Question of the Week: 6/20-6/26/22

Do you know of some unpublished primary sources that are historical treasures? Can you give us a little explanation or preview in the comments?

2 Responses to Question of the Week: 6/20-6/26/22

  1. my personal primary source treasure is the personal papers, memorabilia, photographs, uniforms, and personal and official correspondence of Vice Admiral (VADM) William Ward Smith … VADM Smith, while not a Civil War vet, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1909, served in both world wars, and retired in 1949 … what makes Admiral Smith’s material rather interesting is that he was Admiral (ADM) Kimmell’s Chief of Staff from February to December 1941 … ADM Kimmell was, of course, commander in chief of the United States Pacific Fleet when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

    Fortunately, Smith survived the post-Pearl Harbor personnel “purges”, was promoted to Rear Admiral and commanded Cruiser Task Force Eleven during the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway … Smith later commanded Cruiser Division Nine during the campaign in the Northern Pacific to take the Aleutian Islands from the occupying Japanese forces.

    Smith finished the war as a Vice Admiral (3 star) commanding Service Force Pacific Fleet which comprised hundreds ot tankers, supply and ammo ships, and repair vessels … and while perhaps not the most glamorous job, Smith’s logistics ships were instrumental in the highly successful “island hopping” campaigns that defeated the Japanese … as General Omar Bradley remarked, ” … amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk logistics … ”

    i purchased Smith’s collection from a friend who got from the Admiral’s granddaughter who simply didn’t want it anymore … among it’s many treasures, is Smith’s two-star Admiral’s Flag … this flag would have flown in USS ASTORIA, Smith’s flagship, during the Coral Sea and MIdway campaigns.

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