The George C. Marshall Papers

Major General J. Franklin Bell to Brigadier General William W. Wotherspoon

Referring to your telegram of yesterday Lieut. Marshall already absent from regiment three years.[1] Full college detail would keep him absent seven years in succession. On account of low rank such absence would certainly result in his ruination as a line officer besides being an utter disregard of regulations and orders of the President. In addition he is a valuable instructor here with one more year to serve. His detail can not be so important at any college as to justify a disregard of all the above considerations.
NA/RG 165 (OCS, General)
    [1]Wotherspoon was acting army chief of staff in Washington in Bell's absence. Superintendent Nichols was in Washington on July 1 and had visited the chief of staff's office. In a telegram later the same day, Bell said: "[Brigadier General George B.] Davis [the judge advocate general] has message from Nichols requesting he persuade me to let him have Marshall. V.M.I. is important institution but no more so than this one. Cannot consent to establishment precedent taking instructors away from here for any college whatever. Won't recommend Marshall under any consideration whatever. There are other men equally as good and more available." (Bell to Wotherspoon, July 1, 1909, NA/RG 165 [OCS, General].)