November 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 30-37 Nov 22 1863 p1 Alexander Biddle to Julia Biddle Rush IV 30-37 Nov 22 1863 p2 Alexander Biddle to Julia Biddle Rush IV 30-37 Nov 22 1863 p3 Alexander Biddle to Julia Biddle

Rush IV 30-37 Nov 22 1863 p4 Alexander Biddle to Julia Biddle


Camp at Cedar Run Bridge

Dear Wife,

Your letter of 19th is with me. I can understand exactly how you feel at the speeches you refer to. Clem has had the faculty of putting himself in anybody else’s position. He always imagines that everybody else must see as he sees. You are perfectly right about letting rent of 714 Walnut St. go. Never mention the matter to him, you don’t know how it pleases me to find you taking exactly the views I would and it not a little amuses me to see your perplexity by what has often worried me. Take your own course and you will do right. How I wish I could be back to you never to part. I have been in hopes that this war was soon to end but I am fearful about Burnside. Strange that we should have these continually recurring fears without so much warning for preparations. May God protect and guard us from all evil and give us a sense of our duty and guide us in the right path. Today we heard two of the enemy’s scouts had been seen near bye. I went out with an officer and some 20 men to intercept them if possible. We saw them crossing a distant hill about ¾ of a mile from us and visited an almost deserted village many dilapidated houses, a few worn out men, several women and children and a mill. We brought back a guard to come of the houses belonging to another regiment but found nothing to speak of, this was the village of [Weaverville?] never more than a few straggling houses and a mill at the best we hear tonight that our Division is to guard the road from Manassas Junction to Rappahannock Station 24 miles. Our little brigade with less than 400 men and 150 of the others has its full share. Gen. Kenly is either very careful of his precious self or has no conception of the duty of the Division. We think him a good deal scared. An officer said yesterday they had “Cavalry on the brain” down there and that he has so surrounded his head quarters that but one horse could pass in and out at the time he has had some 1400 men and two batteries to guard him there now he finds that 110 men are sufficient for the post. We feel pretty much self dependent indeed we know we have no one else to do. So much for the occurrences of the day. Your two pairs of stockings came today all right and I was very glad to get them. I had a long conversation through the windows with certain little toes which were anxious to keep within doors and now are able to do so. Today has been very fine although we feel the effects of rain. We hear that Meade is at Madison’s Country House and suppose he will make some decided movement before long. I don’t see how much can be done before winter is upon us. Tell me how you find prices in Philadelphia, have they raised very much or not. Tell me too what you think of my letter to Tom. The price I named for my interest in 326 Walnut St. is what I paid for it. Today the poor woman who died was buried by our men. I have nothing more to tell you of today’s occurrences except that some of our troops are moving up and down the road tonight to take their new positions. Good night beloved may God bless, preserve, and keep us all to a happy meeting soon never to part.

Your loving husband, Alexander

Citation: Alexander Biddle (1819-1899), autograph letter signed to Julia Williams Rush Biddle,22 November 1863. Rush IV:30:37

3 Responses to “November 22, 1863: Alexander Biddle to Julia Williams Rush Biddle”

  1. Zachary says:



  2. Shannon says:



  3. rick says:


    tnx for info!…

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