Camp Gregg, Va.,
April 26, 1863
My precious Wife
Your sweet letter of the 22nd came today, and of course it was a great treat. You do not know what an influence your letters have on me; if they are cheerful so am I, and if the contrary, so it is with me…
I have just received a bill from Richmond for a syringe and 5 cakes of soap. They will be sent by express.
David wrote me that Ruth’s husband had been sent to Richmond and sold. He ran away and his mistress promised brother Robert that she would sell him to him – for me- but as soon as he came in, he was sent off to Richmond, and they will not tell him to whom he was sold. I have advertised to find out where he is. I do not care so much to own him , but Beck is dear to me, and I hate to see her husband whom she seems to love, torn from her in that way. This separating man and wife is a most cruel thing and almost enough to make one an abolitionist. I know you will approve my trying to buy him. David Also wrote, “My family is well with family prospects brightening,” and adds that the same thing that elated him makes us rather down hearted.
I approve your sending the bill to brother Robert. It will either make him ashamed of himself, which it ought to, or it will furnish him with information that he desires. It may teach him a little lesson, namely to forget sometimes that he is a business man, bringing every transaction down to cents. If he is my brother I must say it was a very small think in him. He is though, a purely business man and brings every transaction down to it, He has been generous in his way to me.
I suppose I hope that D.H. Hill and Longstreet were never intended to take the places they surrounded. I hear that the latter is getting a large quantity of stores around Suffolk. The loss of Stricklands’ Battery was a very ugly thing and does but little credit to the General responsible in the matter. The idea of sending a Battery two miles from any support.
I went to Communion this morning and altho’ I did not feel that I was prepared I thought it would be more excusable in me partaking, and trying the harder afterwards, particularly as I may not have an opportunity again soon. I hope my feeling of utter worthlessness and shame at being caught as it were, will have a good effect. I went this afternoon to hear Mr. Patterson and I was very much pleased. He is a little queer, but preached a good sound sermon, one that would be likely to strike home to every hearer. Mr. Williams is about the best preacher I know. His sermons are always good and I sincerely hope to get him.
I am sorry to have raised, if I did, any hopes in you of a future home, for the idea of my buying a farm looked so ridiculous that I did not have the face to send my letter to brother Robert. But we will try to save and buy one, some of these days. I do not despair for I am learning the value of money. I hold tight to it and a few more lessons will make me pretty proficient, at least in keeping what I get.
Honey let us hope that the next offspring will be such as you wish. We have more grounds to expect it than the contrary, for it scarcely happens that all are boys. I am very glad you have become so well reconciled to your condition. You will not be worse off than many others.
I cannot bear the idea of your becoming broken and old looking, not my own dear that I shall love you any the less, for my love does not depend upon your looks, but I love you for your love, and goodness.
My love to all and may God bless you my precious darling.
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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