Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

U.S. Military Academy West Point. N.Y.

Augt: 5. 1853.


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the letter of the Chief Clerk of the War Dept: with your directions to grant a leave of absence for two weeks to Cadet W. P. Sanders, agreeably to the request of the Hon: Secty of War “unless there should be controlling objections.”

Although fully aware of the gratification Cadet S. would derive from a visit to Maj: Sanders, I know of nothing that entitles him to such an indulgence over his classmates, who would have to bear his share of the Camp duty, and who will be deprived of a similar enjoyment till the next encampment.

Cadet Sanders demerit for the last year was 193, within eight of the number which would have dismissed him, and since the June examination his conduct has not improved, he having received 57 demerit in less than two months.

With these “controlling objections” in view, I think justice to himself and his classmates forbid that I should, unless directed by the Secty. of War, grant him a leave of absence, which under similar circumstances has been invariably refused by the Superintendent.

The letter of Mr. A. Campbell is returned.

Very respectfully Sir Your obedt. ServSigned./ Geo. W. Cullum
Capt. U.S. Engineers
Supt. Mil: Acady

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, p. 42. Addressed “Genl: Jos: G. Totten Chief Engineer Washington City DC.”

George W. Cullum signed this letter on behalf of Lee.