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Editorial Note on Meuse-Argonne Planning
September 8-10, 1918
On September 8, Chief of Staff Hugh Drum called a meeting to hand out new assignments to his staff. General Pershing had agreed to undertake to launch a second offensive on the Meuse-Argonne front, some sixty miles from St. Mihiel, no later than September 25, thirteen days after the first attack. Marshall was assigned the job of planning the transfer of some six hundred thousand men and twenty-seven hundred guns over the three roads between the two fronts. “This appalling proposition rather disturbed my equilibrium,” he later wrote. The next few hours stood out in his memory as “the most trying mental ordeal” he experienced during the war. He was fully aware that his reputation hung in the balance. Finally, he dictated the following document (printed in full in his Memoirs, pp. 139-42) which he ultimately concluded “represented my best contribution to the war. It was the only official paper I preserved for my personal records and brought home from France.” (Memoirs, pp. 137-39.)
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.160.