Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

U.S. Mil: Acady West Point

Nov. 16. 1853


I have recd. the letter of E. H. Herbert Esq relative to his son Cadet Thos. L. Herbert, refered to me for a report on the 14th Inst:.

I regret to say that the proficiency of Cadet Herbert in his studies so far gives strong grounds for apprehension of his failure at the approaching January Examination. He is in the last (7th) section of his class in Mathematics, & among the lowest in the section, & does but little better in his English studies. It is the opinion of his Profr. that unless some marked improvement takes place between this & Jany., he will not be able to pass the Examination. He has not been attentive to his other duties, & since the 15th of July, the period from which his delinquencies commenced to be recorded, he has incurred 100 demerit. Over one hundred in six months renders him liable to be discharged.

In a conversation I recently held with him, I endeavored to impress upon him the necessity of greater application to his studies & attention to his duties, & that it was proper for him to inform his father of his position, that he might take such steps as seemed to him best. Should he be satisfied that he will not be able to pass his Examination, I would recommend that he be allowed to resign, rather than incur the consequences of failure.

The letter of Mr. Herbert is herewith returned &

I remain very resply Your obt ServtGenl: Jos: G. Totten Chief Engineer Washington City D.C.

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, p. 70. Addressed “Sigd./ R E Lee Bt Col. Supt. Mil: Acady”