tv The Civil War Confederate Officer John Pelham CSPAN October 28, 2022 11:46pm-12:48am EDT
a way you when you come to a symposium and you want to wring her neck or tell us what you didn't like on a blog you know her background. there's so much with emerging civil war. her fingers are in every aspect of the but i didn't realize how much she did and how much she does until i read her contribution and i would encourage you if you look up you will find it. she has the daily schedule every day of the week where she's working on some aspect of emerging civil war. it's just incredible so if you like what you see make sure you give sara a pat on the back and if you have any complaints take them to dr. dr. dr. mckee housekeeper it's probably his fault anyway. [laughter] sara byerly graduated from thomas edison university with a b.a. in history service managing editor at "emerging civil war" works on staff at the trust for
she spent years exploring ways to share quality historical research in ways that will inform and inspire modern audiences including school presentations writing and speaking engagements. sara's published three historical fiction books in her first nonfiction book called up the cadets the battle of the new market as part of emerging civil war series. she's currently work in a biography of major pellom and will be sharing some of that research today. ladies and gentlemen sara k. byerly. [applause] >> good morning. how is the volume? i'm not seeing anything that tells men need to readjust it. first of all thank you so much for being here. it's nice to see lots of friendly faces and we have got a full day of presentations for you today including her second one which is john pellom's fall and the rise of the confederate
legend. let's just go ahead and jump right in. we are going to actually start with the battle of ford. march 17, 1853. on this day using calvery to kelly's forte and this is an early movement that they calvery is taking in the eastern theater and it is significant because previously it's been the confederate doing a lot of daring things like writing around on these raids that are quite concerning to the union's high command. kelly ford although it's often seen as an inconclusive military action is important to note it's the first time the union calvery is taking a mission and i see it as a turning point in the eastern theater. so what happened? the union calvery which is about
2100 expanded by general averill crosses the river and they are going to fight two miles from the river crossing with confederate commanded by general fitz lee. the battle escalates and stuart isn't culpepper a bit by accident but he is there and he and some of his officers including a young 24-year-old artillary major named john pellom ride out to see what's going on at kelly's ford. the battle continues to evolve and the accounts can be a little confusing but i'm sorting through them and i have thin diagrams drawn on recent force trying to find out okay this person says this and this person says this and does anything overlap or are they completely conflicting accounts so it's a challenging battle to dig into. one of the things that happens though is the charge of the third virginian calvary regiment and i want to read a little bit from henry gilmore's
reminiscence to set the scene at this fighting a kelly ford to gilmore writes the general orders to charge the woods directly in front. the poor fellows wending galloway but it was a fatal mistake and i thought so at the time for the stone fence extended to the road on the right the river on our left and it was utterly impassable for calvary throughout its whole length. the gallant surge went on in that there bright sabers raced them point with a yell to roust and carry dismay to the hearts of their foes but when within 150 yards of the barricade a deadly fire poured into their ranks which emptied many acetylene through the column into confusion. they pushed on however right up
to killing the men with pistols and trying to make the gap but that was impossible for mounted men to do in the poor fellows were forced to fall back out of range and preformed the regimen now looking no larger than a good squadron. they are these calvary chargers that the regiment are making and there's other regiments as well. they are not able to break begin at this point. so how does this play into our discussion of john pellom? john pellom is that they battle of kelly's ford and some accounts say that he took part in one of these calvary charges and was more early wounded at that time. other accounts say that he was sitting a bit further back from the fight observing and that he was mortally wounded then. what we do know he's not commanding his artillery guns at the battle of kelly's ford.
