Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Vice Admiral William S. Sims, Commander, United States Naval Forces Operating in European Waters, to Major General John J. Pershing, U.S.A., Commander, American Expeditionary Forces

July 1st.1918.

My dear General,

          Bishop Brent1 dropped in on me yesterday and gave me your letter containing the message to the American Fleet.2

          I understand from the Bishop that he read this letter to the assembled crews of our battleships now serving with the Grant Fleet. I doubt very much whether you can really appreciate how much this means to our men, and what an encouragement it is to them to know that you appreciate their efforts as much as they appreciate yours.

          It is the greatest possible satisfaction to me to witness the entirely harmonious relations that exist between the Army and the Navy serving in European Waters. In So far as it may be in my power, these relations shall be maintained.

          I take every occasion to impress upon my forces that they are really a part of the American Army; that they are practically a part of the essential line of communications. I feel quite sure they all understand this thoroughly and that their hearts are with your boys in the field who are bearing the brunt of the fighting.

          We have all been immensely cheered up by the excellent reports we have of the success of your men on the Western Front. Of course we knew the kind of a record they would make when they had the opportunity, but we also knew that our allies did not feel so sure of this. The result of the recent fighting has been entirely to disabuse their minds of the idea that the American soldier would not prove the equal of any soldiers in Europe and the record they have made has undoubtedly acted most favorably upon the morale of all of the allied troops, and has been a hard jolt to the Huns.

          We feel confident that, with the assistance of the great number of American troops now coming over, the Allies will be able to hold back Germany until she realizes that there is no hope of winning the war.

          In this war, in so far as actual fighting is concerned, the Navy is necessarily condemned to comparative inactivity. We so earnestly want to help that if you couldsuggest any way in which we could be of assistance, we would be very grateful.

Very sincerely yours,        

Source Note: TCy, DLC-MSS, William S. Sims Papers, Box 77. Addressed below close: “General John J.Pershing, U.S.Army./Commander in Chief./American Expeditionary Forces,/F r a n c e .”

Footnote 1: Bishop Charles H. Brent, Chaplain General of the American Expeditionary Forces. For more on Brent’s mission, see: Hugh Rodman to Josephus Daniels, 29 June 1918.

Footnote 2: For Pershing’s Letter to American Fleet, see: Sims to Josephus Daniels, 11 July 1918.

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