Robert E. Lee

J. Burnet

U.S. Military Academy West Point NY

26 Sept: 1853.

My dear Sir.

I have recd. your letter of the 19th Inst: & take the earliest opportunity to reply to your enquiries.It is true that your son Cadet E. Burnet has recd. up to the present time 80 demerit, & that 20 more between this & the approaching January Examination will subject him to dismissal.

You must not however infer that his conduct has been in the least disgraceful, or calculated to affect his moral character or standing. His amount of demerit has arisen from acts of carelessness: inattention to his duties, & to the regns of police & discipline of the Academy which it is necessary for a good soldier to correct. There is therefore no necessity for his recg. Another mark of demerit, & he can thus easily avoid the penalty you apprehend, which however mortifying to friends, I can assure you would be equally painful to the authorities of the Academy.

I know of no way of his escaping this penalty, but a firm determination on his part to perform punctually & rigidly every duty: or anything you can do, but to urge him with all the force & affection of a father, to a strict & constant adherence to every regulation. You can judge whether this can be done better in person or by letter.

He has been engaged since the 1st Inst: in his Academic Studies, & it is yet too soon to form an opinion of his proficiency. His recitations have not however been as good as others in his sections. But I hope by severe application he will improve.

I remain Sir With much consideration Your obed ServtSigd. R. E. Lee Bt Col.
Supt. Mil: Acady

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, p. 54. Addressed “J. Burnet Esq Ticonderoga. N.Y.”