Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Thursday, March 9, 2017

General Pershing's Letter of Appreciation to His "Fellow Soldiers"

General Pershing Awarding Decorations About
the Time His Letter Was  Sent to the Troops
General Pershing's letter to his soldiers shown below will be part of an exhibit to open at the National Postal  Museum in Washington DC, on 6 April. His letter of thanks and congratulations to the members of his expeditionary force inspired the title of the program—"My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I." The exhibit is intended to cover the history of America’s involvement in World War I through the letters of America's participants in the struggle, including General Pershing. 

The program has been developed in partnership with the Center for American War Letters at Chapman University and will run through 29 November 2018.

Each member of the AEF was to receive a personal copy of General Pershing's letter.  This is an image of the letter presented to Corporal Raymond Maurer of the 310th Machine Gun Battalion, 79th Division from the Villanova  University Digital Library.


  1. How does this compare to the black soldier experience, as a stepchild pawned off to the French...does this letter cover them? or the experience the black us soldier experienced? What is the cultural context here?

  2. I suspect that they got a letter, too, unless President Wilson stopped it. Pershing had the highest regard for black troops. He commanded them at various points in his career. It was Wilson who banned their being used in the AEF.