Camp nearRichmond,Va., May 25th, 1862
My dear Wife
I this evening took the finishing step towards making myself a member of Christ’s Church in this world, and may I prove myself worthy of the privilege. I was confirmed this evening at the Monumental Church by Bishop [John] Johns. I know you will be pleased to hear of this pledge of my earnestness in trying to be a Christian steward, tho’ darling that is much easier to conform to the outward forms than the inward, and all important, man, but by God’s help I pray I may come in the future to everlasting salvation. I find that the company of Mr. Stuart is of great benefit to me. He is a good man with good men.
Darling do you not pity me. I have not heard a word from you since the 8th. I am so anxious to hear but I will not allow myself to think there is anything wrong except in the mails.
Our affairs have about come to a crisis. The bubble must burst in comparatively a few hours. We all look for the all important battle to-morrow, as our troops are only a mile or so apart and there has been great activity in movement of troops on both sides today. I write to you fully because I know you are a woman of too much good sense to wish otherwise or for it to be prudent to retain from you anything. I know you are brave enough to look the thing squarely in the face. Let us hope for the best. All our people feel very confident, but a great many, of course, will bite the dust before the battle shall be ended. They have a great many more men than we, but atWilliamsburgthey had more than twice our number and were fresher than our troops and still they were badly whipped. They admit a loss of over four thousand while we did not lose two thousand. If you hear of fighting and should not hear from me, do not feel uneasy for it will be impossible for me to communicate until things shall quiet down a bit. Be of good cheer and rest assured that He who knows of the falling of a sparrow will direct all things for the best, however hard they may be to bear. I can truly say, that in my life I can see wherein He has directed it has been for my good. When it has been to the contrary it has been the result of letting the evil one get dominion over me.
My dear wife I should so like to see you, if for only one moment to give you a good embrace and to assure you of my undying love and admiration for you. Kiss the dear little boys and tell them of their father and how he intends to raise them to be good men. My love to all the family. Jake is getting on famously, much better he says than he expected. His mess has a negro to cook for them. Write me often and do not forget to address to the Regt. and Brigade. May the Lord have mercy upon us.
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