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September 7th (search for this): chapter 1.35
rown! N. B.—This is the original version from Randall's manuscript.— T. C. D. No one can be accused justly of raking amid the ashes of the past to rekindle the fires of sectional prejudice when he undertakes to briefly sketch one of the many brilliant careers during the late war that illustrate the valor of the American soldier on a hundred battlefields, especially when that career is all too little known, says the Louisville Courier-Journal. In Alabama, in the vale of Alexandria, September 7, in the year 1838, there was born a babe destined to be Bellona's bridegroom, and write John Pelham across the sky in flaming letters of battle. His was a superb career, but for some reason or other it is scarcely known outside of his native State, and even in that State but for being commingled with fiction the daring deeds and brilliant bravery of Jeb Stuart's boy artillerist would be almost mere tradition when the last Confederate shall have passed away. Indeed, while writers almost
streams of sunshine that stole through the fog. There was a flash, a boom, the earth shook—Pelham's Napoleon had bellowed. Then there was a shrill, hideous, indescribable shriek of a shell as it swirled in the air and went crashing through the charging lines of blue. The surging mass recoiled, halted, hesitated, then with a demoniacal yell, pressed forward toward the single gun. The yell ceased and for a moment there was a ghastly hush, and then, there came thundering through the chilly, December air from across the Rappahannock boom on boom. From southeast to east, from east to northeast. Then from the north came huge shells whirling death in their arms. Pelham had drawn upon himself the concentrated fire of half a dozen batteries—twenty four guns. Yet his gun continued to roar, and roaring never failed to slaughter. No other gun on the Confederate side had yet opened, but the lone war-dog howled on. And in the half lull between the boom of the cannon there floated above the
scarcely mentioned much less eulogized the beardless boy whom General Robert E. Lee, in his report of Fredericksburg, termed the gallant Pelham, thus knighting him upon the field. Of this same youth the London Times, in chronicling his death in 1863, said: For his age no soldier on either side in this war (Confederate) has won such fame as has young Pelham. John Pelham came from old Kentucky stock, his father, Dr. Atkinson Pelham, having removed from this State to Calhoun county, Ala., in 1837. Young Pelham was appointed a cadet at West Point in 1856 by the representative in Congress from the Talladega (Ala.) district, Hon. S. W. Harris. The only five-year class in the history of the academy was organized that year, which accounts for his being there at the opening of the war. Like many other West Pointers who have made gallant soldiers, his standing in his classes was low, but his commission was passed on, and he would have received it had he not resigned a week before commencem
s the original version from Randall's manuscript.— T. C. D. No one can be accused justly of raking amid the ashes of the past to rekindle the fires of sectional prejudice when he undertakes to briefly sketch one of the many brilliant careers during the late war that illustrate the valor of the American soldier on a hundred battlefields, especially when that career is all too little known, says the Louisville Courier-Journal. In Alabama, in the vale of Alexandria, September 7, in the year 1838, there was born a babe destined to be Bellona's bridegroom, and write John Pelham across the sky in flaming letters of battle. His was a superb career, but for some reason or other it is scarcely known outside of his native State, and even in that State but for being commingled with fiction the daring deeds and brilliant bravery of Jeb Stuart's boy artillerist would be almost mere tradition when the last Confederate shall have passed away. Indeed, while writers almost innumerable—both hist
om General Robert E. Lee, in his report of Fredericksburg, termed the gallant Pelham, thus knighting him upon the field. Of this same youth the London Times, in chronicling his death in 1863, said: For his age no soldier on either side in this war (Confederate) has won such fame as has young Pelham. John Pelham came from old Kentucky stock, his father, Dr. Atkinson Pelham, having removed from this State to Calhoun county, Ala., in 1837. Young Pelham was appointed a cadet at West Point in 1856 by the representative in Congress from the Talladega (Ala.) district, Hon. S. W. Harris. The only five-year class in the history of the academy was organized that year, which accounts for his being there at the opening of the war. Like many other West Pointers who have made gallant soldiers, his standing in his classes was low, but his commission was passed on, and he would have received it had he not resigned a week before commencement to go South. As a cadet he had a dash and a soldierly
