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 E of Culpeper
Jan’y 2d” 1864
We have had a day of very cold weather the ground frozen very hard_I don’t think we have had such cold weather since I have been in service__A cup of water placed on our mantelpiece froze in a few minutes so that the water beneath the surface ice would not flow out notwithstanding a good fire war burning in the chimney__This morning I found I was detailed in a Court Martial consisting of Genl Rice Col Munro 2th Michigan Col Dana 143d Col Wister Lt Col Huidehoper 150th & myself to try another Lt Col for some matter or other__We met in Culpeper, organized, and are to begin on Monday next__So I came back to camp_found the men putting up quarters and getting along tolerably well and so passed the day. We are gradually getting the ground cleared up__will soon have stables built and be moderately comfortable if we remain here. Near us is the place of a Mr Pendleton who was once reported worth 150,000 dollars now hardly able to get enough to eat except through the indulgence of those who had known of him in more peaceful days.__I am now writing in a comfortable tent with a good fire which burns very well as there is now but little wind to make the chimney smoke__I am waiting every moment hoping that our mail service will come in with letters from home__Send me if you can an Inquirer of the first second or fourth or a Bulletin. I want to see if the termination of the partnership of F Boles is announced__I have done all I know how at the present moment towards resigning but I have not been able as yet to make all the necessary settlements which always are tedious when Govt offices are concerned__I have as yet heard nothing from Frank Blair but I still somehow think that if he can aid me we will do so if he gets my letter__How woefully I have been deceived in these army matters__It really does seem to me that no officer since M”cClellan has made an attempt to get a well organized command__Generals work with such tools as are given to them and seem to think all ought to be satisfied if they get paid__I begin to think this veteran volunteer business is to fall through__It has been most abominably managed at Washington___Halleck I believe to be as great a failure or greater than any one yet placed in high military position__Good night dear wife may God soon lead us together again and grant to us and ours many years of peaceful happiness with dear Uncle
Your loving husband
Citation: Alexander Biddle (1819-1899), autograph letter signed to Julia Williams Rush Biddle, 2 January 1864. Rush IV:31:018