The George C. Marshall Papers


George C. Marshall to Brigadier General Scott Shipp

    
FOLLOWING his examination, Marshall returned to his new job in Danville, Virginia. Since September 16 he had held the rank of major and the position of commandant of cadets at the Danville Military Institute, a hedge against the uncertainty of gaining a commission. At the Institute he taught the approximately ninety boys in the elementary and secondary levels arithmetic, algebra, history, and English, in addition to drill and discipline. (Marshall, “Form for Individual Record of Applicant,” NA/RG 94 [Document File].) ☆

My dear General Shipp

I have been very busy since my return from Governor's Island Sunday night and this is the first opportunity to write to you I have had since my return. I was put on my honor, to a certain extent, in regard to giving people information about the questions asked me in the examinations, but I think I am free to give you some general information as to the method and character of the examinations. I reported at G's. I. on Monday morning, September 23rd, and was told to be at the War building on Tuesday morning. On Tuesday I stood arithmetic, algebra and geometry.
The first two were extremely simple, all the fundamental operations such as addition, subtraction and multiplication and one simple problem. The Geometry was hard, much harder than I had understood it would be. There were five questions, four of them demonstrations and one problem. I was fortunate in having glanced at each demonstration we were given before I went in or I think I would have failed, as it was I practically maxed it, I think. On Wednesday I stood Logarithms, Trigonometry, Surveying and Geography. All the questions on the first of these were simply for definitions and all very easy. The Trigonometry was fairly hard, solutions of right triangles and relation of different functions of angles. The Surveying was easy and only required common sense, such questions as solution of angles given sides in chains &c., percent of grade and similar questions. The Geography was catchy as it usually is according to accounts I have heard, but I had prepared for such questions. They asked what states crossed by lines through different points, the location of the newly acquired possessions of the U.S., and capes and bays, especially those in the vicinity of some country over which there has been discussion at any time. On Thursday I finished up the mental taking exams in Grammar, History, Constitutional Law and International Law. In the Grammar they asked definitions and how to form plurals and feminines of words and also gave a sentence to analyze.
The History was extremely general the questions covering all countrys, particularly Italy and the U.S. One question was “Locate, describe and give seating capacity of the Coliseum”. Luckily I have read a great deal and found ready answers to most of the questions in the History. The Constitutional Law was long but I am positive I maxed it. All the questions were on the Constitution itself. I had only looked at the International Law given in the back of our Government Law book and not a question on the examination was answered in it. I had to use my head and guess and I found out afterwards that I got all but one question practically right. The questions were such ones as “Discuss the International Law in connection with the St. Lawrence River as a boundary line”, “What is the marine Leaugue and give reasons for having such an agreement?”, “Discuss the general principles of allegiance”, &c. On Friday we were each given a company to drill. It was optional with the civilians but I took it, thought I was the only one who did so. I had to put the company through the ordinary movements. The physical examination was strict but I was not given any reason to claim any failure, if I am so unfortunate, on that part of the examination. I am not yet informed as to the question about my age but from what little General Brooke would tell me it will be all right. I expect to hear the result in about three weeks or a month.
I hope I have not written you too long a letter but as I feel entirely indebted to you for my appointment I want to give you all the information in my power about the examination since it may be of use to you in advising some of your men.

Faithfully yours

G. C. Marshall, Jr
GCMRL/VMI Collection; H.