The George C. Marshall Papers


YOUNG Marshall had reason to press vigorously for action: the positions in the expanded army were being filled rapidly. By September 1901, when he was finally able to take the qualifying examination, there were only 142 vacancies for the new lieutenancies and over 10,000 applications on file. (Report of the Secretary of War, 1901, p. 11.)
In April, armed with one of his father's business cards and some letters of introduction, Marshall journeyed to Washington, D.C. There he visited the newly appointed attorney general, Philander C. Knox, a friend of his father; the chairman of the House Military Affairs Committee, John A. Hull, distantly connected with his mother's family by marriage; and finally President McKinley himself. (Marshall Interviews, p. 85.) But these meetings were perhaps less important than the letters of recommendation his father had persuaded the Republican senators from Pennsylvania, Boies Penrose and Matthew S. Quay, to write to the War Department. (Copies of the documents concerning Marshall's efforts to obtain permission to take the test are in NA/RG 94 [Document File].)
One of the few extant documents produced by cadet Marshall is a report written at the end of his final year at V.M.I. [star ]
George C. Marshall, Sr. (1845-1909).
Laura Bradford Marshall (1846-1928).
George C. Marshall, Jr., about 1885.
First Classman Marshall wearing his furlough coat. General Shipp said of him: "He is of fine physique and soldierlike appearance; a young man of marked character and ability, with natural powers of command and control." (Shipp to Whom It May Concern, January 23, 1901, NA/RG 94 [Document File].)
George C. Marshall, third from the left in the front row, with the V.M.I. cadet staff, 1901.
The Marshall-Coles wedding party poses on the front porch of the bride's Lexington home, where the Episcopal ceremony took place. Left to right are Marie (George's sister), Elizabeth Carter ("Lily") Coles, George C. Marshall, Jr., Stuart (George's brother), Mr. and Mrs. George C. Marshall, Sr., and Mrs. Walter Coles.
Marshall's commission as second lieutenant of Infantry.