1-026 To the Military Secretary, Southwestern Division, August 31, 1905

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: August 31, 1905

To the Military Secretary, Southwestern Division

August 31, 1905 Thirty miles due north of the railway on Devils River, Texas


. . . In regard to the purchase of the necessary forage in the field as I was instructed to do by the Engineer Officer,1 I have the honor to make the following statement: The instructions directed me to make arrangements with the Post Quartermaster at Fort Clark to purchase forage in the field when returning to Clark would involve too much delay. Your office furnished me with a copy of a letter to the Dept. Commander, dated May 22nd 05, in which he was instructed to make arrangements for me to purchase rations and forage in the field. The Post Quartermaster gave me a number of blank Q.M. Form 10 to Abst. “A” with which to make the purchases. From what I could learn of the country I was to map I believed I would not always be able to purchase forage (which I found later to be correct) as there were but two small stores in my sheet, so I requested additional authority to have forage and rations shipped me when such was the case. During the nine weeks I have been out I have made but four purchases of forage for my fourteen animals, having my forage shipped me whenever possible on account of the high price and inferior grade of all that could be bought out here.

It has never been practical to go into Clark for forage as the nearest point to Clark in my sheet is fifty miles and the furthest two hundred miles by road.

In yesterdays mail I received back the vouchers for the first two purchases of forage, one June 26th 05 in Del Rio, Tex., and one July 3rd 1905, in Comstock, Tex. These have never yet been settled and I am directed to furnish certificates in duplicate for each set of vouchers showing the extreme emergency for such purchases and stating my authority for making them. I do not suppose the last two purchases made have been settled for either. In an endorsement on the letter of transmittal the Dept. Quartermaster states that the records of his office do not show that I have ever been granted authority for such purchases or requested any, and jud[g]ing from the tone of the endorsement there seems to be a possibility of the purchases being disallowed. He also states that I should make such purchases only in cases of extreme emergency and then only on the order of the Post Commander at Fort Clark.

While in every case there was ample emergency to justify my purchasing the forage I do not see that any emergency, other than the excessive distance from Fort Clark (if that could be called one) was necessary. Under my instructions from your office it appears to me I could have made weekly purchases and the fact that I didn’t was due to my own arrangement to have grain shipped me. I do not see that there was any reason for me to apply to the Dept. Quartermaster for authority to make such purchases as I already held a copy of the Division Commander’s instructions to the Dept. of Texas, furnished me for my guidance, directing that arrangements be made for me to make such purchases, as well as direct instructions to the same effect sent to me, only requiring me to make the arrangements with the Post Quartermaster. I have already had inquiries as to when these long delayed forage bills will be settled and I respectfully request that some arrangement be made to secure the settlement of all.

There will be no further necessity of my purchasing forage while engaged in mapping this present sheet but I request that I be informed as to whether I am to furnish certificates showing the extreme emergency for the last two purchase made by me. I will make out and mail the certificates for the first two purchases at once.

In regard to the purchasing of rations in the field as was contemplated in your instructions I endeavored to make some arrangement with the Post Commissary to do so but he stated he had no means of making such arrangement. I then wrote to the Chief Commissary of the Dept. direct to avoid delay, requesting that arrangements be made for me to make such purchases as directed in your instructions, and he referred it to the Commanding Officer at Fort Clark for him to order such purchases. The latter did not consider me under his command and returned the letter to the Dept. Commissary from whom it came back to me but with no arrangement made stating that authority had been granted to ship me rations, the latter being on my own application, as referred to before, as in the case of the forage when no rations could be purchased. I gave up the idea of purchasing rations in the field as I could manage to carry a months rations and touch the railroad frequently enough to get fresh ones.

There seems to have been some misunderstanding about the supplying of my detachment and I respectfully request that I be informed as to whether I have been at fault or not though my instructions be so clear as to hardly permit of being misconstrued.

Very respectfully

G. C. Marshall, Jr.

Document Copy Text Source: Records of United States Army Continental Command (RG 393), Southwestern Division, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Handwritten letter signed.

1. In the first indorsement of Marshall’s letter of June 13, John C. Oakes had recommended that “the Post Quartermaster be directed to ship rations and forage to such stations as Lieut. Marshall may designate when it is impossible for him to buy supplies." Lieutenant Colonel James S. Pettit (U.S.M.A., 1878), the military secretary of the Southwestern Division, granted this authority on June 30.

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. 30-32.

Digital Downloads




Holding Rights: Public Information
Holding ID: 1-026

Rights: Public Information