Simpson, William H.


1979 ALS by the commander of the US 9th Army in Europe 1944-45, 1st to cross the Elbe River, offering to send memorabilia to the Army Military History Institute


Autograph ID: 6769
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1888-1980) US Army officer, USMA 1909 (classmate of Eichelberger & Patton). Served in Philippines, 1916 Mexican Expedition, and in WW I. In mid-1940, appointed to command 9th Infantry at Fort Sam Houston. Before US entry into WW II, commanded divisions and received promotion to temporary Major General, taking 35th Division from Camp Robinson, Ark., to training site in California. In May 1944, as Lieut. General, went to England to organize 9th Army, part of Omar Bradley’s 12th Army Group, activated in NW Europe Sept. 1944. From Ardennes, 9th moved further north and in Nov., broke through Siegfried Line and advanced to the Roer River. After Battle of the Bulge, 9th remained with Field Marshal Montgomery’s 21st Army Group for final attack into Germany. As part of Operation Plunder, Rhine was crossed March 24, 1945, and on April 19, 9th Army made contact with Courtney Hodges’ 1st Army, completely encircling the Ruhr. Reverted to Bradley’s 12th Army Group April 4. On April 12, 9th was 1st US Army across the Elbe. He returned to US June 1945, undertook mission to China in July and later commanded US 2nd Army at Memphis, retiring Nov. 1946.

ALS, 1-1/2pp on both sides of his 8 ½ x 7 personal 4-star letterhead, with address corrected in his hand, San Antonio, Texas, January 26 1979, to Major General DeWitt C. Smith Jr., Commandant, Army War College. The long-retired general thanks Gen. Smith for his letter and accepts his invitation to “send a significant or interesting and unusual letter, order, citation or other memorabilia or artifact” to the US Army Military History Institute. Simpson offers to send “official papers, personal correspondence with my family and friends, memoirs, duty logs, speeches” and more to the Institute.

DeWITT C. SMITH,JR. (1920 -1985) US Army officer, former deputy Army Chief of Staff, twice (and longest-serving) Army War College commandant 1974 -77, 1978-80. In 1942, he joined the Army, commissioned a 2nd lieutenant, served with the 4th Armored Div. in combat after Normandy to the end of the War. Wounded 3 times, he was awarded the Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars, and 3 Purple Hearts. Discharged 1946, he returned to active duty in Korea and stayed in the military. He was an aide to Chief of Staff Maxwell Taylor, served in the “Old Guard” at Fort Myer, and was a battalion XO and commander in Germany. He served at the Pentagon before going to the Army War College. He led a combat brigade of the 1st Infantry in Vietnam. In 1970, under his leadership, Fort Carson, Colo. was made an initial test site for the modern volunteer Army concept. After his stints at the War College, he retired in 1980.

The Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, Penna., is the Army’s primary historical research facility. Formed in 1999 and reorganized in 2013, the center consists of the Military History Institute, the Army Heritage Museum, the Historical Services Division, Visitor and Education Services, the U.S. Army War College Library, and Collections Management.”

Type: Letter

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