of defiance that the whole attacking line, without a shot being fired on our side, broke and fled under that fierce yell which no man ever yet heard unmoved on the field of battle.—Yet, once more, comrades, it seems but yesterday that as Grant attempted to force the passage of the North Anna, following this flag we galloped into action at Jericho Ford, all twenty guns, with cannoneers mounted, while the men of Harry Heth's division, on whose front we came into battery, roared out their rough soldier's greeting with ‘make way, men, make way right and left, here comes the fighting Battalion!’

But time would fail did I attempt further to recall all the glorious scenes with which Memory, plying her busy loom, proudly fills up every rent in these tattered colors. Often in our mother-land beyond the seas—in the great cathedrals of Chester and Worcester and Canterbury and Winchester—have I passed all unheeding by the tombs of her princes and her kings, and paused with beating heart and head uncovered before the battle-grimed standards of her famous [8] regiments blazoned with battles won in every clime by English constancy and valor—but neither there, nor in the Invalides at Paris, nor yet in the Garnisonkirche, at Potsdam, where the Great Frederick sleeps, do I remember ever to have seen the colors of any single regiment or battery which bears upon its folds so many pitched fights as this battle-flag is entitled to bear.

To those who do not know its history so well as we do, this may sound the mere extravagance of rhetoric. There are but few names left upon this flag, but omitting many minor combats and countless “affairs,” there belong upon it of right and with honor—

First Manassas,Jericho Ford, (North Anna),
Mechanicsville,Cold Harbor,
Gaines' Mill,First Reams' Station,
Frazier's Farm, (Glendale),The Crater,
Malvern Hill,Actions on the Weldon Railroad, (August 18th, 19th, and 21st),
Cedar Mountain,
Warrenton Springs,Second Reams' Station,
Second Manassas, (both days),Battle of September 30th, 1864, right of Petersburg,
Ox Hill, (Chantilly),
Harper's Ferry,Battle of Squirrel Level Road,
Sharpsburg, (Antietam),Battle of the Dabney House,
Shepherdstown,Burgess' Mill, October 27th, 1864,
Fredericksburg,Hatcher's Run, February 6th and 7th, 1865,
Chancellorsville,(all three days),
Gettysburg,(all three days),Action on Petersburg Front, March 25th, 1865,
Bristoe Station,
Mine Run,Five Forks,
Wilderness,Appomattox Station, (evening before surrender, April 8th).
Spotsylvania C. H., (May 10th, 12th, and 18th, 1864),

In other words, ‘the Purcell,’ having been engaged in 1861 in all the combats on the Potomac and at First Manassas, the batteries of the Battalion, from the time Lee assumed command at Seven Pines, took part (and most honorable and effective part, according to the official reports of Lee, Jackson, and A. P. Hill) in every general action delivered by the Army of Northern Virginia from that time up to the surrender at Appomatttox C. H.

As I look down on these bronzed and bearded faces, and see them kindling at this long array of famous names, it seems, I repeat, but [9] yesterday that we shared together the rough delights, the toils, the dangers of field, of battle, and march, and bivouac; and yet, again, the ‘yesterday’ is as ‘a thousand years!’

How many are the faces we miss of those who quitted like men in the great emprises of that momentous struggle! How sharply have we been reminded even since this flag was furled, that the ‘fell sergeant is strict in his arrest,’ and that every ‘yesterday’but ‘lights the way to dusty death.’

Of the ‘Field and Staff’ of the Battalion—

Pegram, of whom I shall speak presently, was slain at Five Forks.

McGRAW, thrice wounded, is gone—a superb soldier, who, enlisting as a private in ‘the Purcell,’ rose through sheer force of grit and practical skill as an artillerist through every grade—corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain of ‘the Purcell,’ major—to be Lieutenant-Colonel and Battalion-commander. Brave old ‘Joe,’ with the empty sleeve!

John Morris, Ordnance Officer, ‘whose forward spirit ever lifted him, where most trade of danger ranged,’ was slain at Gettysburg.

Hampden Chamberlayne, so long identified with the Battalion, has passed away—an officer, whose decisive vigor qualified him to conduct enterprises of the highest moment—the man who might have been our Napier, had not death claimed him in the very flower of his manhood.

Of the Line Officers, I see here to-night but two of the old battery-commanders—both worthy companions in arms of the men we mourn.

Gregg, Captain of the South Carolina Battery, is still alive, as is also William G. Crenshaw, first captain of the battery that bore his name. This latter officer, with patriotic generosity, equipped his battery completely as to clothing, blankets, &c., at his own expense, and advanced the money to the Confederate Government to purchases horses and guns for his command. Early in 1863 he was sent to Europe as Commercial Agent of the Confederacy, and remained there until the close of the war. But he did not forget his men. While in Europe he sent through the blockade a full suit of clothes and a pair of boots to each member of his old battery. This first gift was captured by the Federal cruisers, but was immediately duplicated by the generous donor, and added greatly to the comfort of his men during the campaigns of ‘63 and ‘64.

I may add here, that with like generosity Mr. John Purcell, of [10] Richmond, equipped at his own expense with uniforms, blankets, &c., the historic battery that bore his name. This battery was the first company that left Richmond for ‘the front.’