s a bee line and never looked back, no matter how much noise the other cadets made in his rear. He was considered the best athlete at West Point, and was there noted for fencing and boxing. Then, as now, at the academy, a cat with its reputed plurality of lives would be dead a dozen times in taking half the chances those laughing cadets would eagerly seek in the cavalry drill, but Pelham excelled them all. The Prince of Wales was struck with his horsemanship when he visited the academy in 1860. His horseback riding was marvellous, and went down from class to class as a sort of tradition, and long years after he had met a soldier's death the cadets would relate to gaping plebes how Pelham rode. In 1861, when the laughing blue of the Southland sky was overcast by the dark cloud of civil strife and Alabama called to her sons in every clime to come to her defence, Pelham resigned his cadetship at the academy and started South. At New Albany, Ind., he was intercepted by the Federal
cademy, a cat with its reputed plurality of lives would be dead a dozen times in taking half the chances those laughing cadets would eagerly seek in the cavalry drill, but Pelham excelled them all. The Prince of Wales was struck with his horsemanship when he visited the academy in 1860. His horseback riding was marvellous, and went down from class to class as a sort of tradition, and long years after he had met a soldier's death the cadets would relate to gaping plebes how Pelham rode. In 1861, when the laughing blue of the Southland sky was overcast by the dark cloud of civil strife and Alabama called to her sons in every clime to come to her defence, Pelham resigned his cadetship at the academy and started South. At New Albany, Ind., he was intercepted by the Federal authorities, for it was known there by some one who reported the fact that he had left West Point to join the Confederate army. He was placed under surveillance and not allowed to cross the river to Louisville. H
December 13th, 1862 AD (search for this): chapter 1.35
y all the artillery on the Confederate left, and rent the blue lines with shot and shell. But it was at Fredericksburg that the zenith of John Pelham's renown was reached. The martial king of the proudest nation in all the tides of time might well envy—if the shades in Valhalla are given that privilege—the story that crowned the boy artillerist in that stupendous fight and dreadful revelry of death. All was quiet in the Confederate army at Fredericksburg on the morning of the thirteenth of December, 1862. The flower of the South's young manhood was there on the heights in double lines behind bristling bayonets and grimmer guns. Every soldier knew there was to be a fearful fight before the sun sank behind the western wood. The Federal army had crossed the Rappahannock and was forming line of battle under cover of the river bank. Jackson, Stuart and Lee rode down the Confederate lines to the extreme right, followed by waves of cheers, where the Stuart horse artillery was parked.
illerist would be almost mere tradition when the last Confederate shall have passed away. Indeed, while writers almost innumerable—both historical and penny-a-liners—have, in song and story, traced the career of lesser light of higher rank, they have scarcely mentioned much less eulogized the beardless boy whom General Robert E. Lee, in his report of Fredericksburg, termed the gallant Pelham, thus knighting him upon the field. Of this same youth the London Times, in chronicling his death in 1863, said: For his age no soldier on either side in this war (Confederate) has won such fame as has young Pelham. John Pelham came from old Kentucky stock, his father, Dr. Atkinson Pelham, having removed from this State to Calhoun county, Ala., in 1837. Young Pelham was appointed a cadet at West Point in 1856 by the representative in Congress from the Talladega (Ala.) district, Hon. S. W. Harris. The only five-year class in the history of the academy was organized that year, which accounts f
March 17th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 1.35
e to a peremptory order, and was assigned to the command of all the artillery on the Confederate right. Amid shot and shell he had opened the great battle of Fredericksburg and had become immortal. The part played by Pelham at that fight is history that will survive with General Lee's report. He was a major of artillery then. His commission as lieutenant-colonel was issued soon after, and only awaited confirmation when he was killed. This was at Kelly's Ford, on the Rappahannock, March 17th, 1863. He had gone to visit some ladies in Culpeper county, when he heard the cannonading and hurried to the scene. His artillery had not come up, but he galloped to a regiment that was wavering and shouted: Forward, boys! Forward to victory and glory! and at that moment was struck by the fragment of a shell that penetrated the brain and he died shortly after midnight. He died as he had wished—amid the roar of battle. General Stuart telegraphed to Hon. J. L. M. Curry, at present truste
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