Alexander Biddle was a member of the prominent Philadelphia Biddle family and was married to Julia Williams Rush, the granddaughter of Dr. Benjamin Rush. A businessman and member of the First Troop Philadelphia City Calvary before the war, Biddle entered Civil War service with the 121st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry on September 1, 1862. Starting out as a a major, he would fight at Fredericksburg and Gettysburg, among other engagements, and would leave the service as a lieutenant colonel. (He was commissioned, but never mustered, as colonel)
[Note: this statement has been updated to reflect that Biddle was not mustered as a colonel. It also originally mistakenly stated Biddle was also at Chancellorsville, but he was on leave]
Oct. 31st 1862
Road to Leesburg
Camp in the field
Yesterday Thursday the 30th Oct we broke up our camp at Berlin to march at ½ past 6 Oclock in the morning. We commencing packing at ½ past 4 A.M. breakfasted and marched after the sixth reserves – We got in front of the 5th Reserves Col Fisher who ought to have been before us – We crossed the Pontoon bridge at Berlin and marched towards Leesburg in the valley which separates the Catocton Ridge from the South M. Ridge the country is very beautiful – hill & dale and is as pretty as any country could be, we moved at the same time as Genl. Burnside’s Corps which is on our sight but is not in sight. We marched through by roads and across fields and now find ourselves about 10 miles from Leesburg – with the Catocton creek just in the foot of the valley – but out of sight although but ¼ of a mile distant the road through. Waterford to Leesburg is in sight near us. We are encamped in a large field near the crest of a hill on the South, we are out of sight on the northern slope of the hill – the pickets being thrown out on the other side. Last night we rose to a farm house on the other side of the Catoctons to supper – on out way the Guard stopped us at the store of a man named Suckett who is stated to be a good Union man but others say his daughters are all Secesh. he has seven they say. His was robbed by some of the Reserves when we first arrived and they say he lost $200 – and some goods – We got permission by sending to the General to go on and rode down to the Catocton which we crossed and went to a farm house to supper – they gave us a pretty good supper and were very kind to us – they were plain farmers and the master of the house said his name was Philip Snoots – corn cakes & honey were very acceptable.
Citation: Alexander Biddle (1819-1899), autograph letter signed to Julia Williams Rush Biddle. 31 October 1862. Rush:IV:30:24