Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 14.djvu/17
Annual Reunion of Pegram Battalion Association.
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 or 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 became a major early in '62, and Pegram became captain on the "reorganization."