My Life before the World War, 1860--1917
Publication Year: 2013
Few American military figures are more revered than General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing (1860--1948), who is most famous for leading the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. The only soldier besides George Washington to be promoted to the highest rank in the U.S. Army (General of the Armies), Pershing was a mentor to the generation of generals who led America's forces during the Second World War. Though Pershing published a two-volume memoir, My Experiences in the World War, and has been the subject of numerous biographies, few know that he spent many years drafting a memoir of his experiences prior to the First World War. In My Life Before the World War, 1860--1917, John T. Greenwood rescues this vital resource from obscurity, making Pershing's valuable insights into key events in history widely available for the first time. Pershing performed frontier duty against the Apaches and Sioux from 1886--1891, fought in Cuba in 1898, served three tours of duty in the Philippines, and was an observer with the Japanese Army in 1905 during the Russo-Japanese War. He also commanded the Mexican Punitive Expedition to capture Pancho Villa in 1916--1917. My Life Before the World War provides a rich personal account of events, people, and places as told by an observer at the center of the action. Carefully edited and annotated, this memoir is a significant contribution to our understanding of a legendary American soldier and the historic events in which he participated.
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
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Throughout the nation’s history, numerous men and women of all ranks and branches of the U.S. military have served their country with honor and distinction. During times of war and peace, there are indi-viduals whose exemplary achievements embody the highest standards of the U.S. armed forces. The aim of the American Warriors series ...
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Maps and Illustrations
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I worked carefully in the Papers of John J. Pershing in the Library of Congress’s Manuscript Division in Washington, D.C., to review and select the most refined versions of the various chapters of the unpublished Pershing memoir that exist. These chapters were gath-ered together at some unknown date and titled the “Autobiography ...
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General of the Armies John J. Pershing is clearly a seminal figure not only in the history of the United States and its army, but also of the world in the early twentieth century. Major biographies of Pershing have relied heavily both on his published two-volume autobiographical account My Experiences in the World War (New York: Frederick A. Stokes, ...
1. Ancestry and Boyhood
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It is a matter of no little pride that my forebears were made of the fiber, mental as well as physical, found in the common people that form the backbone of this country. Originally of upstanding, though humble, European stock, we like to think they brought to America a worthwhile heritage of human traditions and achievements. They boasted no royal ...
2. Youth--Its Happy Days and Others
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The Fourth of July was the gala day of the year. It was usually celebrated by a parade, followed by a picnic during the day, with fireworks at night. At noon the national salute was fired by the local blacksmith. A small quantity of powder was placed between two anvils, one on top of the other, and touched off with the red hot end of a long iron bar heated ...
3. West Point--Its Grind and Its Pleasures
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My sister and I had just got well started with our studies at Kirksville when, one Saturday morning, while visiting her room reading the weekly newspaper from home, my eye happened to light on the notice of a competitive examination to be held in two weeks from that date at Trenton, Missouri, some sixty miles west, for the selection of a boy from ...
4. The Army--With the Sixth Cavalry in New Mexico
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The flood of immigration which, in the late ’60s and the ’70s, had poured into the West had aroused anew the fear and resentment of the Indians. They saw the game which had been their main food sup-ply from time immemorial fast disappearing before the advance of the white man. They looked upon the wanton destruction of the vast herds ...
5. The Sioux Campaign and Commanding Indian Scouts
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Although our troops were always ready for field service, nothing unusual during the four years following the Geronimo campaign had occurred to suggest serious trouble with the Indians. An occasional Indian scare or the arrest of white cattle thieves or a practice maneuver gave us field service at intervals and added zest to the routine of training and post ...
6. New Assignments, New Challenges, New Friends
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When service with the Indian Scouts came to an end in August, I returned to Fort Niobrara, and in a few days received notice of my detail as mili-tary instructor at the University of Nebraska. That the suggestion had been made by members of the faculty and by state officials during the visit to my family at Lincoln two years before that I should return some-...
7. The Spanish-American War to the San Juan Heights
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Since 1895, the march of events in Cuba had been receiving more and more attention from the American people, who now, at the beginning of 1898, had reached a state of mind that strongly indicated the probabil-ity of intervention and consequent war with Spain.1 The islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico were the last of the once widespread dominions of the ...
8. The Spanish-American War--Victory in Cuba and Its Consequences
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The morning of July 1 was ideal, the sky cloudless, the air soft and balmy. As the first rays of the sun tipped the stately palms that towered here and there above the jungle, all nature still lay in quiet repose. Our cavalry division had bivouacked near El Pozo, about two miles east of San Juan Hill. The camp was stirring at daybreak and our men were eager ...
9. The Division of Customs and Insular Affairs and My First Assignment to the Philippines
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A day or so after our arrival, President McKinley visited Montauk Point and, accompanied by several general officers, made a casual inspection of the camp. I think much of his time was occupied by those who had political aspirations. I recall General Sumner’s telling me that Theodore Roosevelt had said that he expected to find out the “old man’s” attitude ...
10. Duty in the Philippines--Manila, Mindanao, and Iligan
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There was something romantic in the thought of service in an oriental country inhabited by so many tribes in different stages of civilization beginning at the bottom with wild aborigines. It also offered a variety of opportunities not hitherto embraced in any service which the army had been called upon to perform. As usual [the army] greeted that call of ...
