In Camp nearRichmond,Va., June 22nd, 1862
My dear Wife
I received two letters from you today dated the 10th and the other the 4th inst. I was much pleased to find you in so much better spirits as to our prospects, and particularly to hear that you are in such good health. I suppose Dorsey must be cutting teeth. I was sorry to hear that Helen is so unwell. May I ask if she is in an interesting situation. Honey as I was all wrong in my explanation to myself as to why you did not write, please tell me the reason. You wrote that you had not written for some time but had been very anxious to do so. My dear I can take a joke altho’ you think I cannot, but those Williams’ are my abomination, they are traitors and ought to be treated as such. You will recollect that Joe has the reputation of being vindictive and you know he bears us no good will. He has said we should rue the day we married. Keep him at a distance.
You will see by the paper of this morning that Jackson has been gaining more victories. He and Gen. R.S. Ewell together have completely routed Major General John C. Fremont and Major General James Shields. If we could get these people away from their breastworks we could make as short work of them as Jackson has those in the Shenandoah Valley. It seems that Norfolk and Portsmouth have been evacuated by the Yankees, thus showing that they feel their weakness here. McClellan has been calling lustily for re-enforcements since the battle, we hear. Their list of killed and wounded in the recent fight show a big list of high officers. They admit 800 killed and 300 wounded. I saw the Herald of the 5th. The Herald claims a grand victory but the New York Tribune calls it a reverse and wants to see thing explained.
I am very anxious to have Frank join me but from what you write I fear there is no chance. I do not know who to get on my staff. I want about two in addition to those now with me as they will leave whenever Gen. J.J. Pettigrew may be exchanged. I hear that Dick Dodge is a prisoner in Salisbury. A gentleman told someone in the 6th that he saw him. I hope it is so. We captured men who said they belonged to Col. Dodge’s Regt. and we also got his camp.
I now have five Regts., and a Battalion, in all present about 2400, but the Regts. are bad off for field officers in consequence of casualties in the battle and sickness.
I must close darling. I hope Jake is improving as fast as we were led to hope he would.
I have no fault to find for the last week or two about getting no letters. My love to everybody. Tell Turner his papa hopes to come home to see him some of these days in the meantime he must be a good boy.
I must not fail to tell you what a sumptuous dinner we had today. Mutton, garden peas, asparagus, rice, etc. We have been living on ham and bread since the battle. Mutton 50 cts. Per lb. I will write as often as possible. May God bless you all and protect you in all your afflictions. You must not worry about me too much. I can now communicate with you better than before as I have several mounted men entirely at my control so I can at any time send to Richmond. Good bye.
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