Greenlee Davidson, commander of the Letcher battery, a man of imperturbable courage, fell at Chancellorsville.

George Cayce, captain of ‘the Purcell,’ one of the most able and resolute officers in the whole artillery corps, died after the war had ended of the desperate wound received at Spotsylvania.

Ned Marye, captain of the Fredericksburg battery, whose merry quips cheered march and bivouac, died in ‘64 of disease contracted in the trenches of Petersburg.

Of the lieutenants, all faithful soldiers and good officers— William Allen, of ‘the Purcell,’ fell at Mechanicsville.

Ellis Munford of the Letcher battery, their young Sir Galahad, whose ‘strength was as the strength of ten, because his heart was pure,’ was slain at Malvern Hill.

Mercer Featherstone, a daring young officer of great promise, fell at Cedar Mountain.

Zeph Magruder, of ‘the Purcell,’ and James Ellett, Of ‘the Crenshaw,’ both fell at Fredericksburg.

John H. Munford, of ‘the Letcher,’ gallant and true, died of injuries received at Gettysburg.

During the four years nearly every officer of the Battalion was wounded.

Of the non-commissioned officers and men who died under this flag I have no detailed record. Obeying with glad alacrity whenever our bugles sounded the advance, they were equally stubborn in retreat, and to us, the survivors of this Association, belongs the pious task of transmitting to posterity, so far as it be possible, the names of these soldiers of humbler rank, who were no less truly heroes than the men who so often led them to victory.

And now a word as to our young Commander, ‘so noble, so simple,’ as Madame Huber said of Lord Dacre, ‘that each virtue seemed in him an instinct’—who, though recklessly exposing himself for four years of constant service, had passed unscathed of shot and shell through so many desperate fields, that all of us, officers and men, had come to feel that Death would never dare to touch him in his brave young years—of whom, once before, standing in this very spot. I confessed that I almost feared to speak lest I should injure that memory which I would honor.

He needs no panegyric in the presence of the men who knew him [11] as he was, and who, thus knowing him, ‘obeyed his slightest sign’ in desperate and critical events ‘like children’—he needs no panegyric, so long as there shall be left a survivor of that glorious army to which we belonged—he needs no panegyric, even when we have passed away, so long as men shall read the military reports of Hill, of Jackson, and of Lee.

In his case, as in others, well may we leave the praise that ever waits on noble deeds to be fashioned

by some yet unmoulded tongue
     Far on in summers that we shall not see.

I first met him in the Autumn of 1860, when we were lads in the University of Virginia. He was then nineteen years old, reserved almost to shyness, grave, yet gracious in his manner, in which there were little of primness and much of the charm of an old-fashioned politeness.

Well do I remember the eager discussions we boys then held touching the great events which Fate seemed hurrying on. Pegram, naturally shy and silent, said but little, but when the storm burst, like Macduff, ‘his voice was in his sword.’

He was one of the first to leave college on Lincoln's proclamation calling for 75,000 troops, and reported at once for duty with his old company (the famous Company F), which had been ordered to Acquia Creek. With this company he remained but a short time. Sent as drill-master to exercise the artillerymen of Lindsay Walker in the infantry tactics, he was elected lieutenant of the Purcell battery.

It was as commander of this battery that he was destined in great measure to achieve his hard-won fame—a battery which was with him from the first battle of Manassas, through every general action in Virginia, to the trenches of Petersburg—which was always skilfully handled in the presence of the enemy, yet lost, during its four years of service, more than two hundred men killed and wounded. Lindsay Walker, afterwards Brigadier-General and Chief of Artillery of the Third Corps was, as I have said, captain of the battery when Pegram joined. He was not slow to discover what a thorough soldier he possessed in his young subaltern, and long afterwards generously said that Pegram spared him all trouble, and that commanding a light battery, one of the most troublesome things in the world, became a pleasure with such an executive officer. In July of ‘61 the battery was engaged at Bull Run. Walker received his majority early in ‘62, and Pegram became captain on the ‘reorganization.’ [12]

But it was not until the great struggle in front of Richmond, in June, ‘62, that the battery came into marked prominence. At Mechanicsville it held the post of honor, and paid the price which the post of honor ever exacts. Here, first to the army, the young captain gave proof of that stubborn courage and literal obedience to orders which all men thereafter looked for in him. Exposed to a biting fire of infantry, to the convergent fire of five six-gun batteries, long after night came down the thunder of his guns told that he was tenaciously holding his ground. But there was surprise mingled with admiration when it became known to the army on the next day that of his six guns four had been disabled before nightfall, that one of his officers had been killed and two badly wounded, and that of the ninety dashing cannoneers, who had on yesterday galloped into action, more than fifty lay killed and wounded on the field.

During that night he thoroughly equipped the two guns which had not been disabled, and at daylight rode to General Hill's field Headquarters and applied to hold the advance. The request was granted, and everywhere during the ‘Seven Days’ that plucky section and its young captain found a place where the combat raged hottest.

