Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

U.S. Mil. Academy West Point

7 Oct. 1854


I have the honour to present an estimate of funds for the fiscal year ending June 30 1853 for the Military Academy.

The usual amount appropriated for Repair & Improvements, has been increased by $2,900—for the payment of the Enlisted Men on Extra duty, the additional compensation granted by the Law of the 4th Aug. 1854. It has also been necessary to add $600 to the estimate for Fuel; & $325 to that for Forage; in consequence of the enhanced price of those articles—The last Register of the graduates of the Academy, was published in 1850. It is proposed to publish one every five years, instead of annually as heretofore; & to provide for the publication of the Register of 1855, $1225.00 has been added to the last years estimate for printing.

The Clerk of the Adjutant of the Academy, is charged with the record of all the Rolls, Reports &c. of the Recitations, Conduct, & Standing of the Cadets—his duties, besides being laborious, require much care & accuracy—His pay for many years has been $500.00 per annum. The increased expense of living & the inadequate compensation of his service has induced me to ask for an addition of $100 to his pay.

In the Dept. of Arty. the estimate has been increased $190.00 to provide means for the increased instruction in fencing. The 4th & 5th Classes are now taught fencing & the latter receives about double the quantity of instruction heretofore given the former. An additional number of Foils & Masks are consequently required.

The other items under the head of General. & Ordinary Expenses, are about the same as usually required; & differ but little from the amounts heretofore appropriated.

It has become necessary to increase the estimate to defray the expenses of the Board of Visitors, appropriated under the Act of 8 Augt. 1846, or to diminish the number of members. The additional numbers of States & extension of territory since the passage of the Act, renders the usual appropriation insufficient. Taking the expenses of the Board the present year as a criterion for that for 1856, it has been necessary to add $1160.00 to the Estimate.

The furniture of the Cadet Hospital, being completely worn out & reported unfit for use by the Surgeon, & the building having been enlarged & provided with eight new wards. I have introduced $500.00 in the estimate to furnish it with plain & necessary articles of furniture.

The introduction of Gas Light into the Cadet Barrack, Offices, & Academies, would greatly promote economy, cleanliness & comfort. The Barrack was built with this view & I have introduced into the present estimate $15,000 for the purpose of building a Gas House, & providing the necessary pipes & burners—The consumption of the Gas will be paid for by the Cadets; will be a saving to them, & no additional expense to the Government.

I feel it my duty again to call your attention to the want of proper quarters for the accommodation of the Profrs, Officers & Soldiers at the Academy—The Professors houses do not afford sufficient room for their families. The portion of the Cadet Barracks necessarily occupied by the Officers, for want of other quarters, is required for the accommodation of the Cadets, for whom it was built. No quarters have been provided for the Company of Sappers & