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To Major Hugh A. Drum
September 20, 1919 [Washington, D.C.]
My dear Drum:-
I am sending you herewith the first draft of the revision of that portion of the Report of the First Army, which covers the period during which General Pershing was in direct command. I am not at all certain that this draft will meet his approval; it was hastily prepared in accordance with the notes he made on the original report.
The General will go over this draft himself within ten days, but I thought it best to send a copy of it to you in order that you might have an opportunity to make such comments and propose such changes as you see fit.
He does not wish to have anything included in his portion of the report which would seem to offer explanations or to be answering criticisms.
That portion of your report which comments on the conferences with Marshal Foch has been changed to agree with the records of these conferences kept by Colonel Boyd in a daily diary and by General Conner.1 Please make your preliminary suggestions [and] comments as soon as possible and mail them back to me at Headquarters American Expeditionary Forces, Old Land Office Building, Washington, D.C.2
Document Copy Text Source: National Archives Donated Materials Group, PRSHG, John J. Pershing Papers, Report of the First Army, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Carl Boyd, a close friend and aide to General Pershing, died of pneumonia in Paris, February 12, 1919. It was this position that Marshall was asked to fill. Brigadier General Fox Conner, another of Pershing’s good friends, was assistant chief of staff for Operations, G.H.Q., at the time of the August-September conferences with Foch.
2. In his thousand-word reply of September 27, Drum objected to the elimination from Marshall’s draft of three key points, each of which, if passed over in silence, might reflect adversely on the American Expeditionary Forces or on Pershing and his staff. First was the supply situation in the First Army’s area shortly after the September 26 attack. British and French military writers, Drum observed, "had grasped at the alleged supply failure on our part to criticize the American High Command and Staff."
Second, some explanation of the relief from the front in late September of the disorganized Thirty-fifth, Thirty-seventh, and Seventy-ninth Divisions was necessary, not only because of British and French comment, but also because of political repercussions in Congress. Finally, the blame for the partial failure of the October 14 attack should be placed on the commander of the Fifth Division, where it properly belonged, in Drum’s opinion, or uninformed observers would attribute the difficulties to causes "which are entirely foreign to the real reasons." (NA/RG PRSHG [J. J. Pershing Papers, Report of the First Army].)
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. 193.