they are commanded by one of pellom's subordinates. tell him give him a few suggestions on where to place the guns that pellom doesn't stay with the horse artillery during this battle. i think it's possible that pella made up or dissipated in a cavalry charge and a bit further back so there's a possibility that both accounts might be correct and i'm continuing to look into that as i continue my research. but we do know though is the fragment of the shell from a union can -- canon went to the back of john pellom skull when he fell backwards off of his horse. other officers saw that he was wounded in unconscious and sent him to culpepper which approximately 17 miles away for medical care. john pellom died in the early morning hours of march 181863
and as far as we can tell primary source account he did not regain consciousness. the battle of kelly's ford is this turning point for the union calvary in their war in the east and one of the unintended consequences is the death of john pelham. it marks the end of his life and the end of his actions in confederate artillery and it's also where the -- begins. kelly's ford can be seen as a transition for pelham. it's where life and memory begin to intersect. he's a bit of a legend in his own lifetime and we will talk about that in a few minutes. when he dies life and memory begin and do they always match up? we will explore that in a few minutes. let's start off with the premise for today's discussion and that is a person's life and the story
after their death may not match. there were a few questions i'd like you to keep in mind as we are going to the presentation. what were the primary source facts during the life so was written about a person while they are alive? what do they -- what do we see in their own writings as well? number two how did this person view themselves and again that's going to tie back into the primary sources and number three are their motives were a different narrative to emerge after their death? the keeping these things in mind let's jump in to life versus legend with john pelham and life versus legend happened to a lot of civil war figures i'm not making the claim that pelham has a unique experience. we can put these questions to other civil war heroes are lesser-known figures as well if we wanted.
but it didn't happen exponentially with john pelham? is something that i'm continuing to look at in my future writings. i repeat the question what other confederate artillery major has his reputation his stories and his monument's? there are places marked for pelham like they had canon to your. there aren't aotf other stand-alone confederate majors who have that reputation and that his battlefield documentation but how did it happen? might goal in research and a forthcoming book is to bash pelham. people ask if i had something against pelham. no, but i wanted to be truthful about who he was and when you hear these romantic tales and stories about him can we strip those away and can we find a more impressive story with
triumphs and a few flaws? when we can bring him back from the status of wars demagogue to humanity level then we can better appreciate his character and accomplishments in fighting ticks without glittery weapons cluttering the scene so the next few minutes of this presentation we are going to look at john pelham short life and i want to highlight moments and connections that seem to have contributed to the elevated status of the confederate stories after his book and i think you'll find that some of it builds during his own lifetime and rightfully so with his military actions on the battlefield but it also becomes a story of connection and who wanted to tell a story after he was gone which wielded into the program so let's start with the man what we know about him. on the screen there's a picture of john pelham when he was about 16 years old.
he's looking quite dapper and the hair -- has his hair in a unique hairstyle there. we'll have to ask chris makowski if he had wild hair in similar ways. john pelham was born september 7, 1838 and bentonville county which is now calhoun county in alabama. it's hard to find county records begin to changes in the time that his family is there. he's one of six boys and the six boys who are all in a row have a little sister. their father was a doctor in a plantation owner and the family properties were around the time of alexandria alabama. calamas educated locally made 200 by a local him minister aziz getting ready to pursue the next definite higher education. in he and his brothers were
known as the wild boys in the neighborhood. they broke up schools when they didn't like the teacher, became to bowl and learned how to ride it and neighbors were so troubled by the pelham boys they predicted elisa one of them was going to hang. [laughter] well, john pelham was not destined for hanging and steady adventures in the military got an appointment to west point which was signed by secretary of war jefferson davis and the mixing 50's and he was recommended to west point i a powerful politician in the state of alabama. the west point years for john pelham are eight teen 56th 1861 and if you are doing some quick math is early in the morning you will see he was there for five years. what happened but did he get in trouble? the withheld back? no jefferson davis to who is
secretary of war for united states at this point in time had a brilliant plan that the west point course of study should be changed from four years to five years. it didn't last very long but pelham was one of the young men who is at west point for five years. it's the typical studies that we read about for west point at this time. while he's at the military academy he becomes very good friends with tom rosser who would be a well named confederate calvary leader as well. when they leave west point they leave together. i promised someone in the room that i would review what john comes first the mayor that what west point was for prince dari his first of merit was venting and not properly aired at its morning inspections in his other demerits were for lacking in the
ranks boys conduct in class and relaxed ways one on century duty. some of the other young and rising leaders at west point with him in his class for there the same time includes adelbert ames henry dupont charles e. housley mathis w. henry edmund kirby emory upton alonzo cushing and george custer. ames would later recall he speaking of pelham was easily the most popular man at the core in my time. everybody liked him. i never heard anyone say a word against him. he was that kind of man, the kind of man who you felt instinctively hears her friend. he was quiet simple unassuming and unpretentious. there was a reserve about him that we got to know covered in inward strength.
