Confederate General William Dorsey Pender
The Hope of Glory
Publication Year: 2013
During the Civil War, North Carolinian William Dorsey Pender established himself as one of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's best young generals. He served in most of the significant engagements of the war in the eastern theater while under the command of Joseph E. Johnston at Seven Pines and Robert E. Lee from the Seven Days to Gettysburg. His most crucial contributions to Confederate success came at the battles of Second Manassas, Shepherdstown, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. After an effective first day at Gettysburg, Pender was struck by a shell and disabled, necessitating his return to Virginia for what he hoped would be only an extended convalescence. Although Pender initially survived the wound, he died soon thereafter due to complications from his injury.
In this thorough biography of Pender, noted Civil War historian Brian Steel Wills examines both the young general's military career and his domestic life. While Pender devoted himself to military service, he also embraced the Episcopal Church and was baptized before his command in the field. According to Wills, Pender had an insatiable quest for "glory" in both earthly and heavenly realms, and he delighted in his role as a husband and father. In Pender's voluminous correspondence with his wife, Fanny, he shared his beliefs and offered views and opinions on a vast array of subjects. In the end, Wills suggests that Pender's story captures both the idealistic promise and the despair of a war that cost the lives of many Americans and changed the nation forever.
Published by: Louisiana State University Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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...8 “I Know You Will Hate to Hear This” (July–September 1862) 1519 “Drive Those Scoundrels Out” (September–December 1862) 16810 “You Must Hold Your Ground, Sir!” (January–May 1863) 190...
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
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...that survived the war. Pender established a reputation within the Army of Northern Virginia as one of Robert E. Lee’s ablest young battlefield gener-als, willingly thrusting himself into harm’s way and experiencing numerous wartime injuries before sustaining a fatal one as a result of the fighting at Gettysburg. What he might have thought as the war turned from that “high ...
INTRODUCTION: Lee’s Fighting Carolinian
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...obert E. Lee had every reason to be distressed in the summer of 1863 as he tallied the butcher’s bill of the three-day battlefield or-deal of Gettysburg, particularly with regard to the toll it had taken on his command structure. In the past others had stepped forward to fill the void left by those who had fallen, but in terms of numbers and tal-...
1 Young Pender (1834–54)
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...—one of cadet william dorsey pender’s west point infractionscommunity of Tarboro, in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. James engaged in farming as his principle occupation and owned a substantial amount of property along Town Creek. He and Sarah also raised a family, adding a son to it on February 6, 1834. Dorsey, as he was known in family circles, was the ...
2 First Blood (1854–58)
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...o much of the world lay before William Dorsey Pender as he celebrated his matriculation from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He had challenged himself successfully, and his reward was a commis-sion in the nation’s armed forces. In the service of his country, he was about to be required to travel great distances, to be introduced to adven-...
3 “Unexplored Country” (1858–61)
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Fighting is supposed to be my profession, and my wife must get used to the idea.ieutenant Pender had emerged from his trial by combat unscathed. through an “unexplored country” to Fanny in terms that reflected the exhilaration and sense of adventure he felt as a soldier and that served, unwittingly to him perhaps, as a metaphor for his life. But the chal-...
4 A “Lion” Roars (March–June 1861)
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...n the spring of 1861, Dorsey Pender found himself in danger of languish-ing in the backwater of any conflict that might emerge despite the bold action he had taken in resigning his commission before his state had left the Union. He tried to remedy this situation by first traveling to Raleigh to see Governor John W. Ellis in the hopes of obtaining a field command. He ...
5 “My Dancing Days Are Over” (July 1861–February 1862)
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...olonel W. D. Pender must have reeled from the blow that the letter from his wife dated June 30, 1861, represented. Trained to endure from the arsenal of an opposing warrior, but from the pen of the dearest creature he knew. Dorsey was devastated. “I have loved life dearly, but tonight I feel that this war had no terrors to me,” he scribbled as part of a brief ...
6 A Presidential Salute (February–June 1862)
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I can manage my men in camp, on the march, and at drill, but it remains —president davis to colonel pender on the field at seven pinesorsey Pender was disappointed that his wife and family could not to wait indefinitely, and when they finally arrived, he had seven familial embrace. All too quickly, though, the time passed until Fanny and the ...
7 “Mrs. W. D. Pender’s Husband” (June–July 1862)
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When you mount the enemy’s works, I will be with you, if living.He asked me to tell him candidly if I thought he was fit to command the Brigade.orsey Pender had experienced a religious baptism in October 1861; the following spring he received a military one on a scale he had not previously experienced. The latter came as he left the comparative ...
8 “I Know You Will Hate to Hear This” (July–September 1862)
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...spending a short time with his beloved Fanny and their children there was no substitute for being in her arms. Unhappily for the couple, the time they had together proved terribly fleeting. By the end of July 1862, he was racing to rejoin his men as they marched toward new fields of action. “I am just in time here,” he wrote in a hasty note to Fanny at the end of the month, “for ...
9 “Drive Those Scoundrels Out” (September–December 1862)
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The men seem to think I am fond of fighting. They say I give them ing to his troops and staﬀ oﬃcers, his wife and family, his the battlefield again in one of the highest stakes gambles of the war thus far. General Lee was prepared to do something drastic in the fall of 1862. Perhaps by taking the war into northern territory, he could put pressure on the major ...
10 “You Must Hold Your Ground, Sir!” (January–May 1863)
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...winter weather and bad roads kept the army transfixed. Even so, the time they shared together was not entirely carefree. General Burn-side contemplated another crossing of the Rappahannock which he hoped would redeem the blood spilled at Fredericksburg. By mid-January 1863, the Federal commander seemed prepared to take his chances, but then even ...
11 “I Am Tired of Invasions” (May–July 1863)
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Pender is an excellent oﬃcer, attentive, industrious, and brave.Tell my wife I do not fear to die. . . . My only regret is to leave her and our children. I have always tried to do my duty in every sphere of life in which Providence has placed me.obert E. Lee had been too long around history himself not to un-derstand the odds that were gathering against him in waging a suc-...
EPILOGUE: A “Good Fight” Finished and Remembered
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I have fought a good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith.Gen. Pender died at Staunton. I am sorry for his poor wife—write to her.he mortal remains of William Dorsey Pender reached the Confeder-ate capital late on July 19, 1863. Several Richmond newspapers took note of the body’s arrival by way of the central train and its repose ...
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Fig. 1. A pencil in his possession illustrated Dorsey Pender’s penchant for writing letters to his wife, Fanny, that reflected his views and values. Fig. 2. One of the strongest elements that characterized the young North Carolinian’s life was his military service, with the dents in his scabbard reflecting his willingness to enter the fray and expose himself to danger. ...
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Ashe-Pender, CWC S. A. Ashe, Reminiscences, “Wm. Dorsey Pender,” Folder 45, Box 71, CWCClark, North Carolina Walter Clark, Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from Regiments North Carolina in the Great War 1861–’65, 5 vols. (Raleigh: E. M. Uzell, Hassler, The General William Dorsey Pender, The General to His Lady: The Civil War Letters of NCSA North Carolina State Archives, Division of Archives and History, Raleigh...
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Eleanor S. Brockenbrough Library, Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, Va.M270, Compiled Service Records of Confederate Volunteers Who Served during M331, Correspondence, Reports, Etc., General Staﬀ Oﬃcers, CSA.M567, Correspondence, Letters Received, Oﬃce of the Adjutant General, 1822–60.M619, Correspondence, Letters Received, Oﬃce of the Adjutant General, 1861–70....
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Page Count: 336
Illustrations: 11 halftones, 8 maps
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War