On July 2, at Gettysburg General William Dorsey Pender was riding among his lines to familiarize himself better with the lay of the land before him. His troops were now all up, and he expected at any time to receive orders to engage the enemy. While dismounted he was struck by a Federal shell, the wound would prove mortal. He died July 18, 1863.
When news of Pender’s death circulated through the army he had left behind, the universal response was grief tinged with regret. Everyone who knew him, and many of those who only knew of him, realized that the Confederacy had lost one of its ablest and, at the same time, one of its most promising officers. Pender’s achievements were well known; in time they would take on almost legendary proportions. Yet his loss was made more painful by the widespread belief that when he went down, greater things lay in store before him. He had transitioned easily from regimental to brigade to divisional command. There was no doubt in the minds of Lee or any of his senior subordinates that Pender was destined for fame and glory as a Corps commander, if not a higher position.
The eulogies that poured in after his passing praised both his accomplishments and his potential. Colonel (later General) Perrin believed that, although new to the rank, Pender “was the best Major General in the Army…He was brave, energetic, a thorough disciplinarian & in fact everything that a soldier should be. His place will be hard to fill…” A.P. Hill, whose sense of loss was personal as well as professional, assessed Pender’s value with mournful eloquence: “No man fell during this bloody battle of Gettysburg more regretted than he, nor around whose youthful brow were clustered brighter rays of glory.”
Pender’s importance to his army was such that in postwar years grandiose praise was attributed to his army commander. Brigadier General Gabriel C. Wharton, who never served in the Army of Northern Virginia, declared that sometime in 1864 or early 1865, Lee admitted to having erred in invading Pennsylvania but expressed confidence that “we would have succeeded had Pender lived.” And in 1893, Pender’s friend William Gaston Lewis quoted Lee to the effect that “General Pender was the only officer in the army that could completely fill the place of ‘Stonewall’ Jackson.”
Wharton’s and Lewis’s memories may not have been fully accurate, or may have been subject to exaggeration. A more reliable postwar epitaph was rendered by Captain Ashe of Pender’s staff, who regretted that his commander’s name was not better known. However, had Pender survived Gettysburg, “he, too, would have attained a world-wide fame, and would have taken his place among the great Generals of his age.”
Of the scores of tributes paid him in death, it is likely that William Dorsey Pender would have preferred the most succinct. Engraved on his tomb in Calvary Cemetery, Tarboro, North Carolina, are nine words that go far toward summing up his life and career: “Patriot by Nature, Soldier by Training, Christian by Faith.”
Men of The Texas Division:
As you all know, the sale/move of the Museum of The Confederacy in Richmond has been in the news for some time. It appears now that the time is drawing near for this to happen. We are all very concerned about this and many of you have contacted me with questions on this subject. I have no definitive word for you except that our National leadership is working very hard to protect our historical articles . I have been in contact with National and want to assure you that they are very actively pursuing and studying all possible solutions.
We, as members, should be prepared to support whatever course of action our National leadership determines. This support may include financial donations or any other activities requested. I ask that each of you be prepared to respond with the courage and dedication that you have always shown in the past. Our Gallant Ancestors persisted in the face of overwhelming odds and never faltered. We must be prepared to do the same.
We won a battle at Beeville because we were right and members of the Texas Division stepped up and responded when called. We are working daily on the Ft.Lancaster problem and I will possibly be calling on you all for your support in this endeavor. We can never let down our guard in the area of Heritage defense or stop our Heritage offense. As we enter the holiday season, let us rededicate ourselves to fight as never before.
Pray for our National leaders and our Cause.
Merry Christmas, God Bless The South and God Bless you all.
