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Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

U.S. Mil. Academy West Point

7 Jany. 1854

Genl.

Upon the reception of your letter of the 31st ult. I caused the leaders of the 3rd Class to be
informed of the Decision of the Secy. of War in reference to the pledge offered by them in behalf
of three of their members; & that provided a similar pledge was given by the 4th Class, that I
considered myself authorized to stay all proceedings against them members of each class. On
the morning of the assembly of the Court, but before the hour of their meeting, I recd from the 4th
Class a pledge signed by all the members except eight, to the same effect as that offered by the
3rd Class, but coupled with the condition that the members of their class should not only be
relieved from all the reports & consequences of the offense in question, but that a sufficient
number of the other delinquencies should be erased from the record, to secure their continuing at
the Academy.

As I considered this going beyond the immunity offered by the Secy. of War, I felt
obliged to refuse acceptance of the pledge, & to allow the prosecution to proceed, but that the
accused should not lose the advantage of any benefit that might be attributed to the offer of the
class. I report the facts to you.

The papers enclosed in your letter of the 31st are according to your direction herewith
returned.

I remain very resply. your obt Servt(Signed) R. E. Lee. Br. Col:
Supt: Mil: Acady

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, p. 82. Addressed “Genl. J. G. Totten Chief Engineer Washington City D.C.”