Lot 5: George S. Patton ALS
9th August 2017
ALS signed “George S. Patton, Jr.,” seven pages on two sets of adjoining sheets, 5.25 x 7.25, Hotel Continental, Paris letterhead, June 15, 1917. Long letter to "Dear Papa," in part: "We had a perfectly uneventful trip. Never saw a U-Boat and reached London on the 7th of June. My Jews were quartered in the tower and so was I it was fine and the officers of the Honorable Artillery Corps who date from 1537 were fine to me. Being English the name Artillery Corps does not mean any thing as they are an Infantry Regiment belonging to the Guard Brigade. The reception they gave us in the Tower of London was worth the trip. The officers took us in and treated us more than brothers we could not spend a cent. The H. A. C. is a very smart regiment even now the privates have to pay $12 a year for the privilege of being killed in it. One night they gave use a theater part and the men were entertained every moment. The Jews behaved wonderfully and every one complimented them. The night we left the officers gave Paddock and myself a dinner and made speeches. The Commander Col. Truffey made a toast in which he said that the H. A. C. would always consider us as their adopted children and would take pride in our future deeds. I replied and said as follows as near as I can remember: 'Col. Truffey! Gentlemen! On the part of my men, Capt. Paddock and my self I desire to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your most courteous treatment of us while we have been your guests. Should I live a hundred years I shall never feel so proud as when I marched behind your band, beneath your historic arches, cheered to the echoes by your gallant men. My sincere wish is that we your adopted children shall be able to equal your noble record for to excell it were impossible. As for your Corps emotion chokes me; I can only say with all earnestness; the H. A. C. God Bless It.' After supper the enlisted men gave were a show to which all the officers as well as the men were invited…it was very amusing…At the end of the show a box of cuff buttons made from gold buttons of the regiment was given me to present to the men and a sergeant made a speech to us. So I had to again resort to spontaneous oratory. As well as I can remember I said, 'Col. Truffey, officers and men of the H. A. C. in replying to your generous ovation I am at a loss what to say but on the whole think that I can best express the emotions I feel by presenting your present to my men to them before you. Men, (turning to my Jews) in accepting these buttons which only the Guards and the H. A. C. may wear you must know that you are not only receiving a present but are also receiving an obligation. Were it not that I know that you are worthy I would warn you. That no one accept these tokens who feels him self unworth of the burdens the wearing of these imposes. You are about to receive buttons which have fastened the tunics of the nobles of all the heroes of this heroic war. See that in accepting this accolade you ever live up to its requirements and strive to equal, for no mortal can accell [sic], the magnificent record of the H. A. C. Americans rise. Three cheers for the H. A. C.' I don't send you these as master pieces of oratory but for spontaneous effusions they are not bad and elicited much applause." In fine condition. After America had declared war in April, June 1917 marked the arrival of the headquarters of the American Expeditionary Force at the Tower of London—the first sign of the mighty strength that the United States would bring to World War I. They then went to Paris, where Patton, working as Pershing's personal aide, oversaw training of American troops until September. He would later become known for his spontaneous, inspirational speeches, which were generally laced with profanity. Offering boastful pride with a hint of anti-Semitism, this letter is quintessentially Patton and exists as a historically significant record of his entry into World War I.
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