Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

U.S. Mil. Academy West Point

8 Feby. 1854


I have recd. the letter of Isaiah Townsend Esq. In reference to the projected road from Eagle Valley to Canterbury, referred to me on the 3rd Inst. For a report. The road from West Point, was commenced in the Spring of 1844 by Major Delafield, & constructed under the immediate direction of Capt. A. J. Swift of the Corps of Engineers—to its present terminus about 4 miles from the Point. No instrumental Surveys as far as I can learn were made beyond, though the road was selected & staked out to “Christians,” formerly “Monks,” half a mile further; nor can I find any maps or memoranda in the office relating to it. The design at the time I am told, was to endeavour to carry it to “Turner’s Depot” on the Erie R. Road, for the purpose of keeping open communication with New York, getting supplies &c in winter, & to induce the citizens of Canterbury & Cornwall to construct the north branch through the mountains to communicate with them. The road was completed about 1/3 of a mile beyond the public lands in September 1845 & might still be continued to Canterbury by the citizens of that place if they desired it; but the Post of West Point has now no means that could be applied to that object. Any assistance I could give, I would cheerfully furnish. A shorter communication with the region in question, might probably be made up the west bank of the river, along the foot of the Crow Nest & Buttermilk Mountains; but of the practicability or cost of such a road I have no knowledge, nor could it be satisfactorily ascertained without a survey. The letter of Mr. Townsend is returned.

I remain Very resply. Yr. obt Srvt.Signed/ R. E. Lee Br. Col:
Supt: Mil: Acady

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, p. 90. Addressed “Genl. J. G. Totten Chief Engineer Washington City D.C.”