July 28, 1917
My dear Lawrence-
I must offer apologies to you for not having written you sooner, but tho’t I had. However I have just found out that I did not. Was very glad to hear you had enlisted. I knew you would and if you get a chance to go up for a commission take it. Had you been able to stay I feel sure you would have been one of those selected as officers. Your work was very satisfactory in the Battery & I disliked very much seeing you go. I feel sure you have the qualifications of an officer and your education and intelligence are quite in line with what is desirable in an officer. I should not hesitate to recommend you for examination for commission or for commission in either the Infantry or Artillery.
I feel sure that hereafter the system of officering the Armies to be raised after these contemplated at present be by promotion and commission from the ranks. I have heard that you are a non-commissioned officer, if it is true congratulations. Keep your eye on and work for commissioned grade – Study & work hard, be anxious to absorb knowledge from any one who has it and if you have the wide awake interest and knowledge you exhibited here you will make it alright. If it is a recommendation you want let me know, you can make your own way. Keep your eyes & ears open, use your common sense and keep your mouth closed unless asked about something is the rule for all soldiers who succeed. Let me hear from you again. I shall take great interest in hearing of your advance.
Very truly yours
James P. Marley