Inscription. The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia had no braver officer than Major John Pelham. Although just 24 years old, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Alabamian had already proven himself on more than half a dozen battlefields in Maryland and Virginia. Pelham commanded General J.E.B. Stuart’s horse artillery. On December 13, 1862, as Union troops deployed on the plain south of Fredericksburg, Pelham received permission from Stuart to bring a single cannon to this intersection. From here, he fired down the length of the Union battle line, just 400 yards away.
By Bill Coughlin, November 9, 2007
|1. John Pelham marker|
|Major John Pelham fired his cannon north along present Route 2, disrupting the Union advance on Jackson's line on Prospect Hill.|
Pelham’s actions provoked an immediate and savage response. Within minutes, more than two dozen Union cannon had Pelham and his artillery crew under fire. Undeterred, the Confederate officer continued the unequal fight, occasionally shifting his gun to throw Union artillerists off balance. Three times Stuart bid Pelham to retire; three times Pelham refused. “Tell the General I can hold my ground!” he replied. With his ammunition running low, Pelham brought his gun off the field. His actions delayed the Union assault by nearly an hour and propelled Pelham’s fame to new heights.
(Sidebar): Major John Pelham
Upon witnessing Pelham’s action at Fredericksburg, General Robert E. Lee remarked: “It is glorious to see such courage on one so young!” Pelham
died just three months after this battle, impulsively leading a cavalry charge at Kelly’s Ford.
By Bill Coughlin, November 9, 2007
|2. The Gallant Pelham|
|The Gallant Pelham is one of several markers and monuments at this location.|
Erected 2007 by The Delaware Corporation.
Location. 38° 15.158′ N, 77° 25.574′ W. Marker is near Fredericksburg, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker is at the intersection of Tidewater Trail (Virginia Route 2) and Benchmark Road (County Route 608), on the right when traveling south on Tidewater Trail. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fredericksburg VA 22408, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named The Gallant Pelham (here, next to this marker); The Battle of Fredericksburg (here, next to this marker); Stuart and Pelham (here, next to this marker); Fort Hood (here, next to this marker); Dead Horse Hill (approx. 0.6 miles away); Jackson Holds Prospect Hill (approx. 0.6 miles away); Jackson (approx. 0.6 miles away); Hamilton's Crossing (approx. 0.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Fredericksburg.
More about this marker. On the center right is a painting captioned "A mounted John Pelham directs the fire of his men at Fredericksburg in Bronze Guns and Iron Men by Don Troiani. Courtesy of Historical Art Prints, Southbury, Connecticut." A portrait of Pelham is included with the sidebar.
Also see . . . Fredericksburg150 – That “other guy” on the Confederate right: Capt. Mathias Winst. Biographical sketch of Mathias Winston Henry, commander of the 2nd Stuart Horse Artillery at the Battle of Fredericksburg. (Submitted on December 14, 2012, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia.)
Credits. This page originally submitted on November 29, 2007, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,249 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on November 29, 2007, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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