From the Pennsylvania Daily Telegraph (Harrisburg, PA), 7/23/1862
LETTER FROM GEN. McCALL.
SAFETY OF MAJOR HENRY BIDDLE.
Gen. McCall’s Account of his Capture.
Col. Seneca U. Simmons Certainly Dead.
This morning Mr. Thomas A. Biddle, of this city, received
the following letter from Gen. McCall:
“TOBACCO HOUSE PRISON, July 9, ‘62.
“My Dear Sir: I enclose you herewith a note from
your brother Harry, the only reply I have had to two notes written to him.
“On my arrival in the city I was politely offered
quarters in the Spottswood [Spotswood] House, where I remained three days. While
there, on the 3d inst., a Tennessean called with a message from Harry, who, I
learned then, for the first time, was a prisoner. It had been reported to me on
the field, on the 30th ult., that he was wounded while returning from
the left, whither he had carried an order from myself; but I thought he had been
carried off by our own men.
“I at once wrote to Gen. Winder, requesting permission to
send a carriage for him; in reply which I received the enclosed, notifying me of
his arrival at Chimborazo Hospital No. 3. I at once requested permission to
visit him; but this was not deemed consistent with established regulations.
“I trust he will soon be well enough to travel and
perhaps visit his family on parole. Do be pleased to express to Mrs. Biddle my
sincere and deep conviction that it will not be long before her husband joins
her with all his honors.
“My division had a desperate fight that day. I was under
fire all day, encouraging my men and urging them against superior numbers. I am
under great concern for the other members of my staff. Scheetz and Lewis both
left me to deliver orders and did not return. Late in the day Beatty was shot in
the leg and left me with but two orderlies.
“The Reserves fought nobly, but they are terribly cut up.
Simmons, commanding first brigade, killed; Meade, commanding second brigade,
wounded, and a large number of officers with them. “After dark, the battle
still raging on the right, I brought forward some 500 men, rallied by Lieut.
Col. Thomson, and riding in advance, in the obscurity of the evening, I rode
right into the Forty-seventh Virginia, drawn up under some trees, and so ended
The enclosure in the above letter was as follows:
“Henry J. Biddle, Assistant Adjutant General, McCall’s
Division, U. S. A., is wounded and a prisoner, now at Chimborazo Hospital No. 3
he wishes to be reported to our authorities, and to be paroled, if allowable.
H. SMITH, Surgeon.”
“CHIMBORAZO HOSPITAL, Division No. 3, Ward F, July 8th,
1862 - Capt. Biddle desires me to say that he is wounded twice by bullets, (in
shoulder) across the back, and through the left arm, besides two scratches on
“N. B. - I think him not mortally wounded.
B. McCAW, Surgeon.”
“Capt. B. says he knows nopthing of the members of the
B. McCAW, Surgeon in Chief, Chimborazo Hospital.”
The words in parenthesis in the above note, are interlined
in the original, in Capt. Biddle’s own handwriting. His own note to General
McCall is as follows:
CAPT. BIDDLE’S NOTE.
“Seneca Simmons, Colonel Fifth Pennsylvania Infantry,
commanding brigade, died in hospital in woods by my side; is buried here. I laid
out in field, mudhole, house and woods, till dusk on 2d, and reached here at