Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PEGRAM, Robert Baker, naval officer, born in Dinwiddie county, Virginia, 10 December, 1811. He entered the United States navy as midshipman on 2 February, 1829, served in the Mediterranean squadron, and on 8 September, 1841, was appointed lieutenant. He was ordered to the "Saratoga," under Captain David G. Farragut, in 1847, served in the Mexican war, and in 1852 took part in the Japan expedition. In 1855 he participated in a joint expedition from the British ship " Rattler " and the United States vessel "Powhatan" against a piratical flotilla of thirty-one war-junks, arid captured sixteen, with 100 cannon. For this service he received the thanks of Admiral Sir James Stifling, flag-officer of the British East India squadron, of the governor of Hong Kong, and of' the British government, and was presented with a sword by the state of Virginia. He served in the Norfolk navy-yard in 1856-'8, in the Paraguay expedition in 1858, and in 1859 was a commissioner to define the limits of the Newfoundland fisheries. He resigned from the United States navy on 17 April, 1861, became a captain in the Virginia service, commanded at the navy-yard in Norfolk after its evacuation by the United States forces, and erected a battery at Pig Point, Nansemond river, with which he disabled the United States steamer "Harriet Lane," which was surveying the river and placing buoys. He afterward commanded the steamer " Nashville," which left Charleston on 26 October, 1861, and returned in the following February, having eluded pursuit and destroyed several merchant-vessels. He was ordered to superintend the shielding and armament of the iron-clad steamer " Richmond," and, after taking her to Drewry's Bluff, was transferred to the " Virginia." In 1864 a hind was raised in Virginia to purchase and equip in England a naval force to be called the "Virginia volunteer navy," and to be commanded by Captain Pegram. He had one vessel prepared for service at the time of General Lee's surrender. Since the close of the war he has resided in Norfolk, Virginia--His nephew, John, soldier, born in Petersburg, Virginia, 24 January, 1832; died near Hatcher's Run, Virginia, 6 February, 1865. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1854, assigned to the 1st dragoons, became 1st lieutenant, 28 February, 1857, and was actively engaged on frontier duty for several years. He resigned his commission in the United States army, 10 May, 1861, and was appointed lieutenant-colonel in the Confederate army soon afterward. On 7 November, 1862, he was appointed a brigadier-general in the provisional army, and he subsequently acquired the rank of major-general. His brigade was composed of five regiments of Virginia infantry in the Army of northern Virginia. As a major-general he commanded General Jubal A. Early's old division. He was engaged in all the campaigns of the Army of northern Virginia, and was killed in action at Hatcher's Run.--John's brother, William Johnson, soldier, born in Petersburg, Virginia, in 1841; died there, 2 April, 1865, left the University of Virginia, where he was a law student, at the beginning of the civil war, to enter a Confederate regiment of artillery as a private, and won promotion in that arm of the service at Cedar Run, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. Early in 1865 he was made brigadier-general, and he was killed during the siege of Petersburg, Virginia
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