ONLINE CATALOG SEARCH
Editorial Note on Efforts to Get Permission To Take
the Army Officer Candidate Test
Young Marshall had reason to press vigorously for action: the positions in the expanded army were being filled rapidly. By September 1901, when he was finally able to take the qualifying examination, there were only 142 vacancies for the new lieutenancies and over 10,000 applications on file. (Report of the Secretary of War, 1901, p. 11.)
In April, armed with one of his father’s business cards and some letters of introduction, Marshall journeyed to Washington, D.C. There he visited the newly appointed attorney general, Philander C. Knox, a friend of his father; the chairman of the House Military Affairs Committee, John A. Hull, distantly connected with his mother’s family by marriage; and finally President McKinley himself. (Marshall Interviews, p. 85.) But these meetings were perhaps less important than the letters of recommendation his father had persuaded the Republican senators from Pennsylvania, Boies Penrose and Matthew S. Quay, to write to the War Department. (Copies of the documents concerning Marshall’s efforts to obtain permission to take the test are in NA/RG 94 [Document File].)
One of the few extant documents produced by cadet Marshall, the report written at the end of his final year at V.M.I., appears on page 16 (See Papers of George C. Marshall, #1-011 [1: 16]).
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. 11.