Erwin J. Eldridge, b 1833 in Cecil County, Maryland. Received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical school in Philadelphia and then traveled to Vienna to complete his studies. While there, the Crimean War broke out. Eldridge served as a surgeon there and was decorated for his service. When the Civil War broke out, he enlisted at Americus GA as an Assistant Surgeon in 16th Georgia Infantry, Cobb’s Brigade on July 19, 1861. He was approved and promoted to Surgeon effective July 22, 1862. He served as Brigade Surgeon for Cobb’s/Wofford’s Brigade (Crampton’s Gap -South Mt, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, and Fort Sanders – Knoxville) until Jan 24, 1964. On Oct 10, 1864 he was granted a leave of absence with permission to visit Nassau – possibly to obtain medical supplies.
Excerpt from a letter from Assistant Surgeon Erwin J. Eldridge of Cobb’s Brigade, to his wife on the aftermath of the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run):
“….I visited the battle ground yesterday & have some relics that I shall send home…, The slaughter on the enemy site was terrible. We buried our dead (about three hundred) on the day after the battle. We expected of course the enemy would send men under flag of truce, to bury their dead. The inhuman witches have done no such thing. We buried as many of them as we could amid the confusion, but there are many, many still lying in the field…We have taken not less than two thousand prisoners… We took large quantities of ammunition, wagons, thirty or forty canons and all kinds of small arms, enough they say to arm twenty thousand men…Among the captured articles were twenty thousand handcuffs which they intended for our accommodation, & I suppose their intention was to march us handcuffed through Washington City.”
Excerpt from a letter from Surgeon Erwin J. Eldridge of Wofford’s Brigade, Longstreet’s Corps in camp near Chancellorsville, to his wife at Flat Pond, Georgia on the aftermath of the Battle of Chancellorsville:
“Camp May 12, 1863
….The loss in our Brigade was quite heavy, about five hundred & fifty killed & wounded, so you may imagine I was pretty busy. After getting entirely through with our wounded, some of us went to a church filled with Yankee wounded and as they had but one surgeon and he a fool, we took charge and operated on several of them…..“