Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 38.djvu/396
rived on the scene and at once opened on the enemy's cavalry and Martin's Independent Horse Battery of New York, six guns.
General J. E. B. Stuart and Major John Pelham were in Culpeper Courthouse attending a military court, when the firing of Breathed's guns announced the attack of Averill's force upon Fitz Lee. They mounted their horses and immediately rode to the scene of the conflict rapidly. Major Pelham, on reaching the field, came up quickly to the battery (Breathed's), and finding that Breathed was working his battery to great advantage, and the fire of the enemy's battery seemed to be slackening, he said to Breathed: "Captain, do not let your fire cease; drive them from their position." These were the last words I ever heard him utter. He then rode off in the direction of the Third Virginia Calvary, who were on our right, and who were forming to charge the enemy's cavalry on the other side of the stone wall. The Adjutant of the Third Cavalry writes:
"At the moment a regiment of Federal cavalry swept down upon us. Pelham's sabre flashed from its sheath in an instant. At that moment his appearance was superb. His cheeks were burning; his bright blue eyes darted lightning, and from his lips, wreathed with a smile of joy, rang, 'Forward!' as he cheered on the men. He looked the perfect picture of a hero, as he was. For an instant he was standing in his stirrups, his sabre flashing in his grasp; for a moment his clarion voice rang like a bugle that sounds the charge, and then I saw him hurled from his saddle under the tramping hoofs of the horses. With a single bound of my horse I reached him. He lay with his smiling face turned upward; his eyes closed. A shell had burst above him, a fragment of which had struck him on the head. He was gone, and his young blood, sacred to the men of his battery and the entire command, had bathed Virginia's soil."He was placed tenderly across his faithful horse and conveyed most tenderly by Lieutenant McClellan, the Adjutant of the Third Virginia Cavalry, and some men to the house of Judge Shackelford, at Culpeper Courthouse, Va. When he reached the Courthouse he was just breathing, and in a short while the soul of the gallant soldier winged its flight to the God that gave it. That night the men of the battery bade good-bye to their