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First Name: Richard

Last Name: Eskridge


Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Isaac

Date of Birth: 15 December 1840

Date of Death: 29 August 1903

Rank: Colonel

Years Served:
Richard Isaac Eskridge

•  American Civil War (1861 - 1865)
•  Spanish-American War (1898)
•  Philippine-American War (1899 - 1902)


Richard Isaac Eskridge
Colonel, U.S. Army

Richard Isaac Eskridge was born on 15 December 1840.

Eskridge grew up on his family farm until he was 19. He enlisted in the 2nd Iowa Volunteer Infantry as a member of the band on 10 September 1861 and served in this capacity until the call of war became too great. He was mustered out on 1 May 1862 and re-enlisted as a Private in Company I of the 2nd Missouri Volunteer Cavalry in January of 1864 and served with the 2nd Infantry in battles at Columbus, KY, as well as the battles at Fort Donaldson and Shiloh. Staying in the Army after the Union victory, he remained engaged with the 2nd Cavalry in Missouri and fought in many small battles including skirmishes with Quantrill's Guerillas. He served to further protect the Mexican border with his regiment under the command of General Sheridan.

He was discharged in February of 1865 to accept a commission as a First Lieutenant in the 14th Missouri Volunteer Cavalry. During the fall of 1865, he served on the western plains as an escort to the treaties Commissioner in envoys and summits with the Native American Tribes. He advanced to the rank of Captain and was mustered out 17 November 1865. He was again commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of the 14th U.S. Regular Infantry in February of 1866 and was promoted to First Lieutenant a month later.

From 1866 through 1897, he served with the 23rd U.S. Infantry in the capacity of securing frontier posts and fought with his men in smaller battles with tribes. He was cited for "conspicuous gallantry in charging a large band of Indians, strongly fortified, in the Infernal Caverns, Pitt River, California." In 1873 he was promoted to Captain of the 23rd U.S. Regular Infantry.

He was transferred to the 10th U.S. Regular Infantry where he achieved the rank of Major in April of 1897 then forged on to earn the ranks of Lieutenant Colonel (23rd Infantry). He served during the Spanish-American War through 1898 and the Philippine Occupation after that through to 1900. On 2 July 1898, he was critically wounded by a blast from a mortar shell. Although he continued to serve in his ailing condition, he was plagued by complications of this injury and it eventually was cause for his retirement and later, his death.

He was promoted to Colonel on 2 February 1901. In July of 1901, he retired with 30 years of service, his retirement due to disability caused by a wound he obtained at the battle of San Juan Hill, Santiago, Cuba.

Eskridge was a very popular officer and kept excellent morale with both his superiors and his enlisted men. His wounds at Santiago did not deter his affability or his zest for serving his country. His letters to friends and comrades were always very upbeat and he consistently made light of his condition. Eskridge was dedicated and stalwart with good humor and bravery as his own personal artillery. Even with an unsuccessful attempt at removing the shrapnel, he pressed on to join his troops at Jolo in 1899. However, upon his arrival to the port of San Francisco, he was deemed too ill to make the trip and instead was placed in command of the Presidio. He retired as a Colonel in December of 1902 and eventually did make a trip to the Philippines, this time to see his daughter who was living there with her husband (Captain Saltzman).

Unfortunately, the festering wound that had plagued him for so long, and the exhaustion of the trip, took the life of Colonel Eskridge.


Fellow members of the Commandry of the Loyal Legion of the U.S. eulogized him with the following:

"Colonel Richard Eskridge was a gallant soldier and a noble gentleman. His general character and affable manners endeared him to all who knew him...for the past five years he has borne without complaint the constant suffering caused by the serious wounds received by him before Santiago and to the last he was cheerful and serene [still] prepared to answer the call to muster on the other shore. We sadly inscribe his name on the roll of our deceased companions and to his sorrowing wife and children, we extend our sincere sympathy."

Death and Burial

Colonel Richard Isaac Eskridge died on 29 August 1903. He is buried at the Common Burying Ground in Newport, RI.

Honoree ID: 2476   Created by: MHOH




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