Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

US Mil: Acady West Point

19 Apl. 1853.


Letter of Hon: J. WashburnApl 12. 53
Order of J. StevensFeby. 26 “
Copy of Secy’s letterJune 29 ’52

I have recd the letter of the Honble. J. Washburne of the 12th Inst: presenting a claim for travelling expenses of Cadet J. Stevens, from Washington City to West Point, on the 29 June 1852, referred to me on the 16th Inst: for a report.

Cadet Stevens was found deficient at the last June Examination & recomd to the Secy of War by the Academic Board to be discharged from the service. He was ordered to his home by Capt: Brewerton the Supt: to await the decision of Secy Conrad, & paid the usual transportation allowance to Bangor, Me. Amounting to $29 46/100.

Instead of repairing to his home, he went to Washington, & upon the representation of his friends, was allowed by the Secy of War a reexamination & permitted to return to the Academy. He failed to obey the summons of the Board at its first meeting on the 6th July, but at its meeting on the 30th Augt. was again found deficient in his course, discharged from the Academy, & recd continuously his Cadets pay up to the 6th Sept:.

I have stated briefly the facts of the case, as I can find no other similar to it; & the decision of the Secy must depend upon its own merits. The principle involved seems however the same as in the case of Cadet Bowen of Georgia.

On the 4th Feby 1852, the Secy of War directed that Cadet Bowen should be sent to his home, & suspended from the Acady till the 1st July following. Upon his representation or those of his friends, the Secy directed on the 13th Feby, that he should return from Washington to W. P. & be tried for a Court Martial. He was dismissed by the Court, but his sentence commuted by the Secy to the same punishment he had previously inflicted. He was not considered entitled to transportation for either journey, nor has he recd. any.

Cadet Stevens visited Washington for his own purposes & without orders. He was granted a re-examination & permitted to return to the Academy, & recd. his pay as Cadet till finally discharged. He might have with the same reason gone to New Orleans or elsewhere, instead of his home, & claimed transportation from there.

It may be proper for me to refer to the decision in the case of Cadet Schofield, which though not a parallel case, may be well to recall.

On the 13th July 1852, Cadet S. was dismissed from the Academy by the Secy of War. On the 30th the Secy rescinded the order with a view to his trial by a Court Martial. He was ordered by the chief Engineer to report himself at W. P. for the purpose by the 3rd Sept: claimed transportation from Washington City to W. P. & was allowed it by the Secy of War, as communicated in your letter of the 17th Sept. Having been dismissed, he was according to usage, allowed no transportation home. The order of the chief Engineer, after his restoration, made it obligatory upon him to return. His case therefore differs in both points from that of Cadet Stevens.

The letter of the Honble. J. Washburn with its enclosures is herewith returned.

I have the honour to be very resply. Your obedt. Serv.(Signed) R. E. Lee Bt: Col.
Supt. Mil: Acady

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, p. 21. Addressed “Genl: Jos: G. Totten Chief Engineer Washington City D.C.”