Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

U.S. Mil: Acady West Point

29 Decr. 1852.


In attempting to apply the sum of $3000 “For improvements & additions to Officers Quarters” appropd. at the last session of Congress, I have considered it as only applicable to building study rooms for the Professors, for which I understand it was asked & intended. But the amount is so small that when ever divided among the seven heads of Depts it will not admit of any permanent or convenient addition to their quarters, or such as in my opinion will meet the object of the appropriation. I have therefore caused plans to be prepared of such additions as are deemed suitable to the wants of the Professors, & adapted to the different buildings they now occupy. The additions proposed embrace a study room & a sleeping apartment above. The latter is so much needed, there being but two in their present set of quarters, & can be added with so little additional cost, that in arranging permanent improvements, I have considered it advisable to include what may be considered necessary if not indespensible to the long continued residence of a family.

I now therefore submit the question to you, whether commencing with the senior Professor, I shall proceed upon the plans herewith proposed, with such modifications as you may judge proper, trusting their completion to a future grant of Cong. & such aid as the Mil. Acady can properly furnish in old materials; enlisted mechanics; or whether I must limit the additions to all the quarters, to the sum of $3000. now appd. In the latter event, I fear the expenditure of the appn. will not be attended with any adequate advantage.

The proposed addition to the qrs: of the Prof:of Drawing will cost about.$573.10
 ”  of Ethics1424.13
 ”  of Philosophy1424.13
 ”  of French language600.00
 ”  of Chemistry1343.33
 ”  of Engineering1343.33
 ”  of Mathematics1343.33

The QrMaster reports that there is about $400.00 of old brown stone base course, sills, flooring timber &c which will meet any unforseen contingencies not provided for & that the labour of enlisted mechanics &c will further diminish the cost of the additions.

I think therefore an additional appr. of $5000. will complete the buildings & make them serviceable & permanent.

The estimate for each style of addition is placed on the plan, & the plans will be forwd by a safe hand. (By Major Porter on 31st Decr.)

I have the honor to be very resply. your obedt. ServtSigned / R. E. Lee Bvt: Col:
Supt: Mil: Acady.

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 2, pp. 310–11. Addressed “Genl: Jos: G. Totten Chief Engineer Washington City D.C.” The last sentence, in parentheses, was added in pencil.