Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

U.S. Mil. Acady.

13 April 1854


I recd. today your letter of the 11th Inst. enclosing a copy of a Commn. From the Adjt. Genl. of the Army directing that measures be taken for relieving from duty at the Acady. with as little delay as practicable, Br. Major Thomas, 1st Lt. DuBarry & 2nd Lt. Piper of the 3rd Arty. The withdrawal of these officer, just as the classes they instruct are preparing for the review of their course, previous to the Examination, is a serious injury to the Acady., the Cadets, & the Army. Major Thomas is in the midst of his instruction of the 1st Class in Theoretical & Practical Arty. No one is acquainted with their proficiency or progress but himself, nor could manage their standing in that branch with equal justice. I hope therefore he may not be at least relieved until after the June examination. He is besides in command of the Arty. & Dragoon detachments, is charged with the instruction in Fencing of the 1st & 4th classes & is responsible for much property.

Until a successor is appointed, I have no one to place in charge of his Dept. The position as well as the good of the service requires in my opinion a Captain of Arty. to fill it, nor do I now have any that is more available or more capable.

Lt. DuBarry , having charge of one half of the 4th class in French, can be relieved as soon as an officer arrives to take his place. & I recommend for his successor, 1st Lt. Edw. R. Platt, 2nd

Lt. Piper has charge of three sections of the 4th class in English studies, but as I am able to provide temporary instruction for the sections in that branch, I have relieved him from duty, to enable him if possible to join his Compy. which I understand is to sail on the 15th Inst. for California; but I have to request that 1st Lt. Wm. Silvey, 1st Arty., be ordered to report in his place as soon as possible.

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

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, pp. 99–100. Addressed “Genl: Jos: G. Totten Chief Engineer Washington D.C.”