in his classwork pelham would never gain top of class struggled with mathematics but he excelled in the more physical activities like fencing horsemanship than boxing. he went home and the summer of 1858 after being at west point for two years and the photograph on the screen was taken on that first trip home. when he returns to west point some of the correspondents at the west point correspondence does survive and there's an expert -- excerpt from his brother sam and pelham says i do not think a man can be strictly honorable and less he is brave. if he fears encouragement to other men he cannot fulfill his definition of a man and his west point letters gave us a little bit of insight into his foundational thinking and we can see that play out as opportunities arise in the civil war.
pelham's actions tend -- he wants on her knee wants to be brave so the quote from the west point letter is very insightful in that way. deception calms ohn bro's. in 1859 raises tensions within the barracks of west point just as it raises tensions across the united states. pelham tended to stay out of the political squabbles and fights and his classmates know this. in the mid-1860s he went home to see his family who would then seriously ill but he returns to the military academy in time to meet chris edwards of england who is in the united states at that time. others around pelham in this period described him as wise and discrete and he's not jumping into the secession committees or clubs which other southern cadets are forming however he begins to us seek the advice of
national and political leaders. in his correspondence to the family he does reveal a state centered focus of the constitution which is typical in the south at that time. on february 27, 1861 pelham writes a letter to jefferson davis offering his services to the confederacy but asking if or when he should leave west point and david does not respond to that letter. in march of 1861 pelham writes i am not master of my own acts. he's feeling a bit sabotage at the moment because here he is at west point the united states military academy and yet his home state is alabama and the confederacy is has commissioned him and he's like this doesn't work you doesn't match his sense of honor. his families telling him to stay at west point and he so close to graduating and he really wants
to graduate and what becomes clear in his writings at this time is pelham develops this idea that it would be honorable to resign his u.s. commission and he could accept another but he could not do both at the same time so on april 17 after the firing on fort sumter pelham does pen his resignation from west point to secretary cameron and he very specifically includes a note at the bottom of his letter i have accepted no place or appointment from any state or government. although he had his name on it he wanted to be clear he did not accepted at that time. he leads with thomas rosser on the ninth of april 22 and they left in darkness because they were afraid they would be arrested. before he left he told his friend aims i am going home and i shall be in two or three fights and then be killed and a
heap has a similar sentiment to his mother when he leaves alabama. this is help us gain insight into his mentality and how his thinking might have imparted his actions on the battlefield and if he thought he might not live through this war would change the way he fights? it's possible that he -- it does. pelham weaves west point and he has to get back to alabama. he takes the >> route shall we say to avoid capture but he goes through pennsylvania ohio indiana kentucky tennessee and finally into alabama. on may 10 he reported to the confederacy foreign assignment and on may 15 the commissioned as a first lieutenant and was sent to virginia. he goes to harpers ferry where he hopes to organize and train what is known as alert as battery.
