Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

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

Augt: 23 1853


I have the honor to submit the following report in the case of Thomas J. English, late a Cadet in the U.S. Military Academy referred to me on the 18th Inst:

Cadet English was found deficient in Engineering and was discharged under the regulation adopted July 18. 1849. three years and five months prior to his dismissal. It is true that he and two of his classmates were the first of the senior class that were discharged under that regulation, though others of the 2d. & 3d. classes were less fortunate in January 1852 and 1853. The very object of the regulation was to prevent a neglect of studies constantly practiced by Cadets low in standing, who, if found deficient in January escaped dismissal at that time, and by greater diligence, during the succeeding six months, were enabled ^to prepare for, and pass their June examination.

Mr English’s plea that he “entered the Academy with the condition not to be sent off for deficiency at any January excepting the first” is not correct. The government bound itself by no such obligation, though the regulation, when he entered the Academy, authorized discharges only in the fourth class in January. According to the same mode of reasoning no regulation could at any time, during a Cadets connection with the institution, be changed without a breach of faith on the the pact of the government.

He is correct in stating that a classmate (Cadet now Br. 2 Lt. Craig) was found deficient in the same branch, and under the same circumstances, and unconditionally re-instated, not however with the approval of the Academic Board, but by the express order of the late Secty of War.

Though sincerely regretting Mr. English’s separation from the Institution, I cannot with my sense of duty recommend his case to the favorable consideration of the Hon: Secty of War, especially as the 64 paragraph of Academic regns expressly declared that “no Cadet discharged from the Academy, shall be re-appointed or restored under any circumstances, unless the same be recommended by the Academic Board

I am Very respectfully Sir, Your obedt ServtSig: 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. 46. Addressed “Genl: Jos: G. Totten Chief Engineer Washington City D.C.”

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