Peyton Cochran Papers


Peyton Cochran Papers


Cochran, Peyton




Cochran’s personal correspondence begins in 1911 and 1912 when he was establishing his law practice in Staunton. As a supporter of Woodrow Wilson’s bid for the 1912 primary election and general election, he wrote letters giving a local perspective into national politics. The letters also document his quest for letters of recommendation for a post in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Office in World War I and, after he received his appointment and orders to leave for France, his descriptions to his wife, Susie, of his overseas experience. He describes traveling on board the U.S.S George Washington, touring various battlefields and shelled areas, the visit of the king and queen of Belgium to Gen. Pershing’s headquarters, his stay in a hospital, his impressions of a July 14 parade in France, the longing of the soldiers to return home, and other observations. His military correspondence contains letters and telegrams concerning his appointment as major to the Judge Advocate General’s office, recommendations regarding courts-martial, his recommendation of A.G. Robertson for the JAG Office, and personal letters between officers. His personal military records contain identification cards, ration cards, a pay slip, and requests for leave of absence. The memos section is the largest series in the collection. These originated from government offices, mostly the JAG, and convey information to armed forces personnel concerning military issues such as conscientious objectors, aliens in American military, courts-martial, war-induced mental illness, desertion, absence without leave, war risk insurance, requests for discharge based on number of dependents, and other subjects. The reports series includes documents marked “Secret” and transmit information obtained from German troops, and other documents concerning battle analyses and descriptions of wartime facilities. The JAG’s opinions contain many pages of condensed legal opinions on the topics mentioned above in the memos. The pamphlets are written on such topics as Army payroll, War Risk Insurance Act, military uniform regulations, sanitary and communicable diseases information, and others. The photograph series shows Cochran in uniform as well as military and civilian sites in Europe. The postcards depict scenes from France, Belgium, England, and Scotland. This collection has 15 maps detailing battles such as the St. Mihiel Offensive and the Meuse-Argonne campaign, maps of France, the Order of Battle on Armistice Day, and “New Europe.” One map—“Nouvelle Carte de France”—has hand-drawn lines and handwritten symbols and notes in English. The folder marked “miscellaneous” contains a handwritten college notebook from Cochran’ school days.


George Cochran


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library



Collection Items

Peyton Cochran Papers Finding Aid
Mostly documents, including correspondence, official military communications and reports, military identification and personal papers, maps, pamphlets; also photographs and postcards.
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