Lt. Col. Charles Whitaker
Lt. Col. Charles Whitaker was born in Philadelphia on 10 November 1823, the tenth of fifteen children of James Whitaker and Sarah Adams Whitaker. He attended the Military and Scientific University in Norwich, VT and in 1850 married Catharine Ripka in Philadelphia. He was working in the manufacture of cotton. His father had the Arkwright Cotton Mills in Manyunk, PA and his father-in-law had a store for cottonades for boys and men on Front St. in Philadelphia.
He came to Wisconsin in the summer of 1855 to purchase a farm. When that was accomplished, he moved his growing family of five to Waukesha Co., Wis. near the town of Summit. By 1862, there were eight children in the family, the last one named Agnes Union Whitaker. He enlisted for Civil War service with the 28th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry at Summit and was commissioned a staff officer of the regiment. When he enlisted, he brought his own horse and saddle.
Lt. Col. Whitaker kept a log of his daily activities and in early Dec. 1862 is written, "my boys came to tell me that 'Momma is very sick'". Catherine Ripka Whitaker died 8 Dec 1862 just two weeks before the regiment broke camp to head south. In his journal, he wrote the simple words, "my wife died".
Some time after returning home to his children, he married Margaret Hill and they had seven more children. She died in 1879 and he married her younger sister, Eliza Jane Hill. They had one son before he died 11 Dec 1892 in Ames, Iowa.
Several of his war-time letters have been made available by descendants of the family:
Additionally, here is a post-war letter to Lt. Col. Whitaker from Capt. Thomas N. Stevens (Co. C).
Information contributed by: John F. Ivory Jr., Robert B. Whitaker and Derek Whitaker