site logo
W.R.J. Pegram

W.R.J. Pegram

Confederate (CSA)


William Ransom Johnson Pegram


(1841 - 1865)

Home State: Virginia

Education: University of Virginia

Command Billet: Battery Commander

Branch of Service: Artillery

Unit: Purcell (Richmond) Artillery

Before Sharpsburg

A 19 year old University of Virginia Law student, he enlisted in the Confederate Army in the spring of 1861 as a Private. He transferred as First Lieutenant to the Purcell (VA) Light Artillery in May 1861 and was promoted to Captain of the battery in April 1862. He was first made famous by his actions at Mechanicsville, VA on 26 June 1862 where he held his ground under enemy fire although four of his six guns were disabled, half his horses killed, and more than fifty of his ninety cannoneers killed or wounded. He was notably nearsighted - and the story in Richmond was that's why he had to get so close to the enemy before engaging.

Pegram and his battery fought in the battles of Cedar Mountain, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg.

On the Campaign

He commanded his battery on the Campaign and was slightly wounded on the head in action at Sharpsburg on 17 September 1862.

The rest of the War

He was promoted to Major of Artillery on 2 March 1863 and Lieutenant Colonel on 27 February 1864. He was wounded at Squirrel Level Road, VA on 1 October 1864. He was promoted to Colonel on 18 February 1865 but was mortally wounded at the battle of Five Forks, VA on 1 April 1865 and died the next day, only 23 years old.

After the War

He was originally buried on the field but was reinterred in Richmond in December 1865.

References & notes

Service from Carmichael,1 with Sharpsburg wound detail from his Lee's Young Artillerist (1998). His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from a photograph in the Virginia Historical Society collection, published in "The Boy Artillerist": Letters of Colonel William Pegram, C.S.A., Dr James I Robertson, Jr., editor; in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography (Vol. 98, No. 2, April 1990).


06/29/1841; Richmond, VA


4/2/1865; Dinwiddie County, VA; burial in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA


1   Carmichael, Peter S., The Purcell, Crenshaw and Letcher Artillery, Lynchburg: H. E. Howard, Inc., 1990  [AotW citation 20426]