Richmond in her joy of triumph, a joy chastened by the sorrow which victory ever brings, was not unmindful of her youthful hero. The town rang with his praises—praises closest to a soldier's heart—from the lips of wounded men, who had seen him in the dust and sweat of battle, and who spoke of him as only brave men can speak of each other. His name was introduced into the play by one of the actors at the theatre, and elicited the most tumultuous applause. The player declared that the boy-captain fought at such close quarters because he was too near-sighted to see a dozen yards, and would never open fire until he saw the enemy. At this, the bronzed veterans in the pit, with bandaged heads and arms in slings, rose and cheered lustily.

But Pegram remained the while modestly in his camp, riding into the city but rarely to see his immediate family, blushing furiously when any one spoke to him of the attention his gallantry had excited.

Three weeks of rest, and his battery, newly equipped and recruited, was on the march to Cedar Mountain with Jackson's flying column. Here again his guns, pushed up to within eighty yards of the enemy, were served with such rapidity and precision as won a nod of approval from the great leader so chary of his praise. For two hours this single battery fought eighteen guns of the enemy, and as the latter [13] were admirably served, his loss was proportionally very nearly as great as at Mechanicsville.

But he was resolute to push on with the rest of the army to Manassas, where, for the second time, his guns did good service on that glorious field.

In the investment of Harper's Ferry, where all the artillery was served with marked efficiency, his battery and that of Crenshaw won especial attention owing to their good fortune in occupying a position deemed inaccessible and very near the town. In his official report of the capture of the place, General Jackson says: ‘Lieutenant-Colonel Walker opened a rapid enfilade fire from all his batteries at about one thousand yards range. In an hour the enemy's fire seemed to be silenced, and the batteries of General Hill were ordered to cease their fire, which was the signal for storming the works. General Pender had commenced his advance, when the enemy again opening, Pegram and Crenshaw moved forward their batteries, and poured a rapid fire into the enemy. The white flag was now displayed, and shortly afterwards Brigadier-General White, with a garrison of eleven thousand and ninety men, surrendered as prisoners of war.’

On the capitulation of the post, Pegram was enabled to refit his battery thoroughly from the vast quantity of captured munitions of war, and moved with Walker's Battalion up to Sharpsburg. Here 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 expression to the worn veterans of Jackson's corps. Recrossing the Potomac, they went into camp, after the brilliant combat at Shepherdstown, along the Opequan in the lovely valley of the Shenandoah.

Thus passed October.

In November, Jackson moved slowly in the direction of Millwood, and early in December was ordered to rejoin Lee in the neighborhood 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, fourteen picked guns were posted by his order. These guns consisted of the batteries of Pegram and the intrepid McIntosh, of South Carolina, with a section each from the batteries of Crenshaw, Johnson and Latham. On the left were posted twenty-one guns, among them the ‘Letcher [14] Artillery’—the whole commanded by Captain Greenlee Davidson of that battery.

As the sun came bursting through the mist on that glorious morning, the army from its position looked down upon a scene which stirred the heart of conscript and veteran alike. Countless batteries, supported by serried masses of infantry, were moving in all the pride and circumstance of war across the plain, sworn to wrest victory from the perch to which she so obstinately clung—the tattered battle-flags of ‘Rebellion.’ Far on the right, as the steady marching columns passed the ‘River Road,’ the youthful Paladin, Pelham, 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. Jackson'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 immediate 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 promoting the comfort of his men. His letters to his family at this [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 importance 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 discipline was, indeed, that of long-established armies. He justly considered 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 Courthouse, 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 people.’

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 remonstrances 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] 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 immediately on his arrival, said to A. P. Hill, whom he met a few moments after: ‘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 collar.

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 Battalion 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 Spotsylvania Courthouse, Jericho Ford (passage of the North Anna), Cold Harbor, Reams' Station, the Crater, the actions of August 18th, 19th, and 21st for the possession of 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 1st 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 Brander'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, [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 line, 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, men’ 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 colors 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 1st, 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 Lieutenant-General R. H. Anderson, knowing nothing of Heth's application, recommended that he be assigned with the same rank to a brigade in his corps.

The recommendation of General Heth was forwarded to Army Headquarters by Lieutenant General A. P. Hill with this endorsement: ‘No officer in the Army of Northern Virginia has done more to deserve this promotion than LieutenantColonel Pegram

Fortunately the papers were returned with the endorsement that ‘the artillery could not lose the services of so valuable an officer,’ and he received instead of the appointment to a brigade a commission as full colonel of artillery, a rank reckoned in every service [18] higher than Brigadier of infantry. General Lee after the war wrote to one of Pegram'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 command of a fine battalion of artillery, a service in which he was signally 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,’ like 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 Battery, and a section from Braxton's Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant 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 Ellett'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 [19] rode at full speed down the line-of-battle to his guns. As the survivors of Hollis' 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 serving their pieces with a coolness and rapidity beyond all praise. Within thirty yards or less of the guns the dense columns of the enemy 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 literally fought up to the muzzle, and ‘number one’ of Hollis' gun knocked down with his sponge staff the first Federal soldier who sprang upon the works.

