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 Culpiper
Christmas Dec 25 1863
This morning I went over to the 6th Cavalry and breakfasted with Benoni Lockwood at 7 ½ he expecting to be off at 9. I remained with him after a very nice breakfast during which we had much talk of Chestnut Hill until his wagons were all packed and then walked over to brigade head qrs. Returning I met the Cavalry going out towards their supposed destination and bid good to them all. I found after a while that the Cavalry order had been countermanded and by afternoon they were all back in their old quarters. Today we had a general mess. The Dr, Lt. Gray , QM Capt Dorr Lt Plumer. Adj. and Lt. Jungerich dinner a certain turkey with cranberry sauce with a box of sugar plums for dessert. So you may suppose that the perfect success of your venture.
We are to remain where we now are for two days. And then we will perhaps get orders but we don’t know. The men are in a hollow with very little wood near them and nothing but shelter tents in the mid winter Cold weather but I do not look for much forethought as care for men on the part of General Officers. To my mind they all seem to shirk that part of their duty which requires them to look after the health and comfort of their commands. It is sufficient for them to have some subordinate at whose door they can lay it-But that is an old story.
I shall be very glad when we again get to some place of comparative rest, to hear we can be quiet and I may look forward to renewed effort towards getting my resignation through. I fear there will be in this some difficulty but I expect to surmount it. I fear I shall be the scapegoat of some sins of omission which I think properly belong to Government officials but which officers in the field sometimes suffer for. Today I sent away my boy Reuben to Washington on a holiday. Which is the better of a poor fellow of a black boy or a Lieutenant Colonel of our army. I often times have such reflections forcing themselves upon me but I yet trust that through the mercy of Providence all will right and that I shall be restored to you before long. Good bye dear Wife. God bless and preserve you all and restore me soon to you and our little ones. Love to dear Uncle.
Merry Christmas Happy New Year to all
Your loving husband
Citation: Alexander Biddle (1819-1899), autograph letter signed to Julia Williams Rush Biddle. 25 December 1863 Rush:IV:30:38