George S. Patton Jr.

George Patton the photographer and witness to war, his first. Autograph letter Signed less than a month before his first combat experience, on the march against Pancho Villa. Includes 7 original snapshots taken by Patton during the expedition with his handwritten annotations on verso. A unique offering.

Autograph Letter Signed, "George," 2 pages, 5.5" x 9" in pencil, [Mexico. April 29, 1916 to his sister Anne ("Nita") while on the march in Mexico during the U.S. punitive expedition against Pancho Villa. Offered together with seven original 2.5" x 1.75" black and white photographs taken by Patton during the expedition, all of which have been annotated by Patton in pencil the verso. Letter bears the expected mailing folds, photographs have some minor corner wear, else fine condition.

 

"Dear Nita: It is certainly a good thing we did not buy that ticket the day you thought of going home it would have been rather over due by now. This is a most disappointing campaign it has all the dirt and the none of the glory and our hands are so tired that we can't do much. This country is what France must have been under Louis 16 no windows for fear of taxes no plows for the same reason the only people for there people is for us to take it as if we leave it will go on just as before and eventually we must take it. A Sonoran officer told me the other day he had not been paid for eight months and their money is worth only 3 cents on a dollar. We have not seen a school for two hundred miles and for four hundred miles were only are four ranches one of them of 3 600 000 acres. With much love George"

 

Patton wouldn't be disappointed for much longer. On May 14, 1916, Patton led a raid against Col. Julia Cardenas near Rubio in the Mexican state of Chihuahua in what is considered the first motorized attack in United States military history. He convinced General Pershing to allow him to command a raid against Colonel Cardenas, one of Pancho Villa's lieutenants.  According to a contemporary newspaper account, Patton's cars "Running nearly sixty miles an hour they were within less than 100 yards of the building before their presence was discovered. A Mexican in the yard gave the warning, but it was too late. Buy the time Cardenas and his two men could get on their horses and dash for the ranch gate, the Americans had surrounded the place. Cardenas was the first man to emerge. He and Lieutenant Patton engaged in a pistol duel, in which a shot from Patton's weapon broke the bandit's arm and drove him back into the ranchhouse, later to be slain by the soldiers when he tried to escape form another side." (Rocky Mountain News, Denver, May 24, 1916, p. 9).

 

The accompanying group of photographs were taken by Patton during the expedition, and likely taken in the general vicinity of his May 1916 motorized raid near Lake Táscate near the village of Campo in the State of Chihuahua. Of interest is an image of "Gen P[ershing eating lunch at Lake Tascate," showing the general seated at a table with his back to the camera. Another image shows his friend, Captain John Alden Degen of the 12th Cavalry "after a trip on a Truck" with dirt all over his smiling face (Alden served as a farrier instructor at Fort Riley in 1914, where Patton taught swordsmanship). Other images show camp scenes as well as cavalrymen on the march ("11 Cav going south."), all of which appear somewhat overexposed, yet they evoke the oppressiveness of the desert sun that made for a difficult campaign. 

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Item: 63945

Price: $5,000.00
George S. Patton Jr.George S. Patton Jr.George S. Patton Jr.George S. Patton Jr.
George S. Patton Jr.George S. Patton Jr.George S. Patton Jr.George S. Patton Jr.
George S. Patton Jr.
George S. Patton Jr.
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