On June 6, 1944, as the cross-channel invasion of France was underway, all five members of the Patton family sat huddled around the radio.
The Pattons’ eldest daughter Bee listened in Washington, hoping “dad is on the way to get Johnny [her husband] out of prison camp,” while her sister and mother listened at the family home in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.
Ruth Ellen knew her husband was in Italy with the 69th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, but Beatrice hadn’t heard from George in weeks. His letter urging her not to “get excited when the whistle blows” because he wasn’t “in the opening kick off” wouldn’t arrive for weeks.
George (IV) listened at West Point, hoping his father was in on the fight because he knew it was “hell to be on the side lines” for him.
However, General Patton found himself sitting in a trailer on the British coast—he wouldn’t make it to France with the Third Army until about a month later—writing his son a heartfelt letter on the attributes of leadership.
Letter and pictures courtesy of the Library of Congress – Patton Papers.