CONFEDERATE LIEUTENANT JAMES WEST PEGRAM OF THE “FIGHTING PEGRAM FAMILY” SHOWN AS ADJUTANT OF THE 57th VIRGINIA OR EARLY DUTY ON ARMISTEAD’S STAFF

$8,500.00 SOLD

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Item Code: 1138-1871

James West Pegram (1839-1881) was a member of the “fighting Pegram family,” which claimed at least ten members in Confederate service. His two brothers were both killed in 1865: Brigadier General John Pegram while commanding a cavalry brigade at Hatcher’s Run 2/6/65; and William R.J. Pegram, a well-known colonel of artillery, mortally wounded at Five Forks, 4/2/65. He was on the staff of Gen. Armistead in the Peninsula Campaign of 1862 and in 1865 was on the staff of Gen. Ewell, and was proposed as one of two officers to raise and command companies of black troops in the last days of the Confederacy. He was captured with Ewell at Sailor’s Creek in April 1865.

This sixth-plate tintype shows him in the regulation uniform of a Confederate first lieutenant, dating it to late 1861 or the first half of 1862. He was commissioned 1st Lieutenant and Adjutant of the 57th Virginia 10/2/61 under Col. Lewis Armistead and when Armistead was promoted to brigadier general, he requested Pegram for his staff in May 1862. Pegram resigned from the regiment to take the post of (Asst.) Adjutant and Inspector General with Armistead, being promoted to captain as of June 12, 1862. He saw action with Armistead on the Peninsula, and was named by Armistead in his 14 July 1862 official report of the Seven Days Battles as among his staff members who, “did all that men can do and did it well.”

In late July 1862 Pegram was assigned to the staff of Gen. J.H. Winder, and served with him as A.A.G in 1863 and 1864, in the Department of Henrico and then the Department of Richmond, receiving a promotion to Major in August 1863, with rank from July 30. His responsibilities included dealing with prisoners of war and hospitals. In December 1864 he was posted to Ewell’s staff and his service record shows that on March 15, 1865, Ewell supported him as one of two officers who might raise and command companies of black troops to defend the Confederate capital. This remarkable proposal came to naught and Pegram accompanied Ewell on the retreat and from Richmond and Petersburg and was captured with him at Sailor’s Creek on April 6. Imprisoned for a time on Johnson’s Island, he was released on parole on June 12. In later years he worked for the Lorillard tobacco company as a travelling agent, living for a time in New York. He died in Atlanta, GA, in 1881 and was interred near his brothers in Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery.

The image is a sixth plate tintype of wonderful clarity, with his rank bar and buttons gilded, and is housed in a very nice Washington bust thermoplastic case with purple facing pad, and mat, glass and frame. The only flaw is slight bubble of the emulsion crossing his eye at left. It is stable and there is no flaking, but there is a narrow line around it and when tilted at angle the reflection shows the emulsion is slight raised. His findagrave listing shows a postwar civilian image of him. [sr] [ph:L]

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