George S. Patton Diary, Annotated Transcripts, January 1–March 16, 1919


General George S. Patton (1885‒1945), who gained fame in World War II as commander of the United States Third Army, was a young officer during World War I. He went to France in May 1917 with General John J. Pershing, commander in chief of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), serving with the rank of captain as the general’s aide-de-camp and headquarters commandant. Patton later was transferred to the new Tank Corps being formed by the United States Army. Promoted to major, he was assigned to organize the American Tank Center in Langres, France. In March 1918 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and named to command the 304th Tank Brigade, which he led in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel in mid-September and in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive that began on September 26. He was wounded on the first day of the latter battle and spent the remainder of the war in the hospital. Presented here are three volumes of Patton’s diaries, beginning in May 1917 with his preparations to depart for France, and concluding in March 1919 with his arrival in New York Harbor. For each volume in Patton’s hand, there is also an annotated typescript of the volume. The entries provide insight into a formative period in Patton’s development as one of the great tank commanders in history, as well as display aspects of his complex and colorful personality. The final entry of Patton’s war diary, dated Sunday, March 16, 1919, reads: “All work on reports completed at noon. Passed Fire Island light ship at 3:30 P.M. Ambrose Channel at 6 P.M. Capt Murray came on board with instructions. Lt Longstreth got leave to see sick mother (14 days). The end of a perfect war. Fini.”

Last updated: November 14, 2017