Private Eldridge Garman (1840-1884)
Private Eldridge Garman, maternal second great-grandfather of Brother Kenny Bage, was born in Bear Creek, Luzerne County, PA in 1840. He was one of seven children born to John and Clorissa Garman.
Eldridge enlisted on May 29, 1861 as a Private. His younger brother, Joseph, also enlisted in a cavalry unit later that same summer. Eldridge was mustered into Company K of the 35th Pennsylvania Infantry. The 35th, also known as the 6th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Reserves, was composed of men from all parts of the state. The unit was ordered, along with the Kane Rifles, to Maryland, then to Greencastle, PA, Washington, DC, and then to Tennallytown, located right outside of the capital city.
The regiment was mustered in at Washington for three years on July 27, 1861, and at Tennallytown was assigned to the 3rd Brigade of the PA Reserve Corps. This brigade won the brilliant victory at the Battle of Dranesville, VA in December of 1861. They then passed an uneventful winter in camp near Langley, which is now a part of McLean, VA.
The 35th took part in the strategic movements on the Peninsula in the spring of 1862 and was actively engaged at the battles of Second Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, and Fredericksburg, where the losses of the 35th were severe.
The 35th PA then went into camp near Belle Plain in Spotsylvania County, VA; took part in the "Mud March;" was ordered to Alexandria in February of 1863, and to Fairfax Station in March of the same year. They remained in Fairfax Station until the Gettysburg campaign.
At Gettysburg, the 35th PA was closely engaged in the battle on July 2nd. They had made the long and now infamous march from Frederick, Maryland with other notable units of the Fifth Corps, including the 20th Maine under the command of Colonel Joshua Chamberlain. The 35th entered the field from the edge of Little Round Top. There is a monument to the 35th located where they staged and entered the fray at the Wheatfield. As a result of their bravery at Gettysburg, six men from the 35th PA were awarded the Medal of Honor.
The 35th next joined in the pursuit of the enemy and the various marches of the Army of the Potomac during the autumn, and went into winter quarters at Kettle Run early in December of 1863. In the spring of 1864, it participated in the engagements of the Wilderness Campaign in May and fought its final battle at Bethesda Church, also known as the Battle of Totopotomoy Creek, located in Hanover County.
After that engagement the regiment started for Harrisburg, where it was mustered out on June 11, 1864 at Harrisburg, PA.
Eldridge Garman returned to White Haven, PA after his service where he went to work for a local logging and lumber company. As a man in his early 40s, he contracted tuberculosis, then called "consumption" and died at the age of 44. His widow, Belmeah Watson Garman, was eventually awarded a Widow's Pension and even enlisted the assistance of then President Theodore Roosevelt in that endeavor. He is buried next to his wife in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in White Haven, PA. His grave is marked with a government issued Veteran's stone and the GAR Post 113, Captain D. J. Taylor Post, from his hometown placed a GAR grave marker at the site. Brother Kenny Bage visits White Haven annually to tend to his 2nd great-grandfather's grave, leaving fresh flags and flowers on each trip.