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, South of Culpeper Virg
December 26th 1863 Saturday
Today about 10 Oclock the Cavalry did move and in the afternoon we were assigned our new position which will be taken by us tomorrow. When we get there we will be the most advanced regiment of our Division and I believe in this direction of our Corps__It is rather hard on the men to have to move in this very cold weather but it might be worse. We shall be on the road from Culpeper__The Country about here is a beautiful rolling Country, but now it is very much stripped of its timber destined to be more so if the armies remain here. I know of nothing of interest to mention to you__It is very lonesome to me. On Christmas eve we had some delightful music from the band of the 5th Regular Cavalry—which was delightful but I have nothing else which was pleasure giving to mention__I am indeed very homesick and do not become less so by the lapse of days when I seem to be no nearer to my release from this sort of imprisonment but I have much to feel grateful for in the mercy which Providence shows me in giving to me health and strength—and also in the fact that I have not as yet suffered from the cold nights we have recently had This morning the water in my cup froze whilst I was scrubbing my teeth so you may suppose it is pretty severe upon the men. I do not know when I can return home__ Only 10 days leave of absence is granted to officers and that would hardly serve any useful purpose. If I strive for that I might fail to get my resignation through which I much fear will stick anyhow so that I am on the horns of a dilemma but I think it best to do everything I can towards resigning now__I have no doubt but that I shall suffer a good deal pecuniarily by being away from home just now whilst my connection with the office is being closed up but that I can’t well help. I trust a great deal to the goodness and mercy which has been so about our paths all the days of my life and which I do not think is deserting me now May God in his mercy continue to bless and protect us and our darling children and lead us through all trials to happiness in our peaceful home__Give love to Aleck Harry Julia Wilmer & Louis and to dear Uncle. Good night beloved may every blessing surround you.
Your loving husband,
Citation: Alexander Biddle (1819-1899), autograph letter signed to Julia Williams Rush Biddle. 26 December 1863 Rush:IV:30:38