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To Brigadier General Scott Shipp
January 21, 1901 Uniontown, Pennsylvania
My Dr Sir:-
It has been George Jr.s ambition to go in the regular service, and he has been bending his energies to that end. While his Mother and I both were against it I believe in taking him on his own judgment etc. I have many warm and influential friends of the administration and quite close ones at that. They will do for me all that it is possible to do. Even so far as making it a personal demand. On that score I am fully satisfied and assured—1
Now my object in writing is to ask of you a letter simply giving me your opinion as to George’s fitness. Whether he possesses those qualifications, so essential to the making of an officer that would be a credit to the Institute or not particularly as it comes from the V.M.I. the West Point of the South.2 At any rate I will present them in person, and do the talking for the V.M.I—
By doing this, you will greatly oblige
Yrs very truly
G. C. Marshall
P.S.—All I can say is that if he only makes as great a success in his line as Stuart has in his I will be both satisfied and proud of him—3
G. C. M.
Document Copy Text Source: Alumni File, Virginia Military Institute Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Handwritten letter signed.
1. At the request of George C. Marshall, Sr., John S. Wise wrote a letter of recommendation to President McKinley on January 30, 1901. Wise cited George’s relative, “the illustrious John Marshall . . . and the records fail to disclose since then one of the name who was either fool or coward. They are filled with instances of intelligent brave gentlemen of this name and this boy bears it most worthily. I heartily commend him.” (NA/RG 94 [Document File].) Wise, a V.M.I. graduate (1866) and the son of a former governor of Virginia, had switched to the Republican party, moved to New York, and helped William McKinley win the 1896 presidential nomination.
2. In response to Mr. Marshall’s request, General Scott Shipp wrote a letter of recommendation on January 23, 1901: “I was a Confederate officer, and for nearly forty years have been Commr or Suptdt of this school. I have served on Bd of Visitors to both West Point and Annapolis. With this experience I assert with absolute confidence that if commissioned in the army, young Marshall will in all respects, soon take his stand much above the average West Point graduate.” (Ibid.) On February 12, 1901, George C. Marshall, Sr., requested General Shipp to write a personal letter to President McKinley, much like the one that Wise had written. Superintendent Shipp responded with a letter to the president on February 14, recommending Marshall for a second lieutenancy and commenting that “Marshall is fully the equal of the best.” (Ibid.)
3. Upon graduation from V.M.I. in 1894, Stuart B. Marshall joined the Dunbar Furnace Company in Dunbar, Pennsylvania, where he soon became chief chemist.
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. 10-11.