Tuesday, September 15, 2009

John Pelham Update/Colin Kelly, Jr.

The blog about the “Gallant” Major John Pelham generated a buzz, so here are three more related images – the state historical marker pointing to the site of Pelham’s birthplace near Alexandria, Alabama (the house is now gone, but there is a small marker); the Virginia state marker at Fredericksburg, scene of Pelham’s finest hour; and the marker at the site of his mortal wounding at Kelly’s Ford, Virginia. Major Pelham died in a house in nearby Culpeper, VA (this house is also gone, but there is a small marker). John Pelham’s promotion to LTC came through after his death.

Alabama state marker to John Pelham’s birthplace. (Credit: John Pelham Historical Association)

Virginia state marker near Fredericksburg, scene of Major Pelham’s finest hour. (Credit: John Pelham Historical Association)

Marker at the site of Pelham’s mortal wounding at Kelly’s Ford, VA. (Credit: John Pelham Historical Association)

Some more John Pelham tidbits:
-When Pelham died, his body lay in state in the Confederate capitol building in Richmond, VA. At least three young women went into mourning for him.

-Jeb Stuart and his wife named their daughter Virginia Pelham Stuart.

-Famed Confederate spy, Belle Boyd, gave Pelham a Bible with the inscription: “I know thou art loved by another; I know thy wilt never be mine.”

-The “other” was Sally Dandridge of “The Bower” in West Virginia, Jeb Stuart’s sometime headquarters and scene of festive parties featuring the music of banjoist Sam Sweeney. Heroes von Brocke, of Stuart’s staff, a former Prussian officer and soldier-of-fortune, added to the overall splendor and gaiety of the parties.

-Like John Pelham, neither Jeb Stuart nor Sam Sweeney survived the war. Von Brocke was seriously wounded and, after the war, returned to his castle in Prussia where he flew the Confederate flag from the ramparts until his death.

-Several Southern towns are named for Pelham, including Pelham, Alabama. There is a John Pelham Memorial Parkway in Georgia, a Lake Pelham in Virginia, and, of course, Pelham Range at Fort McClellan, Alabama, reportedly built on Pelham Family property along Cane Creek.

Finally, here is an advertisement (given to me by Myra Jean Hopkins) for a VHS/DVD regarding the truth and myth of America’s first hero of World War II, Colin Kelly, Jr., MMI’33, USMA ’37, who was also the first West Pointer killed in the war. For those interested, the order information is included. However, this is all I have, so order at your own risk!

Ad for the Colin Kelly, Jr., VHS/DVD. (Credit: Myra Jean Hopkins and the MMI Archives)