Confederate major general. Died of complications from
wounds received at battle of Gettysburg.
William Dorsey Pender was born in Edgecomb County, North Carolina. He entered West Point at the age of sixteen and graduated in the Class of 1854.
Pender was assigned to the West Coast, and participated in a number of skirmishes with the Indians. He was a first lieutenant when he resigned from the U.S. Army in March of 1861.
Pender entered Confederate service as colonel of the 3rd (later 13th) North Carolina Infantry. After his performance at Seven Pines, he was promoted to brigadier general and given a brigade in A.P. Hill's division. He led his brigade through the Seven Days and at Chancellorsville. During this time, he was wounded three times.
Pender was promoted to major general and commanded a division of the 3rd Corps under A.P. Hill at Gettysburg.
On the first day, Pender's division, along with Heth's, forced Doubleday's corps off of McPherson's Ridge, west of the town of Gettysburg. On the afternoon of the second day, A.P. Hill sent Pender into a follow-up attack on Seminary Hill. His division swept the defenders from the hill in a matter of minutes. Later in the afternoon, Pender received a shrapnel wound in the leg. It was not considered to be life-threatening.
The leg became infected as he was being transported to Staunton, Virginia. The leg was amputated there, but he died subsequent to the operation, on July 18, 1863.
At the time of his death, he was widely considered one of the outstanding younger generals in the Confederate Army.
General Pender is buried in the yard of the Calvary Church at Tarboro, North Carolina.
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