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Recognition of Promotion to Medical Director
of Hindman’s Corps in the Army of Tennessee
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Surgeon J.H. Erskine obtains the endorsement of corps commander Thomas Hindman for his promotion to corps medical director. “[Hindman:] As the question has been raised, I now respectfully request that this faithful, energetic and intelligent officer may be regularly appointed Medical Director of this Corps by the War Department.

THOMAS C. HINDMAN. Endorsement Signed. [Dalton, Ga.], February 8, 1864, on John H. Erskine, Autograph Letter Signed, to Confederate Surgeon General S.P. Moore, Dalton, Ga., February 8, 1864. 2 pp., 8 x 10 in.

Inventory #21789       Price: $1,800

Complete Transcript

[in Erskine’s hand:]

                                      Med. Hd Qts

                                      Hindmans Corps

                                      Dalton Geo. Feb 3d 64


            Yours of the 26” ult; calling my attention to Par II Med Regulations, and requiring me to state, why I subscribed myself Med Director of Hindmans Corps has just been received. In reply to which I have the honor to state, that I was assigned as Actg Med Director of this Corps July 18” / 63 in which capacity I served until Oct 6” / 63 when I received the following order

“Copy”                                               Hd Qrs Army of Tenn

                                                            Missionary Ridge

                                                            Oct 6” / 63

Special Orders

No 207

            V Surg J.H. Erskine is hereby assigned to duty as Med Director of Lieut Gen Hill’s Corps

                                    By command of Gen Bragg by Geo Wm Brent / A.A. Gen

Through Surg E.A. Flewellen

Med Director

Army of Tenn  [2]

I will here beg leave to state, that a communication was forwarded after the battle of Chicamauga by Gen D.H. Hill. (he then commanding the Corps asking that I be appointed Med Director of said Corps, I supposed that it had been forwarded you, and you notified, of the assignment. I have been reported in the Monthly Return of Medical Officers (since Oct last) as Med Dir, and have been so regarded by the Med Director of the Army, as all communications sent me by him, have been addressed J.H. Erskine. Med Dir. Hindmans Corps. Hoping this will explain why I subscribed myself Med Dir: and that it will prove satisfactory to you

                                    I am Very Resptly

                                    Your Obt Servt

                                    J.H. Erskine

                                    Surg P.A.C.S.

To S.P. Moore

Surg Genl C.S.A.

Richmond Va [3]

[Endorsement:] Hd Qrs Hindman’s Corps, Febry. 8, 1864.

Resp’y forwarded. –

In October last Lt. Genl. Hill wrote a letter asking that Surg. J. H. Erskine might be assigned to duty as Medical Director of this Corps by the proper authority. Soon after Special Order No 257, Par I, from Hd Qrs of the Army, was recived.  It was a fair presumption that the War Department had authorized the Commander of this Army to make such assignments; and in my opinion Surg. Erskine was not called upon to look behind this action. As the question has been raised, I now respectfully request that this faithful, energetic and intelligent officer may be regularly appointed Medical Director of this Corps by the War Department.

            T.C. Hindman. / Maj. Gen Com’g.

Historical Background

Major General Hindman reverted to division command just a few weeks after this, with John Bell Hood assuming command of the corps. Hood retained Erskine as corps medical director.

According to Deering Roberts, “Assignments to the position of chief surgeon of division were sometimes made in accordance with seniority of rank of the senior surgeons of brigades, in other instances on application of the general commanding the division. His duties, in addition to approving reports coining from the senior surgeons of brigades, were to advise with the division commander in all matters pertaining to the medical care and hygiene of his command, and to have personal care of the attaches of the division staff and headquarters, and to advise and consult with his medical subordinates. To each corps was assigned a medical director, a commissioned surgeon, his permanent assignment being made on personal application of the lieutenant-general commanding the corps; temporarily and when emergency demanded, his duties, which were similar to those of the chief surgeon of division as pertaining to the corps, devolved upon the chief surgeon of division whose commission bore priority of date.”

Thomas Hindman (1828-1868) was born in Tennessee but lived most of his life in Arkansas. He served in the Mexican War as 2nd lieutenant in the 2nd Mississippi Infantry, and was later elected to Congress (served 1858-1860). He was a leading secessionist in Arkansas, and was appointed colonel of the 2nd Arkansas Regt. at war’s outset. He was promoted to brigadier general in September 1861, and to major general in April 1862, and commanded the Trans-Mississippi Department for a time in 1862. In 1863, he joined the Army of Tennessee for the Battle of Chickamauga, fighting under Longstreet, and was incapacitated during the Atlanta Campaign. He fled to Mexico in 1865, returned in 1868. After recommencing his law practice and making some political speeches, he was assassinated by an unknown assailant.

References, accessed 6-3-08.

Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies [1880-1901], Series 1, Vol. 32,

Part II, p. 549, Part III, pp. 575-576.

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