although he helped to raise his artillery unit and he wants to lead it he ends up sick on the day of the first battle of low rent in manassas so this puts pelham in command for the first major battle of the war. they are commission in the battle is on the far right side of the confederate line on henry house hill near the robinson house. there's a photograph on the scene taken out in that area. pelham does move around a little bit on the manassas battlefield. he moves his guns forward into an exposed position and so exposed a fellow officer remarked is pelham fool enough to stay there? i am not. pelham's actions are noted that the battle of manassas but he also starts to have a small change of heart or a change of perception about this war. he writes a letter to his father
which unfortunate was in the local alabama newspaper making it one of the few war letters that pelham wrote to survive in one form or another. want to share an excerpt from it. he writes i have seen what romancer's call glorious war. i've seen it. i've heard the booming of the canon and the deadly red love musketry at a distance. i heard it all nearby. i've seen men and horses pulsate and flat around me. i've seen her own men bloodied and frightened crying different enemy. seen them bravely charged the enemy line and heard the shout of triumph. i've heard the agonizing shrieks of the wounded and dying. i've passed over the battlefield and seen the mangled forms of men and horses and grateful abundance men without hats,
without arms and others without legs. all this i've witnessed and more until my heart sickens and war is not glorious as novelists would have us believe. it's only when we are in the heat in the flush of battle that it's fascinating and interesting. only then do we enjoy it but we forget ourselves and revel in the destruction we are feeling around us. i am now ashamed of the feelings i've had in those hours of danger. the bullets and shells were music to me. i glory in it. delighted and fascinated me. i fear not death in any form but when the battle was won and i visited the field a change came over me seed the war before but it was necessary. we were battling for our rights and the a just war. the invader must accept the fate he deserves and we must as it
becomes men. quite a dramatic letter and that's just part of it. we are seeing a shift in his thinking but also as we see in many other soldiers at this time the solidification of their thinking about their cause. i think that's important to note that another thing that jumps out at pelham's writing bid to survive is the use of we will be men and i'm paraphrasing at their a little bit. a little bit. he wants to be a man, an honorable man fighting in this war and i do find it a bit ironic that so many writings about him continue to refer to them as a boy does look very young but he wants to be seen as a man to keep that in mind. he tells it like he's fighting in the war in the summer of 1861 and it adds layers to consider mighty -- how am i i felt about the legacy crafted around his name in life.
let's get into the horse artillery a little bit and introduce someone who played a big part in pelham's life and memory. this is general james stuart in many of you have probably heard gordon's wonderful presentation last night which included a lot of information about stuart in so i'll give you quick overview. stuart has been to west point in the graduates in a class of 1854 but he misses being there will with pelham by just two years. he's off fighting the west and he takes part in stocking harpers ferry. the favorite with general robert e. lee and known for his charisma and has lots of legends that he actually wants to cultivate and he tries out new tactics but i think that's something that sometimes we forget about stuart. he has incredible spy network that he's using throughout virginia. stuart has this idea could he
have -- something they used on napoleonic outfield to move from point to point. he has some trouble finding a commander. first he thinks it's going to be john cook. cook spends half his time in richmond it doesn't have a lot of interest at this point in forming an artillery unit. then james brett is the confederate military are not so into him at the moment and the third time is a charm pelham's name. pelham has been active with the artillery and is definitely helping to form and train units that are coming to the confederates at that point in time. for one reason or another the confederate military in richmond say yes pelham will be the
commander of the force artillery paid on november 29 come 1861 in order number 557 pelham is transferred to the artillery spends the winter for creating and training. he still just a lieutenant at this time. he recruits from across the south and when the stuart artillary rolls towards the potential in the spring of 1862 they had 141 artillerymen 130 horses and six canons. the canons are to come six-pound howitzers one napoleon and 13-inch great glee -- blakley rifled canon at this point in time. i want to talk about force artillery and attack. it comes from the european battlefield and one thing that can be challenging to rap our minds around is we looked back to this airport and we thank
they used horses to pull canons all over the place. that is true but horse artillery is very specific. horse artillery companies cavalry and they will take a gun and move and fire and hitch to the horses again take it to another place move and fire. horses pulled that came into the battery position and this is where they fire with local firepower and this is what stuart wants to experiment with than pelham will be the one to help him find his horse cavalry. in may of 1862 pelham promotes to captain the first battle that he will fight leading the artillery is that williamsburg. he positions near port mcgruder and he holds that position until he is out of ammunition. the report says the fires three to 50 rounds. this becomes a hallmark of
pelham on the battlefield tents to hold the position until he is out of ammunition whether he is supposed to or not. while on the peninsula someone else enters the scene who will become part of pelham story and part of how he is remembered mrs. general thomas jonathan jackson. stonewall jackson has a passion for artillery. he really likes it when he sees artillery well handled. the battle of gaines mill pelham comes in with two cannons on the left of jackson's line. one gun drakes according to reports so it could have been caused in battle. things are going on with this one gun. pelham dismounts and helps to fight the remaining cannons that are out there. he brought to field batteries to a hault. jackson saw that and was very impressed.
