December 30, 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-30-38 12-30-63 p1 A Biddle ALS to Julia William RushRush IV-30-38 12-30-63 p2-3 A Biddle ALS to Julia William RushRush IV-30-38 12-30-63 p2-3 A Biddle ALS to Julia William RushRush IV-30-38 12-30-63 p4 A Biddle ALS to Julia William Rush


Camp near Culpeper

Wednesday, December 30th 1863

Dear Wife,

A happy New Year to you to dear Uncle and to our dearly loved darlings. For the second time since our arrival we have changed camp today we got orders from Col Duchesne who now commands division to change our camps inasmuch as we were not posted as had been directed. A very common occurrence__Newton I think looks by map and not by view__Our men after three days and nights of mud and sadly distressing weather had just completed houses and were beginning to believe they would have some prospect of comfort when we found all our work was pointless inasmuch as our Divisions Genl Kenly does not seem to have comprehended his orders for which of course all the men suffer__After inspecting the ground we arranged where camps should be and are now once more in our tents with beds made and table set candles burning but no fire__Tomorrow we expect to have a chimney built and the bricks are already hunted and lying close by so that in a short time if undisturbed we shall again be in comfort__There is a rumor that a rebel officer rode from post to post along our picket line today saying at one post that he came by orders from the Corps Adgt General giving his name__At another saying he came from Meade’s Head Quarters inasmuch as our Infantry pickets are inside of our cavalry pickets this seems to be a pretty daring act_ I give the rumor as I get it__Tomorrow will close another year__I trust that we may all look back upon the year past as one in which we have made some effort to perform our duty and that the blessing of our heavenly father may strengthen and sustain us to resist all perils of adversity and prosperity__the hope that the blessing of an early and safe return to you beloved and to all my loved ones in the one thought uppermost in my mind__I do hope that this mercy may also soon be realized. To day I have nothing from you__our mails have been very irregular of late-and I fear you also will not receive my missives as soon as you ought. Give Papa’s best wishes to dear Aleck dear Harry dear Julia dear Wilmer and the darling Louis tell them all that Papa hopes in another year that the two first will both read and write well and also Miss Jule__Good night beloved wife may God’s blessing rest upon you at every step__And may we all be preserved for many years of happiness with good Uncle and be permitted to see our little ones reflect credit on their parents. Your loving husband, Alexander

Citation: Alexander Biddle (1819-1899), autograph letter signed to Julia Williams Rush Biddle, 30 December 1863. Rush IV:30:38

5 Responses to “December 30, 1863: Alexander Biddle to Julia Williams Rush Biddle”

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  5. Leo says:


    ñïñ çà èíôó!…

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