Letter from General Hartle to Mayor Sweeney
14 June 1944
Mayor Richard H. Sweeney,
My dear Richard:
The brochure on Hagerstown, composed by a local committee and furnished the Hagerstown personnel in the services by you and the City Council, is from every view-point most attractive. I congratulate you and other interested parties on the fruits of your efforts and thank you for my copy. It was a magnificent gesture and indeed typical of the appreciation and thoughtfulness of the citizens of our grand community.
I hope that some of these days in the not distant future the international situation will permit me to return home and thank you in person. In the meantime I extend my very kindest regards to you and our myriad mutual friends.
R. P. HARTLE,
Major General, U. S. Army.
Washington County Free Library
One of the servicemen receiving this postcard was Major General Russell P. “Scrappy” Hartle (1889-1961) of Washington County, Maryland.
Major General Hartle, a Chewsville District native, rose through the ranks of the U. S. Army beginning with his 1910 graduation and commission of Second Lieutenant of Infantry from St. John’s College in Annapolis. He served in the Philippines twice, was in Mexico during the Pancho Villa revolution (1913-1916) and served with the 13th Division during WW I in France. He graduated from both the Army War College (1930) and the Naval War College (1934). From 1939 to 1941, Hartle commanded forces in Puerto Rico, building up American and Puerto Rican forces and preparing them to defend the Caribbean and eastern coast of the United States from any Axis aggression.
In January of 1942 Hartle took the 34th Division to Northern Ireland and became commanding general of American forces in Ireland (V Corps) from 15 January 1942 to 28 October 1942. He then served as Deputy Commander of the European Theater of Operations U. S. A. and commander of American troops in Great Britain and Iceland under General Dwight D. Eisenhower until 10 February 1943. Hartle continued commanding the V Corps until his reassignment to Camp Fannin, TX in July 1943 to train replacement troops. In 1946 Hartle retired from the U. S. Army due to health problems.
“Scrappy” Hartle personally knew General Eisenhower, General Douglas McArthur, General George C. Marshall and many other high profile American and Allied military and civilian personalities. Regardless of where he served, Hartle enjoyed corresponding with friends and family back home in Washington County modestly deflecting the many compliments paid him through letters, newspaper and magazine articles, and news reels.
Major General Hartle’s personal correspondence and pictures from 1939 through the aftermath of WWII were given to the Washington County Free Library in 1969 by his widow. The correspondence gives a unique insight into camaraderie among military families, accounts from friends whose children were serving in Europe, North Africa and elsewhere, and the Washington County home front. The collection is now being cataloged for use by researchers in the Western Maryland Room.
The 1942 or 1943 photograph shows General Hartle during World War II in Europe. Click on the Photo icon to view it
Washington County Free Library
27 x 21 cms
Hagerstown (Md.), History, Pictorial works.
Hagerstown (Md.), 1942