jackson said three more batteries over to the position to help pelham asked who he is and insists upon meeting came after the battle. pelham is mentioned in stuart in jackson's battlefield report and he goes on to some other feeds in the peninsula campaign including battling near white house landing firing on mcclellan's army. the peninsular campaign of seven day battle as a testing ground for pelham. how does he and his battery fit into the calvary and into the rest of his army and what are some tactics and what are some things that work with his guns on these battlefields? at the battle of second manassas in 1852 something remarkable happens. stonewall jackson gives john pelham permission to go anywhere advantageous on the field. they tell him he can go anywhere
he wants on the battlefield this rather surprising to see this rising trust the jackson is placing in pelham. on the screen there's a quote of jackson and he says if i had pelham on each flank i could whip the world. this is help much admiration jackson has for this young artillery commander. the antietam campaign and the battle over sharpsburg i'm not sure if it's clear on the map but we will try to make it work here. you will see stuart and the symbol for the cannons. stuart is overseeing the artillery over the battle bailed -- days but the first visit as it nicodemus heights. and out there on the confederate flank. pelham will fire some of the
opening shots of the battle in the early-morning hours of september 17 come 1862 but as the battle unfolds and begin shifting pelham releases the candidates and these are just the canon of the artillery these are batteries that he's commanding from jackson's port and they will move from nicodemus heights where they were in danger of being captured. they are going to move to the ridge behind westwood's. as the union troops are plunging into westwood said thinking we are going to break the confederate lines pelham was waiting on the bridge and begins blasting into that area with artillery fire. pelham moves the canons back to nicodemus heights. he wants to go forward into various tartare way positions buddies driven back toward the end of the day to nicodemus
heights. it's kind of fascinating because jackson as far as we can tell from the writings of antietam he's kind of laissez-faire about their terribly position on his left flank and that doesn't seem like jackson. could it have gone unrecorded that he was micromanaging it? possibly but at the same time jackson has a level of trust in stuart and pelham and that's played out on the field of antietam and it's important to note that jackson's chief of artillery stapleton crutchfield is not present at the battle battle of antietam. he still in harpers ferry organizing the captured artillery from a few days earlier. pelham in stuart really step up into the artillery role for jackson at this battle. on september 221862 pelham promotes to the rank of major and in the fall of 62 he
continues to refine his signature moves if you will for horse artillery and a lot of this is going to happen in the chambersburg. we start seeing pelham can command all of these guns that he has in the force artillery but he really likes to take one or two guns and go out and do something spectacular and fearless in something that gets the attention of the commanders above him and his destructive to the yankees of posing him. on october 10 through 12th there's a chambersburg. were stuart takes the calvary into pennsylvania and they write 126 miles approximately in three days. they are going to come back with 1200 horses political prisoners and will leave behind them a path of destruction of two under
$50,000. the chambersburg. did not go without its problems and tortoise and union calvery is closing in on stuart. he takes his calvery took place called white ford. he's crossing his horsemen over. stuart is very concerned that pelham's going to get captured but he finds a brilliant delaying pattern moving his guns from position making it hard for unions canyons to find range and he eventually does bring his guns across the river. and he doesn't lose any cannons which is rather remarkable. he allowed the army of new virginia to reignite and this is the over 26 through november 7
column is very involved in moving from point to point to high ground to ridge to knowles and he's firing holding off. one of pelham's friends and a member of the staff writes about pelham in the campaign. he says we have had the opportunity of witnessing one of those times when pelham was constantly performing is greatly annoyed during the day by a squadron of calgary which operated against his batteries. it are to killed or disabled many of his horses but our gallant major losing all patience suddenly advance with one of his howitzers at full gallop towards the woods. the yankee squadron without the slightest suspicion that the canon loaded with double charger canister was directed upon them from a point a few hundred yards
