Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

U.S. Military Academy West Point. N.Y.

18. Novr. 1852


I have had the honour to receive the letter to you of the Honble. R.M. Price, in reference to the absence without leave of Cadet R. P. Lewis; & in compliance with your direction endorsed thereon. beg leave to state that my recommendation of the 11th. October in his case was based upon what I believed the true interests of the Cadets & the discipline of the Academy demanded.

A breach of arrest in a military point of view, is a violation of honour, & independent of the offence, deserves summary punishment. The length of arrest, the youth & general good conduct of Cadet Lewis plead in his behalf, & I have his assurance that if the offense can be overlooked, he will consider the promise of his guardian for his future good conduct, binding upon him. If then the Secty thinks, forgiveness on his part, will not be construed by others into a precedent, which may protect them in similar & other violations of the Regulations, he will have less difficulty in bestowing it. The letter of the Honble. R. M. Price is returned.

I am Very respectfully, Yo obedt Serv(Signed) R E Lee Br. Col
Supt: Mil: Acady

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 2, p. 299. Addressed “Genl: Jos: G. Totten Chief Engineer Washington DC.”