2-107 To Captain William T. Sexton, January 23, 1940

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: January 23, 1940

To Captain William T. Sexton1

January 23, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]

My dear Captain Sexton:

I have just returned this morning from an air trip to the Maneuvers on the West Coast, along with an inspection of the divisions in the South and Southwest.

At Randolph Field Colonel Brooks presented me with a copy of “Soldiers in the Sun”, which I read during the air portion of my journey between San Antonio and Fort Benning.2

On my second trip to the Philippines, in 1913 I occupied a great deal of my spare time during the three years in going completely through War Department records covering the military events, in the field and in government, between the arrival of the first expeditionary force in 1898 and the campaign in Mindanao in 1904. Of course I also read General Funston’s book and several other private publications. During this period I arranged to visit as many of the scenes of action as possible, and tried to take with me officers who had been actual participants in the events. I planned and participated in a Staff ride up the central valley of Luzon through Angelo, Bautista, Mangatarem and Lingayan Gulf, and returned in the reverse direction of General Lawton’s expedition. In the vicinity of Manila, the Batangas region, San Pablo Valley, and other easily accessible points, it was relatively a simple matter to go over the ground of the interesting events which had transpired during the insurrection.3

With this as a background for my critical opinion of your book, I would like to congratulate you on a remarkable piece of research and writing. I can think of nothing of importance that you have omitted, and there seems to be nothing you have included which might well have been omitted. Your book is a remarkable record of what took place in the Philippines, of the aspects of cause and effect, and of the state of mind of the times.4

My congratulations on a splendid piece of work.

Faithfully yours,

P.S. When I came to sign this letter, I realized that probably your publishers would like to use it in the customary campaign of marketing the book, but I must ask you to treat this as a personal letter.

Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, General Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.

Document Format: Typed letter.

1. Sexton (U.S. M.A., 1924) had served in the Philippine Islands from 1930 to 1932, taught history at the United States Military Academy, and was a student at the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, during the 1939-40 school year.

2. Colonel John B. Brooks, Air Corps, was stationed at Randolph Field, fifteen miles northeast of San Antonio, Texas. Sexton’s book, Soldiers in the Sun: An Adventure in Imperialism (Harrisburg, Pa.: Military Service Publishing Company, 1939), was a history of the United States occupation of the Philippine Islands from May 1, 1898, when Admiral Dewey’s fleet destroyed the Spanish fleet, until June 20, 1901, when President Theodore Roosevelt’s proclamation transferred executive authority over the islands from the military to a civilian commission.

3. Major General Frederick B. Funston, Sr., commandant of the Army Service Schools during Marshall’s tour of duty as student and instructor, had written Memories of Two Wars: Cuban and Philippine Experiences in 1912. (On Marshall’s experiences in the Philippines, see Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #1-019-#1-024 [1: 23-29], and #1-060-#1-071 [1: 73-95].)

4. Sexton replied that “the same interest which motivated you to travel so extensively throughout Luzon in 1913 impelled me to finish a long but interesting project which at the beginning seemed fairly simple. Also as I progressed with the work, I became determined that the exploits of a group of brave men who were struggling through sun and fever to carry out the will of the national government, should be made known to the American people. I tried to make the book interesting yet objective. If that desire has been attained I feel that the time was well spent.” (Sexton to Marshall, January 28, 1940, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General].)

In mid-April, Marshall had Sexton send a copy of the book to Major General Frank R. McCoy. Marshall suggested to McCoy that he try to have the New York Times review the volume. (Marshall to McCoy, April 13, 1940, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].) A review by Major General William C. Rivers appeared in the New York Times Book Review of May 5, 1940, p. 4.

Recommended Citation: ThePapers 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. 142-143.

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