The George C. Marshall Papers


George C. Marshall to William D. Scholle

My dear Scholle:

Your letter to me of Aug. 20th reached me here in France two weeks ago and I was very glad to receive it.[1] I left Governor's Island June 10th and came over as assistant Chief of Staff of the 1st Division. I have been acting Chief of Staff for a time and very, very busy all day, every day since I landed nearly six months ago.
It happened to be my portion to write the order for the going into the line of the first American troops—infantry, field artillery and engineers and it was also my good fortune to be practically on the spot at the time of the first German raid. We were not particularly pleased over having eleven men captured; but, considering that the new command had gone with the front line for their first time at 10 P.M. that night in rain and fog and that the one company command had a number of guns turned on it equal to 45 percent of the total field artillery in the U.S. Army on July 1, 1916 and that the raid was pulled on part of one platoon at 3:30 A.M. that same night by 210 Germans—why, I think the men did splendidly. They were not disorganized; their trenches were practically destroyed; the platoon commander was a Plattsburgh Training Camp man who had joined 10 days before and the company commander had served with troops since last April. Divided authority with the French accounted for most of our troubles. This, of course, is all entre nous.
I was very sorry that Mrs. Marshall and I left so soon and so hurriedly that we had no opportunity to have Mrs. Scholle with us on the Island. I did not even have the pleasure of meeting her. However, I trust that all those pleasant things are merely being held in abeyance until 1918 or 19.
Mrs. Marshall is in Lexington, Virginia, where she expects to remain until I return.
War and training here is mud and rain and cold. The officer, platoon chief, who can keep his men's socks and shoes greased and dry and his horses groomed and picket lines above the flood of water and mud–he is the greatest contributor to our success in this war.

With kindest regards,

Sincerely,

G. C. Marshall, Jr.
GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers (Pentagon Office, Selected); H
    [1]Scholle had been first sergeant at the Monterey, California, training camp in the summer of 1916; and in February 1917, Marshall had recommended him for a commission. On May 5 he was appointed first lieutenant of Infantry in the Officers' Reserve Corps and ordered to report to the Plattsburg, New York, training camp within ten days. Scholle's letter of August 20 is not in the file. He sent Marshall a copy of the letter printed here on April 14, 1943.