off. all at once the thunder of the howitzer was heard and its iron hail rested yankees killing eight among whom was the color bearer wending several others in putting to rest and hope the stampede. pelham and his -- emerged from the woods amid the loud shouts of applause. but for the yankees could recover from their astonishment the howitzer was removed the horses were hitched to it again and it arrived safely at the battery. it sentences like this that are repeated throughout the campaign and pelham is perfecting this idea of taking a canon or two into advanced position and using them to great effect. this leads into what happens at fredericksburg. we usually jump right to fredericksburg and 62 but i'd like to point out pelham fights
off some gunboats on the rappahannock river prior to the battle itself so he's in fredericksburg helping to see what's going on down there and will the army bmaking a movement further down the river which they ultimely don't put their unique gunboats on the river and pelham is one of the artillery units that helps to drive them off. he can move cannons from point to point along the river bank and keep those gunboats under fire until they get out of his range as the river bidens. a lesser-known point of his military service. fredericksburg december 1862 by this time the union armies had established the crossing and they had come over to the side of the rappahannock river and are getting ready to attack.
they have come back to the fredericksburg area and jackson has also come back and is filling in the position along prospect he'll enjoining with division from longstreet corner which was already and position. on the morning of december 13, 81862 pelham gets this idea. nothing much is happening. it's kind of a quiet morning foggy and they know their union troops out there in front of jackson's position. pelham asked permission and gets permission to take it single canon out in front of the confederate alliance he goes out and finds grounds that he really likes. he's using photography to help shelter himself a little bit and the fog is hiding him as well as the land itself gets his gun into position and he orders the crew to fire.
their shell goes into waiting union troops who are toured the area of what is now slaughter penfield. those unionists were in for surprise and so surprised they think what's going on? who were shooting at us? territory mend the ones in blue had a little too much and they call the commissary. they are thinking some drunk union can in ears are fighting on their own men. they think this is friendly fire. who would have the canon out there so far it vans of the confederate line? well was john pelham. he fires a few more shots and they start to realize it's not a drunk union cannoneer but its enemy cannons. there's going to be ateret some both sides of the rappahannock river and it will start raining fire. they are trying to get his coordinates and trying to get
his range and blow up him and his cannons but he keeps moving in this area. fire a shot and move position fire a shot in the position so it's hard for the artillery to get an exact shot at him. he does take casualties and this is something that is not always told in this part of the story. quite few of his gun crew or wounded or killed and some of them will later write that they were very happy about this escapade. they didn't think it was so great or wonderful but the officers watching from the high ground the confederate officers were very impressed by what they saw. stuart is so impressed he says this is working let's send another canon out there so he does. the problem is it was either a really unlucky canon order something happens and it gets blown up after firing a shot or
two leaving pelham and his guys out there alone again. i'm lisa hillary we observed despite probably through field glasses and he says it is glorious to see courage in one so young. he also called pelham gallant. this was the top honor that pelham seems to have wanted in his life. stuart meanwhile who cares about pelham and will take care for him as a brother is in a panic because one of his best friends is getting shot by a lot of union cannons and he keeps sending messengers down there. the messengers don't want to go. family he sends the message. get back from destruction you infertile gallant john pelham. it sounds like what's the big deal? at that plenty of ammunition, why leave? he runs out of ammunition and i told it was one of his hallmarks. then he pulls back.
