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Lot 1

GEORGE S. PATTON GROUPING ON THE DEATH OF A MAN IN HIS COMMAND

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GEORGE S. PATTON GROUPING ON THE DEATH OF A MAN IN HIS COMMAND


Description:
ONE OF THE FINEST PATTON LETTERS EVER OFFERED: 'I CAN NEVER LOOK ON ONE OF OUR WOUNDED SOLDIERS...WITHOUT MY EYES FILLING WITH TEARS...' Heartbreaking grouping of more than fifty items surrounding the combat death of Pvt. Sam Reichstein, who died the same day after stepping upon a land mine near Salerno, Italy on Sep. 21, 1943, and his mother Viola's desperate attempts to determine his fate. Within the archive are letters, telegrams, relics, and three items signed by Gen. GEORGE S. PATTON, including the finest letter by the general we have yet encountered. Patton's letter was written to the soldier's grief-stricken mother from Seventh Army Headquarters on Jan. 12, 1944, two weeks before he would be given command of the Third Army. In part: '...It is perfectly futile to try to comfort anyone for the loss of a son, but I do think that you should be proud to be the mother of one of our heroes who gave his life in the defense of his country. I can never look on one of our wounded soldiers or on the corpses of one of our men without my eyes filling with tears and my throat choking up, by we should not, as I often say, regret that such men have died, rather we should thank God that men like that have lived. With renewed expressions of sympathy, I am...' Accompanied by the original transmittal envelope censored and signed: 'Censored G. S. Patton Jr. Lt. Gen.' A second, earlier signed letter from Patton to the lady is also included, again sent from Seventh Army Headquarters, on Dec. 5, 1943. While efforts are still being made to locate the wounded private, Patton consoles the mother: 'At the present time, the 180th Infantry is not under my command [Patton had been passed over], but I am enclosing a copy of a letter which I have written and to which you will unquestionably receive an answer. However, to reassure you, I will state that the War Department is very quick and accurate in giving notice of fatal wounds; therefore, since you have not heard anything for three weeks I am sure that it is a good sign and that your son is probably well on the road to recovery. Trusting that I am right and with all good wishes to you as the Mother of an American soldier...' Among Reichstein's personal property included is his named Purple Heart with (broken) case, and cased WWII Victory and Defense Medals; his dog tag with lead seal attaching it to the aluminum tag which accompanied his body when shipped home to Philadelphia, two garrison caps, two small photographs; five war-date letters to his sister; and the personal address book which accompanied his personal effects. Among the dozens of other letters, documents and telegrams included is: a Nov. 7, 1944 letter from his staff sergeant 'I am writing you this letter...because of a promise I made your son Slim, I was his platoon Sgt, and was with him in the end...So I am keeping my promise by writing you...he was the only man that followed me in taking a hill...'; a Dec. 14, 1943 letter from his first sergeant "Sam was wounded in action and sent to a hospital. I haven't heard from him since...'; a carbon of a letter Dec. 5, 1943 letter sent via Gen. Mark Clark (no doubt instigated by Patton) seeking information on Reichstein; a letter to Viola from a general on White House letterhead advising that the War Department had been notified to act on her request; a Nov. 26, 1943 from Adjutant and Maj. Gen. J. A. ULIO advising of Sam's death and apologizing for the delay in the notification; Sam's Mar. 14, 1941 draft notice, dozens of letters, documents and telegrams concerning locating the private, support by Jewish and other support groups, his insurance policies, his resting place in Italy, repatriation of his body, pensions, etc., and the final insult - a letter of apology for the man's exclusion from the 180th Infantry 1945 year book. Exceptional content, even beyond the two incredible Patton letters.

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