Hugh Aloysius Drum

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Hugh Aloysius Drum
Hugh Drum.jpg
Hugh Aloysius Drum
Born (1879-09-19)September 19, 1879
Fort Brady, Chippewa County, Michigan
Died October 3, 1951(1951-10-03) (aged 72)
New York City, New York
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Emblem of the United States Department of the Army.svg United States Army
Years of service 1898–1943
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Commands held United States Army Command and General Staff College
1st Infantry Brigade
1st Infantry Division
V Corps Area
Hawaiian Department
First Army
II Corps Area
Eastern Defense Command
New York Guard
Battles/wars Spanish–American War
Veracruz Expedition
Pancho Villa Expedition
World War I
World War II
Awards Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Silver Star
Other work President, Empire State Inc.

Hugh Aloysius Drum (September 19, 1879 – October 3, 1951) was a United States Army Lieutenant General.

Early life

Born at Fort Brady, Chippewa County, Michigan on September 19, 1879, Hugh A. Drum was the son of Captain John Drum (1864–1898), a career Army officer who was killed in Cuba during the Spanish–American War. In 1894 Drum graduated from Xavier High School in New York City, which he had attended while his father was an instructor at the school. (Hugh Drum was admitted to the Xavier High School Hall of Fame in 1931.) Initially intent upon a career as a Jesuit priest, he enrolled at Boston College. Under the provisions of a recently passed law allowing recognition for sons of officers who displayed exceptional bravery during the war, Drum was offered a direct commission as a Second Lieutenant, which he accepted. (He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College in 1921.)[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Start of military career

Drum in 1902.

Joining the United States Army while the Spanish–American War and subsequent insurrections and conflicts were ongoing, he served with the 12th Infantry Regiment in the Philippines. He then served in the Philippines with the 25th Infantry Regiment. He participated in the Battle of Bayan in 1899, for which he received the Silver Star.[7]

Drum later served as aide-de-camp to Frank Baldwin before returning to a series of assignments in the United States. He completed the School of the Line (precursor to the Officer Basic and Advanced Courses) in 1911 as an Honor Graduate. He graduated from the United States Army Command and General Staff College in 1912, and later served there as an instructor.[8][9]

In 1914 he was an Assistant Chief of Staff for the force commanded by Frederick Funston during the Veracruz Expedition.[10]

Drum served at Fort Bliss and Fort Sam Houston in Texas during 1915 and 1916 as part of the Pancho Villa Expedition.[11]

World War I

Highly regarded by John J. Pershing, at the start of World War I Drum was named an assistant Chief of Staff of First Army. In 1918, he was promoted to Colonel, and became First Army's Chief of Staff. He was commended for his work to assemble and organize First Army's staff, and for the planning of the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives, for which he received the Army Distinguished Service Medal.[12][13][14]

Between the World Wars

After the war, Drum served as the director of training and assistant commandant for the School of the Line at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and commandant of the Command and General Staff College, where he taught the doctrine of open warfare that the American Expeditionary Forces had practiced in France.[15][16]

From 1926 to 1927 Drum commanded the 1st Infantry Brigade.[17]

From there he went to the Army staff at the War Department in Washington, D.C., where he publicly clashed with General Billy Mitchell about the disposition of the U.S. Army Air Service. General Drum successfully lobbied Congress not to have the Air Service organized separately from the Army. He served as commander of the 1st Infantry Division from 1927 and as Inspector General of the US Army from 1930 to 1931.[18][19][20]

In 1931 Drum was promoted to Major General as commander of the V Corps Area, based at Fort Hayes, Ohio.[21]

Drum returned to Washington in 1933 to serve as Deputy to the Army's Chief of Staff, Douglas MacArthur. He headed a board of senior officers that again sought to suppress advocates of an independent air force by setting the ceiling on Air Corps requirements for numbers of aircraft and tying any funding for expansion of the Air Corps to prior funding of the other branches first. In 1934 all the members of the Drum Board also sat on the presidential-initiated Baker Board, again setting its agenda to preclude any discussion of air force independence.[22]

