Clipped From Logansport Pharos-Tribune

BOY AETILLERIS. 1OMANTIC AND BRILLIANT CAREER OF COLONEL JOHN PELHAM, C. S. A. Stnart did not give' the Murat of his corps to Jackson. His was the talent needed in the kind of fighting which the jolly sabreur instituted iu the east. There is a story of every battlefield Bull Eart on until his death, but Away From West Point to Pi E lit For the South—Helped Across the Lines by a Yankee Girl—Won the Favor of Jeb Stuart, Stonewall Jackson and L«-e. Copyright. 1<SS. by American Press Association. Book rights reserved.> HE London Times, when chronicling the death of Colonel John. Pelhaxn, commander of Stuart's Horse artillery, in 1863, said: "For bis age no soldier on either side in this: war has won such fame as has voting Pelham.'" Pelham was killed in a chance cavalry action at Kelly's ford, on the Rappahannock, His artillery battalion was not present, but le happened to he near the scene when ;he sound of a chance battle summoned every true soldier to the front. Biding to the point of danger, he saw a regiment wavering and, with sword flying, ghouted: "Forward, boys! Forward to victory and glory!" At that moment the guns of Stoneruan's Federal horse latteries were shelling the fields where he Confederates were gathering to dispute the crossing of the river. A frag- nent of shell struck Pelham and pierced lis brain. Amid the roar of battle his young life went out, and most extraordinary ceremonies and eulogies attested lis renown in the corps. Stuaru issued a general order announcing his death and requiring that the military badge of mourning be worn for 30 days out of respect to his memory. John Pelham was born in Alabama m 1838 and was in the middle of his ;wenty-third year when the war broke out. He was then in the graduating class at West Point, where he had cut no small figure during the five years of lis cadetship. It was a saying that when Pelham started to go anywhere or to do anything he would never turn or look back, no matter what the ternp- ;ation or provocation. In fencing and joxing he excelled, and his skill in Horsemanship, especially in feats of extraordinary daring, became a tradition of the school. The Prince of Wales singled him out as a wonderful horseback rider when he visited the academy in 1860. Like most creat soldiers of the civil war, Pelham stood low in his class, yet a -iigh career had been prophesied for the young Alabamian because of his general bearing at West Point. A week before commencement, iu 1861, with his commission already made out in the United States army, he resigned bis cadetship and threw up all his chances, to fight for southern rights. Young Pelham set out in his cadet uniform, but as he neared the southern border he found himself an object of suspicion, which he tried to allay by passing himself off as a courier in the service of the United States. At i?ew Albany, Ind., the cadet was intercepted by the Federal authorities, word having reached there that he had left West Point, intending'to go south and fight in the Confederate army. Ha was placed under surveillance and not allowed to cross the river to Louisville. However, at Jefiersonville, above New Albany, he found his project favored by fortune in the shape of a true Yankee maiden who so deeply fell in love with the gallant adventurer that, although her principles would not allow her to urge him ou- ward, would not balk his honest ambition to fight against her people. Little by little she had learned his story. She urged him to give up the idea of going, south, and he listened kindly if not earnestly. One day the couple, who were much together, went out rowing on the river and on neariug the Kentucky shore young Pelham gave the skiff an impetus that sent it to the bank. Swiftly jumping out, he pushed the boat back into the current and waved a farewell to the astounded pirl who had unwittingly helped an enemy and sped the departure of a lover from her side. From Louisville Pelham hurried to Montgomery, then the capital of the Confederacy. He was commissioned first lieutenant in the regular Confederate service and assigned to dcty with the artillery at Lyuchburg. Va. At the First Bull Run the boy fought with a battery which he had drilled and handled the guns so skillfully that Jeb Stmart, then commanding the First regiment of Virginia cavalry, helped him raise a new six gun light battery for service with his own command. Be- cruits for the battery were quickly gathered in Alabama, and Pelham himself raised a detachment of Creoles from Mobile to man one piece. Being of French descent, these Creoles were named the "Napoleon detachment." They went into battle singing the "Marseillaise" and clung to their boy leader as did the Old Guard to Napoleon. If not always first into battle, they were invariably the last to leave. Pelham's six gun battery became the nucleus of the famous battalion of horse artillery which helped to make Stuart'.