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To Major General Philip B. Peyton1
January 3, 1945 [Washington, D.C.]
Thanks again for very gracious and inspiring birthday greetings. You have always remembered the day and never failed to express the most generous sentiments.
How distant those old VMI days seem against the perspective of the years. More frequently of late than in the past, incidents of our days—you, Nick and I, as roommates—come to mind. He sent me some oranges this Christmas and I recalled his barrels of books, and my barrel one time of canned goods and preserves that vanished under the class onslaught.2
I was sorry not to see you at the game.3 I did not get clear to go until the night before and then on the basis of in and out with no loss of time. In addition I had Sir John Dill’s widow with me.
Good luck to you in the New Year and thanks for your note.
P.S. Apropos of your comment on a record of my affairs. I have made a vow never to commit the error of writing any memoirs.4
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Buster Peyton, who was General Marshall’s roommate at the Virginia Military Institute and had retired in February 1942 due to disability in line of duty, had sent birthday greetings to the chief of staff from his home in Earlysville, Virginia. “You have made a career unique and notable,” wrote Peyton, “a keen and enduring satisfaction to all of us who have watched your progress to the top. Some day I hope you will make it a subject of record—I want to live long enough to read it.” (Peyton to Marshall, December 31, 1944, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
2. Leonard K. Nicholson, heir to the New Orleans Times-Picayune Publishing Company, arranged that unused review copies of books sent to the Times-Picayune be forwarded to him at Virginia Military Institute. General Marshall reminisced about Nicholson’s friend at the newspaper sending “us a barrel of books at a time. . . . I was a rapid reader and Peyton was a rapid reader and Nicholson was a very slow reader. Peyton and I just read through the barrel,” recalled Marshall. (Marshall Interviews, p. 95. For General Marshall’s recollections of receiving at V.M.I. a package of canned goods and delicacies sent by his father from a Pittsburgh delicatessen, see pp. 93-94.)
3. General Marshall attended the Army-Navy football game played at Baltimore, Maryland, on December 2, 1944.
4. General Marshall had previously declined all requests to write his memoirs. Assistant Secretary of the General Staff Frank McCarthy replied to a book publisher’s inquiry during the fall of 1943 that the chief of staff “has made up his mind quite firmly that he can give no thought at this time to writing a book, and, in fact, he has no intention of writing a book after the war.” (McCarthy to Elliott B. Macrae, October 23, 1943, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-143 [4: 164-66].) In December 1943, publisher Doubleday, Doran and Company had written to General Marshall on the subject: “Knowing the pressure you will be under from many different sources I do want it on your records that Doubleday Doran is definitely interested in any book you may decide to do and that we are ready to discuss terms at your convenience.” (Hugh Gibson to Marshall, December 20, 1943, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General].) General Marshall replied that he had no plans to write his memoirs. (Marshall [staff-drafted] to Gibson, December 27, 1943, ibid.)
Recommended Citation: ThePapers 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. 5, “The Finest Soldier,” January 1, 1945-January 7, 1947 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), pp. 9-10.