he's so impressed he orders clutch filled to send ammunition down. at the end of the battle of fredericksburg jackson says to jeb stuart have you another pelham, general? if so i wish you would give him to me. what happened at fredericksburg and with pelham getting noticed in this action that starts up the battle on december 13 sweeps into newspapers particularly across the south and you can find the account over and over and over. pelham is the name that is sweeping across southern homes and places where news is discussed. he's done other things that have been noticed that this is the moment that really introduces the south and the north to john pelham. it's the newspaper of pounds that -- accounts are reprinted in europe and england. we say his name is having an
international spread. before we move on to the final parts of the story i do want to point out the artillery position at fredericksburg that it fans are truly position has been preserved by the battle of the trust in you can see the photo on the screen. if you have not had the opportunity to visit that site and take a look at the interpretive panel we do have some sheets on the cbt tables that tell you how to get there from strange two ways or resource you're interested it's a great place to visit and you can stand there and get an idea. so the final winter of john pelham's life. he's in winter camp through the winter and he decides to make a trip to orange and he deceives
stuart a little bit to get permission to go out there. he will eventually rejoin stuart at culpepper around march 16, 1863. stuart doesn't have all his calvery at culpepper needs out there on the other military business but tell him thanks i will go back to the camp with him. then kelly's ford happens. they got to see the fight and it ends with pelham mortally wounded and dying march 18 of 1863. after pelham dies his friend dresses his body in a clean military uniform and places him in a wooden casket but at some point in the night stuart comes to the shackelford home and play -- pays his last respects to his young officer. pelham's body is sent by train to richmond and in richmond his remains are transferred to an iron casket with a window
overlooking where space is pretty lies in state in the capitol here and you can see washington statue and the unique patterns on the floor. he lies in state in the virginia capital and most of the ladies in richmond will come pay respects and leave showers. succeeding quite similar to what will happen at jackson's funeral six weeks later. on march 28, the casket arrives at his family's home in alabama and they bury him on march 31 in jacksonville, alabama. stewart's officers were mourning armbands for 30 days after pelham's death. why did tell him rise in the pantheon if you will of the confederate euro? his heroic actions were spotlighted during his lifetime which made a step in national event in the confederacy. stuart begins postmortem memory with the orders to the army announcing pelham's death and
while mostly based in fact the language that stuart tended to use brings pelham into a heroic martyr status just days after his death. a few of the factors we see in the rising continuation of the pelham legend are starting with stuart himself. stuart writes to pelham's father and describes pelham this way, my comrade friend john pelham was to me is the younger brother. if he was -- read my official report since the commencement of the war. these are his of these and had he lived he would have risen to the highest honors in the nation. stuart wants to name his next child john pelham stored in a specifically tells us why this however the little girl who was born gets the name virginia pelham stuart. stuart dies in 1864 so i can be
stuart alone who keeps pelham's memory. another factor is did tell him die at the perfect time and i know that doesn't sound nice because it not a perfect time to die but confederacy is in the east but the confederate calgary is undefeated and pelham doesn't have a major defeat on his record. his funeral is almost a rehearsal of jackson's and it's very fascinating to look at and i would point out in his personal life pelham was unmarried and is public knowledge was not engaged so he has the or penegelley young bachelor who dies in the middle of the war when the confederacy was at piper someone else who is -- is john epstein coocoo writes about pelham immediately after his death and later in his writing continues to put pelham's name forward places pelham on the level of lee,
jackson stuart. tough heroes in the confederacy and in the virginian others do the same including blackford. basically pelham's name doesn't die. it's placed as the top heroes and martyrs of the confederate memory. pelham is an ideal of the south in the post-war. is loyal to -- and courageous and again i will say unmarried which allows for every of popular romantic story to appear where they turn up at around 1912 the sons of confederate veterans headed obsession with pelham and someone had a special meeting gavel taken from the room where pelham was reportedly born. pelham continues to be placed in the highest and favorite levels of confederate heroes and this allows his name to continue in the reminiscence and become part of the confederate novels and stories of the era.
one of the real challenges is pelham's lost letters. the simple fact is the majority of pelham's letters particularly his war era writings were lost in the early 20th century. even efforts made by researchers to recover them but so far they have been unsuccessful and through this pelham lost his voice beyond the grave if you will and researchers have lost the insight and personal views that he wrote to his family. finally we have the biographers. due to the lost letters biographers have used a lot of secondary horses and interviews that were lost after pelham's life and death and they made best guess as to piece together the unclear parts of his life. along the way the best intended authors wrote stories at best and fiction at worst. this is a challenge because the stories keep getting repeated and repeated each time the book is written generally speaking.
