General JEB Stuart recommended Major John Pelham of Alabama for promotion in early 1863 after his exemplary initiative, coolness under fire and bravery at Fredericksburg. Stuart viewed Pelham as “one who possessed a heart intrepid, a spirit invincible, a patriotism too lofty to admit selfish thought and a conscience that scorned to do a mean act. His legacy would be to leave a shining example of his patriotism to those who survive.”
Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.org
Falling on the Altar of His Country
“You know how much his death distressed me. How much he was beloved, appreciated and admired . . . the tears of agony we had shed, and the gloom of mourning throughout my command [bore] witness.”
He fell mortally wounded in the Battle of Kellysville, March 17, with the battle cry on his lips, and the light of victory beaming from his eye. Though young in years, a mere stippling in appearance, remarkable for his general modesty of deportment, he yet disclosed on the battlefield the conduct of a veteran, and displayed in his handsome person the most imperturbable coolness to danger.
His eye glanced over every battlefield of his army from the first Manassas to the moment of his death, and he was, without a single exception, a brilliant actor in all. The memory of “the gallant Pelham,” his manly virtues, his noble nature and purity of character, are enshrined as a sacred legacy in hearts of all who knew him.
His record was bright and successful. He fell the noblest of sacrifices on the altar of his country, to whose glorious service he had dedicated his life from the beginning of the war.”
(JEB Stuart Speaks: An Interview with Lee’s Cavalryman, Bernice-Marie Yates, White Mane Publishing, Inc., 1997, excerpts pp. 58-59)