Small wonder that Pegram was first to fall. Pickett's and Ransom's men were lying down, by order, firing over the low ‘curtain’ 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 knew 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 brother, 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]

Thus passed away ‘this incomparable young man’ at the early age of twenty-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 fourscore, 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 play, and that we, their surviving comrades, pondering in our hearts their unshaken resolution in the face of cruel odds, their serene constancy in adversity, rise up even to this day from the contemplation of all their stern and gentle virtues, strengthened for the ‘homelier fray’ of daily life.

Surely it is meet that, as occasion serves, the survivors of this historic corps should gather together to renew old ties of comradeship, 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 affection for this tattered flag consecrated by so many proud memories.

And now, sir, to you,1as 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. [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 handsomely 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 Ellett, Greenlee Davidson, George Cayce, Mercer Featherstone, Ned Mayre, Ham Chamberlayne, and a number 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] ones, who, in the last words of 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 sword, 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. Munford, 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 immediately 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 Saenger Halle, where they sat down to a banquet. After enjoying the elegant Menu prepared for the occasion, the following toasts were read and responded to:

1. Our dead—

Their glory ne'er shall 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: [23]

Mr. President:

The toast suggests indeed a solemn theme, and one fitly 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 tribute 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 truth—

There's grandeur in graves.

Truly the noblest instincts of our nature must be stirred, the fountains of the great deep of man's being be broken up, when, in the mystic presence of the loved, the revered, with the sanctity of a sacramental pledge, we plight deathless fealty to the remembrance of their deathless deeds.

To the man and the family there can be no more priceless legacy than the blessed memory and the shining example of one departed, whose life is yet ever present to those linked by cords of affection, and is honored as its nobility becomes their high ideal. The thought of such an one brings ‘the touch of a vanished hand and the sound of a voice that is still.’

And so to the community and the people worthy of those who have passed from life on the pinnacle of fame and are canonized in death, their presence, still a living reality, exhales an atmosphere so pure that in it is stimulated only what is high and ennobling, and aught that is base or low can breathe, but to perish.

Yes, those hearts electric, once ‘charged with fire from heaven,’ have long since beat their last mortal throb, and a generation is gone since all of them that could die was committed ‘dust to dust’; but so long as the noble exhibition of self-sacrificing virtue, the high embodiment of unsullied honor, and the grand example of superb courage shall not have lost the power of a divine inspiration, shall find the manhood to cherish in memory and emulate in practice men of heroic mould, so long shall the imperishable glory of the Confederate dead—‘Our Dead’—while it wins homage from the finer instincts of brave men of all lands and climes, find its peculiar dwelling in our memories, its home in our hearts, its radiant reflex in our lives, to us [24] ‘a possession forever,’ an inheritance undefiled from generation to generation.

A people forgetful of what is noble in their past would proclaim their own degradation in the present and their doom for the future. There are degenerate dwellers in some lands—famous throughout the world by achievement of old—that heave not a sigh for the ‘glory’ that was their light, but has ‘departed.’ The Corsair of the Grecian isles, himself, perhaps, the descendant of mighty men, may feel no throb of pride at ‘sea-born Salamis,’ and the Spartan, more debased than his ancient Helot, blush not at the name of Thermopylae. Not so with his heritage of glory, the Southron of this day. Unlike effete peoples who, amid all the surroundings of physical beauty and all the incitements to heroic resolve, yet ‘weep not, wake not, fire not now,’ but, rather like the pious Israelite of old, with his people in captivity, his temple in ruins—the instruments of his former joy the mute emblems of his woe—he will feel, as he peoples thought with the ‘unreturning brave,’ when I forget, then ‘may my right hand forget her cunning, and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!’

He has, indeed, become, in good faith, an integral part—as before the strife—of a reunited people, and stands ready to move forward. But oblivion will not veil what is glorious in his history. His late antagonists are glad to share his priceless contribution to the annals of the world's heroism, and join hands with him as he decorates his fallen comrades' graves.

And for himself, when memory brings their forms to view, though the beaming flush of health has faded in the pallor of physical dissolution, and ‘the pale lack lustre eye,’ looks not out upon earthly sights, he feels that from out that rugged past, illumined by the splendor of their achievements, there is shed a softening radiance, and encircling it is a gilded halo, from which, now shining adown the moving years, the lines of living light shall irradiate the vistas of all coming time.

He proudly feels—

‘Death makes no conquest of these conquerors;’

that, for them, the mortal hath put on immortality, and in the power that from their graves they wield—‘Death is swallowed up in Victory!’

An attempt by one, like myself, not a member of this command, and present as your guest, to refer in other than general terms to its members, would be impossible within the limits your patience accords. [25]

But when we recall the fact, that the batteries of which it was composed, though principally raised in and near this city, yet represented not only different portions of this Commonwealth, but that within its organization sons of the Palmetto State vied with the sons of the Old Dominion in ‘glory's fearful chase’—all true sons of the South—that on almost every battlefield of the Army of Northern Virginia it made those costly sacrifices that duty exacts, that its guns were heard in the early days of our hope, and were scarcely silenced in the latest hour of our despair, we may judge what part it played in the mighty strife, we may begin to realize how many of its men are among ‘Our Dead.’

Amongst those that earliest fell, you will recall one whose opening career of devoted service, full of rich promise, failed of complete fruition by reason only of his untimely death at the post of duty and of honor. Though brief his career, it was resplendent with the soldier's highest courage, and faithful hearts have enshrined in loving remembrance the heroic firmness, the womanly tenderness, the pure life and the honored name of Charles Ellis Munford.

