Camp near Richmond,Va., May 22nd, 1862
My dear Wife
You may know that I feel anything but easy in mind when I tell you I have received no letter from you of later date than the 8th. I do not for a moment suppose that you have failed to write, but attribute it all to the mail. Write me as soon as you get this and put down the Regt. as well as Whiting’s Brigade. All mail to the officers or soldiers are now arranged according to Regts. I asked at the office the other day five times, hoping by getting them to look often they might light upon one.
I was in town again today hoping to get something. I called to see Custis Lee and was sorry to find him quite sick and in a fair way of getting worse.
My dear child when I sit down to write I find so little to write about that I feel you will see the effort I make to interest you and that it may have the contrary effect. I could write always of my love and desire to see you, but when I get on that tack you always pretend, at least, not to believe me. There is nothing in this world I so much desire as to be able to live quietly and constantly with you and this you know from past experience….
I am now getting old enough for I really feel as if I were getting along in years. I am told so often that I look thirty-five. I pass with those who do not know for anywhere between thirty-five and forty. You must not feel worried at the idea that I am getting too old for you. I wish to get old faster than you at least some years to come. It looks better. I am quite bald also, but I hope all these signs of old age will not give you any trouble or make you love me less. I cannot help it and my heart is as fresh and tender for you as if I looked only twenty. If I get much less good looking and you continue so young and fascinating—remember the young preacher. I shall get to be a jealous old husband.
Honestly I hope you have gone to the Convention for I know you will enjoy it. Gen. Whiting is to have a $1000 horse presented him this evening by the 4th Ala. Regt., and the 11th Miss. have $1200 to buy him one and I believe the 2nd Miss. are going to do likewise. High appreciation of our superiors is all very well, but such toadyism as has been shown in this matter, except by the 11th, is rather too much of a good thing….
My love to all. Tell Pamela I am waiting quite impatiently for that letter she promised. Honey please try to get a letter to me, for you must know how anxious I must be to hear from you. I pray our Father in Heaven to protect us and grant us strength to bear all troubles with which we may be afflicted. Kiss the dear boys.
Your devoted Husband
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