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To Brigadier General Scott Shipp
January 4, 1903 Manila, Philippine Islands
In view of the fact that I practically owe my present position to you I always feel a desire to let you know how I am getting along in the Army.
My company took station here in the City the day before Xmas, though I did not report until January 1st as I was left behind at our former post, Mangarin, Island of Mindoro, with a detachment of the company, awaiting the arrival of some Native Scouts to relieve me. With the exception of the last few days all my service out here has been on Mindoro. While I have seen no actual fighting yet I had some hard hiking after ladrones in the mountains, but they offered little or no resistance when cornered. Mangarin was a very isolated post, a month between boats when I first reached there. Afterwards we had a boat every three weeks. This was very disagreeable as regards mail from home, but I found it more agreeable from an official standpoint, as I was left to my own judgement since it took two months to receive a reply to any communication from Manila, and as the times were not serious the freedom it gave me was not offset by the responsibility. So far I have found this life even pleasanter than I had imagined it would be and I think it will improve with time. Last night as I came out of the theatre I was very much surprised by meeting Epes, class of 1900, but I was only able to talk to him a very few moments and did not learn much of what he is doing out here.
I believe he said he was in the Educational Department. I am expecting him out here at the barracks next week to talk over old times. I was with Lansing, “95”, a few days in May. Since then he has gotten his 1st Lieutenantcy.1 Though my first year of foreign service has not expired I am looking forward to the time of our departure for the States.
During the days of the fighting the time passed more quickly than now, with the routine of garrison duty, especially in Manila.
At Mangarin there was fine hunting, deer, wild bore and ducks to while the hours away, and we also did a great deal of sailing.
I asked my wife to have a catalogue of the Institute sent me, but she evidently overlooked it. I would like to get the one that came out last spring and the next one, when it comes out, as I want to keep in touch with the progress of the Institute. I see by the Army and Navy Journal that we were well represented in the last batch of appointees. All the officers I meet are very complimentary in their opinion of the Institute. General Carter, the former Assistant Adjutant General, was exceptional generous in his praise of the V.M.I. when I was talking to him in Washington last February.
Certainly as far as numbers go the graduates present a very creditable appearance in the Register.2 I understand that a great many improvements are being made, and I hardly expect to recognize the place if I am fortunate enough to see it again. I am afraid this letter will be an imposition on your good nature, so this must be the last page. Believe me, General, with best wishes, and the hope that this new year will find you in better health than ever, I am—
G. C. Marshall, Jr.
Document Copy Text Source: VMI Collection, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington Virginia.
Document Format: Handwritten letter signed.
1. Branch J. Epes (V.M.I., 1900) was a teacher working for the United States Department of Agriculture. Cleveland C. Lansing (V.M.I., 1895) had served with the volunteers in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. He accepted a commission in the army in June 1901, and became a first lieutenant of Field Artillery in June 1902.
2. The Official Army Register for 1903 lists twenty-seven V.M.I. graduates in the following departments: Medical, two; Chaplain, one; Cavalry, four; Artillery, seven; Infantry, thirteen. Most of these were lieutenants.
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. 26-28.