And, strangely unlike, amongst the last to lay down life, another who, entering the service as a private, by his superb courage and splendid ability rose to the command of the Battalion, who ever

Set Honor in one eye and Death in th'other,
And looked on both indifferently,

who seemed to bear a charmed life, and fell not 'till the pillars of his cause were reeling, and fell then with his face to the front, the boom of his own guns his dying requiem. The glory of this Battalion, as his own, is linked forever with his name:

Gallant Pegram, loved, deplored,
A saintly life, a stainless sword!
The young Marcellus of the falling State,
A Virgil's lay alone might fitly celebrate!

With such a sacrifice at the opening and such a sacrifice at the close of the annals of this historic command, all the long intermediate pages are fitly filled in characters of glory with the names of comrades who sealed their devotion to their country's cause with their hearts' best blood.

With these—officers and men, peers in martyrdom—responds this Battalion to the toast: ‘Our Dead.’ With these to swell the ranks of the dead, the grave that encloses their mortal remains is to us an holy sepulchre, one to which we may make pilgrimage, not as of [26] old, clad in cuirass and steel, to rescue from Saracenic defilement, but a shrine where tender woman may lay her choicest offerings, where chivalrous foemen stand with uncovered head, and where rests the dust, once the embodiment of what is noblest in human nature, and the incarnation of all that is God-like in man!

Nor wreck, nor change, nor winter's blight,
     Nor time's remorseless doom,
Can dim one ray of holy light
     That gilds that glorious tomb.

Their deeds can never be forgot
     While Fame her record keeps,
And Honor guards the hallowed spot
     Where valor proudly sleeps!

2. our guest—‘Always Welcome.’

No response.

3. Virginia—‘May Her Future be worthy of her Past.’

Responded to by Judge H. W. Flournoy as follows:

Mr. President and Ladies and Gentlemen:

Virginia has been the theme of so much grand oratory, so much splendid composition in both prose and poetry, that it is almost impossible, on an occasion like this, within the compass of a few minutes, to say anything which has not often been said before.

In responding to the wish that her future may be worthy of her past, I would say that he is a pessimist, indeed, who takes a gloomy view of her future. Midway between the cold regions of the North and the sun-kissed land of the South; almost in the center of the temperate zone; blest with a genial climate; possessed of every variety of soil; penetrated throughout her borders with abundant streams of crystal water; her great mountains filled with every variety of mineral and covered with every species of timber; her capitol city at the head of tide-water, nearer the great wealth of the West than any other commercial city on the Atlantic slope, it is but a question of a few short years when we shall see her standing in the front rank of the States of this Union in material prosperity.

It is a statistical fact that out of the desolations of war, within a period of twenty years, she is richer in all material things than she was before the red hoof of blood planted itself upon her sacred soil. [27] In 1860 the population in her territory, without West Virginia, was in round numbers, 1,100,000; in 1885, 2,120,000. She has constructed since 1870 more than six hundred miles of railroad. Every city and town, except two, which had a municipal government before the war has more than doubled its population since. Her capitol city, with a population of hardly forty thousand in 1865, with all its business houses in ashes and all its people overwhelmed with an intolerable burden of debt, after having passed through a period of five years of military occupation from 1865 to the first day of January, 1870, within a period of a little more than sixteen years from the last named date, has more than doubled its population, more than trebled its material wealth, and is to-day, with its splendid monuments, beautiful parks, and public drives, the most attractive city in the South.

Now be it known to all the world that this progress and improvement is almost entirely the work of her ragged soldiers who surrendered their bright muskets at Appomattox. But, my friends, the wealth and strength of a nation is not to be found in her material prosperity alone. Courage (I use the word in its broadest and grandest sense) and moral and intellectual culture are elements of strength, without which no people can hope to live long or reach the heights of commanding greatness. If Virginia's future is to be worthy of her past her sons and daughters must make it so. And if it is to be so they must study the characters and emulate the examples of her men and women who have gone into history. Her history, written and unwritten, is a vast storehouse of splendid achievments. In the council chamber, in the judgment hall, and on the bloody field of war, her sons have always been first. She gave the world the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Federal Constitution. It was her soldier who led the armies of the infant colonies to victory against the greatest captains and the best trained soldiers of the eighteenth century. In peace she has always pursued the even tenor of her way with noiseless step. Slow to anger, her councils have never been influenced by the wild demands of fanaticism. When her angry sisters of the South, in an hour of deep resentment, severed the ties which bound them to the Union, anxious to preserve the magnificent fabric, she used all her powers of persuasion to avert the dread catastrophe of war, but when nothing was left but a conflict of blood she put on the vestments of her sovereignty and with the stately steps of a great queen turned her back upon those who refused to regard her warning voice and became a [28] member of that Confederacy which, within a period of four years, made more history in heroic courage, patient endurance, and generous sacrifice than any nation has ever made within a century of existence. The spirit which sustained her in war has enabled her to bear the results of defeat with such uncomplaining dignity as to have won from all the world as much respect in her humiliation as she would have enjoyed in complete victory.

