Wife of Confederate Officer Alexander Swift PendletonCatherine Carter Corbin was born in July 1839 at the family home, Laneville, in King and Queen County, Virginia. Alexander (Sandie) Pendleton was born September 28, 1840, near Alexandria, Virginia, the only son of Episcopal minister and future Confederate General William N. Pendleton and his wife Anzolette Elizabeth Page. He spent his childhood in Maryland before his father became rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Lexington, Virginia, in October 1853.
Image: Victory Rode the Rails
Artist Mort Kunstler wrote about this painting:
During the Civil War, the structure [in the background] was the railroad station for the town, at that time called Piedmont Station. It was here that Brigadier General Thomas J. [Stonewall] Jackson and his troops boarded the train that would take them to the battle of First Manassas and everlasting fame... In the center of interest General Jackson sits on Little Sorrel giving orders to his loyal aide, Sandie Pendleton, who is accompanied by Jackson's chief surgeon, Dr. Hunter McGuire. General Jackson still wears his blue VMI uniform.
In 1857, Sandie Pendleton graduated from Washington College in Lexington. There he first met Thomas Jonathan Jackson, who later gained iconic status in Confederate history as Stonewall Jackson, who was then on the faculty of the Virginia Military Institute. Sandie and Jackson belonged to the same literary society.
Two years later Sandie entered the University of Virginia to pursue a master's degree. His graduate studies and plans to enter the ministry were cut short, however, when Virginia seceded from the Union in April 1861.
Pendleton in the Civil War
Sandie Pendleton received a commission as second lieutenant in the Provisional Army of Virginia and reported to Harper's Ferry on June 14, 1861. Within weeks, General Stonewall Jackson - who remembered Sandie from their days in Lexington - asked Sandie to join his staff as a brigade ordnance officer. Pendleton became Jackson's de facto chief of staff during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862, and their relationship was a close one - it was said that Jackson "loved him like a son."
Pendleton was an inspired choice. He was equally comfortable in battle, relaying orders or encouraging troops, on the march coordinating officers and units, or in camp handling the endless correspondence and other paperwork required to make the army run.
Jackson prized Pendleton's intelligence, attention to detail, and boundless energy. When asked for information about several lower-ranking officers, Jackson replied, "Ask Sandie Pendleton. If he does not know, no one does." A. Cash Koeniger has observed that Pendleton was one of only a few officers, most of them "notable for their pronounced faith in God" as well as for their devotion to duty, who got along well with the general. Jackson recommended Pendleton for promotion to captain just after the end of the Valley Campaign.
Pendleton was with Jackson at the Seven Days' Battles during the summer of 1862, and missed the Second Manassas Campaign in August on sick leave, but had returned to duty when General Robert E. Lee first invaded the North and the Battle of Antietam in Maryland on September 17.
At one point during the battle, Pendleton described the scene:
Such a storm of balls I never conceived it possible for men to live through. Shot and shell shrieking and crashing, canister and bullets whistling and hissing most fiend-like through the air until you could almost see them. In that mile's ride I never expected to come back alive.After being slightly wounded at Fredericksburg in December 1862, Pendleton was promoted to major and permanent assignment as assistant adjutant general in the Army of Northern Virginia's new Second Corps, commanded by Jackson. The two men became almost inseparable.
Built for well-known Virginian James Parke Corbin, the house at Moss Neck Plantation, near Fredericksburg, in Caroline County, Virginia, was completed in 1856. The sprawling 9000-square-foot house is 225 feet long, and features a columned front veranda.
In 1862 it was the residence of the builder's son Richard Corbin, who was away serving as a private in the 9th Virginia Cavalry. Living at Moss Neck that cold winter was Richard's young wife Roberta, their young daughter Janie and Richard's attractive twenty-three-old sister Kate Corbin.
Moss Neck was used as General Stonewall Jackson's winter headquarters from December 1862 through March 1863. The general declined the indulgence of staying inside the mansion for more than one night, choosing to share the conditions outdoors with his men. The house was "too luxurious for a soldier, who should sleep in a tent," Jackson was quoted as saying.
Jackson's personal headquarters was in a wood frame building on the grounds. Historians say that Jackson and tens of thousands of his soldiers camped out on the rolling hills of the estate, which was originally thousands of acres. To help them survive the winter, the troops felled many of the homestead's trees to make log huts.
