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Editorial Note on Inspection Trip of December 1939
December 6-14, 1939
Beginning in November 1939, the army concentrated three divisions in the southern states for spring corps and army maneuvers: the First at Fort Benning, Georgia, the Fifth at Fort McClellan, Alabama, and the Sixth at Camp Jackson, South Carolina. Marshall left Washington, D.C., at noon on December 6, 1939, for a brief inspection of these troop concentrations. Stopping that night at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he left the next day to inspect the Sixth Division at Camp Jackson. Covering the remainder of the 930 miles of his airplane trip, Marshall viewed troops at Fort Benning on December 8 and at Fort McClellan on December 9. Returning to Georgia for some leisure time, he was joined by Mrs. Marshall, who had been vacationing in the South.
Ever conscious of his and Mrs. Marshall’s privacy, the chief of staff wrote to the commanders of these posts requesting that they schedule a minimum of social obligations. To the commandant of the Infantry School, he noted: “We want to be polite and we must be considerate of our old friends in Columbus, but if there is any possible way in which Katherine and I can have a little peaceful time without entertaining, it will be greatly appreciated.” (Marshall to Brigadier General Asa L. Singleton, December 4, 1939, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
Canceling possible side trips to Texas and Florida, the Marshalls returned to Washington, D.C., by automobile on December 14.
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr. (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), p. 115.