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Editorial Note on Early Meuse-Argonne Campaign
Organizational changes in mid-October included Marshall’s assignment as assistant chief of staff for Operations of the First Army on the seventeenth. Concerning Marshall and his new job, George Van Horn Moseley commented long afterward: “Remember that in preparation for battle, the Commanding General (in this case that fine, able, modest soul, Hunter Liggett) gives the general plan for the operations, his Chief of Staff co-ordinates the work of all sections of the staff; but it is the Chief of the Third Section, G-3, as we call him, who must work out all the details of the operations, putting them in a clear, practical, workable order which can be understood by the commanders of all subordinate units. The order must be comprehensive, yet not involved. It must appear clear when read in a poor light, in the mud and rain. That was Marshall’s job, and he performed it one hundred percent. The troops which maneuvered under his plan always won.” (George Van Horn Moseley, “One Soldier’s Journey, “ 2 vols. [unpublished memoir], 2: 32, LC/G. V. H. Moseley Papers.)
The energy of the great American attack, launched on September 26, had been quickly dissipated by the difficult terrain and the stubborn German resistance. By the middle of October, the fighting consisted of numerous detached operations directed toward securing a favorable line of departure for the next general assault. On October 20, Marshall began to prepare plans for an advance all along the front west of the Meuse River. November 1 was the date finally designated for the launching of this operation. Meanwhile, Marshall spent much of his time visiting corps and division headquarters along the front. (Memoirs, p. 180.)
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), pp. 164-165.