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To General John J. Pershing
September 26, 1938 Washington, D.C.
. . . I have had a rather busy time since my last letter to you. I managed to get a week with Mrs. Marshall on Fire Island and then had to make a talk at Clarksburg, W. Va., for The Assistant Secretary of War. Shortly after that I went down to Maxwell Field to address the new class of the Air Corps Tactical School at the opening of the session. From there I flew over to Benning and spent a day and a half there seeing what a magnificent place it has been made since my departure in 1932. I returned to Washington Wednesday afternoon, and Thursday morning learnt of the terrific hurricane in the Northeast. The Western Union people told me I could not hope to communicate with Bay Shore, L.I., the point from which one takes a boat for Fire Island, where Mrs. Marshall has her cottage, for at least 24 hours; and as nothing was known of what had occurred on Fire Island, I took a plane and flew up to see what had occurred. From the air, I saw the cottage had not been destroyed, though most of the houses in the vicinity had collapsed or been demolished. Many on the bay side of the island— which is about 600 yards wide—had floated out in the water. On the ocean side, the dunes had been broken through by heavy seas and most of the cottages in that vicinity were destroyed. I flew over to Mitchel Field and procured a small training plane, and succeeded in landing on the beach. I found Mrs. Marshall and Molly all right, but they had had a terrific night and escaped from the cottage in water up to their waists, and in a 50-90 mile an hour gale. My orderly was with them and he did his part nobly. The next morning they took stock and found that the cottage had not been harmed, though destruction elsewhere had been terrific, and quite a few lives were lost. The adjacent community of Saltaire was completely destroyed, except for 6 cottages. I remained on the island and got Mrs. Marshall over to the Long Island side. On Friday evening I took her and Molly in to New York, where they now are, apparently none the worse for their experience.
I get my house, 2118 Wyoming Ave., on October 1st, and they arrive that day.
The weather is lovely now. I spent the week-end down near Upperville with Mrs. Rozier Delany, and had a delightful rest and a little fishing on Sunday morning. I drove through Bluemont, and got the gorgeous view looking over the Shenandoah.
I had a nice letter from Miss May a few days ago. She seems to be getting along famously. However, she is uncertain as to her winter plans.
Please be careful of yourself and do not overdo, and do not allow people to impose upon you.
With affectionate regards,
G. C. Marshall
I know nothing about the major general business. Rumor is destroying me, I fear. I am announced by Tom, Dick and Harry as Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief of Staff to be, the Asst. Secretary makes similar announcements. Probably antagonizing Woodring & Craig.1
Document Copy Text Source: John J. Pershing Papers, General Correspondence, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Document Format: Typed letter signed.
1. Marshall added this handwritten postscript in response to a comment General Pershing had made: “Incidentally, please let me know confidentially just when you expect to he promoted to the grade of Major General. It might, though not necessarily will, have some effect upon your future. So far as I can make out it will be at least a year, although I have not gone into the details.” (Pershing to Marshall, September 1, 1938, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
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. 636-637.