Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 14.djvu/24
IS Southern Historical Societij Papers.
higher than Brigadier of infantry. General Lee after the war wrote to one of Pegrani'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 com- mand of a fine battalion of artillery, a service in which he was sig- nally 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," Hke 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 Bat- tery, and a section from Braxton's Battalion, commanded by Lieuten- ant 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 E^llett'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