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Editorial Note on Marshall’s Fort Myer Quarters
Two miles across the Arlington Memorial Bridge from Marshall’s new office in the Munitions Building sat the official residence of the army chief of staff at Fort Myer, Virginia. Mrs. Marshall, recovering from her spring illness at her Fire Island cottage, had assigned to her husband the task of overseeing the preparation of their new quarters. “I have been dickering with the decorators, etc. regarding our new home at Fort Myer,” Marshall told an Oregon friend. (Marshall to Hamilton Corbett, July 6,1939, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
Since his arrival at the War Department in mid-1938, Marshall had been renting Major General Stanley D. Embick’s house on Wyoming Avenue in northwest Washington. On July 28, Marshall wrote to Malin Craig that he was being moved that day “the furniture being stored in the dining room pending the completion of papering and painting.” He described in enthusiastic detail the changes he had ordered, including the installation of a dishwasher “which will do 1,000 dishes an hour . . . . The rooms look very lovely. . . . The bath rooms are mostly wet cement, so I cannot tell about them yet.” (Marshall to Craig, July 28, 1939, ibid.)
Fort Myer and its Third Cavalry Regiment were commanded by Colonel George S. Patton, Jr., whom Marshall had known since their service with the American Expeditionary Forces in France in 1917. Patton wrote to Marshall on July 20 that he understood that the chief’s furniture was being moved before the house was ready. “That being the case, it occurs to me that you will have no place to stay. All my family are away, but my house is open and running, and I am there. I can give you a room and bath and meals, and should be truly delighted to do so. I shall not treat you as a guest and shall not cramp your style in any way.” (Patton to Marshall, July 20, 1939, ibid.)
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), pp. 20-21.