Sandie Pendleton met Kate Corbin at Moss Neck that winter. They were engaged prior to the Chancellorsville campaign in May 1863, and were married in December of that year.
On Christmas Day 1862, two of the most celebrated names of the Confederacy came together to celebrate the birth of their Savior in the midst of the Civil War. It was on this most sacred of holidays that General Robert E. Lee accepted an invitation to dine with General Jackson at his winter headquarters on the grounds of Moss Neck Plantation.
After sharing a meal at the outbuilding that had been used as Jackson's office, General Lee bid farewell and proceeded toward his own headquarters. While departing, the general passed a parade of guests who were arriving for a holiday party at the main house.
Artist Mort Kunstler's painting, Merry Christmas General Lee, depicts General Robert E. Lee departing Moss Neck Plantation following a Christmas dinner with General Jackson. Most likely experiencing surprise and awe, many of the guests stopped in their tracks to offer a Merry Christmas to the legendary rider passing them.
At the Battle of Chancellorsville, Sandie Pendleton was on another part of the battlefield, and was not with Jackson on the evening of May 2, 1863, when he was accidentally shot by Confederate pickets. General Jackson died a few days later following the amputation of his left arm.
Sandie Pendleton dressed Jackson's body for burial after his death from the wounds he had received at Chancellorsville, and he was a pallbearer at Jackson's funeral. "God knows," Pendleton told Jackson's wife Mary Anna Morrison Jackson, "I would have died for him."
Pendleton tendered his resignation, believing that Jackson's successor, General Richard S. Ewell would choose his own staff, but Ewell kept him, recommending him for promotion to lieutenant colonel and chief of staff in August 1863.
When Lee replaced Ewell with General Jubal A. Early in May 1864, Pendleton kept the same position. He accompanied Early during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 with a new Army of the Valley, created with the Second Corps as its nucleus.
Battle of Fisher's Hill
Following his defeat at the Battle of Third Winchester on September 19, 1864, General Early withdrew and took up strong defensive positions at Fisher's Hill, south of Strasburg. On September 21, the Federal army advanced, driving back skirmishers and capturing important high ground opposite the Confederate works.
The following day, USA General George Crook's Federal VIII Corps, hidden from Confederate view, moved along North Mountain to outflank the left of Early's line. About 4:00 pm, Crook attacked Early's flank, held only by Confederate cavalry who offered little resistance. As Crook began to roll up the Confederate line, Sheridan ordered a frontal assault.
Facing overwhelming force from the front and rear, the Confederate defenders broke and ran to avoid capture. During the retreat, Colonel Sandie Pendleton received a mortal gunshot wound to the abdomen while trying to rally Confederate troops who were streaming to the rear.
Lieutenant Colonel Sandie Pendleton died September 23, 1864, six days short of his 24th birthday.
Initially buried near the battlefield, Sandie Pendleton's body was exhumed and returned to his family. On October 24, 1864, his parents and his wife of 9 months attended his reburial near General Jackson's grave at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia.
Kate Corbin Pendleton was expecting their first child when Sandie was mortally wounded at Fisher's Hill. In November 1864, Kate gave birth to a son she named Sandie, but the child contracted diphtheria and died in September 1865.
Kate has been quoted as saying: "I wonder people's hearts don't break. When they have ached and ached as mine has done till feeling seems to be almost worn out of them. My poor empty arms, with their sweet burden torn away forever."
On March 14, 1871, Kate Corbin Pendleton remarried to John Mercer Brooke, an American sailor, engineer, scientist, and educator, who was instrumental in the creation of the Transatlantic Cable, and was a noted marine and military innovator. Brooke was professor of physics and astronomy at the Virginia Military Institute until 1899.
John and Kate had three children: George Mercer Brooke, Rosa Johnston Brooke and Richard Corbin Brooke.
Kate Corbin Pendleton Brooke died in 1918 at Staten Island, New York. She and John Mercer Brooke are buried beside each other in the Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, VA.
Sandie Pendleton was portrayed by Jeremy London in the Civil War movie, Gods and Generals, and Moss Neck Plantation wad shown in the film as well.
The Washington Post
Virginia Military Instute
Wikipedia: Sandie Pendleton
Encyclopedia Virginia: Alexander S. Pendleton
Fredericksburg.com: At Moss Neck, it's 1856 Again