Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

US Mil: Acady. West Point

25 Apl. 1853.


Upon the reception of your letter of the 24 Ulto:, on the subject of procuring horses for the use of the Mil. Acady, I have communicated with the QrMasters in Baltimore & New York, & with individuals in the western part of Pensa. New York & Vermont, relative to this purchase.

Major Donaldson Qr Mr. Baltimore writes, that he has recently completed the purchase of 44 horses for Light Co. A. 2nd. Arty. at an average cost of $124. He is satisfied they could not have been got for less & singly would have cost considerably more. Horses have advanced in the last four years from 20 to 25 per cent, & could not be got of the kind suitable for the Acady. for less than $125. which with the necessary attendance, transpr. &c would make their cost per horse over $130.

Col: Swords Qr Mr. New York, says there is no probability of such horses as are required for the Acady. being purchased in the City at $100. per horse. That he had the week previous paid $130. for an ordinary cart horse for Bedlows Isl.

I am informed by a person having much experience in purchasing horses in & about Carlisle, that horses suitable to the wants of the Acady., could not be purchased in that vicinity for less than $125. to $130.

Mr. C. Tuxbury of Vermont, writes that horses such as described can be procured in that country, but not for less than $125.

Mr. Lucket from the Western part of New York writes, that any number of good Saddle horses may be obtained in the vicinity of Coburgh, Canada West of English blood, varying in price from $100. to $150. That if permission could be obtained to import them free of duty, he thinks better horses could be obtained there than any where else in that section of Country.

You will perceive by the above correspondence that there is little prospect of procuring horses at an average cost of $100., which in my letters to the several individuals named was stated as the maximum amount allowed by the act authorizing their purchase. If such therefore is the construction of the law, Canada seems to be the only place, where there is a probability of procuring them at that price; & then permission must be obtained from the Secy of the Treasury for their introduction free of duty.

I could cause advertisements to be published, that 20 good Saddle horses of a certain description were wanted, & that a person would be in Coburgh on a fixed day for their selection, & would not give more than $100. a head. I could detail an officer for the duty, & they be transported across the Lake in a Steamboat & driven down to Albany.

I submit the whole matter t your judgement & shall await your orders.

I remain Very resply. Your obedt ServtSigned) R. E. Lee Br. Col.
Supt. Mil. Acady.

P.S. Cadet Merrill requests permission to deposit Ten dollars to the credit of his acct. for the purpose of enabling him to go on furlough with his class, which is recomd. For favorable consideration

(Signed) REL.

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, pp. 23–24. Addressed “Genl: Jos: G. Totten Chief Engineer Washington City D.C.”