Item Description: Letter from William Nelson Pendleton to his daughter who is abroad. He writes about Confederate losses and the slowly dwindling morale of the people.
Item Citation: Folder 43, in the William Nelson Pendleton Papers, #1466, Southern Historical Society, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Hd Qr Arty Corps Petersburg Va
Jany 11th, 1865
My Beloved Daughter
Your letter from Nassan of Decr 16th reached last week and gave me great pleasure from the assurance that Genl Edwin and James if were they far safe. I had not suffered much from anxiety on your account, as somehow I had the feeling you would be taken care of. Still it is a great comfort to know that you are so far at least safe from Yankee outrage. The perils of the sea are in my estimation as nothing in comparison with even a moderate risk of falling into the hands of that perfidious, canting, cowardly, and cruel race.
Your letter I sent immediately to yr Ma. She had not received the one you sent directly to her, when she wrote the last letter I have from her 5th. By the time I hope she has both. They were all well when she wrote. The baby she says is improving rapidly. You will infer from my mode of speaking that I have not been able to visit them. At the time of my application, just before Cmas, Genl Lee thought my presence needed with the Army and impossible as it is for any active movements to take place here now on either side, he seems to object to my being away. So that I have to make a virtue of necessity and deny myself the happiness of seeing them all at home. I have just written for yr Ma and Mary to come down as soon as they can, advising them to take the Staunton route, as the canal is precarious in winter on account of ice. It will be, I reckon, two weeks or more before they can get here.
You must try, my daughter, and enjoy your foreign sojourn, sofar at least as not to lose the benefits of it, intellectually as well as physically. The sadness we all experience from the untimely removal of Dear Sandy, although natural, ought not to be indulged, because it is too far a selfish condition of thought and feelings. We are almost as sure of his being. Though the all sufficiency of his Savior and ? in heaven, as we are that so blessed as about has been prepared for God’s servants and this assurance rightly cherished way will authorize the most cheerful state of heart we can cultivate.
You hardly know, I suppose, what to believe, of the report from Yankee source, concerning military affairs. Their systematized falsehoods are so shameless and so notorious that all the world must distrust them. And yet there are some serious reverses to us which they chronicle that are only too true. It is still fact that Sherman got safely through Georgia, doing a great deal of damage to the country on his route. It is also true that Hood met a severe disaster at Nashville. Chiefly we suffer through an injudicious arrangement of his army. Indeed nobody of sense even dreamed of his wandering off so far leaving Sherman unimpeded and without the chance of doing anything of value even if he should succeed to the utmost. He seems to have gotten back safely across the Tennessee, with reduced army and affluence. What he will be able to do, we shall see after a time. Sherman has also taken possession of Savannah. One force there not strong enough to defeat him was wisely withdrawn and the place given up. At present our forces confront him on the line between Savannah and Charleston, and stirring times are anticipated in that quarter.
These misfortunes have rather darkened our skies for a season and occasioned some despondency in the minds of a portion of the people. While they seem to have made the Yankees more arrogant and offensive than ever, they have not, however, abated one jot of our resolution to resist Yankee domination to the last and to achieve that independence which is our birthright, cost what it may. Nor am I also confident than feel to fine of the result. We shall suffer much and have much before as a long time of trial. But the bridge will be severed and it is worth all the sacrifice. One army here remains much as it was. Grant can gain nothing. He had a jubilation on the 2nd over the blowing out of the bulkhead of earth at the ? and of his canal. But it came to nothing. The earth fell back and will have to be dredged at. And that will be ahead of ration under fire of our batteries. On the whole, although our affairs are not bright as one had hoped, and as with management everywhere to God seen in this line. They might have been, we begin this year with sufficient resources and with an unyielding spirit so that by the blessing of that God whom we confidently invoke to judge between us and our enemies, as the God of justice and truth, we shall yet frustrate their iniquitous scheme of plunder; subjugation or ? aggrandizement and long cherished ?.
Let we hear from you when you can. I am rather apprehensive the climate may not suit Genl Edwin. If he thinks of visiting Canada, he had better try it in the dry season of winter than in the variable spring month. Did he receive a letter Willie Gardiner sent to his sister, my cousin Lou?
There other things to say but my mail messenger waits, and I must get this off and defer the balance till next time. Tell us about your Sundays, what services you attend and the preaching you hear. My hearts desire and prayers for you both is that you may here with yr God’s gracious blessing and a constant peace- imparting sense of his forwarding presence.
Ever yr fond father
W. N. Pendleton