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Editorial Note on Commissioning and Marriage
Marshall resigned his position in Danville and returned to his home in Uniontown. On January 6, 1902, his nomination for a commission in the Thirtieth Infantry Regiment, a unit stationed in the Philippines, was sent to the adjutant general of the army. Having assumed that he would receive an Artillery Corps commission, Marshall was nonplussed when he received the news. His father prevailed upon two Uniontown friends to write to Senator Matthew Quay, who queried the War Department. The adjutant general replied that there were “no vacancies as second lieutenants of artillery to be filled by candidates from civil life. The only remedy for Mr. Marshall is to arrange a mutual transfer with someone in the artillery who desires infantry.” (The Adjutant General to Quay, January 30, 1902, NA/RG 94 [Document File].) Marshall returned his signed oath of office as an infantryman on February 3.
Elizabeth Carter Coles and George C. Marshall, Jr., were married in an Episcopal ceremony in the bride’s home in Lexington, Virginia, on February 11. The next morning the new couple took the train for Washington, D.C. As Marshall had orders to report on the thirteenth, they expected but a single day’s honeymoon. Fortunately, when Lieutenant Marshall reported to the War Department building, he met Major William H. Carter, the assistant adjutant general and a man who became a good friend in later years. (Marshall Interviews, p. 120.) Carter was sympathetic to the plight of newlyweds facing a long separation and directed that revised orders be issued delaying for ten days Marshall’s departure for foreign duty.
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), p. 20.