John J. Pershing
Historical Figure
Nationality: United States
Date of Birth: 1860
Date of Death: 1948
Cause of Death: Heart failure
Religion: Episcopalianism
Occupation: Soldier
Spouse: Helen Warren (d. 1915)
Children: Helen (d. 1915), Anne (d. 1915), Francis, Mary (d. 1915)
Military Branch: United States Army (Spanish-American War, World War I)
Fictional Appearances:
Southern Victory
POD: September 10, 1862
Appearance(s): The Center Cannot Hold
Type of Appearance: Direct
Date of Death: 1929
Cause of Death: Assassinated by a sniper
Military Branch: US Army (Great War)
Political Office(s): Military Governor of Utah

John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, GCB (September 13, 1860 – July 15, 1948) was an officer in the United States Army. After patrolling the Mexican border in search of the bandit chief Pancho Villa in 1916, he had to abandon this mission to lead the American Expeditionary Force in World War I. Pershing was regarded as a mentor by the generation of American generals who led the Army in Europe during World War II, including George Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower, Omar Bradley, and George Patton.

John Pershing in Southern Victory[]

John Joseph Pershing (1860-1929) was a successful general in the United States Army during the Great War and then the military governor of Utah after the war until he was assassinated by a Mormon radical.

Pershing commanded the U.S. Second Army, which fought primarily in eastern Kentucky and then Tennessee.[1] He managed his campaign well, even taking Louisville by going in from the flanks rather than straight on as had happened during the Second Mexican War.[2] George Armstrong Custer, commander of First Army, soon saw Pershing as a rival,[3] taking whatever opportunities he could to deride the younger man.[4] Second Army fought right alongside First Army until the end of the war.[5]

After the war, Pershing commanded US garrisons in Utah.[6] During this assignment, he worked with Custer's former adjutant, Abner Dowling, as his second-in-command.[7] Despite Dowling's prior association with Custer, he and Pershing found they were able to work quite well together[8]--as Custer himself had found when stationed in Utah over 40 years earlier, during the Second Mexican War, as second-in-command to John Pope, a rival of Custer's old superior, George McClellan. To the surprise of both men, at a dinner event in Custer's honor, Pershing and Dowling each shed tears of sympathy for Custer and the humiliation he endured in forced-retirement.[9]

Pershing was killed by a Mormon sniper in Salt Lake City in 1929 in the aftermath of the stock market crash, dramatically underscoring his unfinished thought that Utah was not ready for normalization.[10] He was succeeded as commander of the Utah garrison by Dowling, the next senior officer in the state.[11] His assassin was never identified.


  1. American Front, pg. 296.
  2. Ibid. pg. 297.
  3. Ibid.
  4. See, e.g., Walk in Hell, pg. 275.
  5. The Center Cannot Hold, pg.4.
  6. Ibid., pg. 4.
  7. Ibid. pg. 4.
  8. Ibid., pgs. 84-86.
  9. Ibid. pg. 159.
  10. Ibid., pg. 242.
  11. Ibid., pg. 244.
Military offices
Preceded by
Peyton C. March
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Succeeded by
John L. Hines
Military offices
(Southern Victory)
Preceded by
Alonzo Kent
Military Governor of Utah
Succeeded by
Abner Dowling