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Robert E. Lee

George H. Devereux

US Mil: Academy West Point

22 Nov. 1853

My dear Sir

This is the first moment I have been able to devote to a reply of your letter of the 16th—Since its reception. An official visit of the Inspector of the Academy & some experiments in gunnery, ordered by the Secy of War, have absorbed all the time not necessary to the current business of the Post.

I assure you I sincerely sympathize with you in your deep anxiety about your son, & can fully understand the painful apprehensions you entertain concerning him. I earnestly hope that none of your fears will be realized & all your wishes fulfilled. It is true as you state that his amount of demerit has reached 90. Still there is an ample margin left for him to escape the penalty of the Regulation on the subject, & to show you how easily this is within his power, I take pleasure in informing you that no mark of demerit has been recorded against him since the 25th of last month, & that consequently the amount already reported to you (90) had not been increased. He has also been more attentive to his studies & is rising in his class. The last week his recitation marks in Mathematics were the highest in his section (the 2nd), & among the best in English studies. I have no doubt of either his ability or desire to excel, & he only wants the power of Self control & self denial, so necessary & yet so hard to acquire, to accomplish it. In an interview which I recently had with him, I endeavored to show him the pleasure as well as benefit, of persisting in his present good course; & urged him by all his affection for you, & all your love & reliance on him, to relax no effort & to omit no duty. He has promised me to do so & I am confident of his success. I can assure you that I will give him all the aid & assistance in my power, & I hope you will give him all the encouragement in yours, & all the reward he may deserve.

I remain Very resply. Yr. friend & Servt.Sigd. R. E. Lee Br. Col.
Supt.

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, p. 71. Addressed “Geo H. Devereux Esq Salem. Mass.”