Camp near Yorktown, Va., April 25th, 1862
My dear Wife
I have but a few minutes to write. We are well and doing finely. No fight nor more chance of one than the day we reached here one month ago. It is said I believe by many that McClellan is moving his forces back toward Fredericksburg, but in that he will be foiled as our President is taking steps to meet him there. My only wonder now is where we get so many soldiers.
I have a chaplain at last. The Rev. Mr. Stuard who was dragged out of his pulpit last year in Alexandria. He seems to be eccentric but I have no doubt is an able man. About 50 years old. Please let me know when you get the box of clothes I sent you. I have not ceased to condemn myself since I sent it off, for I fear I shall be out before I get them again.
Your letters of the 11th, 14th, 16th, and 19th were all received as also your father’s to Jake. I have advised Jake to wait a few days to see how my old Regt. will organize. If Capt. Ruffin should be a captain and they get a good Colonel, I shall advise him to enlist there. I hate to leave him in the ranks in my Regt. I will look out for him to the best of my ability.
The accounts I receive about Dorsey delight; as to Turner’s ability I send no confirmation. I know he is all a fond father could wish. I hope you will go to the [Episcopal] Convention, for I know you will enjoy it. You must take Pamela with you. But what gentleman or lady will go with you. Have you weaned Dorsey yet—if not had you better not? He is getting old enough to get along by himself now. You must not fail to let me know when you want money and do not suppose you are drawing on brother Robert, for I send him all I save. He is my banker.
I worry Jake nearly to death by telling him he asks too many questions. He has got so that he will ask and then take it back. He is the most open and candid boy I ever saw, but gets along with everyone remarkably. You never need to be troubled about him.
I suppose Frank is delighted now he has fighting about the lower Miss. He stands more chance of a fight there than anywhere just now. Do you not see that I was right about Goldsboro being in danger. They are not going so far from water.
Now my dear I must close as the carrier is about ready and I have to go to drill. May God in Heaven bless you all. My love to all at Cold Spring. Write me regularly.
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
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