Hugh Aloysius Drum – Lieutenant General, United States Army

This letter was written to John Desmond Drum, General Hugh A. Drum's older brother by Captain John Drum on Dec 8 1889 from Fort Union New Mexico just a few years before his death in Cuba.  My father's copy hung in our living room my entire life and my copy sits next to his flag in our living room. My brother has our father's copy on the mantle in his home  The sentiments expressed in this letter still form the core of our family's values. Sincerely, Deirdre Hoedebecke, September 2003.

“My Dear Son:

“By the time this reaches you it will be near your birth-day which on the 15th inst. makes you a man.  You will then have attained your 21st year, and I hope it will reach you in time and find you well both in body and mind.

“I will say here that your mother and myself have done all we could for your education and welfare, and that I know you have appreciated our efforts, and that we will continue to help you until we can see you started on your career.

“As you will soon be your own master I will say a few words to you.  Never forget your Father and Mother.  Never cease to help your Mother if she needs it.  Never forget your brothers and sister, and as you are the eldest be their friend and Mentor.  Stand by them through thick and thin.  Unite them. In union there is strength, and certainly with six of you much should be accomplished if you are one in sentiment and feelings.  I should have put it first, never forget our God or religion.  Keep out of bad company or society.  Be sober, honest, truthful and industrious.  Be slow to take offence, but protect yourself and family from insult.  Be charitable, and always take the part of the poor and lowly not running to extremes.

“You are a native citizen of the greatest and freest nation on the earth. You will have a say in the government more then I ever had, or could have had and I tell you now guard well the freedom handed down to you. Support the constitution as handed down by the fathers of the Republic. Vote as your conscience tells you. Oppose all measures looking to any change in the government from its present free standard. Watch men, and oppose them, who would try to break it up or would attempt to take away any of the rights of the poor, lowly or uneducated, for the rich and educated can always defend themselves. If you should enter political life, try to bring back its tone, and the men who lead to the simple life and the sterling worth of the days of Jefferson, and Jackson, so that riches and luxury may not sap the foundation of our government.  Oppose any man who attempts to stir up religious strife no matter what his politics may be. Never oppose man on account of his religious views if he is otherwise patriotic, pure, hones and a believer in the Republic, and that all citizen have the same rights and are equally protected.

“At last, never forget that you are of Celtic blood and that your ancestors came from Ireland.  Never forget that poor old Mother land, and if you can ever help her, consistent with your duties as an American, do not fail to do so.

“And now I will close by sending you my blessings and wishing you a long and prosperous, honorable and happy life. God bless you my son. John Drum”

Born on September 19, 1879, the son of regular Army officer, Captain John Drum, who was killed-in-action in the battle of San Juan during the Spanish-American War, Hugh had fought in the Philippines Insurrection, in Mexico and Mexican Border prior to World War I.

He went to France with General John J. Pershing as an original member of the General Staff and wound up the war as Chief of Staff and a Brigadier General, First Army.

He held numerous commands in the United States after the war and was General George C. Marshall's principal rival for Chief of Staff of the United States Army in 1939. He retired in 1943, aged 64.

After retiring, he served as President of the Empire State Building in New York City and died in his office there of a heart attack on October 3, 1951. He is buried in Section 21 of Arlington National Cemetery.

Hugh Aloysius Drum (1879 – 1951)

Hugh Aloysius Drum was the son of Captain John Drum. He was born in Fort Brady, Michigan, on September 19, 1879. He graduated from Boston College in 1898 and was made a Second Lieutenant in the Twelfth Infantry. He quickly rose through the ranks. In 1917 he accompanied General Pershing to France as assistant Chief of Staff. By 1918 he was promoted to Colonel and was appointed Chief of Staff of the First Army of the American expeditionary Force. From 1919 to 1927 he served in various army schools.

By 1931 he had been promoted to Major General and was sent to Honolulu as
Commander. In 1940 he was appointed Lieutenant General of the New York State Guard. He was president of the Empire State Inc. from 1944 until his death in 1951. During his military career he received many awards such as the Silver Star, the Distinguished Service Medal and the Croix de Guerre.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 09/19/1879
  • DATE OF DEATH: 10/03/1951
  • DATE OF INTERMENT: 10/08/1951


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 09/13/1877
  • DATE OF DEATH: 06/11/1960
  • DATE OF INTERMENT: 06/15/1960




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