Autograph Letter Signed, George S Patton Jr, one and one-half pages, quarto, [Fort Bliss, Texas], May 12 . To Dear Mama, with the original envelope.
“I am sorry that I did not get back before you left but from the present outlook I guess you would have had to have waited for a good while Mr. Wilson seems to change his mind daily. The only good I can see which we will get out of this thing is that we may get a bigger army. Try to make pa run for the senate he can’t do more than get beaten. There is no news. I saw two deer today but did not get a chance to shoot as the trees were too thick. With lots of love / Your devoted son.”
Two days after writing the present letter, George S Patton saw combat for the first time. Between the fall of 1910 and the summer of 1916, Mexico had been embroiled in a violent revolution, with opposing political and military forces struggling for control of the country. After Pancho Villa’s invasion of American territory on March 8-his raid on Columbus, New Mexico-a Punitive Expedition under General John J. Pershing was organized. However, Pershing was hindered by his requirement to respect the sovereignty of Mexico, and by the resentment of the Mexican government and its people (www.globalsecurity.org). Meanwhile, George S Patton, who was Pershing’s aide, had pestered the General for the opportunity to hunt down Julio Cárdenas, commander of Villa’s personal bodyguard, the Dorados. Pershing relented and attached Patton to Troop C of the 13th Cavalry. On May 14, while under orders to take three Dodge touring cars on a foraging mission to purchase supplies of corn, he, together with ten soldiers from the 6th Infantry Regiment and two civilian guides, conducted a surprise raid on a ranch house in San Miguelito near Rubio. During the firefight, Patton and his men killed three men-Cárdenas, a Villista captain and a private. His quick thinking and sound plan of attack had prevented all three Villistas from escaping into the sanctuary of the nearby hills. Patton’s feat created an instant sensation in the press and he became nationally known as the “Bandit Killer.” Perhaps more important was that, unwittingly, “Patton had initiated motorized warfare in the U.S. Army.” Pershing also permitted Patton to keep Cárdenas’s saber and silver saddle, including its spurs, as trophies of his first gunfight. And on May 23, he was finally promoted to lieutenant after seven years at the bottom of the army hierarchy [Carlo D’Este, Patton: A Genius for War].
As for Patton Sr.’s bid for the U.S. Senate, “George repeatedly encouraged his father and offered the sort of fatherly advice he himself had received for so many years. ‘I am glad you decided to run . Don’t go at it in any half way but whoop it up and tell them all sorts of lies. Especially how much Wilson has helped the army-which he has not.’
George S Patton despised Wilson and observed: “I would like to go to hell so that I might be able to shovel a few extra coals on that unspeakable ass Wilson how you can support him is beyond me.’ Patton was not only frustrated with the president’s clumsy handling of American relations with Mexico, and his failure to declare war in the summer of 1916, he was also irritated by Wilson’s claims that the United States was militarily prepared. ‘He has the backbone of a jelly fish. This alleged preparedness is a lie,’ he wrote Papa. ‘We have no army and will never have until we have universal service not [just universal] training . Wilson has preserved peace. Peace of the jackal feasting on what the lions have killed.’ George S Patton was right: the United States remained woefully unprepared for either economic or military mobilization in the now likely event that it would be drawn into the war raging in Europe [D’Este].” Patton Sr. later won the Democratic nomination but lost the election to Hiram Johnson.
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