we come back to premise as we are wrapping up here a persons life in a story written about them after death may not match. the primary sources for palomar limited making it hard to find his thoughts and personal feelings in the credible sources that are still available. how to pelham you himself? >> was was fear with a wanted honor. other motives for different narratives to emerge after his death quite possibly. pelham wanted honor and he wanted to live fearlessly. his understanding of glory changes at manassas and maybe at other points in the were believed in the reasons for fighting in his life given near perfect pattern to the ideal young confederate officer and what was missing could be easily added as the decades pass. as i started reaching -- researching john pelham in early 2019 and looking through archives materials and newspapers old fiction books and
strange techniques ever since when i started i had no idea how many rabbit trails and how much controversy it would find and still piecing together in sorting through the civil war series. after the pandemic restrictions that might be easy and i will hopefully be able to finish the archive. one of the challenges was this -- with this project was to separate the life and legend. they cross appointed during pelham's life but who was he and why did he make the decisions he made what were the primary sources during his life and how did they hold up after his death? the theme of the symposium is fallen leaders and i've talked about pelham's death in memory but as we close the presentation away to remember that he really lives. he was 24 years old when he died but in the short years of life
he acted memorably in the military eye. this concept helps us to remember the humanity of a historic figure in for pelham facts tell us that he read his bible he wrote to his parents brother and little sister. he read military manuals and treatises and he fired cannons canon city got angry wept and organized the horse artillery. he fought battles and dozens of lesser-known an unnamed skirmishes receiving commendation from the leaders of the army of northern virginia. live due life full of principles he believed any in you the courage to act upon them the foresight to use innovative tactics and the ability to command. he lived until the day in artillery shell fragment to kansans listen to death and eternity. [applause]
>> we have time for maybe one or two questions. the poster name and where you're coming from. the christopher him from locust grove. what happened to all of his brothers? >> his brothers did fight for the confederacy and other units. that would be a great blogpost wouldn't it? i should do that sometime. >> regarding pelham at antietam at the end of the day they tried to make the move around the northern flank and pope was not as impressed with pelham's and righteousness there. you think there's a degree of impetuousness and his nature which we see the route his military career? >> fla. pelham is impetuous. he likes to go in and exposed
positions in the gets a little bit of a hand slap from some of the other officers watching at antietam. at the ending of the dannatt t. them i do not look at one of his finest moments. >> you mentioned the lost brothers. do we know what happens? >> it's a bit of the saga. the family had his letters and a sister loaned it to someone who called himself a researcher and they were either lost in the mail as the researcher claimed for he potentially took them but others reached out to this individual and early 20th century and he claimed to have no idea so there's a bit of a mystery. >> the d.c. roundtable where the second president was bruce
catton by the way they just read the book on fredericksburg. pelham is one of the characters and i think you touched on this maybe fredericksburg gave him the idea that he could get away with things which ultimately led to his demise and is that your impression to? >> a little bit. one thing that i would question back a little bit is how was pelham fitting in with other officers his age and his positioning can we look at the other sam pulls? yes he is impetuous and yes guess who's going out and doing things would like maybe you should have thought about that old more but the time in which he lives in the culture and the military culture that season at that point very much goes forward and distinguishes itself but i think what happened in the chambersburg. in lowden county does set the
groundwork for what happens at fredericksburg. sometimes it's an overlooked connection there. >> one final question. >> ed rollins from boygum spurred. the life of pelham would you consider his life chivalrous or ultimately doomed a byproduct of the lost cause of the civil war? >> that is a really good question and one that i'm addressing long-term in my writings. i don't think pelham was doomed from the start but i think what happened at kelly's ford if he could have said something from the grave which of course doesn't happen i think you would have been surprised that he died at kelly's ford. it's not really the place we would have thought he would have died. was he doomed by the mentality of this era? i don't believe so and i'll explain that further. thank you.
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