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To Captain John C. Oakes1
June 13, 1905 Fort Clark, Texas
I have the honor to inform you of my arrival at this post. I spent yesterday getting all the information possible regarding my sheet (403 N. Langtry)2 from the old packers, teamsters and guides in the post and from several civilians in the adjacent town of Brackettville who were familiar with that locality.
They all agree on one point—that it will be almost impossible to get a wagon along the main trail and absolutely impossible to take a wagon off that trail. They tell me a pack train is the only method of getting around west of Devils River and the commanding officer here, Colonel Hughes, instructed me to say that he recommended that no attempt be made to use wheel transportation west of Devils River. There is a pack train here of twenty one mules and two packers which I would like to have authority to use.
My principal trouble will be in securing water, there being practically no water off the one trail which can be used, except in the small portion near Devils River. I am told the Pecos has always been brackish and has grown even more so and to such an extent that even the mules sicken after drinking it. At most of the stations shown along the railroad the section hands use barreled water hauled by the Southern Pacific. If the use of a pack train is authorized a number of mules will be fitted with two ten gallon kegs each.
In regard to buying rations & forage in the field I am told by reliable persons that except at Langtry, nothing can be bought and very little of anything there. Some sheep may be found and possibly a few goats.
As it is two days march from here to Del Rio which is a few miles east of that edge of my sheet, I think the only practicable arrangement would be for the Quartermaster here to ship me rations & forage to such station as I may be near. Otherwise I will consume most of my time coming & going. I request that such authority be secured for the Quartermaster at this post.
Would it be possible for me to secure authority to make at least one trip a month from such station as I may be near to Spofford Junction, the Fort Clark R.R. Sta., and return?
If this could be arranged I could come in and settle up with the Quartermaster and Commissary attend to such other business as will be apt to come up, and only consume from two to three days. Whereas if I attempt to ride in from any but the extreme eastern part of my sheet I will be eight or ten days at the least. I have secured such instruments as I will need, except a stopwatch for timing my horse.3 I will report later where I have gotten the instruments.
I will go ahead and make such preparations as possible pending the receipt of a reply to this or the necessary authorities.
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. Oakes (U.S.M.A., 1897), Corps of Engineers, engineer officer for the Southwestern Division, was responsible for the construction of the Progressive Military Map in Texas.
2. The officer in charge of each expedition was given a skeleton map of an area one degree of longitude by one-half degree of latitude (approximately sixty by thirty-five miles) and was expected to sketch in details. The officers selected for this duty were supposed to have special aptitude for reconnaissance duty. Marshall later told an acquaintance that he did part of his “fill-in” sketching in Judge Roy Bean’s famous old cabin at Langtry. (Marshall to Bennett Foster, April 9, 1956, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Retirement].)
3. “I had to walk the track and count the rails. That gave me an exact measurement which I needed as a baseline. I got my distances otherwise from the odometer on the wheel of the wagon and from the time scale on the walking of my horse." (Marshall Interviews, pp. 144-45.)
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. 29-30.