By Bob Baker
Dr. Elliott Ladd Coues was truly a “Renaissance” man, serving as an Army doctor, naturalist, historian, ornithologist (study of birds) and author of numerous books in his lifetime.
Born on September 9, 1842, Elliott Ladd Coues graduated from Columbia College, Washington, D.C. in 1863. On March 30, 1864, he was commissioned an Assistant Surgeon in the U.S. Army (equivalent to First Lieutenant). In August 1864 he arrived at Fort Whipple in Prescott in the new Arizona Territory. In their book, Elliott Coues, Naturalist and Frontier Historian, Paul Russell Cutright and Michael J. Brodhead quote Coues’s letter to his mentor Spencer F. Baird, Asst. Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, describing his arrival at Fort Whipple: “I have just arrived here and assumed charge of the Hospital and I am at present busy getting official matters in order, - which will occupy me for a few days. I will then get settled in my tent, - we have nothing else to live in,- and shall try to prosecute Nat. Hist. with the same animus with which I left Washington for this country.”