Second Brigade, Army of the Shenandoah
First Lieutenant J Pelham, commanding the Wise Artillery
Mustered in Confederate service on 19 April, 1861, and arrived at Manassas Junction at 2 PM on 20 July, 1861
CAPTAIN E G ALBURTIS
First Lieutenant J Pelham was commanding the company on 21 July, 1861, as Captain E G Alburtis' was to ill for duty.
- First Section: FIRST LT. J PELHAM
First Lieutenant J Pelham was temporarily attached to the company by order of General J E Johnston, to act as drillmaster, on 15 June, 1861.
Two 6 pounder smoothbores, M1841
- Second Section: SECOND LT. G MURPHY
Two 6 pounder smoothbores, M1841
"Pelham had not slept long on the hard, dry ground when he was roused by a courier who handed him a note. Rubbing his eyes in the dim dawn of a bright Sabbath, Pelham focused his eyes on the order which directed him to assume command of Captain Alburtis’ battery as the older officer was too ill to take the field. Proud of his new responsibility, Lieutenant Pelham notified his men that he would lead them today."
Colonel John Pelham, Lee's boy artillerist, by William Woods Hassler
"Johnston had three batteries of artillery under his command: the Rockbridge Battery, led by Colonel William Pendleton; Grove's Culpeper Battery, under Lieutenant Robert F Beckham; and the Alburtis Battery, commanded by the aging and sickly Captain Ephraim G Alburtis, who suffered from lumbago."
"Pelham worked diligently alongside his gunners as they fashioned crates and old boxes into caissons."
"They reached Manassas at 1:00 AM on Sunday with little more than two hours' rest."
"The morning before dawn John Pelham received information that Ephraim Alburtis was ill, too sick to lead the battery. Thus, the battery Pelham had trained for the past few weeks would be his this day."
"Donations to the Alburtis Battery included two cannon captured from McDowell's fleeing army – a 12-pounder howitzer and a 3-inch rifled gun. These could easily replace some of the old 6-pounders he had used so effectively during the fighting at Bull Run."
The Perfect Lion: The life and death of Confederate artillerist John Pelham, by Jerry H Maxwell
"As acting commander of the Alburtis Battery, Pelham was providing direct support for Colonel Francis bartow’s brigade. His second in command, and the only other officer in the battery, was Jason Findley, a militia second lieutenant who a month earlier had been teaching math in school in Lynchburg."
The Parting: A story of West Point on the eve of the Civil War, by Richard Barlow Adams
"Soon after arriving, Alburtis' Battery deployed with the Thomas Artillery and Jones' Brigade across McLean's Ford and into a location adequate for an "attack upon the enemy on or about the Union Mills and Centreville Road". While the guns were placed in position, nervous and green artillerists prepared for what the next day would bring."
Miscellaneous disbanded Virginia light artillery, First Edition, No.372 of 1000, by R H Moore II
"Alburtis' s role in the battle is unknown. His family was always convinced that he commanded the battery in the fight at First Manassas, and even captured a Federal officer's sword, which became a treasured family relic. Historians have disputed the claim. As precise and correct an officer as Brigadier General T J Jackson, commander of the First Brigade, wrote an official report within days of the battle. He referred to the battery commanders by name, referring to the Alburtis Battery as "the battery under Lieutenant Pelham." Fred R Martin speculated that Alburtis may have commanded the battery early in the action but was compelled to yield command, perhaps by ill health."
The Cannoneer, Volume 7, No.5: Gaither Alburtis Ephriam , by C J Cochrane
A guide to Virginia military organisations 1861–1865, Revised Second Edition by I A Wallace, Jr.
The Wise Artillery was organised at Martinsburg, Virginia, and was mustered into Confederate service on 19 April, 1861. J Pelham resigned from the West Point Military Academy on 17 April, 1861, and was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Confederate States Army. First Lieuetenant J Pelham was assigned to the Wise Artillery as a drillmaster at Harpers Ferry, Virginia.
At 1 AM on 18 July, 1861, the War Department at Richmond, Virginia, ordered General J E Johnston to proceed with the Army of the Shenandoah to Manassas Junction and join the Army of the Potomac, under the command of Brigadier General P G T Beauregard.
The Wise Artillery arrived at Piedmont Station, Virginia, at 11 PM on 19 July, 1861, and was ordered by General J E Johnston to proceed with the Thomas Artillery and the 1st Rockbridge Artillery, under the command of Colonel W N Pendleton, to Camp Pickens, Manassas Junction. The company arrived at Camp Pickens, Manassas Junction, at 2 PM on 20 July, 1861, and encamped under shelter in woods near the Bull Run River. The company was disbanded and the men and horses assigned to Eubank's Virginia Artillery, under the command of Captain J L Eubank, on 2 October, 1862. Eubank's Virginia Artillery was assigned to the 2nd Reserve Battalion Artillery, under the command of Colonel S D Lee.
Captain F S Bartow was commissioned colonel, 8th Georgia Infantry, on 21 June, 1861, and assigned to command the Second Brigade, Army of the Shenandoah.
On 21 July, 1861, Colonel W N Pendleton, chief of artillery, Army of the Shenandoah, commanded the Thomas Artillery, the Wise Artillery and his own, the 1st Rockbridge Artillery.
On 25 July 1861, the Army of the Shenandoah was reorganised and the company was assigned to the Second Brigade, Second Corps, Army of the Potomac, under the command of Brigadier General S A M Jones.
Orders of Battle
The above painting, 'Never give up the field', is by Don Troiani, modern America's finest historial artist.