Pershing, John J. (John Joseph), 1860-1948

Alternative names
Birth 1860-09-13
Death 1948-07-15

Biographical notes:

Career Army officer who served in the Philippines as an adjutant general and engineer officer, collector of customs, and cavalry squadron commander, participating in actions against the Tausug (Moros), 1899-1903; later apppointed governor of Moro Province and commander, Department of Mindanao, 1909-1913. Well-known for his command of the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I, 1917-1919.

From the description of General John J. Pershing photograph collection [picture]. [1899?-1917] (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 68915010

Army officer.

From the description of Papers of John J. Pershing, 1882-1971 (bulk 1904-1948) (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 76817844

General, U.S. Army.

From the description of Letter, August 1, 1929. (State Historical Society of North Dakota State Archives). WorldCat record id: 17950185

American general and commander of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War I. Pershing was the first military officer in U.S. history to attain the rank of General of the Armies.

From the description of Letter, 1921. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 145435311

American general.

From the description of Letter to Will Owen Jones, 1919 October 24. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 64201592

Pershing graduated from West Point (1886); sent to Santiago, Cuba during War of 1898 and served in the Philippines (1901-1903). As a Captain he was appointed an observer of the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905); appointed Brigadier General (1906); surpressed the Moro uprising in Philippines (1913) and led a force to Mexico to pursue Pancho Villa (1916). Became Major General (1916) and appointed commander-in-chief of American Expeditionary Forces (1917-1919). Became Chief of Staff of Army (1921-1924) and retired from military service in 1924.

From the description of The John J. Pershing papers, 1907-1977 (bulk 1907-1926). (US Army, Mil Hist Institute). WorldCat record id: 23602642

John J. Pershing was born September 13, 1860 in Laclede, Missouri. Having graduated from West Point Military Academy in 1886, he fought in the United States military in the Spanish-American War and several Indian Wars. He also served as brigadier general in the Philippines from 1906-1913 and led the attack against Mexican rebel Pancho Villa in 1916. Early in his military career, he served with a black regiment, giving him the nickname Black Jack. For a time, he also taught at West Point.

In 1917 when the United States declared war on Germany, Pershing was chosen to command the American troops in Europe. Pershing can claim two significant victories: the attack on the German's Saint-Mihiel line of defense and the Meuse-Argonne operations, a month after which the Armistice was signed.

Upon returning to the United States, he was given the rank of general of the American armies. For three more years he served in the military as chief of staff until his retirement in 1921.

General John Joseph Pershing passed away on July 15, 1948 in Washington D.C.

From the guide to the General John J. Pershing letters MS 161., 1917-1936, (Woodson Research Center, )

Biographical Note

  • 1860, Sept. 13: Born, Laclede County, Mo.
  • 1876 - 1880 : Taught, Mound School, Prairie Mound, Mo.
  • 1880: A.B., State Normal School, Kirksville, Mo.
  • 1886: Graduated, United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., as senior cadet captain, the highest honor conferred
  • 1886 - 1890 : Second lieutenant, 6th Cavalry; took part in New Mexico and Arizona Apache campaigns
  • 1890 - 1891 : Served in Sioux campaigns in South Dakota
  • 1891 - 1895 : Military instructor, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb.; promoted to first lieutenant
  • 1896: In charge of roundup of Cree Indians who were deported to Canada
  • 1897 - 1898 : Instructor in tactics, United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.
  • 1898: Served with 10th Cavalry, Santiago, Cuba; appointed chief officer of volunteers
  • 1898 - 1899 : Organized Bureau of Insular Affairs and was its chief until August 1899
  • 1899 - 1903 : Served in Philippine Islands
  • 1901: Captain, 1st Cavalry; later transferred to 15th Cavalry in order to remain in Philippines
  • 1903 - 1904 : Resumed staff duty in Washington, D.C., and studied at Army War College
  • 1903 - 1906 : Member, general staff of the army
  • 1905: Married Helen F. Warren (died 1915)
  • 1905 - 1906 : Military attaché, Tokyo, Japan; with Tamemoto Kuroki's army in Manchuria, Mar.-Sept. 1905
  • 1906: Promoted from captain to brigadier general
  • 1906 - 1908 : Commander, Fort McKinley, Philippines
  • 1909 - 1913 : Governor, Moro Province, Philippines
  • 1913: Took command of 8th Cavalry Brigade, Presidio, San Francisco, Calif.; ordered to El Paso, Tex.
  • 1915: Death of wife and their three daughters when their home burned, Presidio, San Francisco, Calif.
  • 1916 - 1917 : Commanded troops sent to Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa
  • 1917 - 1919 : Commander-in-chief, American Expeditionary Forces
  • 1919: Confirmed by Senate as general of the armies of the United States
  • 1921 - 1924 : Chief of staff, United States Army
  • 1931: Published My Experiences in the World War. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co.
  • 1948, July 15: Died, Washington, D.C.

From the guide to the John J. Pershing Papers, 1882-1971, (bulk 1904-1948), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)

John Joseph Pershing (1860-1948) was an American General who served in various conflicts including the Spanish-American War, Philippines Insurrection, and World War I.

Pershing was born in Missouri on September 13, 1860. After graduating from Normal School at Kirksville, Missouri in 1880, he attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1886. In 1905, Pershing married Francis Warren with whom he had three daughters and a son. Tragically, his wife and three daughters were killed in a fire in 1915.

Pershing had a long military career, serving in the Spanish-American War, the Philippines Insurrection, and the Mexican Expedition. During World War I, Pershing was appointed Commander-in-Chief of American Expeditionary Forces in France. When the war ended, he served as Chief of Staff to the United States Army. In 1919, he was awarded the title "General of the Armies of the United States" by Congress, becoming the only officer in U.S. History to hold the title other than George Washington. Pershing died on July 15, 1948 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

From the guide to the John J. Pershing Collection, 1923, 1948, undated, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)


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  • Russo--Japanese War, 1904-1905--China--Manchuria
  • World War, 1914-1918--Campaigns--France
  • World War, 1914-1918--Campaigns
  • Tausug (Philippine people)--Government
  • Russo--Japanese War, 1904-1905--Japan
  • World War, 1914-1918--Participation, African American
  • Soldiers--Billeting--19th century
  • Indians of North America--Wars
  • Strikes and lockouts--Steel industry
  • General
  • Armed forces--Officers--19th century
  • Generals--Biography--Sources
  • Tacna--Arica question
  • World War, 1914-1918--Portraits
  • Russo--Japanese War, 1904-1905
  • Spanish--American War, 1898--Campaigns--Cuba
  • World War, 1914-1918
  • Mayor
  • Hunting
  • Spanish--American War, 1898--Campaigns
  • Indians of North America--Wars--West (U.S.)
  • Soldiers--History--19th century
  • Military history


  • Army officers


  • Fort William McKinley (Philippines) (as recorded)
  • Connecticut--Hartford (as recorded)
  • Philippines (as recorded)
  • Philippines (as recorded)
  • Chile (as recorded)
  • Mindanao Island (Philippines) (as recorded)
  • Lanao, Philippines (Province) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Europe (as recorded)
  • Philippines (as recorded)
  • Latin America (as recorded)
  • Mexico (as recorded)
  • Cuba (as recorded)
  • Philippines (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States, Army (as recorded)
  • Peru (as recorded)
  • France (as recorded)
  • Cuba (as recorded)
  • North Dakota (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Fort Buford (N.D.) (as recorded)
  • Chile (as recorded)
  • Peru (as recorded)