Major James Cornell Biddle, An Important Member of General Meade’s Staff Writes Home Telling the Death of John Buford! – “HE WAS ALWAYS ON THE SKIRMISH LINE IN BATTLE AND WITH HIS PIPE IN HIS MOUTH, ALLOWED THE BULLETS OF THE ENEMY TO FLY PAST HIM WITHOUT IN THE LEAST DISTURBING HIS SERENITY.”
Offered is a 2 ½ page letter in nice dark ink with its original stamped envelope. James Biddle joined the staff of Major General George G. Meade in May of 1863 and served him throughout the war, first as Major and Aide-De-Camp and then as Lieut. Colonel and finally Colonel.
Here is the content:
- Head Quarters Army of the Potomac Near Brandy Station, Dec. 16th, 1863. My own darling Wife, I am thinking of putting in my application tomorrow for a fifteen days leave of absence. In case I do so, I will arrive in Philadelphia at about 11 o’clock on Friday night. I will not leave at that time unless I can get a fifteen days leave, as I prefer postponing it to a later date so as to be at home on the 27th, and I would have to leave the night of that day, if I only get a ten days leave.
- I received today your two letters of the 14th & 15th. The mail has been more regular for the last two weeks than ever before. I have not missed a single day receiving a letter from you. I do not understand your not having received the check I sent you. It provokes me that you should always have so much annoyance about the uncertainty of the letters arriving. It ought certainly to have reached you by this time. I wish I could have a more reliable way to send money to you. There is almost always some trouble. I particularly wanted this to reach you to enable you to pay your debts. It is now the middle of the month, and you ought to have had it by the 4th, but for the stupidity of our Express Agent. I hope though by this time it has reached you.
- I WAS VERY SORRY TO HEAR OF THE DEATH OF GENERAL BUFORD. HE WAS JUSTLY CONSIDERED THE BEST CAVALRY COMMANDER IN OUR ARMY. HE DIED OF TYPHOID FEVER. HE IS A GREAT LOSS TO THE COUNTRY. HE WAS A QUIET UNOSTENTATIOUS MAN AND BELOVED BY ALL WHO KNEW HIM.
- HE WAS ALWAYS ON THE SKIRMISH LINE IN BATTLE AND WITH HIS PIPE IN HIS MOUTH, ALLOWED THE BULLETS OF THE ENEMY TO FLY PAST HIM WITHOUT IN THE LEAST DISTURBING HIS SERENITY.
- HE HAS HAD MANY NARROW ESCAPES. HIS MEN KNEW HIM AND PLACED GREAT CONFIDENCE IN HIM.
- It is generally supposed that the Army will go into Winter Quarters on the North side of the Rappahannock. The Army will be greatly reduced by Veteran recruits going home this winter, and I suppose it is on that account and also the difficulty in procuring wood where we now are.
- There is no object in our remaining here. I read Mr. Brook’s sermon this morning. I was disappointed after hearing it so much praised.
- THE FEELING IS CHANGING WITH REFERENCE TO GENERAL MEADE. THE CHRONICLE HAS ARTICLES PRAISING HIM ALMOST EVERY DAY. THIS SHOWS THE INTENTION OF THE GOVERNMENT.
- There is no news. I am too happy for anything at the thought of once more having you by my side. I only wish it was to be forever. I long to be settled down in life with my own darling wife. I am glad to hear you feel so well. I hope you are entirely rid of your indisposition. I will not write more as I do not feel in the humor of writing. Hoping this may be the last letter I will have to write for some time (as it will not be worthwhile to write tomorrow if I get my leave) & with a great deal of love to Ma, Katy, Cassie, Effie, your father & all & a heart of love for yourself. I am forever Your devoted Husband
As James is writing his wife, notice he just signs the letter “Your devoted Husband”. Fortunately, the letter comes with its original envelope addressed “Mrs. James C. Biddle 216 South 4th Street Philadelphia, Pa.”
There is a fine photograph of the staff of General Meade at the Army of the Potomac Headquarters, Brandy Station, Virginia. In this photo, Biddle is seated, last man on the left. This photo can be easily downloaded on the Internet.
#L12-16-63 – Price $395