November 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 30-37 Nov 26 1863 p1 Alexander Biddle to Julia Biddle Rush IV 30-37 Nov 26 1863 p2 Alexander Biddle to Julia Biddle Rush IV 30-37 Nov 26 1863 p3 Alexander Biddle to Julia Biddle Rush IV 30-37 Nov 26 1863 p4 Alexander Biddle to Julia Biddle


Camp at Cedar Run Bridge

Thanksgiving Day

Dear Wife,

Today has passed away very quietly, the day has been very fine, the cavalry scount sent out yesterday returned without results. We have heard firing to the south from about 9 o’clock until nearly three. The RR appears to be taking back surplus stores. Chaplain Green of the 1st Rhode Island cavalry came over to ask if we would have service and offered to officiate. We gathered the regiment together, sung a hymn and had from him an appropriate prayer and sermon, after which we had our supper to which he remained. His mother was a niece of Gen Greene’s and he is consequently a near connection of Mr. Greene. He seemed pleased as well as surprised to find we knew so much about him and his connections. This reminds me to ask you about Mrs. M G. Can you send her anything if you think you can you may do anything you like. We today received a telegram announcing success at Chattanooga. It would be another great mercy if this was to be another coincidence and Meade also be successful on Thanksgiving Day. We expect shortly to move in some direction or other, perhaps the RR will be taken up and some move made towards the white house on the [Pammunky?] in Richmond. Hall’s leave of 15 days came today and he is to try to go tomorrow to recruit his failing health. It seems as if we were on the eve of some important military movements. May it please God that we shall be successful. I have asked Hall to call and see you if he stops in Philadelphia and shall send this letter on by him. I live in the hope that our heavenly father will so order things as to leave me soon at liberty and that we may have returning peace over all the land. Did I tell you that I met the other day Major Wm M Biddle of Carlisle of the 4th Cavalry. A cousin of Molly’s and a distant one of our own, his squadron of men is now attached with the 1st RI to this command. I trust all things will be so ordered that I shall soon have time to myself to send in my resignation and to close up. My work I believe if it would only be accepted that I could soon settle all matters pertaining to it. God grant us an early return to each other and may we be safe under his merciful care whilst apart from each other. We have all sorts of rumors of rebel cavalry pickets being seen in our neighborhood and all the accompaniments. Good night beloved, may God bless, keep, and preserve you and all of us. Give love to uncle and all at home. I believe mails are not regular now.

Your loving husband, Alexander

Citation: Alexander Biddle (1819-1899), autograph letter signed to Julia Williams Rush Biddle, 26 November 1863. Rush IV:30:37

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *