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    George S. Patton, Jr. Typed Letter Signed "G S Patton Jr.," one page, 7.25" x 10" visible. Headquarters Seventh Army, September 30, 1943. To Brig. Gen. Albert Kenner, War Department, SOS, Office of the Surgeon General, Washington, D.C. In full, "Thanks for your letter of the 21st which just reached me. There is here, and probably in Washington, a great deal of conversation who will eventually command the big parade. I sometimes think it is disadvantageous to do too well, and my present lack of occupation may be traceable to this cause. On the other hand, I may have been extremely lucky. This is the fourth time when I seem to have worked myself out of a job and in every case, without any activity on my part, I got a better one. You know perfectly well that any time I am in a position to use you, all you have to do is to let me know. I did collect some bets on Messina, but my betting average for Palermo was so good that I had few takers. There is nothing in the way of news that I can send you from here that you have not already received quicker and more accurately in the States, so I will not clutter up the letter with stuff that you read in the papers three weeks ago. I am very sorry to hear that General Craig is not too well. Please give him my best and also Raymonde my best. With warm personal regards and hoping to hear from you again soon." Patton's "present lack of occupation" was as a result of two "slapping" incidents which occurred in Sicily the previous month. While visiting a medical tent on August 3rd, Patton slapped a private who had been diagnosed with exhaustion and anxiety. On August 10th, he slapped a private who was shell-shocked. In both cases, the General accused the privates of cowardice. On August 16th, Patton received a letter from General Eisenhower which said, in part, "In the two cases cited in the attached report, it is not my present intention to institute any formal investigation...I assure you that conduct such as described in the accompanying report will not be tolerated in this theater no matter who the offender may be." Patton was relieved of his command of the Seventh Army and General Alexander M. Patch took over for the remainder of the war. In one of Patton's wagers, in mid-July 1943, he bet British Vice-Admiral Horace E.P. Wigglesworth a bottle of whiskey against a bottle of in that he would be in Palermo by midnight, July 23rd. He rode into Palermo at 10:30 P.M., July 22nd. Patton's referring to "the big parade" in the first paragraph alluded to the great 1925 silent war film, The Big Parade, the first realistic war drama and "who will eventually command the big parade", wondering which General will be considered the best after World War II is over. Brigadier General Albert Kenner probably first met General Patton when they were both members of General Pershing's Mexican expedition in 1916. He was later assigned to the 1st Infantry Division and went to France in 1917 as part of the American Expeditionary Force. At the beginning of World War II, Kenner was Chief Surgeon of the Armored Service at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and deployed with General Patton to North Africa in November 1942 as Chief Surgeon of the Western Task Force. A month later, he was assigned as Chief Surgeon, North African Forces under General Eisenhower. In February 1943, Kenner was recommended by Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall to be named Surgeon General, noting that future problems of the new Surgeon General would result largely from military operations in "many foreign theaters under diverse and severe conditions of combat service." With this consideration in mind, he deemed Brig. Gen. Albert W. Kenner, then Theater Surgeon in North Africa, the best qualified candidate. In a memo to Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, Marshall pointed particularly to Kenner's record as surgeon of the Western Task Force with General Patton in the North African invasion and to his promotion, with General Eisenhower's concurrence, to Brigadier General on the basis of that service. Regarding Kenner's appointment, on April 8, 1943, President Roosevelt wrote Stimson, in part, "My best advice is that he is a good Doctor but that he would not be regarded as an outstanding choice by the medical profession." Kenner was appointed Assistant Surgeon General. He next assignment was as Chief Surgeon for Army Service Forces (formerly SOS, Services of Supply) in the European Theatre, and was in Frankfurt on December 9, 1945, when he heard that General Patton was injured in an automobile accident near Mannheim, Germany. He was there within hours to take charge. General Patton had broken his neck and was paralyzed from the neck down. He slowly showed signs of improvement and on December 19th was said to be making "very satisfactory progress" but on the 20th, he suffered a pulmonary embolism that virtually destroyed one of his lungs. General Patton died in his sleep on December 21, 1945, of acute heart failure when another embolism struck his remaining lung. After Patton's death, Kenner wrote to a fellow Army surgeon, "The service lost its best field commander and I lost a damn good friend." The letter has numerous creases that do not materially affect its appearance and it is in apparent fine condition. It has been double matted with a 4.25" x 6.25" bust photograph of Patton and framed under glass to an overall size of 14.5" x 25.5".

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
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