Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

U.S. Military Academy West Point

21 March 1853.


In submitting a report of the board of Survey ordered at the request of the Instructor of Arty. & Cavalry Tactics, to examine the condition of three horses under his charge, I take occasion to say that the sale of those authorized by you on the 9th Inst: has been advertised for Monday next the 28th; & that it would be convenient to dispose of these at the same time, should such a disposition of them seem to you proper.

The disease which has destroyed these horses, & those already ordered to be sold, is said to have been brought to the Point by the horses recd from New Port R. I. in May 1851. It shewed itself among them the day after their arrival, & every horse in the stables was seized with a kind of distemper, which in the general number of cases was cured in a few days. The most obstinate cases have either terminated fatally in Glanders, or the horses have been so completely broken down, as to have been incapable of Service since. The three in question are all that remain affected with the disease. Every precaution has been used to prevent it spreading. The sick horses have been entirely separated from the others, & every article of horse or stable furniture in their use, has been destroyed or purified. All the remedies prescribed in the veterinary books, have been exhausted without success, & the disease appears to be incurable. I therefore recommend that they be disposed of as soon as possible, as I am in constant fear, upon the approach of Spring, that the disease may spread among the other horses.

If ordered to be sold, I would think it right to state at the time of sale, what is believed to be the nature of their disease, & should they not be sold, that I receive authority to destroy them.

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

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, p. 12. Addressed “Genl: Jos: G. Totten Chief Engineer Washington City D.C.”