My friends, her name will not perish so long as her pure women and brave men shall cherish and revere the glorious memories of her sons and daughters who have gone before.

4. The cavalry—‘The Men who were Always Fighting.’

Responded to by Lieutenant F. H. Deane as follows:

Mr. President, Ladies and Comrades:

I know of no more fitting or appropriate toast for the cavalry than, ‘The men who were always fighting.’ Yes, sir, they were always fighting, and for this reason General Stuart taught to sing ‘if you want to have a good time, jine the cavalry.’

I find by your programme I am called on, as usual, to precede the artillery and infantry. It was ever their duty to be in the advance when we were advancing, and in the rear if we were retreating.

It was not appointed, in the modern handling of cavalry, for them to be hurled against their foes in large masses, in the tremendous and awful crashes of battle that the infantry had to bear; but, sir, it was their duty, and always nobly done, to gallantly press on the retreating foe, to discover or unveil their march or plans of march or their positions. On our retreat, to bear the hardest of all duties, namely, to withstand the stubborn and insolent attacks of a victorious foe.

In doing this, they were always animated and sustained by their gallant officers, and their individual personal valor, which never admitted of their turning their backs to the foe.

I beg to call your particular attention to why the Southern army exhibited to the world the wonderful prowess it did against such fearful odds, and which will ever stand so grandly to their glory. It was the courage, the patriotism, that each Southern soldier had in his heart for his cause and his country. They were not made soldiers by the stern discipline of the paid soldier, nor like them moved about as machines, only recognizing their officers as duty and their only duty. No, sir, it was their ardent love, implanted in each private soldier's breast, that made them to their foes ‘stand like stonewalls.’ Yes, [29] even when scattered and without officers or commands, and when all seemed lost amidst confusion and chaos.

I claim for the cavalry most conspicuously, and in the highest degree, this special attribute, coming as they did from the young men who were ‘the flowers of the land,’ and representing in its highest degree the noble manhood of the Sunny South.

I am thankful it was my good fortune to have served in this arm of the service, and I glory in their many and noble deeds in the ‘Lost Cause,’ commanded as they were by that great, grand cavalry chieftain, General J. E. B. Stuart.

5. the artillery—‘A Little more Grape from the Bottle.’

Responded to by Carlton McCarthy.

6. the infantry—‘They Stood like a Stone Wall.’

Responded to by Major C. S. Stringfellow as follows:

Mr. President and gentlemen of the Pegram Battalion Association:

In rising to address you at this late hour, I find myself very much in the unhappy situation of one of the brave boys in blue, a young and raw recruit, who was captured before the good city of Petersburg and carried to the Provost Marshall, a kind-hearted but stern-visaged old gentleman, who looking him full in the face said to him very abruptly: ‘And pray, sir, who are you, and what are you doing down here, and what do you want sir, what do you want?’ The prisoner burst into tears and replied: ‘I want to go home, I want to go home!’ Now, my friends, I want to go home almost as badly as did that unfortunate little Yank, for I feel sure that after all that has been said, and said so well by the eloquent gentlemen who have preceded me, I can add nothing that will be interesting to you or worthy of the sentiment to which I am expected to reply.

Infantry is a term of somewhat recent date. It was first applied to a body of men organized by a Royal Infante of Spain for the release of his father, who had been captured by the Moors; and subsequently used to designate the great mass of foot-soldiers, who in all ages have composed the bone and muscle of the armies that have been led to the field, sometimes as the mere instruments of unhallowed ambition,

The tools,
     The broken tools that tyrants cast away
By myriads,

and sometimes as the defenders of right or the avengers of wrong. [30]

And splendid illustrations of the courage, the endurance and the patriotism of man have these infantry soldiers given on the historic battle-fields of Earth. A grand and glorious infantry was that which, massed in the Spartan and Athenian phalanx, made immortal the names of Marathon, Thermopylae and Plataea. Steady and firm as the seven hills on which the Eternal City rested were the infantry legions who bore the eagles of Imperial Rome to Universal Empire. Men will never cease to wonder at the discipline and valor of that magnificent infantry which the Great Frederick led to victory at Rossbach, Leuthen and Zorndorf, nor will they forget the heroic devotion of the stern old Covenanters, who under Cromwell added such lustre to England's name, and taught the world how religious zeal could triumph over chivalric honor and ancestral pride. Superb indeed was the courage, endurance and dash of that almost matchless infantry that crossed the bridge at Lodi under the First Napoleon, and stamped its victorious heel on two imperial thrones when the sun went down at Austerlitz; and a noble guard was that of which the dauntless Cambronne said on that fateful day at Waterloo, that it had learned to die, but never to surrender!

And yet, my comrades, I venture the assertion, that when they who took part in the great contest which for four long years rent asunder the veil of our Union have passed away; when the passions and prejudices born of that war have been silenced, and History renders its impartial verdict, the highest place in the Temple of Fame will be given to that half-fed, half-armed, half-clad Confederate infantry, grand in victory, sublime in defeat, which from Big Bethel to Appomattox wrote the record of its deathless deeds in characters of living light on Glory's brightest page.

