Unlike most of the 62d who
enlisted within the state of New York, William Bidlack enlisted on July 8th,
1861 in Saltersville, New Jersey, which is now part of Bayonne, New
Jersey. However, like several members of the 62d, he came from a rather
prominent family. His father, Benjamin Aldin Bidlack (b.
1804) was a Freemason , physician, and a representative to Congress from New
Jersey. Benjamin’s wife, Margaret Matilda Bidlack (b. 1813) provided
Benjamin with five children between 1831 to 1843.
William Wallace Bidlack
was born in 1831 and graduated with a degree to practice medicine from the
University of Pennsylvania in 1857 where his address was listed as living in
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He was commissioned as an Assistant Surgeon
in Company S of the 62d on October 25, 1861. The Official Records of
the Union and Confederate Armies 1861-1865 state that after the
Battle of Fair Oaks where Colonel Riker of the 62nd was killed, “ Assistant
Surgeon W.W. Bidlack was detached from the Brigade having been placed in charge
of the hospital at the Chickahominy.” On September 23, 1865, he was
promoted to full Assistant Surgeon. On that same date, he was transferred
to Company S of the 58th Colored Infantry before being mustered out
of service on April 30, 1866.
On March 10, 1867, he
married Mary Anna Runyan (b. 1846) at the Church of the Survivor -
Episcopal, in Philadelphia. He continued to practice medicine in the area
at 3515 Market Street, until he reentered military service sometime in 1871.
From May until August, 1872. Bidlack was “en-route to Cavalry Camp near Tucson,
Arizona.” Assistant Surgeon Bidlack joined Company D, First Cavalry, at
Fort Lowell, Arizona in compliance with Special War Department Orders #28 and
#38 approved in 1872. Fort Lowell averaged 13 officers and 239 enlisted
personnel. It was active between 1873 to 1891 providing supplies and
manpower during the Apache Wars. Order #28 referred to digging an
artesian well across the Military Reservation to provide water for the use by
the Cheyenne Nation located in Wyoming near Fort D.A. Russell. Order #38
dealt with the repairs and extending the jetties at the mouth of the Spanish
River. On April 25, 1873 he arrived at Fort Yuma, California en-route to
San Francisco and was listed as a “civilian” in the company records.
From 1875 to 1880,
William and his wife lived with his brother Benjamin whom the San
Francisco City Directory has listed as a merchant abiding at 146 Fourth Street,
but the Voter Registration in 1882 no longer had Benjamin listed at the above
address. Between 1882 and 1892, William and Mary Anna moved back to
Philadelphia, where he applied for invalid status on August 8th, 1892.
No record could be found
of any children for this couple. Annie will die on February 06, 1883, and
William would follow on August 30, 1898, both were buried at Milford Cemetery,
Pike County, Pennsylvania.