Promotion After Death
It is doubtful if there is any evidence in the history of the United States Army of an officer being promoted after his death. It develops there was at least one such case in the Confederate army, however.
Senator Culberson of Texas, who is a close and accurate student of civil war history, particularly in so far as the Confederacy's part in it is concerned, is the authority for this statement. Writing to the Confederate Veteran regarding the south's famous artillerist, John Pelham - "the Gallant Pelham," as he was known in war times - the senator says that after Pelham's death General Lee wrote to President Davis recommending that notwithstanding the officer had passed away, he should be made a lieutenant colonel. Pursuant to the recommendation, Davis sent the promotion nomination to the senate and it was confirmed.
Senator Culberson expresses the opinion that this was the most remarkable honor conferred on any man during the civil war. The incident appears to be not well known, as most post-bellum writers refer to Pelham as major, the rank he held when he died.