Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

U.S. Mil. Academy West Point

23 June 1854


I feel it my duty to state, that after frwd by yesterday’s mail, the descriptive Roll of the candidates for admission into the Mil. Academy, conditionally appointed as Cadets; the official report of the sick, furnished by the Surgeon to the Supt. Fell under my notice & I perceived for the first time that four of these young gentlemen, viz. Echolls of Me., Napier of Ga., Sage of N.Y. & Jessup, At Large, were afflicted with Gonorrhea. On calling upon the Surgeon for explanation, how they were admitted under the 2d par. Acady. Regns., he informed me that the three first were taken into Hospital on the 6th, 12th, & 14th Inst., & so reported at the time; that their disease was nearly cured at the time of their examination for admission, & so slight as not in the opinion of the Medical Board to form cause for their rejection. That the latter presented himself at the Hospital for the first time that morning, subsequently to his admission, & that when examined no sign of the disease was discovered.

I should not have thought it necessary to bring this subject to your notice now; but that had I been aware of the facts here presented, before forming the roll of the conditionally appointed Cadets; I should have considered it my duty then to have called your attention to it; as the morng. Sick Reports are exhibited to the inspection of the Corps, my silence may be construed into a precedent hereafter, & I find that a similar case was referred to you on the 22 June 1850, by the then Supt.—

The reason of my not being aware of these cases when first taken into hospital for treatment, is that during the Examination of the Cadets, my time is so much occupied, that I cannot regularly inspect the Surgeon’s Daily Sick Report, & it only occasionally comes under my notice.

The cases I have mentioned are not in the opinion of the Surgeon of a serious nature, & he does not apprehend they will be of long duration, & my object is merely to report the facts to you.

I have the honour to be Your obedt. Servt.Signed/ R. E. Lee Br. Col:
Supt: Mil: Acady

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, pp. 114—15. Addressed “Genl. J. G. Totten Chief Engineer Washington City D.C.”