Camp 5 miles of Richmond,Va., June, 8th 1862
My dear Wife
I hope by this you have had the pleasure of seeing Jake all fresh from the battle. I can write but little as my mind is pretty well taken up with pickets, abates, roads, rations, and such small sanitary details. My Brigade is on advance duty and I consequently have but little time to think of outside matters, but always time to think of, if not to write to, you. The enemy kicked up some shims this morning as if they wished to make an attack upon our front, but Col.[S.D.] Lee with some of his shell soon put them to flight, but with what loss we cannot tell. Our people found on the ground after they had left, 10 or 12 dead and one wounded.
I hope to get off this duty tomorrow when I shall have time to rest and write and fix up generally. Here I sleep with boots and all on. I did not tell you that I was indebted I believe to Gen. Whiting for my promotion. He took advantage of the first opportunity to press my promotion upon the President. He is going to try to have Stephen Lee made Brigadier. So I fear Mrs. Lee, nee Sheppard, will be as big a lady as your ladyship. I hope you have not put on the airs you threaten me with. And honey, what about the velvet cloak, can you not wait awhile longer? Money is very scarce and debts are heavy. Please let me off with such an expensive one.
We have heard by Flag of Truce that Gen. Pettigrew is not dead. He is said to be severely wounded but out of danger. Cols. Lightfoot and [J.O.] Long both of the 22nd N.C. of this Brigade are reported as prisoners and well.
Mrs. [Rose] Greenhow—the celebrated [Southern agent]—came to City Point below Richmond by flag of truce on Sunday, June 1st and she states that the loss of the enemy Saturday was very heavy and that they lost two Generals of Division killed. You will hear that our Army lost 10, 000 and all that sort of thing, do not believe a word of it. We did not have 1000 killed in the whole affair. 5000 will more than cover the loss—as officially reported, but a great number were put down as missing, who had run back to Richmond, and it was remarkable that the wounds were very slight. Mostly in the limbs and but few, very few, of those who had to be amputated. Gen. Whiting told me that from what had been heard, the enemy lost two or three to our one. I give you the above to show what exaggerated reports get out.
I am very sorry Darling that things should have turned out so you cannot feel towards David as you did. I know he was not actuated by any mean or ungentlemanly motives and he is to me a devoted and kind brother. I know him to be a high minded, generous man. He said when here the other day that they never heard from you except through me, meaning I suppose rarely heard. He said it in a sad way. The whole thing seems to have been unfortunate. It has caused me many unhappy moments to think that my wife, the dearest object on earth, and my most beloved relative are never to get on well together, for entertaining the opinion of him that you do, the less you have to do with each other the better. But I will drop this unpleasant subject. I do not desire to draw you out upon it.
I hope you like Mr. Stuart, and have had your likeness taken so as to send it to me. Today is Sunday and how I wish this horrible war was over so we could be about this hour returning from some village church with our boys in the door waiting to welcome us. May God grant us yet such earthly happiness and in the world to come life everlasting. Give my love to all and to the young lads a kiss apiece.
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