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Editorial Note on Massachusetts Volunteer Militia Assignment
Marshall reported to Massachusetts Adjutant General Gardner W. Pearson on June 3, 1911, for duty as one of the inspector-instructors assigned to the state. His first job was to assist Captain George E. Thorne, who was in charge of the officers’ camps of instruction for 1911 in the Department of the East, with the program for the Massachusetts militia officers’ school to be held June 23-27.
Following this, Marshall assisted Captain Matthew E. Hanna (U.S.M.A., 1897), whom he had known at Fort Leavenworth, in drawing up plans for a major state maneuver to be held July 23-30. Marshall, the only lieutenant along with fourteen captains of the Regular Army present, and Hanna acted as umpires and assistants to the commander in chief.
“War is now on in this state,” the Boston Globe reported on July 23, “and some 6,000 troops . . . are in the field.” Another ten thousand persons visited the camps and watched the opening of the spectacle. On July 27, Major General Frederick D. Grant, commander of the Department of the East, came up from Governors Island to observe. Hanna praised the maneuvers as “unqualifiedly the most successful” militia exercise ever held in the United States. (Boston Globe, July 30, 1911.)
At the beginning of September, Marshall leased an apartment in Boston, and he and Lily again attempted to set up housekeeping. But the job of teaching and inspecting scattered units was demanding and required considerable travel. He later recalled that “the work with the Massachusetts Organized Militia was very interesting, very instructive, and a very hard job. I rarely ever was home in the evening—had to travel a great deal. All the men responded, though they thought they were getting too much work. I developed a number of what I thought were interesting courses of instruction. . . . This was quite an educational treat to me. The teacher was being educated at the same time he was instructing. But they accepted everything that I put up. And I was able to experiment and enlarge and subtract and so on.” (Marshall Interviews, pp. 170-71.)
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), p. 57.