Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 14.djvu/25

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Annual Reunion of Pegram Battalion Association. 1 9

rode at full speed down the line-of-battle to his guns. As the survi- vors of HoUis' 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 serv- ing their pieces with a coolness and rapidity beyond all praise. Within thirty yards or less of the guns the dense columns of the enem) 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 liter- ally fought up to the muzzle, and " number one " of Hollis' gun knocked down with his sponge staft" the first Federal soldier who sprang upon the works.

Small wonder that Pegram was first to fall. Pickett's and Ran- som's men were lying down, by order, firing over the low " cur- tain " 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 krleAv 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 brothef, 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.