11. Dealing with the Hostile Moros around Lake Lanao
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Although we had made good progress in winning over the Moros on the north side of Lake Lanao, the same thing could not be said regarding those on the south. In recent months detachments of troops sent out from Parang-parang to explore and survey the territory between there and the lake had met with opposition. An exploring party of seventeen ...
12. Military Operations against the Lake Lanao Moros and the Routine of Governing
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The task assigned to the army of suppressing insurrection and lawless-ness had been accomplished throughout the archipelago except in this remote corner.1 This was the only section left where any group of people still refused to recognize American sovereignty. Benevolent assimilation insofar as these groups were concerned had not succeeded. They had ...
13. Finishing the Campaign against the Lake Lanao Moros
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Shortly after the New Year, 1903, the cholera having abated considerably, our self-imposed restrictions on visits were lifted and friendly marches to nearby rancherias were resumed.1 Rather extended confidential negotia-tions had been carried on with some of the Moros, including those from Gata, a large rancheria of no small importance. I had been told by a rep-...
14. Return to the United States, Duty with the General Staff, and Romance and Marriage
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My way home across the Pacific not only completed my first tour around the world but took me past a British colony and two Oriental coun-tries upon which the eyes of the civilized world were then being fixed intently. The first stopping place was Hong Kong. This Far Eastern commercial port on the south coast of China, which the British had ...
15. Off to See a Modern War as the Military Attache in Tokyo and Observer with the Imperial Japanese Army
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Before leaving Washington I went by appointment to the White House to pay my respects to President Roosevelt and was shown at once into his office by Mr. [George B.] Cortelyou, his private secretary. The Presi-dent’s office was then composed of two rather large rooms, one being a sort of alcove where his desk was located, the other and larger one ...
16. Brigade Commander, Fort McKinley, Philippines
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When I arrived in Manila for duty and throughout my term of service at Fort McKinley—from January, 1907, to August, 1908—Major General Leonard Wood was in command of the army in the Philippines. I had in Washington and physician for President McKinley’s family, and had seen him often in Cuba when he was colonel of the “Rough Riders,” ...
17. A Long Journey Home, Taft's Inauguration, Sick Leave, New Orders, and a Son Arrives
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The itinerary of our journey from Manila across Asia and Europe listed the names of places that alone stirred us with anticipation. It included not only the main Chinese and Japanese ports which lay on our route and which we had seen before but Vladivostok, Irkutsk, Omsk, Petropav-lovsk, and Samara on the Trans-Siberian Railway and then Moscow and ...
18. My Return to Mindanao
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The post to which I was now assigned was a dual one—that of Com-manding General of the Department of Mindanao and Governor of the Moro Province, the military Department and the Province being practi-cally the same geographically. This dual position offered unusual pos-sibilities for constructive work among an alien and backward people. ...
19. Disarming and Taming the Moros
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It was a fortunate thing for several reasons that during the period of disarmament there was a man of the high moral courage and sound judgment of Cameron Forbes in the post of Governor-General of the Philippines. It was generally considered such a radical step that without his confidence the undertaking, difficult at best, could hardly have been ...
20. The Last Military Governor of the Moro Province
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In disarming the Moros a necessary preliminary step in the establish-ment of law and order had been taken. It ended the power of any disaf-fected leader to rally to his standard erstwhile armed warriors. It enabled us to devote attention to the more important work of civil administra-tion. In the greater part of the province constructive achievement on the ...
21. Diplomatic Missions, Our Return to the United States, and Commanding the Eighth Brigade at the Presidio of San Francisco
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During this period in the Philippines I was twice sent by our Government on diplomatic missions to other Far Eastern lands, once to Hong Kong and once to Japan. The first was in 1911, on the occasion of the Corona-tion of King George V [22 June]. A special celebration of the event was being held in each of the colonies of the “Far-flung Empire,” and I was ...
22. On the Mexican Border with the Eighth Brigade
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At the time of my arrival in El Paso [27 April 1914] excitement on the border was running high. The people felt that this move meant interven-tion, which they believed was the only solution to their problems. Natu-rally, they received us with great cordiality. In the evening of the day after our arrival there was a large reception and ball at the leading club and ...
23. The Expedition into Mexico
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The last time our troops had entered Mexico was in pursuit of the Apache Indian renegades who had left their reservations, committed a series of raids in Arizona and New Mexico, and had fled across the bor-der and into the Sierra Madre mountains.1 Our troops trailed them with the help of friendly Indians, but this was a different problem. Villa left a ...
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For three months after the withdrawal of the Mexican Expedition from Mexico I remained on the border, at first in command of the El Paso District and then, on the death of General Funston, February 19, 1917, in command of the Southern Department. My promotion to major gen-eral in the previous September made me eligible for this post. Then, on ...
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I wish to acknowledge all of the assistance and support that I have received during my years of work on this project. Above all, the encour-agement and support of Dr. Roger Cirillo, director of the Association of the United States Army’s Book Program, have been critical to my success from the very beginning. Linda Hein of the Nebraska State His-...
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Page Count: 656
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: American Warriors Series