Camp Hill, Va., Oct. 19th, 1861
My dear Wife
Your box came today and I assure you I was delighted. The blanket is beautiful. I have not had anything to lease me so well in a long, long time. You could not have hit the thing better by any chance in the world. Everything is as nice as they could be, but I am sorry to say that one of the pots of jam was broken and the fluid out of the peaches, which got on my handkerchiefs and drawers and they were to some extent mildewed. But that is of minor importance. The box was shipped from Richmond by express to Warrenton, from whence it was sent to Bristoe. The blanket is very much admired as being the best thing of the sort in camp. I received a letter from Ham today. They were all well. Before I forget it, Mrs. Scales sends her love, in return to you.
We have nothing new here except our batteries caused two small schooners to haul to and they were captured today. I am about seven miles from the batteries and consequently only hear the guns. Our Court is not half through its labors. I am getting very tired of it, and hope some move may break it up.
Give my most sincere thanks to Pamela for the cake and tell her it is very nice indeed, as I can testify to by experience. Ham paid me the compliment to say that he would like to be with me [a] good deal as he thought we were congenial.
Do not let your desire to improve in music die out, nor your taste for reading. I am not a little proud of your musical qualities and intelligence…. My dear wife you must not rejoice too quickly for I have only commenced to try to do what is right, and am by no means so far advanced as to give you such lively hope, but let us hope. Indeed, I wish you were with me, not only for our present happiness but my future good. Your example as well as your unbounded confidence in your advice and wishes, as to what I ought to do and you desire. I think darling I have always tried to please you as far as it is possible for one to surrender his judgement and inclinations. But thank the Lord our views so much accord that we need never have any serious differences. My more than wife, my guardian Angel and companion, your superiority has, I feel, had its influence on me, instead of my dragging you down, you have, contrary to experience, drawn me up, at least a little. I am more of a man if not a better one than when you took me for better or worse. Your refinement is slowly but certainly wearing away some of my roughness. God bless you. Your mission in this world has not been a barren one, and may you long live to be blessed with earthly happiness as you surely will with Heavenly, in the world to come.
I suppose I shall soon have to direct [mail] to you at Tarboro. You will find more than a sister in my sister Patience, and in my mother a childish but fond old mother. They will think nothing too much to do for you. Read the Bible to them and try to interest them in it. They, I hope, only want instruction. My father’s condition troubles me, for I know he has been a great sinner, and it is time for him to repent. You know not what influence you will be able to have on them. They are fond parents, both fond and proud of me. I am the pride of Papa’s life. You will be surprised to see how proud of me he is, although he says but little at home about me.
Gen. Whiting talks of sending Mrs. Whiting away, so you see even Generals cannot always have their wives with them… My love to all.
Now my dear wife, I must close. May our Father in Heaven watch over us and bring us together again on this earth to live long to His glory.
Sources: William Hassler, ed., One of Lee’s Best Men: The Civil War Letters of General William Dorsey Pender (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1999). William Dorsey Pender papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill. http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/p/Pender,William_Dorsey.html