Camp at Cedar Run Bridge
Nov. 29th [i.e. 28], 1863. Saturday
I did not write to you yesterday night because I thought we should have no chance of sending off the mail. All yesterday we heard the sound of firing very heavy, a little west of south and feel that Meade is near the Rapidan. The day before yesterday there was also a good deal and today we hear but little but are told from below that there was a good deal of fighting. Last night the rebel who came into our lines and who has been partially used as a court was sent over to us to see what use we could make of him. A court of 23 men under a Captain Allen of the 1st RI cavalry was sent out and they this morning came in with eight prisoners they had a ninth but he got off. Four of the men were in bed together and they had a saber under the head of the bed as well as two suits of our uniform clothing. They go down to Alexandria today under guard. Major Farrington tells us that the affair above as the other day which I mentioned as a skirmish was most ridiculous. He says a party of about 50 of our men went out to a place called Brentsville and there some of them suddenly saw twelve men draw up in line of battle opposite to them not knowing whether they were friends or enemies they waved there hats to them to come over. They did the same and then for some unknown reason turned and fled. They were pursued and one captured who was asserted to be clothed in some part of the dress of a soldier recently killed. We hear that in the last nights expedition that the women behaved like tigresses and one went so far as to strike one of our men over the head with a broomstick. We now permit no one to enter our lines and have sufficient defenses around us to protect us against any inroad of cavalry or soldier attack of any kind. Yesterday we had a visit from a Mrs. Kline from what is called the Jersey Settlement about 4 miles NW of us. Her husband it seems has been arrested by our men and sent in and she came to beg him off. She was a northern woman from Warren County New Jersey and spoke very feelingly of her troubles but seemed to think she was in such a position that neither party befriended her, which I have no doubt is pretty true because she sides to suit the times and has calculated badly. Today it has rained and the ground is well soaked and muddy. A great battle is certainly going on and I trust God will grant us success and victory. G Grant and Meade should both succeed I think we might feel sure of an early result and hope with much reason for peace to soon come. Oh that it may be so. Good bye dear wife, may heaven’s best blessings surround you and my darlings and preserve us to [meet?] soon again never to part. Give love to uncle, our mail does not now reach us regularly and I yet have some days of anticipation to look forward to before I hear from you again.
Your loving husband, Alexander
Citation: Alexander Biddle (1819-1899), autograph letter signed to Julia Williams Rush Biddle, 28 November 1863. Rush IV:30:37