Robert E. Lee

K. Rayner

U.S. Military Academy West Point N.Y.

1 Augst. 1854

Dear Sir

I have recd. your letter of the 28th Ulto. in reference to the restoration to the Acady. of your young friend S. Warren. I assure you his separation from it, was a source of great regret to me, as well as to the other officers of the Institution; for his uprightness candour & manliness were appreciated by all, though his omissions in the performance of his duty & his neglect of his studies, could not be justified or approved. In a letter to his brother a few days since, I briefly stated the views of the Academic Board in his case; & that they considered their duty in the matter as completed; & did not deem it proper to make another report, unless it was called for by the Dept. at Washn. I endeavoured also to prepare him not to expect a different report if called on, as I was unwilling to raise expectations which I know no reason for believing would be realized, nor am I aware of any circumstance in his case, that has not already been considered by them. His thoughtlessness & carelessness was no doubt owing to his youth, which also rendered it difficult for him to realize his position & obligations, & if restored he would doubtless see things in a different light & make greater exertions than he did before. But others were in the same situation, & the opinion of the Board, unfavourable to his return, was based on the fact that he had enjoyed the same opportunities for acquiring his course as the rest of his class; & that they knew of no circumstances that under the Regns of the Acady, would authorize them to make an exception in his case. His amt. of demerit for the six months previous to the Examn being over 100 (130) also rendered it necessary under the Regns. that he should be recd. for discharge, & precluded any recommendation in his behalf on the score of good conduct. I am happy to inform you however that his demerit was not acquired for any act derogatory to his conduct as a gentleman, or calculated in the least to affect his moral character or standing, but arose from omissions of duty, carelessness &c., which it is the object of the discipline of the Acady. to correct, & which are incompatible with the duties of a Soldier, and if tolerated would be ruinous to order, punctuality & precision. I regret therefore that I can do nothing to advance your wishes, or to aid Mr. Warren, whose failure caused me much pain, & whose success would have much gratified me.

I am with great respect 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. 127–28. Addressed “Honble. K. Rayner Newton Hertford Co., N.C.”