Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

U.S. Mil: Academy West Point

22 June 1853.


In submitting for your approval & the sanction of the Secty of War, the accompy Resolutions of the Academic Board, passed at its session of the 20th Inst: I beg leave to state that the object of the first is to give the 4th Class such instruction in the school of the Soldier & Compy in the beginning, as will aid in their learning it practically; & to the 3rd Class from which the guides are taken, the same instruction in the school of the Battalion. This will save the necessity of the oral instruction in the field, under arms & a hot sun, & will consequently diminish the length of the field exercise, & add to their interest.

The object of the Second is to shorten the period of accountability provided for in par the 72nd. Par: Academic Regns. It is found that in the beginning of the Academic year, many Cadets run up a large & unnecessary amount of demerit, to the detrement of discipline & their own injury; leading with them the thoughtless & inconsiderate, & when having nearly acquired the maximum amount, attempt to stop suddenly. Most generally they succeed and escape the penalty, but often fail & suffer. It is believed that the change proposed will have a good effect in remedying this evil. Make the Cadets more careful in the beginning of their course & prevent their becoming irretrievably implicated, or in other words operate as beneficially as the change made some years since, in the application of the penalty attached to deficiency in studies, which formerly was limited to the annual Examination in June, but is now extended also to the semi-annual examination in Jany (Par. 61 & 63)

I have the honour to be Your obedt ServtSigned/ R. E. Lee Br. Col.
Supt. Mil: Acady.

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, pp. 35–36. Addressed “Genl. Jos: G. Totten Chief Engineer Washington City D.C.”