This letter was written by Fidello Biddle (1842-1913), the son of Joseph Biddle (1797-1880) and Elizabeth Henry (1810-18xx) of Canton, Bradford county, Pennsylvania. He wrote the letter to his older sister, Euphemia J. Biddle (1840-1905).
On 2 November 1861, Fidello (“Fiddo”) Biddle enlisted as a private in Co. D, 106th Pennsylvania Infantry. He was described as standing 5 foot 9 inches tall, light hair and blue eyes—a farmer by occupation. He was discharged on a surgeon’s certificate on 18 March 1863. He later served in Co. D, 50th New York Engineers from 24 February 1864 to 13 June 1865. Fiddo’s brother, Israel Biddle (1838-1908) is mentioned in this letter. Israel served with Fiddo in Co. D, 106th New York until he was wounded by a Confederate shell while building an observation tower at Yorktown. He sustained three broken ribs when struck by falling timbers. After spending two and a half months in the hospital at Fairfax Seminary, he was discharged on a surgeon’s certificate on 8 November 1862—just days after this letter was written.
Family tradition has it that Israel’s life was spared at the Battle of Fair Oaks when a bullet struck the ambrotype of his sweetheart he carried in his breast pocket. [Wellsboro Agitator, 25 March 1908] Israel later served as 2d Lieutenant in Co. C, 30th Pennsylvania Militia from 20 June 1863 to 1 August 1863 during the Confederate invasion into Pennsylvania.
Addressed to Miss Euphemia J. Biddle, Canton, Bradford County, Pennsylvania
Postmarked Old Point Comfort, Va.
Fortress Monroe, Virginia
November 3rd 1862
Dear Sister Euphemia,
I just received your letter of the 30th and was glad to hear from you again but I am very sorry to hear that Israel is so low and I hope that Fred will succeed and get him home. But I have no faith in his coming here for if he goes to see Israel, he will be so far out of his way unless he comes down the Potomac river and I don’t believe there is any regular boat runs from there down here. But I hope he may come and that he may have some influence on the doctor’s mind. But I doubt it some for I have fell into the hands of a new doctor now and just so I have been changed around with doctors. This is 3rd doctor that I have been under and they can’t so my breast any good. They have done me some good other ways, but there is no doctor that will do my breast any good. All the way there can be anything done for it is to be still, and then I don’t know as I will ever get over it. But enough of that.
I have been thinking of going to the regiment before long, but I will wait a spell yet to see how things will turn here. ¹ I have not had anything to say to the doctor here yet, but I will soon. I am getting tired. I shall have to rest.
Well, Euphemia, I will try and finish this letter. There was some persons got their discharge today and will start for their homes tomorrow. Oh, how I wish I was one of them that I might enjoy home once more. But since I have been in the Army, I have learned to be contented with what is my lot. I don’t trouble myself about anything. If I am called to dinner and have to sit down to the same dry bread, I don’t grumble but eat what is set before me. It has learned me a lesson—and that is to be content with what is set before me. I shall close.
Write soon to your brother, — Fiddo Biddle
Direct as I told you in my last.
¹ The 106th Pennsylvania Infantry was encamped near Warrenton, Virginia, after participating in the Antietam Campaign. Days later they would begin their march to Falmouth.