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To General John J. Pershing
September 18, 1924 Tientsin, China
My dear General:
I got off a long delayed cable to you three days ago. On Sept. 12th and 13th I was down with a peculiar form of Chinese grippe, which seems to attack all new arrivals, so I did not then send you some word on the day of your retirement.1 It is impossible for me to picture you in any but the most active role. In fact I know that you will promptly find some outlet for your driving energy, but I do hope you find interests that will make for your happiness and contentment. You more deserve a rest than any other American, but probably will care nothing for such an opportunity.
We are in the midst of a Chinese civil war. The port at which I landed ten days ago, Ching wang tao, was bombed yesterday, and eight miles to the north at Shan hai kuan fighting is reported to have started this morning. I have one company at the coal mines at Tong shan, and had to send some additional men and a car load of grenades, stokes mortar amm. and extra rifles up there yesterday. Thousands of Chinese troops have passed thru here daily for a week or more and the railroad is practically blocked with trains for a hundred miles south of Shan hai kuan. It is reported that the Chinese city of Tientsin goes under marshal law tonight.2 Altogether I find things very interesting. The regiment has a selected personnel of officers and it is a pleasure to work with them. But I must confess that I have a hard time remembering that every thing I do is not being done directly for you. My five years with you will always remain the unique experience of my career. I knew I would treasure the recollection of that service, but not until I actually landed here and took up these new duties—not until then did I realize how much my long association with you was going to mean to me and how deeply I will miss it. Nothing at this time could appeal to me more than this assignment and I look forward to three years of valuable professional experience and pleasant relations socially.
We have not yet gotten settled in a house as the quarters I am leasing will not be available until the end of the month. Meanwhile we are at the Astor House.3 Mrs. Marshall and her mother made the trip in good shape, but will be delighted to get organized in a home of our own. Gen. Conner [Connor] looks well and just now is very busy with frequent meetings of the several commanders regarding the present unsettled conditions. The regiment with the hospital, Q.M. & C., is organized as a post under my command and Gen. C. and his staff devote themselves to outside affairs, except for the annual tactical inspections.
Please send me a note to tell me of your plans and prospective movements. I am much interested to learn your decision regarding Warren’s schooling.4
With affectionate regards, believe me, always at your service,
Document Copy Text Source: John J. Pershing Papers, General Correspondence, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Document Format: Handwritten letter signed.
1. General Pershing retired at noon on September 13, 1924.
2. Tientsin was divided into the Native City and the Concessions: British, Japanese, Italian, and French. The walled American Compound consisted of leased structures covering one square block in the “First Special Area” (the name given the former German Concession), which was administered by a special Chinese bureau.
3. A hotel in the British Concession.
4. Warren Pershing was enrolled at the Institut Carnal, Rolle, Switzerland.
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. 264-266.