Montcalm County Abstract Office
T. N. Stevens, Abstractor
Nov. 15th, 1891
My dear Colonel:
The receipt of your letter which came to hand on the morning of the day on which I left for Wisconsin to attend the reunion of the 28th Regiment was to me a great pleasure. Leaving here Sept. 7th, I spent some time in Milwaukee and Oconomowoc, and went to Palmyra on the morning of the 10th, driving thru from O___ with half dozen other comrades of the old Regiment. We had an attendance of 101 members, I think, and the meeting was a most enjoyable one. Nine of us members of good old company "C" were together - more than usually meet on such occasions. Will Nickles, whom I had not seen before for 26 years, was with us. The citizens of Palmyra greeted us with good cheer, and we left feeling that it had been good for us to be there.
There were many enquiries after you, and I took occasion to assure the assembled comrades, after the reading of your letter of regrets, of your great desire to be with us, as expressed in your letter to me. The expression of sympathy with you in your ill health was general.
I much appreciate your kind reference to our great sorrow. We do reach out for human sympathy in the great trials and griefs of this life, as well as for that which comes to us from our "Elder Brother".
The daughter who has gone from us was not the one you met at Waukesha. She is now living at Greenville - our old home - is in fair health - is married and is the mother of three bright children, of one, three, and five years of age. She often asks me about you. I have no son. Another daughter - the older one - lives next door to us here. She has three children also. Our younger daughter is with us. Mrs. S., while not well, enjoys a good degree of health for her.
I have been ill ever since my return from Wisconsin. For some weeks it seemed doubtful whether I would keep my bed for the winter or not, even if I will ever able to go out - but now I am so much improved as to be at work a part of the time, though I am obliged to treat myself very carefully. I took a severe cold which went to my weak spot - my left lung. My cough is now much relieved, but my trouble still continues to some extent. Slight exposure affects me badly, but I am hoping to go through the winter comfortably, with proper care.
You give me far too much credit, dear Colonel, in your allusions to my military service and record. I can only say I aimed to do my duty to my country and to the men whom I had the honor to command, without undue ambition for higher place. I may say to you that I was offered higher position in new regiments, but saw fit to remain with "my boys" and let promotion come in my regiment if at all. Doubtless it is as well that I remained a plain captain of Company "C". I do take pride in the affectionate regard the members of that company have ever shown for one who, so totally unfitted for the plan, they chose to be their leader. If I made a passable good company commander it was not because I had any natural qualifications for it. I did work hard to prepare myself for such duties as devolved upon me. When I found I was to assume the position studying quietly by myself many hours in addition to the instruction imparted by you and my other superior officers.
Some things I would do differently if the opportunity ever repeated, but in the main my line of action would be the same. In examining the Regimental Historian's report I do not learn the date, place nor cause of Robert Hill's death. Can you inform me. We are desirous of making so full a record of the final "muster out" of our comrades, as possible.
The compliment paid me by Mrs. Whitaker I greatly appreciate. Express to her my earnest thanks.
I have somehow mislaid your letter. If I have left unanswered anything important please call upon me again.
With best wishes for your comfort here and happiness now and hereafter, I am,
Col. Chas Whitaker,
This is a rambling epistle written at odd "spells". Pardon ------
[Robert Hill was the brother to Col. Charles Whitaker's second wife Margaret Hill Whitaker. He served through the war and was mustered out in Texas.]