* •orps a terrible thunderbolt of war. At the battle of Gaines Mill, in June, 1S62, Pelham advanced one gun a mile to the front of the general Confederate line and drew the fire of several pieces •f Federal artillery. Stnart was fighting with Stonewall Jackson that day and the conduct of the boy artillerist did not pass unnoticed by that shrewd commander, ever looking for hearts as bold as his own. At the Second Bull Ben, where Stnart and Jackson were again fighting in unison, Pelham rushed his whole battalion to the front and tore the enemy's columns with awful effect. Jackson said to Stnart, "General, if you bare wcttier Pelbatn, pJTe him to ma." .,,-:, , am Bull Enri on until his death, but one or two will suffice to show the tern- per of the hero and that ms laurels were won by merit, not by favor. When Le, retreated from the Potomac down the. valleys toward the Rappabannock after bis defeat at Annewm, Stuart s column I wa* rear guard cf the army. The Fed- ends followed up and every hour had its skirmish, enough to amount to a battle Pelham as usual, staid by one -uu and that i>un was always last to re- tire. Once when be was far out to the ron't with his, forlorn hope Stuart be- came alarmed for his fate and ordered lim to retire. Pelhum was then a major and he begged his chief to allow him to remain a litMe longer. Stuart con- I sented. All the other pieces of the bat- tery had gone to the rear and one by one' the cannoneers serving the piece | with Pelham took advantage of orders ! and skipped away until the brave major stood alone. He loaded and fired in the l very teeth of the enemy crowding upon j r teeth of the enemy crowding upou j him, and then, mounting a lead horse, l Degan to gallop away with the gnu. After going a few paces the horse Pelham rode was shot. Cutting the traces so as to free rbe team from this extra load, the brave fellow mounted another horse, which soon shared the face of the first. A third horse was shot and cut loose in the course of a few rods, but Pelnani rode into the battery with his gun, to the astonishment of his men and his superiors. This deed with the rear guard and others like it were mere exploits, likely to give a soldier camp notoriety. Pelham crowned them with feats equally magnificent yet more mighty ia results. Take his work on the Confederate right at Fredericksburg on the 13th of December, 1862. It is customary to look upon Fredericksburg as an easy slaughter for the Confederates, attended with little and no actual danger. With Pelham out of the case all is changed. The night before the battle Jackson's column arrived on Lee's right below the city, expecting to guard that flank while the center and left defended Fredericksburg proper. On the morning of the 13tb, when a fog obscured the field, Stuart's roving horsemen carried to the chiefs the news that a heavy Federal column had crossed the river below the town and was preparing to attack Lee'e right flank or to pass it, the leaders not counting upon Jackson's presence. Neither side was prepared for the collision which resulted and is known in history as the battle of Hamilton's Heights. Stnart held the key to tbe position, yet be was there only as a cavalry picket. On the extreme right Pelham's guns were parked. When word of the Federal advance across the river was sent to headquarters, Lee, Jacksou and Stuart rode across the plain, which was covered with a dense fog. Stuart whispered to Pelham and instantly the order was given to the batteries to move down to the plain among the cavalry pickets. Pelham, with the one single gun of the "Napoleon detachment," dashed down the heights, halting at a fork in the road coming up from tbe river. Before the other guns joined the Mo- m'le Creoles the mist slowly cleared, aad COLONEL JOHN PELHAM, C. S. A. Pelham's gun looked into the faces of a column of bluecofits marching confidently toward the heights, which they had been told to seize. Tossing a shell or two into the blue ranks in hopes of scattering them, Pelbam awaited hia other gnus. They did not come, but tbe Federals charged his Napoleon, and he hurled them back with cauister. Tba battle was opened, but the Federals supposed they had only a chance enemy, a stubborn picket force, to deal with. They opened on the lone sentinel first with a single piece, then with another and ended with bringing a whole battery to bear. Still Pelham's cannon roared its thunderous monotone and cut gaps into the line pressing on for those coveted heights. In tne loll of the cannonade "The Marsellaise" rose from tb« throats of the Frenchmen who stood by Pelham, although at last several Federal batteries concentrated their fire upon him. More of Pelham's pieces rushed to his support at last, and when the crisis was hottest he had 12 to 15 guns contending with twice that number cf enemies. Finally tbe tide turned. Tbe Federals advanced, but were repulsed and slowly retreated back over tbe plain, which bad become an open panorama by the lifting of the fog. Keeping pace with the rearward march of the Federal ranks, Pelham moved his cannon forward and harried the retreating troops with shot and canister until they reached the cover of their reserve batteries. Fredericksbnrg was thus Pelham's greatest as it was his last with his noble horse artillery. Before the corps was united in another pitched batrJe the boy had met tbe coveted end of the trne soldier, death amid thef roar of arms. A commission as colonel was under consideration when he was killed and speedily acted upon the moment the wire carried news of his fate to tho Confederate

Clipped from
  1. Logansport Pharos-Tribune,
  2. 08 Feb 1898, Tue,
  3. Page 18

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