Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin explains the significance of the American Flag to schoolchildren who were visiting the State House on Flag Day.
The newest addition to the State House Art Collection is a mural of World War II Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Jr., of Hamilton, awarding the Silver Star to First Lieutenant Charles L. Smith for Smith’s gallantry in action during the assault on the Siegfried Switch, Tettingen, Germany in January, 1945. The mural is located on the Fourth Floor of the State House across from the House Gallery.
By William A. Foley, Jr. (b.
2003, painted from a photograph
Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 180”
Signed, l.l. W. A. Foley, Jr. / G302 / 94th Div.
Given by the 94th Infantry Division Association under
Dedicated October 20, 2003.
Accepted by Governor Mitt Romney.
Plaque, bronze, 22 ½ x 60” Cast 2004 by Matthews International, Pittsburgh. PA.
Placed February 2005.
“You are my Golden Nugget”
General George S. Patton, Jr., Czechoslovakia, July, 1945
Formed in 1918 as part of the National Army, the 94th Infantry “Pilgrim Division” was designated a part of the Organized Reserves from 1921-1942, with its three regiments all based in Massachusetts. Reactivated by Maj. General Harry J. Maloney in 1942, the Division served with the 9th, 3rd, and 15th Armies in France, Luxembourg, Germany and Czechoslovakia from September 1944- February 1946.
The Siegfried Switch was a line established by the Germans to protect the border, and was one of the most intensely defended areas of the Western front. Slowly, over two months, the 94th worked its way from Tettingen, Wies, and other towns, through the Campholz and Adenhelz Woods, onward toward the Saar River, sweeping away all opposition until it cleared the opposite bank on February 22, smashing the Line. When the first ten-mile push was over, more than half of Hitler’s invincible 11th Panzer Division was destroyed, and the 94th started its push to the Rhine.
This scene illustrates a scene outside Tettingen, in the Saar-Moselle Triangle, early in the assault on the Switch. At the right is a German pill box at the edge of the Campholz Woods. At the left are Monkey Wrench Woods. Lt. General Patton has stopped en route out of town to congratulate Lt. Smith for bravery after he led his platoon into combat. Maj. General Harry J. Maloney, Commander, looks on.
Photographic documentation of the impromptu ceremony shows it took place in a village, but the artist has chosen to set the scene in the outskirts for dramatic effect. The poses of the two generals, Lt. Smith, and even the jeep in the background are, however, accurately reproduced. And although models in period uniforms were used, Foley relied on memories and sketches he made while serving as an 18-year-old combat infantryman. His dramatic drawings of his comrades in battle served as unparalleled inspiration for the mural he would paint nearly 50 years later.
Thus the precise location is not as important as the event which symbolizes for the troops the scores of awards and citations the Division earned in less than six months of battle, many of which were bestowed by Patton himself. The Silver Star is the third highest award designated for heroism in combat. So highly did Patton think of the troops of the 94th Infantry that he dubbed them his “Golden Nugget.”
Information compiled by Susan Greendyke Lachevre, State House Art Collections Manager