Camp Gregg, Va.
May 7th, 1863
My dear Wife
We are back again at the same old camp after eight memorable days. The enemy are all once ore on the other side of the river and may God grant that they may go still further. We have had a terrible time of it and surely I have enough to make one grateful to Almighty God for.
We had the most terrible battle of the war, not because they fought better but because they had such terrible odds and held such a strong position and so well fortified. Hooker thought he had us but Lee is too much for him, and while he was waiting for us in his front we fell upon his right flank and but for night coming we would have cut him to pieces Saturday night. Saturday night he had time to change front and fortify but to no purpose only to make it harder upon us. After five terrible hours commencing 5 AM Sunday, 3rd, we drove him from his position. I was in the front line to start at them and went through to the last. Fought my Brigade until the final repulse and then took command of other troops as they came up.
If not before, I won promotion last Sunday and if it can be done I think I shall get it. Our NC troops behaved most nobly. Ramseur covered himself and his Brigade with glory. My Brigade behaved magnificently and got cut up terribly. Six out of ten field officers were hit. Two are dead, Cole and Odell. Cols. Scales and McElroy, Lt. Col. Stowe and Maj. McLaughlin were wounded. Four out of the seven Generals of our Division were hit but none seriously. Hill, Heth, Pender, and McGowan. I was hit the next day while standing behind entrenchments in a miserable skirmish, but it is only a very slight bruise by a spent ball which killed a fine young officer standing in front of me. It is on the right arm near the shoulder.
We took over 6,000 prisoners and between 15 and 2 pieces of cannon and lots of small arms. I will write you more of the fight in my next letter for I am very tired and sleepy now. We only got to camp this afternoon. Gen. Hill is in command of the Corps and I of Archer’s, McGowan’s, Lane’s and my own Brigades. This last is temporary. Stuart commanded the Corps ion the Sunday fight, Gen. Hill being unable to ride horseback and right noble did Stuart do. He is now going after Stoneman’s cavalry. We may have some rest now, at least for a week or so. We had about 30,000 in the fight, and they not less than 65,000. This is Chancellorsville. Near Fredericksburg Sunday afternoon Gen. Lee had about 22,000 and Sedgwick about 30,000. You will have to read closely to understand for our Army had three or four fights, all of which were completely and wholly successful.
Our papers in Richmond made themselves disgustingly ridiculous. Honey, thank your Gracious Father for his great protection to me. My love to you all. I will write again tomorrow or next day. I saw Ham and Willie today. God bless you my dear.
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).
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