William Nelson Pendleton papers, 1798-1889.

Creator: Pendleton, William Nelson, 1809-1883.
Collection number: 1466
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Abstract: Pendleton was a graduate of the United States Military Academy, an Episcopal clergyman and schoolmaster in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, a Confederate brigadier general, serving under Joseph E. Johnston and Robert E. Lee, and rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Lexington, Va., 1853-1883. Family letters to and from William Nelson Pendleton and his wife, and from his children and Page, Nelson, Pendleton, and other relatives, giving an extensive picture of the private and public life of Virginians through most of the 19th century. The 35 items dated earlier than 1837 are Nelson and Page family letters. Approximately 1,400 items were written during the Civil War years, including military communications among officers in the Virginia theatre of war, correspondence concerning promotions, personal rivalries and criticism among Confederate officers, letters to and from Mrs. Pendleton at Lexington, Va., and other members of the family. There is correspondence before, during, and after the war concerning the Episcopal Church and specifically the affairs of the Lexington church and threats to Pendleton’s tenure as rector, and (from 1870 onwards) Pendleton’s work in raising a Robert E. Lee memorial fund. There are also some papers relating to Pendleton’s life in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland before he came to Lexington in 1853.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Letters cover such topics as his opinions on slavery; slaves building Confederate fortifications (1861); thoughts of slaves on possible Yankee victory (1862); instructions on handling rebellious slaves (1863); the postwar situation with African Americans (1865); and justifications of the institution of slavery using passages from the Bible (1880). The collection also includes an Annual Report of the Pennsylvania Colonization Society (1881).