Autograph Letter Signed, to Lt. Col. Addison W. Preston, March 26, 1864. 1 p., 8 x 10 in.
Hd Qrs 3rd Division C C.
March 26th 1864
Lt. Col. A. W. Preston
Commanding at Grove Church
I am directed by the Commanding General to say that you will turn over your orders to the bearer and report in camp with your command so soon as relieved.
I am Colonel
Your Obt Svt
E. W. Whitaker
Lt. & A.A.A.G.
Edward W. Whitaker (1841-1922) was born in Connecticut, and he and three brothers joined the Union army. Three months after sending this order, he earned the Medal of Honor three months later for his actions at Reams Station, Virginia, "while acting as an aide voluntarily carried dispatches…to Gen. Meade, forcing his way with a single troop of Cavalry, through an Infantry division of the enemy in the most distinguished manner, though he lost half his escort." During the course of the war, Whitaker fought in eighty-two engagements. He was chief of staff to Gen. George A. Custer and bore the flag of truce at Appomattox. In March 1865, at age 23, he became the youngest General in the Civil War.
Addison Webster Preston (1831-1864) was born in Burke, Vermont, and moved as a child to Danville. He entered Brown University, but left due to ill health. He sailed to Australia and then to California, where he spent several years before returning to Danville. Preston enlisted as a captain in the 1st Vermont Cavalry in September 1861, and was promoted to Lt. Col. in September 1862. He was wounded at Hagerstown in the Gettysburg Campaign and again two months later at Culpeper Court House. Appointed colonel on April 29, 1864, he was killed in action on June 3, 1864, at Hawe's Shop, Virginia. He left a widow and two children. Brigadier General George A. Custer said over his body, "There lies the best fighting colonel in the Cavalry Corps." (Inventory #: 23879.03)