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 at Fredericksburg and Gettysburg, among other engagements, and would leave the service as a lieutenant colonel. (He was commissioned, but never mustered, as colonel)
Camp SW of Culpepper
January 1st 1864 Friday
With a heavier heart than I ever recollect to have felt I again write to you on this to me sad commencement of a New Year__I was today asked by Wister to dine at brigade HeadQs but begged off. I had no feeling for social meetings indeed the only one I shall care for will be my sweet home until I get there again__ To day has been a busy day__we are getting the camp in order the weather has been cold and windy but it has dried the ground rapidly and we are better off on that account than we were in this mornings mail. I have had nothing to interest me all day long__and for a good part of my time when business and a smoking chimney would permit I have been lying on my bed thinking of Walnut St you and the little ones God bless you all and give you many years of life and happiness with each other and may you have the happiness of seeing our dear ones repaying all your care and honoring it by their development in goodness. I see no prospect of resignation yet. I keep it in view and am pushing all I can but now I have to patiently wait the tedious settlement of the ordnance office__Uncle Sam’s circumlocution office where everything seems to be on the principle of delay all you can. I hope however that I shall eventually have success___I told you that I wrote to Frank Blair__there is a bare chance of his being able and willing to aid me but it is a very slim one__ I have however seized it as a drowning man seizes at a straw__I trust it may be more buoyant and carry me safely over my troubles__They are now making an effort to form veteran volunteer regiments but our regiment does not come under the permission and we have nothing to do with it__I told you of our Brigade having had the second added to it and it now consists of five small regiments equal to about three ordinary ones. It is a very pretty command__I have pretty much got to the end of everything that has occurred to day. I am now waiting to know if any letters have come for us this afternoon before I close my letter__the mail has come in but nothing in it but a parcel of official papers. So to night I shall not have anything to comfort me save the Goodness from above which I trust will support me through everything and soon bring us together again.
God bless you all and keep us thankful for all the mercies which surround us whatever be our lot and however we may hope for better things. You loving husband
Citation: Alexander Biddle (1819-1899), autograph letter signed to Julia Williams Rush Biddle, 1 January 1864. Rush IV:01:01