Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

U.S. Mil: Acady West Point. N.Y.

23 Nov. 1852.


I have had the honor to receive the communication to you of the 18th inst from the Adjt. General: stating the objection to the detail of Lt. James Thompson to relieve Lt. T. J. Haines from duty at the Mil: Acady. You are aware of the difficulty of obtaining proper officers for instructors at the Acady. particularly in the Dept. of Mathematics. More than half the army from
various causes are excluded from selection, & the exigencies of service & individual preference, narrow the remainder to within small limits. The reasons that induced the selection of Lt. Thompson, were, that there were fewer officers at the Acady. from his Regt. than from either of the other Regts. of Arty. That he had graduated 3d in his class in Mathematics, was considered well qualified for the station, had been applied to & was willing to take the duty. It was hoped that as it was desired by the Col: of his Regt. to reclaim Lt: Haines, he would make the necessary arrangements, by transfer of officers from one Company to another to supply his place at the Academy, & I still indulge the hope, that this can be done. It is important, if possible to secure the services of an officer, who is willing to take the duty, otherwise he is dissatisfied & constantly endeavoring to be relieved. There are instances of the kind now at the Acady. I hope these reasons will induce a change of instructions in this matter. But if Lt. Thompson cannot be detailed, & it is still wished to relieve Lt. Haines, it may be done without injury to the interests of the Academy, provided either 2nd Lt. A. Baird, 1st. Arty. or 2nd Lt. G. K. Warren, Topcal. Dept: be ordered to report in his place by the 1st of Jany. next.

I am very respectfully Yr. obedt. Servt.(Signed) R. E. Lee. Br. Col:
Supt: Mil: Acady.

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 2, pp. 300–301. Addressed “Genl: Jos: G. Totten Chief Engineer Washington. D.C.”