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To Mrs. William M. Hoge1
July 20, 1944 [Washington, D.C.]
My dear Mrs. Hoge:
Direct appeals to General Marshall have become so numerous that it is no longer possible for him to deal with them personally except in very special circumstances. Therefore I am replying to your letter to him of July eighteenth.2
I rather imagine you are only partially informed as to General Hoge’s movements and duties, judging from the comments in your letter. General Marshall saw General Hoge in France on June twelfth. I saw him at the same time. He was in command of a brigade of special troops, largely engineers, and was responsible for the organization of the southern beach over which our U.S. landing in France was made, and for the movement of men and supplies across this beach. There is no record here of just when he returned to England or of the fact that he had returned to England and the reason for such return. Normally this would not be known in the War Department as the dispositions of officers overseas are responsibilities of theater commanders.
As to your reference regarding General Somervell’s possible influence on General Hoge’s present situation, I am quite certain that he is wholly unaware of where General Hoge is and of what he is or is not doing. These are matters that are handled by the authorities in the theaters, and as I have already explained to you, General Hoge was in command of a brigade in France at the time I saw him.3
I am returning the letter from Captain Hoge which I am certain you will wish me to do.4
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. This letter to the wife of Brigadier General Hoge, who had been an instructor under Marshall at the Infantry School between 1928 and 1931, was dictated by General Marshall but sent over Colonel Frank McCarthy’s signature. Marshall’s private secretary, Mona K. Nason, wrote on the bottom of the file copy: “c/s said use this as a ‘sample of similar letters.’”
2. Hoge had arrived in England in November 1943 to command the Fifth Engineer Special Brigade until March 1944, when he took command of the Provisional Engineer Special Brigade Group, which was utilized in the OMAHA Beach assault. (See Marshall to Roosevelt and Stimson, June 14, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-410 [4: 479-80].) The special brigade group was deactivated on OMAHA Beach on June 26, with its material used to create the OMAHA Beach Command headquarters. Mrs. Hoge had written to say that her husband had been in London since June 27 “without a job” and that his letters indicated that he was “pretty discouraged.” She attributed part of her husband’s problem to his being “extremely unpopular with Bill Somervell.” She wished to bring her husband’s “present forced inactivity” to Marshall’s attention. (Mrs. Hoge to Marshall, July 18, , GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General].)
3. In mid-October, Hoge was given a combat command in the Ninth Armored Division.
4. Captain William M. Hoge, Jr. (U.S.M.A., 1941), was a battery commander in the Seventh Field Artillery Battalion of the First Infantry Division. Apparently Mrs. Hoge had enclosed a letter from her son, but there is no mention of such in her letter or in the Marshall papers.
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. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), pp. 529-530.