Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

U.S. Military Academy West Point

21 March 1853


The price of the present Cadet dress-cap, without trimmings, is $2.00. The proposals for that described in my letter of the 15th with the ventilator, that have as yet been recd are $2.20. $2.35 & $2.50. The former has been preferred of those offered, but it is possible that we may have to pay higher than the price named. The cause of the additional cost on the present cap will be, the lighter & better material, the ventilator, & the crown being made to vary with the size of the cap.

In the present cap, the crowns are all of the same size, & struck from a common round mould, giving a stiffness and rigidity to the whole cap. In the proposed cap, the crown will be elliptical, conforming to the shape of the head, & varying with the size.

I fear however it cannot be made of the same material as the body of the cap, as I had proposed. The manufacturers think, that there will be so little surface exposed between the leather edge & ventilator, as to endanger its stability, & in consequence of the reduced size of the crown, & the addition of the ventilator, that the in convenience of the present cap will be removed.

I am very resply. Your 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. 13. Addressed “Genl: Jos: G. Totten Chief Engineer Washington City D.C.”