Camp near Yorktown, Va., April 26th, 1862
My dear Wife
Your letters of the 7th and 8th were received yesterday. The one of the 7th I can say I had rather not have received, for before I did not know how much I had injured you and also how much you were hurt by it. The letter was unjustifiable and deserved the strongest condemnation, and I have heartily repented of ever having written it. I can only hope the feeling and indignation it must have produced have as entirely passed away as the feeling that caused it to be written. I have felt very badly about it since yesterday. I will only say in David’s defense that however unjustifiable in writing what he did, I cannot think he wished to produce trouble between us. I was as much to blame for causing it as he was in writing me.
Harris returned yesterday bringing my shirts. You will not believe me when I say that they are just the thing in every point: color, material, and fit. You could not have hit it better. I am perfectly delighted with them. I think of sending Harris to Ashland Monday after the balance of my things….
Our troops are suffering a great many hardships here. We are very comfortable compared to most of them. We have no picket or trench duty. Nothing but to rest and enjoy ourselves preparatory to finishing the fight when the others have been in it some time. The reserve have to give the final decisive blow.
Honey, I really did not mean anything when I wrote that I thought Jake had been very undecided. Maj. Hill was so anxious for him to come on. Gen. Whiting I think stood in his way, saying he would not allow it; for what reason I know not unless it was because they had a man who had been doing the duty for nearly a year, who he might have thought ought to have it.
I am getting very anxious to see you my dear wife, more so than I have for a long, long while. I do not know why just now, but I long very much to see you, probably because I want to see for myself that you have not lost your love and good opinion of me and that my unjust and foolish letter is not to be the cause of any future disturbances or disagreement between us on any point. We are about as near cut off from all communication with the word as we could well be. Our mail all seems to come by chance and I have not yet been able to find out from what post office it came. Jake wants Pamela to account for her silence towards him as she has not written to him yet. He send his love to all.
We are in considerable uncertainty as to the safety of New Orleans. Will not the danger it seems to be in probably hurry up Helen’s movements northward. I am glad you are getting so much stronger. Now do not stop taking the iron as soon as you get a little better, but continue until you get very strong, sufficiently so to walk miles. You need not trouble yourself about the shirts, for when these I have wear out, you can make me some of flannel which will be just as good. What are you going to do about your machine. I think you had as well keep it, for there is no certainty of getting another as cheap when you want it. I did not suppose my indebtedness to D. Pender & Co. so great myself, but I had no idea of what it was. I will write again tomorrow night if I send Harris off. My dear wife, good night and pleasant dreams to you. God bless you all. Our love to all.
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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