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)
Head Qrs 121 Reg P.V.
Camp near Belleplains
March 16th 1863
I received your two letters of 12th & 13th both of great interest to me – I write to day to Julia about whom please write to me – the event was a surprise but I am glad to hear that the new comer makes so good an appearance and trust he will behave himself creditably Julia is always so quiet about herself that I believe she never would confess an ailment if one did not perceive it clearly I did not from her letters think the young gentleman was to appear so soon.
The other letter which regards what I think a strange proposition on the part of Tom I am glad to find confirms my judgment I have written Clem a long letter on the subject which he may perhaps show to you altho: I have made no mention of you in it
I give him my reasons and ask him to go to the office daily in my behalf during my absence. He may perhaps like this but I hardly think will undertake it –
It does seem to me very strange that my brother Tom should ask his father’s son to quit the firm of Thos Biddle & Co to allow a stranger to take his place, who is to say hereafter whether he should come back or not
The result to be obtained being that he Tom should be allowed to go away to travel retaining all his share and interest in the firm –
That is the proposition as I understand it – I so not agree to it, never will.
I have always looked on the brokers business as the mere tie to the business world which kept us agog in daily matters – profitable certainly – but our greatest source of benefit is in the landed property out father had left us
If my brother Tom were calmly thinking of his best interests I think he would perceive that the real business we have is to take Care of our own but I know he wont think of the matter in this light – He has let his wife write to me and I now suppose I will soon hear something more definite from him –
If the worst Comes to the worst I might send in my resignation – that might now be accepted or if accepted might place me in an unpleasant Category – I do not fear that however with the reliance I have on my associates in arms, I believe they would sustain me even if I left them in the face of an enemy
I did not come here for fame or glory and if my duty lies at home I will try to do it there I hope the early termination of this war is soon to be at hand
Your affte nephew
Citation: Alexander Biddle (1819-1899), autograph letter signed to his uncle. 16 March 1863. Rush IV:30:29