They marched through long and stormy nights,
     They bore the brunt of an hundred fights
And their courage never failed;
     Hunger and cold and the Summer's heat
They felt on the march and the long retreat,
     Yet their brave hearts never quailed.

When but raw levies, who 'till then had never heard the cannon's angry roar, they stood like a stone wall, while midst whirring shot and bursting shell, Death held high carnival at First Manassas; and the next year, like an eagle from its eyry swooping down on its prey, they burst through the mountain gaps, and crushing three armies in detail made the Valley Campaign at once the study and the wonder [31] of the world. Weary and worn with marching and hunger and fatigue, and opposed by overwhelming numbers, in that desperate charge up the heights of Cemetery Hill they gave that world an example of heroic daring and unflinching courage which finds no parallel in all its annals. But, I forbear, for of particular leaders or special battles I have no time to speak. Shiloh, Chickamauga, Seven Pines, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Petersburg! What bright leaves all in the chaplet which the valor of the Confederate infantry wove into its immortal crown!

No puppets were the men who filled its ranks, to be moved like senseless pawns on the battle's board. The secret of its almost superhuman powers in attack and defense is to be found in the intelligence and individuality of its members; in their pride of birth and race; in the purity of their motives; in their strong political convictions; their knowledge of and attachment to the principles of constitutional liberty and constitutional law; and above all, in the fact that they fought for their firesides and their homes; their cherished institutions and their fatherland. These sentiments, common to each, bound all together, as with hooks of steel, in one united whole. True it is that many adopted citizens were to be found in their ranks who nobly sustained the ancient renown of the races whence they sprung; but this great fact stands unchallenged, that the Confederate infantry was distinctively an American infantry and its victories distinctively the triumph of Americans over armies composed, perhaps in greater part, of recruits drawn from half the civilized nations of the world. This fundamental truth will some day be sure to find complete recognition, and Americans everywhere point with pride to the grand achievements of this same Rebel infantry and claim a share in its renown, and in the splendid fame and deathless names of its incomparable leaders, the highest embodiment and the purest types of American manhood—its Jackson and its Lee.

But, my comrades,

Hushed is the roll of the Rebel drum,
     The sabres are sheathed and the cannon are dumb,
And Fate with pitiless hand has furled
     The flag that once challenged the gaze of the world.

Nevertheless, to you who heard that drum beat to arms on many a hard fought field, its echoes have not yet altogether died away. That flag, so often followed in the thickest hell of battle, will ever be to you the cherished symbol of a cause believed to be just and true, and [32] around it will cluster a thousand recollections of camp, and march and field, associations of the past, tender and holy,

Dear as remembered kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned
On lips that are for others.

It speaks of noble deeds most nobly done; of friends we loved and lost, brave men and true who lived to bless, and died without regret to shield it from dishonor! Ashby and Stuart, Pelham and Pegram, Bartow and Bee, and he, in character and military genius, if second to any, only to Lee, our own great infantry captain, our Stonewall Jackson, with many, ah, so many thousand kindred spirits, all fell beneath its folds, and for their sakes we love that old flag and will love it until we too cross over the river to sleep with them in the silent ‘bivouac of the Dead.’

Doubtless it is best it should be so; for in the full development of the great social convulsions, and in the final settlement of the great wars, civil and international, which from time to time startle, convulse and confound the world, that which groping in the dark we term the decree of Chance or Fate, is after all, when rightly considered, but the natural and necessary result of the conditions forged by man in the smithy of Earth, as consciously or unconsciously he works out the purposes of Heaven tending ever to the progress and the ultimate benefit of our race.

yet we trust that somehow good
     Will be the final goal of ill,
To pangs of nature, sins of will,
     Defects of doubt and taints of blood;

That nothing walks with aimless feet;
     That not one life shall be destroyed,
Or cast as rubbish to the void,
     When God hath made the pile complete;

That not a worm is cloven in vain;
     That not a moth with vain desire
Is shrivell'd in a fruitless fire,
     Or but subserves another's gain.

Behold, we know not anything;
     I can but trust that good shall fall
At last—far off—at last to all,
     And every Winter change to Spring.

And so, after the long and dismal winter of Defeat and Hate cometh, more slowly than we could wish, but cometh at last, the bright [33] genial spring of perfect Reconciliation and Peace between all the children of this Great Republic.

And so, burying the dead issues of the past, and emulating the courage, the fortitude and the loyalty of that old Rebel Infantry, let us strive to do our duty in this living Present, and leave the issue to the Future with confidence and hope!

We are glad that the slave has been set free. We rejoice to night in the integrity of the Union cemented as it is in the best blood of the North and the South; and remembering the vast extent of its territory and the teeming millions with which it is peopled, their boundless wealth, their restless activity and marvelous progress in science and literature, in arts and arms, and catching dimly, though it be as through a glass darkly, some glimpses of that wonderful destiny which day by day is unfolding to our view, I know I speak a sentiment common to you all, when I say that we are proud of our birthright, and feel ourselves not less Confederates or Virginians because we can honestly, earnestly and with heartfelt gratitude at the same time boast that we are American citizens!

7. Woman—‘The South Knows her in her Highest Sphere.’

Responded to by Colonel T. J. Evans.