From 1935 to 1937, Drum commanded the Hawaiian Department. It was during Drum's posting in Hawaii that he renewed acquaintance with another ambitious officer, George S. Patton, who served as his Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (G2), and with whom he had a contentious professional relationship.[23][24]

In 1938, Drum succeeded James K. Parsons as commander of First United States Army and assumed command of Second Corps Area headquartered at Fort Jay, Governors Island, New York. When Chief of Staff General Malin Craig retired in 1939, Drum was passed over in favor of George Marshall. Despite this disappointment, he received a promotion to Lieutenant General in August 1939.[25]

Drum's former residence (right) in Washington, D.C.

World War II

With the onset of preparations for World War II, Drum assumed command of the Eastern Defense Command, responsible for domestic defense along the Atlantic seaboard. During the 1941 Carolina Maneuvers, Drum commanded First Army.[26] He was embarrassed and became the subject of mockery during the event when he was captured on the first day of the exercises by troops of the 2nd Armored Division under Patton's command. The exercise umpires ruled the circumstances under which Drum was captured would not have transpired in actual combat, so he was not detained, but the incident indicated to senior leaders that Drum might not be prepared to command large bodies of troops under the conditions the Army faced in World War II.[27][28]


After the Carolina maneuvers, Drum was disappointed with an offer from Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson to go on what he perceived to be a low-profile assignment in China. After declining the China mission, Drum continued to command the Eastern Defense Command until reaching the mandatory retirement age in 1943.[29][30]

Post military career

Drum was the commander of the New York Guard from 1943 to 1945. From 1944 until his death he was the president of Empire State, Inc., the company that managed the Empire State Building.[31][32]


His foreign decorations included the French Croix de Guerre, French Legion of Honor (Commander), Belgium's Order of the Crown (Commander), and Italy's Order of the Crown.[34][35]

Drum was a member of the Scabbard and Blade Society.[36][37]

In 1940 he received the Laetare Medal, awarded by the University of Notre Dame annually to recognize individuals who have contributed to the goals of the Roman Catholic church.[38]

Drum received honorary degrees from Boston College, St. Lawrence University, Fordham University, Loyola University of New Orleans, Columbia University, Rutgers University, New York University, Manhattan College, Pennsylvania Military College, and Georgetown University.[39]

Fort Drum, New York is named for him.[40]

Death and burial

Drum's gravestone at Arlington National Cemetery.

Drum died in New York City on October 3, 1951, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 3, Site 1447-R.[41][42]


In 1903 Drum was married to Mary Reaume (1877-1960). They were the parents of a daughter, Anna Carroll Drum (1916-1996), nicknamed "Peaches," who was the wife of Army officer Thomas H. Johnson, Jr.[43][44][45]


