October 26, 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 26, 1863 p1 A Biddle ALS to JWR Rush IV-30-36 Oct 26, 1863 p2 A Biddle ALS to JWR


Camp near Bristow Station

Monday October 26th, 1863

Dear Wife,

I wrote you a few lines yesterday—today has been a perfectly quiet beautiful October day—clear and a little sharp. West of us over the pine trees we can see the distant tops of Waters [& ?] Pignut Mt near Warrenton and towards the NW the rounded top and depression near Thorofare Gap, which we so recently left. We have heard firing to the South West today and presume there is some action near Bealeton, as we heard to day that the enemy had pontoon bridges over the Rappahannock and that their line extended from Beverly’s ford to Stafford Court House with strong pickets at Bealeton Station about 16 miles distant. It would seem that they have not entirely left our front. Just at this moment order came to us that we should hold ourselves in readiness to move to night. What it may mean I cannot of course tell—We have had so many of these orders that I do not know what to think of them. We issue the usual commands, go on writing and everything proceeds as usual. I only pray the more heartily that God’s mercy may protect us come what will. I think that Meade believes that Lee rather outgeneraled him in his last move but it does not seem to me that either he or the Government see through Lee’s operations. I am inclined to think that Lee has more forces that we have imagined or else that he is becoming desperate and thinks that something must be done or it will be too late for the Confederacy. I have a great deal to be thankful for in the continued good health I have enjoyed and trust our merciful heavenly father may keep me through all that may come to pass and bring me soon back to you—Good night dear wife. God bless and preserve you dear wife and bless and protect all our darlings and dear Uncle—

Your loving husband,

Citation: Alexander Biddle (1819-1899), autograph letter signed to Julia Williams Rush Biddle, 26 October 1863. Rush IV:30:36

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