Camp Gregg, Va.
March 4th 1863
We have been badly out of order up this way lately, the bridge over the South Anna between this and Ashland having washed away – but it is now all right. I think the mail arrangements got so disarranged that I am to be cut out of my letters for a longer period than is pleasant.
My dear did that wetting do you any damage? Altho’ you wrote as if you were well, still I cannot but feel some easiness about you, supposing you to be in a condition that might give you some trouble provided you took cold. Your letter of the 24th ultimo contained the latest news I have of you. I am glad you met with no more serious accident on your route for it is said that if one escapes being run off the track in the NC road he may consider himself to be lucky.
Indeed, Darling, I feel lonely and wish I could be with you. If you were here I could give you such a nice treat in the way of apples. Sutler Edwards still continues to send me nice ones. I got a dozen today from him and 1.2 doz. The other day, but as I am doing penance today I have not tried the last batch. I let me tongue fly [a] little loosely last night so I refused myself my eggs this morning and my apples today. I have really been ashamed of myself and sorry for the way I talked. I hope I shall do so no more. I have also stopped taking that occasional toddy. I made the resolution about the toddy the day I went to Richmond and altho’ very much pressed since, I have kept to it. When I make up my mind not to use spirits I find no difficulty in sticking to it. These are small matters now but may lead to good results in the future. I always want to be not only a Christian – which I cannot- but a husband whose habits his wife may approve of.
Honey, don’t you think I try to please you in trying to do what you think right. Do you not always find me reasonable so far as taking your advice. Bless my little wife! She has been to me a wife indeed, and a good angel. Fanny, if I should show myself insensible to so much love and goodness, I ought to be hung. Surely no man has such a wife. So much devotion, so much good sense, and last but not the least, in quantity, so much good looks. Honey, you always pretend to think that I am joking when I talk about your good looks. Indeed, Darling, to me you are very pretty and sweet, and I know you have quite a reputation for beauty. Honey, I feel in a loving mood and if you were here I would hold you in my lap and kiss and kiss you to your hearts content.
Honey, I got my cloth in Richmond but really I will not pay such outrageous prices for making as they ask. Just to think of giving $110 for the making of a coat. I will wear sacks first. I think I will have the pants and sack cut out and sent to you to have made by some of your seamstresses. I prefer a sack anyhow for they are so much more comfortable.
Willie has taken my bay mare. I let him have her for what I gave, $200. I shall sell Fan also, for she has gotten so that she eats off the tails of every horse she can get to … I sent my Capt. Sammy to the extreme western part of the state for a horse. I also wrote to brother Robert. Two good horses are all I want and by selling two and buying one I shall probably make one or two hundred dollars to send home. You have no idea how I am eschewing to get out of debt. I intend to be as close as a miser. I spent only about $50 while gone to Richmond, including the $20 for my cloth… Honey, I have clothes and cloth enough without that which you bought in Hillsborough. Suppose you sell that. Now do not get worried and say it is because you bought it. I shall not be able to use all I have for a long time and we had better have money than surplus cloth. There is no hurry about it however. In Richmond it would bring at least $12 per yard. I shall want my drawers after a while, and you might put in in a box with them and send to Sgt Montgomery by any good chance to keep for me some few of my socks and those old rags of undershirts. He is on Wall St. above Main about half a block in a house marked on the door “Billiard Room.” If you have no good chance they can be sent after a while by express. I will get him to sell the cloth unless you can get a good price for it. I will write again about this matter. The cloth I got in Richmond is very nice.
If Maj. Biscoe and Capt. Simon fill the orders I gave them you will be fixed out nicely for the summer. I am determined you shall have some more skirts, come what may. I wrote Mag Cox yesterday and having a good chance I asked her to write me back. I took it for granted she would like to hear from her relations on this side.
Honey, do write me about the children alike. Tell me how much Dorsey can talk, etc., etc. Darling, did you think about yesterday being the anniversary of our marriage? Four years, how short they seem… We are more violently in love by far than the sweethearts. The Lord grant many returns and as happy as the past have been and we cannot complain. Now I will close. I wrote to your father a few days since. Does Turner talk any about me? Did you notice that Stephen Lee has been placed in command of the Batteries at Vicksburg and how he was complimented upon the improvement he was working. Kiss the children and Sis, and my love to Mary and father. Good night
Your loving husband.
Source: 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).