  1. Anne Cipriano Venzon, editor, The United States in the First World War: An Encyclopedia, 2013, pages 205-206
  2. Xavier College (New York), A History of the Xavier Military Program, 2002, page 1
  3. Henry Blaine Davis, Generals in Khaki, 1998, page 113
  4. James J. Cooke, Billy Mitchell, 2002, page 66
  5. John Drum at Find A Grave[unreliable source?]
  6. United States War Department, General Orders, Department of the Army, General Order Number 4, January 10, 1899, page 6
  7. James R. Arnold, The Moro War: How America Battled a Muslim Insurgency in the Philippine Jungle, 1902-1913, 2011, pages 35–39
  8. Elliott L. Johnson, The Military Experiences of General Hugh A. Drum from 1898-1918, Volume 1, 1975, page 117
  9. Henry Blaine Davis, Generals in Khaki, 1998, page 113
  10. Marquis Who's Who, Who Was Who in American History: The Military, 1975, page 143
  11. U.S. Army Publicity Bureau, Life of the Soldier and the Airman, Volumes 20-21, 1938, unnumbered pages
  12. Mark E. Grotelueschen, The AEF Way of War, 2010, page 206
  13. Chicago Daily News, The Chicago Daily News Almanac and Year Book, Volume 35, 1918, page 497
  14. United States Army Adjutant General, Congressional Medal of Honor, The Distinguished Service Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal Issued by the War Department Since April 6, 1917, 1920, page 885
  15. U.S. Army Adjutant General, The Army Almanac: A Book of Facts Concerning the Army of the United States, 1950, page 357
  16. Jörg Muth, Command Culture: Officer Education in the U.S. Army and the German Armed Forces, 2011, page 126
  17. Army and Navy Journal, Inc., Army and Navy Journal, Volume 75, Issues 1-26, 1937, page 168
  18. James A. Hoyt, Cases Decided in the United States Court of Claims, Volume 127, 1954, page 400
  19. James J. Cooke, Billy Mitchell, 2002, page 66
  20. John B. Wilson, Maneuver and Firepower: The Evolution of Divisions and Separate Brigades, 1999, page 110
  21. Charles Scribner's Sons, Scribner's Magazine, Volume 105, 1939, page 36
  22. Herman S. Wolk, Office of Air Force History, Planning and Organizing the Postwar Air Force, 1943-1947, 1984, page 12
  23. Carlo D'Este, Patton: A Genius for War, 1995, page 360
  24. Alan Axelrod, Patton's Drive: The Making of America's Greatest General, 2010, page 257
  25. Jean Edward Smith, FDR, 2008, page 432
  26. David W. Hogan, U.S. Army Center of Military History, A Command Post at War: First Army Headquarters in Europe, 1943-1945, 2000, page 13
  27. Samuel W. Mitcham, The Rise of the Wehrmacht, Volume 2, 2008, page 621
  28. Michael Keane, Patton: Blood, Guts, and Prayer, 2012, page 111
  29. Hannah Pakula, The Last Empress: Madame Chiang Kai-shek and the Birth of Modern China, 2009, page 372
  30. Robert Paul Fuller, Last Shots for Patton's Third Army, 2003, page 13
  31. Thomas Edmund Dewey, Public Papers of Thomas E. Dewey, Volume 11, 1946, page 570
  32. National Guard Association of the United States, Annual Meeting Proceedings, 1946, page 176
  33. Scabbard and Blade Society, Scabbard and Blade Journal, Volume 28, Issue 1, 1943, page 6
  34. Army and Navy Register, Inc., Army and Navy Register, September 23, 1922, page 291
  35. Elliott L. Johnson, The Military Experiences of General Hugh A. Drum from 1898-1918, Volume 2, 1975, page 360
  36. Scabbard and Blade Journal, Volume 28, Issue 1, 1943, page 6
  37. H.W. Wilson Company, Current Biography, 1941, page 239
  38. Delphos Daily Herald, Lt.-Gen. Hugh A. Drum is the 1940 Recipient of the Laetare Medal, March 4, 1940
  39. New York Sun, Drum Gets Hemisphere Post, August 24, 1943
  40. Robert E. Brennan, Jeannie I. Brennan, Fort Drum, 2002, page 8
  41. Newport Daily News, Gen. Hugh A. Drum Dies: Pershing Aide In World War I, October 3, 1951
  42. Arlington National Cemetery Grave Site Locator
  43. Buffalo Courier-Express, General Drum's Daughter Weds, December 13, 1941
  44. Ruth Ellen Patton Totten, The Button Box: A Daughter's Loving Memoir of Mrs. George S. Patton, 2005, page 248
  45. Logansport Pharos, City News: Wedding announcement, Hugh A. Drum and Mary Reaume, October 8, 1903

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
William C. Rivers
Inspector General of the U. S. Army
January 12, 1930-November 30, 1931
Succeeded by
John F. Preston
Preceded by
Lucius Roy Holbrook
Commandant of the Command and General Staff College
September 1920 - July 1921
Succeeded by
Hanson Edward Ely
Preceded by
Commanding General of the Eastern Defense Command
18 March 1941- 8 October 1943
Succeeded by
George Grunert
Preceded by
James K. Parsons (Interim)
Commanding General of the First United States Army
4 November 1938 - 8 October 1943
Succeeded by
George Grunert