Camp near Baltimore Store,Va., May 14th, 1862
My dear Wife
I have no ink or pen so you must excuse pencil. We are still waiting for the coming of the Yankees, but strange to say I believe we do not even know where their main force is. Stuart is looking after them but is not doing himself much credit as he does not find out anything. Gregg is Captain of the 6th Regt. of Cavalry and Cal of the 8th Penn Volunteer Cavalry. Stuart’s father-in-law is General of the cavalry on their side and Stuart on this. Stuart says he wants to catch him and that he expects to do so.
The Merrimac you no doubt know has been blown up. Does it not seem a pity that she had to be lost, but I suppose it could not be helped. The people ofRichmondare frightened to death and believe that the Yankees will have possession in three days, but I apprehend it will at least take them longer than that. If they come this way they will be much longer.
How is it that Frank gets as much salary as I do? What new position has he? I should like to see him pass this way for I suppose his occupation is now gone near New Orleans.
I shall try to send some money home today. Those merchants up your way who have refused to take Confederate notes should be made an example of at once. Hanging would not be too good for them. I suppose you all will have a jolly time at Good Spring. Now at least a noisy one. What you write me about the children is very gratifying, but I should much prefer to know of their perfections from personal observation. I suppose you have strawberries now while we are barely subsisting upon meat and bread. Our men have to go upon short rations nearly every day and the officers are not much better off. I have managed to keep a little coffee and tea yet.
Jake is now a soldier and seems to get along very well. He is with Sgt. [C.M.] Mebum and Rev. Holt, two very nice and intelligent young men. You may rest assured that I will take as good care of him as I can. He endeared himself very much to the officers with whom he has been associated. He is a very superior young man and if I ever have an opportunity shall not fail to advance him, but I have about as much as I can do to hold my own.
I am fearful that Gen. Whiting is doing something that will cause me to take some step that may appear rash. He has been ordered to place some one in the command of the Brigade, and if he places any Colonel over me—for I am by right entitled to it unless they put a General in his place, or if they promote anyone connected with us now—I shall deem it due my self respect to resign and look out for some other position. He has not asked me in a manner to heighten my opinion of him. I am entitled to the Brigade, and if he would give it to me it is a step towards promotion.
You could direct my letters to no better place at present thanRichmond, for we do have occasional communication with that place. I must now close, my dear wife, but will write again soon. My love to all. May God bless you. Do not fail to send the likeness on when you have the chance.
Your devoted Husband
Who are the merchants that refuse Confederate notes?
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