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    Captain Charles DeRudio: His Request for Leave, Endorsed by a Pantheon of Army brass. During the fall and winter of 1890, Captain DeRudio fell ill, probably of bronchitis. He missed the 7th Cavalry's ill-starred action at Wounded Knee (more evidence of a charmed life?), and was given six months' sick leave. He returned to his home in San Diego, and near the end of his leave requested another three months' leave of absence. This letter was dictated or transcribed for him, perhaps because of infirmity, since the hand and signature are not his. Shaky handwriting would have lent strength to the those seeking his forced retirement. The letter itself, 7.75" x 10.25", is written in clear pencil, and the entire document is in excellent condition.

    De Rudio's request was routinely endorsed on May 21 by Lt. Col. Caleb Henry Carlton (1836-1923), acting commander of the 7th. Carlton was a much breveted Civil War veteran who had, as a Confederate prisoner of war, survived Libby Prison. A week later Brig. Gen. Wesley Merritt, commanding the Department of the Missouri, added his signature but noted, "This officer has been recommended for retirement."

    The "routine" request for leave of absence now seemed less than assured. The Adjutant General's office, including soon-to-be Adjutant General Robert Williams (1829-1901), sent the request to the Commanding General of the Army, Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield (1831-1906). Schofield initialed his order to "Grant leave until the question of Capt. De Rudio's examination for retirement is decided."

    No doubt much relieved, De Rudio recovered sufficiently to return to duty. He retired at last in 1896 and lived in San Diego until his death in 1910.

    See Swanson, G. A. Custer: His Life and Times, p. 255.
    From the Glenwood Swanson Collection.

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    June, 2018
    9th Saturday
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