Ira Livingston Fredendall
Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army
Livingston Fredendall of New York
Appointed from Wyoming, Captain, Assistant Quartermast of U. S. Volunteers, 10 April 1898
Honorably Discharged 30 June 1901
Captain, Quartermaster, United States Army, 2 February 1901
Ira Livingston Fredendall, was a settler from New York who became sheriff of Laramie before receiving a commission in the Quartermaster Corps during the Spanish-American War. He remained in the service and through his political connections secured an appointment from Sen. Joseph Warren for his son to enter the class of 1905 at the U.S. Military Academy. As in the more famous case of Douglas MacArthur, Fredendall's mother, a domineering and strong-willed woman, accompanied the plebe to Highland Falls. Described by a classmate as "a very soldierly little fellow, but extremely goaty in mathematics," Lloyd performed so poorly in trigonometry and analytic geometry and behaved so badly that he was dismissed after just one semester.
His mother was furious and successfully pressed Senator Warren to appoint him the next year, but he dropped out a second time. Although the senator was still willing to nominate him again, this time the senator's offer was declined by the Academy. Undaunted, however, and displaying determination and stubborn pride in the face of failure, Fredendall took the officer's qualifying exam in 1906 while attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, scoring first out of 70 applicants. On February 13, 1907, just one and a half years after his West Point classmates, he received a commission in the Regular Army as a second lieutenant of Infantry.
In World War II Lloyd Fredendall was relieved from command of II Corps by General Dwight D. Eisenhower and replaced by George Smith Patton, Jr. In spite of his relief, Fredendall was promoted to Lieutenant General in June 1943, assumed command of U.S. Second Army and was greeted back home as a hero. He ended his career with honor, free of the usual costs of failure. According to David Eisenhower, his grandfather later repented of his "weakness" in sending Fredendall back home without a reduction in grade - a clear signal that he was leaving in disgrace. If so, the regret never amounted to anything and Fredendall retired in 1946 as a three-star general.
He died on October 4, 1963, and was buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in California. Except for a brief scene in the popular movie "Patton," his name disappeared from our military history.
The judgment of historians has not been kind.
Charles MacDonald described him as a "man of bombast and bravado in speech
and manner [who] failed to live up to the image he tried to create." Carlo
D'Este is even more critical, calling him "one of the most inept senior
officers to hold a high command during World War II." Personal assessment
so long after the fact, however, is not as important as answering the question:
what can we learn from his failures?
FREDENDALL, EVELYN W/O IRA L
Posted: 12 February 2009