Civil War 150th Anniversary: Portrait of John Pelham, Confederate Artillery Officer
Photography curator Frank Goodyear discusses an 1858 portrait of John Pelham by Mathew Brady. Frank Goodyear was interviewed by the National Portrait Gallery's Warren Perry in September 2011. John Pelham (1838 - 1863, born Benton County, Alabama) was within weeks of graduating from West Point in the spring of 1861 when he resigned to join the Confederate army as a lieutenant. Posted to Virginia, Pelham soon earned the admiration of cavalry general J.E.B. Stuart, who provided him with horses to transform his battery into a mobile unit. Demonstrating the effectiveness of this "horse artillery" at Antietam and Fredericksburg, Pelham won glowing praise from his superiors, including General "Stonewall" Jackson, who declared, "It is really extraordinary to find such nerve and genius in a mere boy." In March 1863, Pelham was mortally wounded in a cavalry engagement.