On his return he continued in the United
States army until May 10, 1861, when he resigned.
He was commissioned captain, corps of
cavalry, C. S. A., and was promoted rapidly to higher grades. As
lieutenant-colonel he participated in the operations of General Garnett's
command about Beverly, W. Va., in the summer of 1861, and when confronted by
the Federal forces in overwhelming numbers under McClellan and Rosecrans,
Pegram was intrusted by Garnett with the command of one of the two bodies in
which he divided his forces.
A rear attack by Rosecrans compelled him to
withdraw after a gallant fight, from Rich mountain, and two days later he was
compelled to surrender with half his command.
After his return to the army he was assigned
to the staff of General Bragg at Tupelo, Miss., as chief of engineers, July,
1862, and later became chief of staff of Gen. E. Kirby Smith, in command in
east Tennessee. In that capacity he participated in the Kentucky campaign and
the battle of Richmond, where his services were gratefully recognized in the
report of the general commanding.
In November he was promoted
brigadier-general and assigned to the command of a cavalry brigade of
Tennesseeans in Smith's army. With his brigade he participated in the battle
of Murfreesboro, and subsequently was upon outpost duty and various active
operations until the battle of Chickamauga, where he commanded a division of
Forrest's cavalry corps.
Subsequently he was transferred to the army of Northern Virginia and the
infantry service, being given command of a brigade in Early's division of the
Second corps, composed of the Thirteenth, Thirty-first, Forty-ninth, Fifty
second and Fifty-eighth Virginia regiments.
With this gallant body of veterans he was in
the campaign from the Rapidan to the James, and was particularly distinguished
during the second day of the fight in the Wilderness, when his brigade
repelled the persistent assaults of the Federals, determined to turn the flank
of Ewell's corps.
In command of Early's division he took part
in the campaign against Sheridan in the Shenandoah valley in the fall of 1864,
and after the return of these forces to the Petersburg lines he was promoted
major-general and continued in command of the division, a part of Gordon's
corps, throughout the winter.
On February 6, 1865, he moved from camp to
reconnoiter and was attacked by the enemy in heavy force on Hatcher's run. His
men were pressed back in spite of a brave resistance until reinforced by the
division of C. A. Evans, when the enemy was in turn forced to retire.
After meeting a second check the
Confederates reformed and charged again, driving the Federals, and in this
moment of success General Pegram fell mortally wounded. His death occurred on
the same day.
Source: Confederate Military History, vol.
IV, p. 648
Brigadier-General William E. Starke
went to the assistance of Gen. R. S. Garnett at Laurel hill, early in July,
1861, as colonel, and served as his aide-de-camp in the disastrous retreat on
the Cheat river.
His coolness and judgment in the midst of the confusion that followed the
death of General Garnett were highly commended by Colonel Taliaferro, who
succeeded to command. Subsequently he was put in command of the Sixtieth
Virginia regiment, and sent to Lewisburg, to the support of General Floyd,
whence, in December, he was ordered to accompany General Donelson's brigade to
Bowling Green, Ky.
It appears, however, that he was instead, attached to General Wise's command,
stationed at Goldsboro, N. C. During the Seven Days' campaign in Virginia he
commanded his regiment in Field's brigade, and was commended for gallantry,
and his promotion to brigadier-general followed early in August, 1862.
Reporting for duty to General Jackson, he was assigned to command of the
Second Louisiana brigade and marched with it to Manassas. In that campaign he
took command of the Stonewall division, after General Taliaferro was wounded
on the 28th.
He was with Jackson at the capture of Harper's Ferry, and at Sharpsburg was
called on again to take command of the division, after the fall of J. R.
Jones. Soon afterward he himself fell mortally wounded, pierced by three minie
balls, and survived but an hour.
Gen. Bradley T. Johnson, in reporting the battle of Second Manassas, said:
"I cannot forbear doing but scant justice to a gallant soldier now no
more. It was my fortune during the two days of battle,
during which he commanded the division, to be thrown constantly in contact
with Brigadier-General Starke.
The buoyant dash with which he led his brigade into the most withering fire on
Friday, though then in command of the division; the force he showed in the
handling of this command; the coolness and judgment which distinguished him in
action, made him to me a marked man, and I regretted his early death as a
great loss to the army and the cause."
His name deserves lasting remembrance in association with the Stonewall
Source: Confederate Military History, vol. IV, p. 663
Peter B. Starke, a distinguished cavalry commander, became colonel of the
Twenty-eighth Mississippi cavalry regiment by commission dated February 24,
1862. His regiment was attached to the command of Gen. M. L. Smith, for the
defense of Vicksburg, and in September was nearly 700 strong.
Stationed at Panola in November, he gave notice of the advance of Hovey's
expedition from Arkansas, and during that fruitless movement by the enemy his
regiment was engaged in various skirmishes. From this time during the
long-continued efforts for the reduction of Vicksburg the Confederate cavalry
was busily engaged in watching the movements of the enemy.
At the organization of forces outside
Vicksburg by General Johnston he and his regiment were assigned to the cavalry
brigade of Gen. W. H. Jackson, first composed of the regiments of Pinson,
Harris, Starke, and Adams, and Steede's battalion. In March, 1863, he
participated in the victory at Thompson's station, Tenn., under General Van
When Jackson became commander of cavalry
division, under Gen. Stephen D. Lee, Colonel Starkewas assigned to command of
the brigade, which in February, 1864, in. eluded the regiments of Pinson,
Starkeand Ballentine, Webb's Louisiana company, and the Columbus, Georgia,
He was stationed before Vicksburg when
Sherman started out on the Meridian expedition. He resisted the advance of one
corps of the enemy on February 4th, and on the 24th attacked Sherman's
retreating column at Sharon, inflicting considerable loss on the enemy.
His conduct in this campaign was warmly
commended by General Jackson, and General Lee said: "Colonel Starke,
commanding brigade, showed skill and gallantry on every occasion, and won my
confidence." During the Atlanta campaign his brigade was commanded by
Gen. Frank C. Armstrong, and he was for a part of the time in command of his
regiment. Commissioned brigadier-general November 4, 1864, he took part in the
cavalry operations during Hood's Tennessee campaign.
On February, 1865, he was assigned to
command, near Columbus, of one of the three brigades into which General
Chalmers divided the Mississippi cavalry, and the following regiments were
ordered to report to him: Wilbourn's Fourth, Wade's Sixth Mississippi and
Eighth Confederate, White's Eighth Mississippi, Twenty-eighth, Eighteenth
battalion, and part of the Fifth regiment.
His command was included in the surrender of
General Taylor's army.
Source: Confederate Military History, vol.
IX, p. 270