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Bill Thayer

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The text that follows is reproduced from (the report of the) Thirty-First Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 12th, 1900.

 p67  Charles Lee Collins
No. 2967. Class of 1882.
Died, at Cebu, Island of Cebu, P. I., September 7th, 1899,
aged 40 years.

Captain Charles Lee Collins was born in Newport, Ky., July 24, 1859. His earlier school days were spent in Cincinnati, Ohio, but he inherited strong tastes for army life, and entered the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, July 1st, 1878, and was graduated in the class of 1882. He was appointed Second Lieutenant of the Twenty-fourth Infantry, and served with his company at Fort Elliott, Texas. Was promoted to First Lieutenant, Nineteenth Infantry, February 20, 1891, transferred to  p68 Eleventh Infantry July 20, 1891, and promoted to Captain, Twenty-third Infantry, May 25th, 1898. Most of his service was in the West, but for four years he was detailed on the staff of General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.A. D. McCook, Los Angeles, Cal., and Denver, Col., as Inspector of Small Arms Practice. He also served for four years as Adjutant of the Eleventh Infantry at Fort Whipple, Ariz. In the early spring of 1898 he was detached from his regiment and sent as Military Attache to the United States Legation at Caracas, Venezuela. His uniform courtesy and the assistance he rendered to the President of the Republic in improving the military arm of the service was recognized by decorating him with the famous "Order of the Liberations,"​a an order established in memory of Bolivar, the Washington of South America.

While there he was one of the party of the U. S. steamer "Wilmington," which made the famous trip from the mouth to the source of the Orinoco River. The tropical climate told on his health, however, and he returned to the United States much broken, only to be ordered to his regiment in the Philippines, and made the long journey against the advice of his doctors, who never believed he could stand the journey. While at Presidio, he was placed in command of a number of recruits and somewhat regained his former vigor, but he only survived his voyage nine days.​b

Captain Collins was over six feet three inches tall, and had many genial, manly traits of character, which were felt and appreciated by those with whom he came in contact.

Thayer's Notes:

a Correctly: the Order of the Liberator (Orden del Libertador). The mistake, however, appears to have been prescient: in 2010 the Hugo Chavez régime recast the honorable old order as Orden Libertadores y Libertadoras de Venezuela, the Male and Female Liberators of Venezuela Order, in somewhat the same spirit that gave Americans the loathsome "Presidents' Day" conflating the commemoration of George Washington the Father of Our Country and of Abraham Lincoln to include Franklin Pierce, Jimmy Carter, and others.

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b In Cullum's Register, he is stated to have arrived in the Philippines on Aug. 25, and died on Sep. 7, thirteen days.

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Page updated: 28 Nov 16