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)
Camp near Paoli Mills
Sunday Dec. 20.1863
Again we have had a very cold day-the coldest yet and tonight promises to be even colder. We have however had fine weather. I have in various ways been tolerably busy all day. I fear that the prospect of getting a resignation through is somewhat distant. I trust the reality may not be so. It does seem very hard to me to be kept in this useless position of semi imprisonment without command and without anything to console myself with when I have so much to take me away to home but sighing don’t help me I shall strive every way I know how to push things through here. All I could do at home would be to hunt up some influential friend and in point of fact I know of none who could aid me much and even then it might have to take its Army course. I pray God to give me early success and return me soon to you. Several of our officers are absent now on leave the usual furloughs to men are also granted and six of them are absent. You don’t know what my home is to me and what I think of you all. Dear Aleck I fear will have quite grown out of recollection. I do not mean I fear it, it ought to be so but the changes it seems now a privilege to watch. Harry too I can almost see him [explaining?] “fiddlestick” with his flashing little beautiful eyes. God bless him and take care of him and all the little ones. Every time I look at Winny’s picture it makes me thing of dear Mother. I think he must bear more resemblance to her than any of them. Today we had a slight fire -the tent in front of mine Col McCalmonts caught fire from a stove and I believe would have been nearly destroyed if it had not been for the sentry calling to me as it was unoccupied at the time. I found a sailmaker among the men who has put it nearly to the right again. If we had the tools we could generally find a handicrafts man for almost any trade. Good night beloved. May God give us an early restoration to each other and bless our hopes with success. Give love to the Children dear Uncle and all at home.
Your loving husband,
Citation: Alexander Biddle (1819-1899), autograph letter signed to Julia Williams Rush Biddle. 20 December 1863 Rush:IV:30:38