8. Lee camp soldiers' home—‘The Wards of the Confederacy.’

Responded to by Colonel J. B. Purcell.

9. the press—‘May its Impressions Always be Correct.’

No response.


Organization of Battalion, April, 1865.

ColonelWm. J. Pegram.

Adjutant-Wm.—Gordon McCabe.

SurgeonJames Hines.

Quartermaster—Robert B. Munford.

Lieutenant-Colonel.—Joseph McGraw.

Sergeant-MajorE. Keith Dargan.

Assistant-Surgeon—Hall.

Commissary—Arthur Parker.

ChaplainE. H. Rodman.


[34]

Batteries:

Purcell—First Captain, R. Lindsay Walker;2 Second Captain, William J. Pegram;3 Third Captain, Joseph McGraw;4 Fourth Captain, George M. Cayce.5

Crenshaw—First Captain, William G. Crenshaw;6 LieutenantCommand-ing, James Ellett;7 Lieutenant-Commanding, A. B. Johnston;8 Second Captain, Thomas Ellett9

Letcher—First Captain, Greenlee Davidson;10Second Captain, Thomas A. Brander;11 Lieutenant-Commanding, James E. Tyler.12

Fredericksburg-First Captain, Carter M. Braxton;13 Second Captain, Edward A. Marye;14 Third Captain, John G. Pollock.15

Pee Dee, S. C-First Captain, D. G. McIntosh;16 Second Captain, E. B. Brunson;17 Third Captain, William E. Zimmerman.18

Gregg's, S. C—Captain Gregg.19

1 Major Brander.

2 Captain R. Lindsay Walker organized this Battery, and commanded it until March 31st, 1862, when he was made Major of Artillery; was afterwards promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and Brigadier-General of Artillery, which position he occupied at the surrender.

3 Lieutenant William J. Pegram, elected Lieutenant in Purcell Battery shortly after organization, was promoted Captain March 31, 1862; promoted to Major in May, 1863; promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1864, and to full Colonel of Artillery in 1865; was mortally wounded April 1st, 1865, at Five Forks, and died about daylight on the morning of the 2d of April, 1865.

4 Sergeant Joseph McGraw elected Lieutenant March 31st, 1862; promoted Captain May, 1863; promoted Major of Artillery, and afterwards Lieutenant-Colonel, and was in command of Battalion at the time of surrender.

5 Private George M. Cayce promoted to First Lieutenant; afterwards promoted Captain, and was in command of Battery at the capture of Petersburg; died near Richmond at the residence of his brother, Mr. Milton Cayce, February 25th, 1883.

6 Captain William G. Crenshaw organized and equipped the Battery March 14th, 1862; commanded it until October, 1862, when detailed and sent to Europe as Commercial Agent of Confederate States Government; resigned April, 1863.

7 Lieutenant James Ellett assisted in raising and organizing this Battery as Senior First Lieutenant; was in command of the Battery at the battle of Fredericksburg December 13th, 1862, when he was killed on the field of battle.

8 Lieutenant A. B. Johnston assisted in raising this Battery as Senior Second Lieutenant; was in command of the Battery at Gettysburg July 3d, 1863; afterwards promoted First Lieutenant, and detached and put in command of stationary guns around Petersburg; when that was evacuated returned to his Battery, and remained until the surrender.

9 First Sergeant Thomas Ellett transferred from F Company, Twenty-First Regiment Virginia Infantry, as First Sergeant of the Battery on its organization; elected Junior Second Lieutenant March 21st, 1862; promoted Captain November, 1863; commission dated April 15th, 1863; commanded Battery at the time of surrender.

10 Captain Greenlee Davidson organized Battery February 17th, 1862; commanded it until killed on field of battle at Chancellorsville, May 3d, 1863.

11 Lieutenant Thomas A. Brander assisted in organizing Battery as Junior First Lieutenant; promoted Captain May 3d, 1863; promoted Major of Artillery January, 1865, and attached to Poague's Battalion, with which he surrendered.

12 Second Sergeant James E. Tyler, transferred from F Company, Twenty-First Regiment Virginia Volunteers, March 21, 1862; promoted to First Sergeant; promoted to Second Lieutenant; was in command of Battery at the time of surrender.

13 Captain Carter M. Braxton-Battery organized April, 1861; made Captain May 8, 1861; promoted Major of Artillery March 7, 1863, and assigned to another Battalion.

14 Lieutenant Edward A. Marye elected Lieutenant May 13th, 1861; promoted Captain March 2d, 1863; died of fever October 5th, 1864.

15 Third Sergeant John G. Pollock, April 23d, 1861; afterwards promoted Lieutenant; promoted Captain October 5th, 1864; in command of battery at the time of surrender.

16 Captain D. G. McIntosh—Battery organized August 1st, 1861; promoted Major March 2d, 1863, and assigned to another Battalion.

17 First Lieutenant E. B. Brunson promoted Captain March 2d, 1863.

18 First Lieutenant William E. Zimmerman, promoted Captain June 30th, 1864. This Battery was transferred South June 4th, 1864.

19 Captain Gregg, with his Battery, was assigned to Pegram's Battalion June 4th, 1864; participating in all engagements with the Battalion, and was with it at the time of the surrender.

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