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Collection Number: 01059

Collection Title: William Dorsey Pender Papers, 1860-1863

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; this finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 202 items)
Abstract William Dorsey Pender, of Edgecombe County, N.C., was a West Point graduate and United States Army officer. He served briefly as colonel of the 3rd North Carolina Infantry Regiment, Confederate States of America, and as a colonel of the 6th North Carolina Infantry Regiment before transferring to A. P. Hill's division and being promoted to major general, May 1863. He participated in many of the major engagements in Virginia and died in July 1863 as the result of a wound received at Gettysburg. The papers are almost entirely letters from William Dorsey Pender to his wife, Mary Frances ("Fanny") Shepperd, daughter of former congressman Augustine H. Shepperd of Forsyth County, N.C. Those of May-August 1860 were written while he was on field duty, in Oregon, to Fanny at Fort Vancouver. Civil War letters were written chiefly from camps in North Carolina and Virginia to Fanny in North Carolina, giving an intimate account of Pender's personal feelings, religious experiences, activities, ambitions, and opinions of his associates and superiors.
Creator Pender, William Dorsey, 1834-1863.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the William Dorsey Pender Papers, #1059, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Most items in this collection have been published in William Hassler, ed., One of Lee’s Best Men: The Civil War Letters of General William Dorsey Pender (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1999).
Acquisitions Information
Received from William C. Pender, February 1946.
Additional Descriptive Resources
A copy of the original finding aid for this collection is filed in folder 1a.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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William Dorsey Pender (1834-1863) of Edgecombe County, N.C., was a West Point graduate and United States Army officer. In 1860 he served with the United States Army in Oregon and other parts of the Western Territory. In March 1861 he decided to join the Confederacy and served briefly as colonel of the 3rd North Carolina Infantry Regiment, Confederate States of America, and as a colonel of the 6th North Carolina Infantry Regiment before transferring to A. P. Hill's division and being promoted to major general, May 1863. He participated in many of the major engagements in Virginia and died in July 1863 as the result of a wound received at Gettysburg.

His wife was Mary Francis ("Fanny") Sheppard Pender, daughter of former congressman Augustine H. Shepperd of Forsyth County, N.C.

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The papers are almost entirely letters, 1860-1863, from William Dorsey Pender to his wife, Fanny. Those of May-August 1860 were written while he was on field duty, in Oregon, to Fanny at Fort Vancouver. Civil War letters were written chiefly from camps in North Carolina and Virginia to Fanny in North Carolina, giving an intimate account of Pender's personal feelings, religious experiences, activities, ambitions, and opinions of his associates and superiors. There is some mention of military engagements and troop movements. The letters of March-May 1861 discuss the early stages of Confederate military organization and the recruitment and training of troops. The collection also includes a biographical sketch, 1877, of William Dorsey Pender written by S. T. Pender.

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Contents list

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Kate Stratton and Jodi Berkowitz, June 2009

Updated for digitization by Kathryn Michaelis, November 2010

This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

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