1-459 To General John J. Pershing, September 19, 1937

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: September 19, 1937

To General John J. Pershing

September 19, 1937 Vancouver Barracks, Washington

My dear General:

Knowing the deluge of letters and cables you receive on each birthday I thought this time I would allow the flood to pass before tendering mine. Each year when I write my mind seems to go back to some particular occasion, different occasion of the years I was with you. This morning, out of a clear sky, their came the thought of another September morning in Ligny en Barrois when I met you in the street as I was enroute to my office. You held me up for a moment and asked me what I thought of the plans for the St Mihiel attack, if I thought it would be a go. I don’t recall just what my reply was, but I do have in mind a perfect picture of you on that morning. It all seems so long ago, but what momentous days those were for the world and for you, in particular? I would like to have known your thoughts on the day of the dedication of the St Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne monuments. I studied your expression, in the movies, but they told little of what your real thoughts must have been.

I do hope that this birthday found you in fine shape and enjoying things. Your feeling of satisfaction and contentment should grow with the years, for each year adds increasingly to public appreciation of you and of what you did for America. Tho a great many years must pass before people generally will even in a small measure understand the gigantic nature of the task you undertook and the marvelously efficient manner in which you carried it through. In talking to writers I find that they will get a partially complete perspective of this or that phase, but none visualize the entire picture. I am afraid I have but a piecemeal idea of it myself.

I have been away from Vancouver most of the time this summer. I was off at maneuvers about five weeks in the late spring. Thereafter with long inspection trips, more maneuvers, and some purely pleasure trips, there has hardly been a week when I was here continuously.

Day before yesterday Katherine and I returned from the Pendleton Round-Up, where we had a great time watching an amazing spectacle. We revieed the great parade of some 2,000 Indians and all the spectacular phases of pioneers, trappers, a half dozen stage coaches, ancient vehicles of every character with occupants in appropriate dress, etc., we reviewed it with Governor Martin and the Episcopal Bishop of eastern Oregon. Then Governor Martin, Katherine and I had lunch with the young queen of the affair.

Enroute to Pendleton we had the good luck to find the Indians at the Dalles spearing and netting a run of huge salmon, and saw the fish leaping at the falls.

Tomorrow morning Katherine and I are off on another inspection, to cross the Cascades a couple of times, and I hope to pick up some fine fishing along the way. We will be gone until the end of the week. The President is due out here the 28th and I suppose I will have to be on hand for whatever is planned. He is to speak at Bonneville Dam, which is just now the political football of the northwest.1

Katherine had a letter from Mrs. Dawes a few days ago saying that she and the General and General Harbord were going over to see you some time in October. I am glad they are going for it should be a pleasant reunion for you. Dawes seems to pick up in energy of movement and of expression as things mend financially.

With my congratulations and my prayers for your continued well being, believe me always,


G. C. Marshall

Document Copy Text Source: John J. Pershing Papers, General Correspondence, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Document Format: Author-typed letter signed.

1. Political divisions regarding The Columbia River projects emerged as a result of philosophical differences over private versus public energy production and sale, over federally mandated regional versus state planning and control of resources, and over the wide distribution of and uniform charges for hydroelectric power versus preferential treatment for industries located near the dam sites. President Roosevelt touched upon each of these issues in his speech at the Bonneville Dam on September 28. (Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1937, pp. 387-92.)

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. 558-560.

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