Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

U.S. Military Academy West Point

8. Oct: 1853.


I have the honour to hand herewith an Estimate of Funds for the U.S. Military Academy, for the fiscal year ending June 30 1855

The objects embraced in the Estimate for Current & Ordinary Expenses, are those already authorized, & the amount differs but little from that appropriated last year.

In the Dept: of Infantry Tactics $50. has been included to increase the Army pay of the enlisted Soldier employed in the Office of the Commdt. Of Cadets, to command the services of one, capable of performing the Copying, as well as other duties of the office.

In my report of last year the want of quarters for the Officers on duty at the Academy was stated. Experience since that time has convinced me of the advantage of also adding to the houses of the Professors. They are inadequate to the healthful accommodation of their families & inferior to those provided at the Colleges & State Institutions. An appropriation of $5000. is asked to render them more comfortable.

A portion of the Cadet Barrack is devoted to the accomodating of the Officers. These quarters are much needed for the use of the Cadets, & there are other disadvantages attending their present application. It is therefore proposed to construct a suitable building for Officer Quarters. A plan & Estimate now in preparation will be submitted for your approval, & $20.000 is asked for its commencement.

I think it my duty also to inform you that the Cadet Hospital does not furnish sufficient or suitable accommodations to the sick. It is so contracted that several patients have frequently to be crowded into one small room, & is besides entirely destitute of those necessaries & comforts so advantageous to a sick room, & particularly agreeable to the young, distant from home & departed from their friends. It is inferior in every respect to the Hospital for the enlisted men of the Post, & not equal to other Army Hospitals. It is proposed to add a second story to the building, a covered Gallery & certain other arrangements, of which a plan will be submitted for your approval; & for which $6.5000 are asked.

I cannot help again calling your attention to the necessity of a Hall for Cavalry Exercise & instruction. The knowledge of Cavalry Tactics is necessary to the Cadets in the performance of their duty in the Army. It is so recognized, & a sufficient number of horses, dragoons & Cavalry Officers have been placed at the Academy for their instruction. The three higher classes are instructed in this branch, & are divided into Squads, & parade daily at stated hours as in their other studies. When the weather permits the instruction is given on the plain, but from September to June, the period allotted to this course, the weather & ground in this climate, are so often unfit for this exercise in the open air, that for the want of a Hall the regular lessons must be omitted, & the provision & expense of men & horses lost to the Country, & the time & opportunity to the Cadets. A sheltered room is as necessary in my opinion for the proper & economical instruction of this course, as any other. It requires one of large dimensions & must be built for the purpose. A plan & Estimate of the proposed building has been submitted to you. Two thousand dollars are already appropriated for its commencement, & the balance of the estimate $20.000 is now asked for its completion.

I am very respectfully. Your obedt ServtSigd. R. E. Lee. Br. Col:
Supt: Mil: Acady

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, pp. 57–58. Addressed “Genl: Jos: G. Totten Chief Engineer Washington City D.C.”