October 22, 1863: Alexander Biddle to Julia Williams Rush Biddle

Alexander Biddle was a member of the prominent Philadelphia Biddle family and was married to Julia Williams Rush,  the granddaughter of Dr. Benjamin Rush.  Biddle served with the 121st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, beginning in September 1862. Starting out as a major, he would participate in Fredericksburg and Gettysburg, among other engagements, and would leave the service as a lieutenant colonel. (He was commissioned, but never mustered, as colonel)

Rush IV-30-36 Oct 22, 1863 p1 A Biddle ALS to JWR Rush IV-30-36 Oct 22, 1863 p2 A Biddle ALS to JWR


Thursday 22 Oct 1863

Camp West of Thorofare Gap, Virg.

Dear Wife,

We arrived here day before yesterday evening or rather night. Slept on the hill, changed camp yesterday to this point where facing East we overlook the RR where it emerges from and Broad run where it flows towards the Gap. There is a general impression that we shall move again tomorrow- believed towards Warrenton. We hear that Rosecrans is displaced and fear that Meade is not in favor in Washington- I think there is no one here who can supply his place at this juncture and think they had better let him alone. I think this campaign is now over if some act of folly don’t prolong it. The place we are now at is very picturesque and beautiful but I do not perceive any great importance in it as a military position if it is regarded as such. I hear that we are not to expect any more men and wonder what is to become of us. I believe I wrote to you about a party of Rebs getting inside our picket line on the other side of the mountains- the skirmish was a poor affair and to my mind another illustration of Head Qts ignorance and incapacity for want of a good directing head Instead of our meeting with a slight loss as was the Case we ought to have captured all our antagonists which we could have done beyond a doubt—This morning I had a grand bath in Broad Run at early daylight. Rather cold work in a mountain’s stream but it was very refreshing- Oh how I wish something could be arrived at to settle these war matters. I do wish I could see a strong united effort to put down this rebellion, but it often seems to me to be a sort of pet of the Lincoln dynasty who use it for an end at the same time they wish to prevent it from becoming too powerful for them. This would not sound well from an officer if put in print, but everywhere I see political influence at work—in appointments, promotions, etc. etc.—Would you believe that 17,000 furloughs of Pennsylvanians could have been granted to help Curtin’s election—it is so, said is it not scandalous—I find that instead of being united with those who are engaged in an earnest patriotic effort to control a forcible resistance to lawful authority, that I have become inadvertently a partisan of party for such I consider the Government thus controls us all with a great deal of patriotic show for humbug to catch such unfortunates as myself and Chapman—May God however grant us all mercy and give us early peace, health and prosperity, and return us in safety home never more to leave it in war again. Give love to Uncle and the beloved little ones. Your loving husband, Alexander

Citation: Alexander Biddle (1819-1899), autograph letter signed to Julia Williams Rush Biddle, 22 October 1863. Rush IV:30:36

4 Responses to “October 22, 1863: Alexander Biddle to Julia Williams Rush Biddle”

  1. Brian says:



  2. Sergio says:



  3. everett says:


    thank you!…

  4. Rene says:



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