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Report to the Chief, Division of Militia Affairs1
January 30, 1912 Boston, Massachusetts
At the present time there are five battalions of infantry and two troops of cavalry of the organized militia of Massachusetts on duty preserving order in the city of Lawrence.2 In calling out for military duty all the men concerned, there has been but one case where a man’s employers have endeavored to have him excused from performing this duty. Unfortunately this one instance is the case of Lieutenant Brown, Company A, 8th Infantry, M.V.M., who is employed at the government arsenal at Watertown. In view of the well known difficulties with which the National Guard authorities all over the country have had to contend in educating the labor employers up to the point of considering it a patriotic duty to permit their men to perform their duties in the National Guard without hindrance or disadvantage, it would appear that the federal government should be exceedingly careful to set a proper example in this matter. The instance referred to above has resulted in the most unfortunate comment.3
Document Copy Text Source: Records of the National Guard Bureau (RG 168), Document File, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed report.
1. The original letter is not in the file. This version is from a descriptive card which apparently quotes the original and subsequent indorsements fully.
2. As the militia’s Regular Army instructor, Marshall was in Lawrence in civilian clothes frequently during the mid-January to mid-March textile strike. (See Charles A. Ranlett to Marshall, May 4, 1939, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Congratulations].) Marshall returned to Lawrence on the afternoon of January 29, following incidents of violence that morning. On January 31, in response to a letter from Captain George Van Horn Moseley regarding new militia regulations, Marshall wrote: “I have been so busy with the militia during this strike at Lawrence (purely instruction work) that I have not had lime before to look over the enclosed tentative regulations carefully. As I go back to Lawrence tomorrow I will give you my views on the subject today, without further delay." (Marshall to Moseley, January 31, 1912, NA/RG 168 [Document File].)
3. The commanding officer at Watertown Arsenal replied by indorsement that Lieutenant Brown’s particular skill was of such importance that the facility would be forced to close if he joined his militia unit. Marshall was directed to give this information to those making unfavorable comments. On July 1, 1912, Marshall again raised the issue of critical-skills deferments, this time asking for a definite War Department ruling. The department preferred to handle each case on an ad hoc basis.
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.68-69.