Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

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

Jany 20. 1853


Genl. I recd. today the application of the Honble Thos. J. Hough for a leave of absence for Cadet W. Palmer from the 16 to the 24 Inst: for the purpose of visiting some friends in New York about embarking for California. I understand the steamer in which they are about to embark, leaves New York today at 3 P.M. It was therefore too late (12M.) when I recd your reference to have granted the indulgence; even had there have been no objections to this course.

It may be proper to inform you that Cadet P. had previously applied to me for a leave of absence, & could I have granted it with propriety, it would have given me pleasure to have done so. But the arrival & departure of friends of the Cadets at New York is so frequent, that were I to consider it a sufficient reason for granting them leaves of absence, I fear they would lose much time from their studies & instruction. Their friends can with much more propriety visit them; than they can visit New York.

Cadet Palmer’s class had just then recommenced studies after their examination & I considered it more to his advantage to have every opportunity to regain the standing he had last in his class, than to visit New York. I was therefore compelled to refuse him. He has fallen in his class at this examination, 16 in Philosophy, 14 in Drawg & 1 in Chemy. The letter of the Honble Thos. J. Hough is herewith returned.

I am very resply. your Obt. 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. 315–16. Addressed “Genl: Jos: G. Totte Chief Engineer Washington D.C.”