Sons Of Confederate Veterans
April – I suppose the end is near, for there is no more hope for the South to gain her independence. On the 10th of this month we were told by an officer that all those who wished to get out of prison by taking the oath of allegiance to the United States could do so in a very few days. There was quite a consultation among the prisoners. On the morning of the 12th we heard that Lee had surrendered on the 9th, and about 400, myself with them, took the cursed oath and were given transportation to wherever we wanted to go. I took mine to New York City to my parents, whom I have not seen since 1858. Our cause is lost; our comrades who have given their lives for the independence of the South have died in vain; that is, the cause for which they gave their lives is lost, but they positively did not give their lives in vain. They gave it for a most righteous cause, even if the Cause was lost. Those that remain to see the end for which they fought – what have we left? Our sufferings and privations would be nothing had the end been otherwise, for we have suffered hunger, been without sufficient clothing, barefooted, lousy, and have suffered more than any one can believe, except soldiers of the Southern Confederacy. And the end of all is a desolated home to go to. When I commenced this diary of my life as a Confederate soldier I was full of hope for the speedy termination of the war, and our independence. I was not quite nineteen years old. I am now twenty-three. The four years that I have given to my country I do not regret, nor am I sorry for one day that I have given – my only regret is that we have lost that for which we fought. Nor do I for one moment think that we lost it by any other way than by being outnumbered at least five if not ten to one. The world was open to the enemy, but shut out to us. I shall now close this diary in sorrow, but to the last I will say that, although but a private, I still say our Cause was just, nor do I regret one thing that I have done to cripple the North.
In December of 1860 and January of 1861, many newspapers across the North and Midwest simply wanted to “let the South go in peace.” But the bankers, railroads and shippers soon informed the press of the financial implications of Southern independence. The editorial tune changed dramatically in February and March of 1861 to “No, we must NOT let the South go,” and “what about our shipping?” and “what about our revenue?” As the New York Times noted on March 30th,“We were divided and confused until our pockets were touched.” [ See Northern Editorials on Secession, Howard C. Perkins, ed., 1965] The North prevented southern independence because it threatened their financial interests. The South wanted independence for its own best interests, in the tradition of the American Founders. It sought peaceful separation, but fought in self-defense when invaded and blockaded. The Official Big Lie (a war to end slavery) was created and maintained to obscure the overthrow of the Founding Principles, and the true motivations that resulted in tragic and unnecessary death on an epic scale.
“Jackson was always a surprise. Nobody ever understood him, and nobody has ever been quite able to account for him. The members of his own staff, of whom I happen to have known one or two intimately, seem to have failed, quite as completely as the rest of the world, to penetrate his singular and contradictory character. His biographer, Mr. John Esten Cooke, read him more perfectly perhaps than anyone else, but even he, in writing of the hero, evidently views him from the outside. Dr. Dabney, another of Jackson’s historians, gives us a glimpse of the man, in one single aspect of his character, which may be a clue to the whole. “He says there are three kinds of courage, of which two only are bravery. These three varieties of courage are, first, that of the man who is simply insensible of danger; second, that of men who, understanding, appreciating, and fearing danger, meet it boldly nevertheless, from motives of pride; and third, the courage of men keenly alive to danger, who face it simply from a high sense of duty. Of this latter kind, the biographer tells us, was Jackson’s courage, and certainly there can be no better clue to his character than this. Whatever other mysteries there may have been about the man, it is clear that his well-nigh morbid devotion to duty was his ruling characteristic.”
Source: “A Rebel’s Recollections” by George Cary Eggleston, published 187, pages 150-151 http://docsouth.unc.edu/fpn/eggleston/menu.html Photo: Thomas Jonathan (Stonewall) Jackson by Chris Collingwood.
June 7-9, 2013
Host – Lee-Bourland Camp 1848
Friday, June 7, 2013
8:00 AM Lee-Bourland Invitational Golf Tournament
Lunch on your own
1:00 PM-5:30 PM Registration opens
2:00 PM Workshops
5:30 PM Memorial Service
7:00 PM Hors d’oeuvres and entertainment (ticket required)
Saturday, June 8, 2013
Breakfast on your own
7:00 AM Registration Opens
8:30 AM Opening Ceremonies
9:00 AM SCV First Business Session
9:00 AM OCR Annual Meeting
12:00-1:30 PM Awards Luncheon and guest speaker (ticket required)
2:00 PM SCV Second Business Session
3:00 PM Children’s entertainment
6:00 PM Drinks and hors d’oeuvres
6:45 PM Glen Eden Revisited Dinner and ball (ticket required)
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Breakfast on your own
9:00 AM Division Executive Council Meeting
**For more, see http://www.scvtexas.org/State_Convention_6YY5.html