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Editorial Note on First Army HQ Work
“My state of mind at this period is impossible to describe,” Marshall wrote in his Memoirs. “I seemed to be getting farther and farther away from the fight, and it was particularly hard to work on a plan and then not be permitted to attend its execution.” On August 20, John A. Lejeune (U.S.N.A., 1890), the Marine Corps general commanding the Second Division, personally came to Chaumont to request Marshall’s services as commander of the Twenty-third Infantry Regiment in the coming battle. Not only was the request denied, but Marshall was ordered to leave immediately for Neufchateau, where he was to be temporary assistant to Chief of Staff Hugh Drum of the newly formed First Army. (Memoirs, p. 125.)
In addition to his heavy load of office work at First Army headquarters, Marshall had to make frequent visits to the numerous corps and division headquarters to discuss various aspects of the battle plans. Operational secrecy was a frequent topic of discussion. In addition to the sheer magnitude of the enterprise, enthusiastic officers, convinced that their particular job was of momentous importance, and thus an exception to rules governing reconnaissance and travel, made secrecy difficult to maintain. (Ibid., p. 131.) Finally, Marshall wrote the following.
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. 155-156.