Auction Date:2012 May 16 @ 18:00 (UTC-5 : EST/CDT)
Location:5 Rt 101A Suite 5, Amherst, New Hampshire, 03031, United States
ALS signed “George S Patton, Jr,” three pages, 6.75 x 10.5, April 13, 1913. Patton writes his mother while in Fort Myers, Virginia. In full (with spelling and punctuation retained): “I have been very bad about writing and hope that you will forgive me. A week ago Friday I was practicing with Ramon Wing over some jumps I was racing with another horse when he lost his nerve and went into the wing (side fence) of the jump. I broke a half inch pine board with my head cutting it open in front and as I fell off R.W. cut open the back of it with his hoof I also cut my lip. It blead a lot but did not make me loose consciousness. We worked it out with a horse basket and got sewed up in Washington on the way back it did not hurt me a bit and I rode in a mile race next day on Gilbert I got third. I entered Ramon Wing and Gilbert for a race yesterday but the track was so wet that I scratched R.W. on account of his weak leg. Tate rode Gilbert but broke his stirrup so could not ride well and got 4th place. The engineers got first second and third.
This year I have formed a racing association of the Ft Myer Officers it costs $20 a month a horse we have four men hired and are doing quite well. I got back to a troop. I have been quite busy and now Dickey the 1st Lt of the troop is gone I will be busier. I am delighted to hear that you have the new Machine and hope you like it. Is it a five or seven seater. I think the Locomobile is much better than the Pierce and so I think do most people. The Pierce is too heavy. Is yours a self starter. They work fine. Thank Aunt Nannie [Anne Wilson, his mother’s sister] for the pictures of the Olympic Games she sent they are far better than I had hoped. Smith [his two-year-old daughter Beatrice Smith Patton] was delighted with the soldiers especially the lead ones.” In very good condition, with central horizontal and vertical folds, wrinkling, serrated edges at top, small portion missing at blank upper edge of first page, and a torn upper edge on third page affecting one word.
Patton composed this letter when polo and horse racing were among his greatest recreational pursuits. His horse, Roman Wing—who in 1912 had won the Army and Navy Flat Race—was his favorite steed but had a bad leg, forcing him to often switch to Gilbert, the other stallion mentioned here. Though Patton earned his place in the history books due to his military prowess—with both the horse cavalry and later the armored cavalry—he was also a gifted athlete who finished in 5th place in the Modern Pentathlon at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, where he also competed in swimming, pistol shooting, running, fencing, and steeplechase events. The lone American among 42 competitors, Patton finished 21st in pistol-shooting. “I don’t know whether I lost my nerve or my ammunition was defective,” said Patton, “but I did nothing like my best.” Failing to secure a single medal, Patton seemed content to settle for “the pictures of the Olympic Games...far better than I had hoped.” A fine letter from the young military leader demonstrating his lifelong love of horseback riding.