Description

    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Typed Letter Signed as President.
    -December 4, 1933. Washington, D.C. One page. 7" x 9". White House letterhead.
    -To: Major General John A. Lejeune, Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia.
    -Fold, toning, attached to larger sheet, very good.

    FDR writes "Thanks for your very cordial and tempting invitation. I wish it were possible for me to visit V. M. I., and if the opportunity presents itself will be only too glad to do so. Just at present, as you know, there is very little time beyond the exacting duties of the office. Mrs. Roosevelt joins me in regards to you and Mrs. Lejeune." Lieutenant General John Archer Lejeune (1867 - 1942), often referred to as "the greatest of all Leathernecks," during his more than 40 years service with the United States Marine Corps, led the famed Second Division (Army) in World War I, and was Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps from June 1920 to March 1929.


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    A wonderful and historically significant typed letter signed "Franklin D. Roosevelt," Washington, D.C., December 4, 1933, FDR's first year as President of the United States, 8vo, on The White House Washington letterhead, to United States Marine Corps Major General John A. Lejeune, who invited the President to visit the Virginia Military Institute. FDR writes: "My dear General:/ Thanks for your very cordial and tempting invitation. I wish it were possible for me to visit V. M. I., and if the opportunity presents itself will be only too glad to do so./ Just at present, as you know, there is very little time beyond the exacting duties of the office./ Mrs. Roosevelt joins me in regards to you and Mrs. Lejeune./ Very sincerely yours,/ Franklin D. Roosevelt." Lieutenant General John Archer Lejeune, often referred to as "the greatest of all Leathernecks," during his more than 40 years service with the United States Marine Corps, led the famed Second Division (Army) in World War I, and was Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps from June 1920 to March 1929. John Archer Lejeune was born at Pointe Coupee, Louisiana on January 10, 1867. He was educated at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, from which he was graduated with a B.A. degree. Subsequently he secured an appointment as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, from which he was graduated in 1888. At the expiration of a two-year cruise as a cadet midshipman he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps on July 1, 1890, and during the succeeding years saw action in the Spanish-American War aboard the USS Cincinnati. In the fall of 1903 General Lejeune, then a major, was dispatched to Panama with a battalion of Marines when conditions had become critical through the revolution against Columbia. He returned to Panama three years later following a brief tour of duty at the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C. During the following years he was transferred to duty in the Philippine Islands, arriving in May, 1907. While there he commanded the Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Cavite, and later the First Brigade of Marines. He was detached to the United States June 8, 1909. Lejeune's next tour of foreign shore duty found the general, when a lieutenant colonel, in Cuba with the Second Provisional Brigade Marines from May 1912 to December of the same year. After a short period in the United States, he was again detached to expeditionary service in Cuba in February 1913, this time with the Second Brigade at Guantanamo Bay. In November, 1913, he sailed from New York with the Second Advanced Base Regiment, his ultimate destination Vera Cruz, Mexico, where he landed with his unit in April of 1914. He returned home in December, 1914, this time to report to Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C. to become assistant to the Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps. With the outbreak of World War I, General Lejeune assumed command of the newly constructed Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia. His overseas service was, however, inevitable, and in June 1918, arrived at Brest, France. Upon reporting to the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, he was assigned to command a brigade of the 32nd Division and assumed command of the Fourth Brigade of Marines of the Second Division immediately following the attack of the division in the Soissons offensive. On July 28, 1918, General Lejeune assumed command of the Second Division and remained in that capacity until August 1919, when the unit was demobilized. He was the first Marine officer to hold an Army divisional command, and following the Armistice he led his division in the march into Germany. During that War he was recognized by the French Government as a strategist and leader, as evidenced by the Legion of Honor, and the Croix de Guerre bestowed upon him by that people. From General John J. Pershing he received the Distinguished Service Medal. The Navy Distinguished Service Medal was conferred upon him when he returned to the United States following the occupation of Germany. In October, 1919 Lejeune again was appointed Commanding General, Marine Barracks, Quantico, Virginia, prior to his appointment as Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps on June 30, 1920. Subsequent to that time he several times left his Headquarters at Washington for tours of inspection in Haiti, Santo Domingo, Cuba, Puerto Rico, to the West Coast and elsewhere. Upon the expiration of his second term as Commandant, General Lejeune indicated his desire not to retire from the Marine Corps, but was relieved as Commandant in March, 1929. The following November of that year, on the tenth day of the month, he retired in order to accept the position of superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, the position from which he wrote to FDR in this letter to which the President replied, serving there until poor health necessitated his resignation in October, 1937. In February, 1942 he was advanced to the rank of lieutenant general on the Marine Corps retired list. General Lejeune succumbed on November 20, 1942 at the Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, and was interred in the Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. Today, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina bears not only the name of a Marine officer, but the name of one of the ablest officers of the American military forces, and one of the most distinguished soldiers of World War I. A truly wonderful and interesting letter between FDR as President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, and the distinguished United States Marine Corps General.



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    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
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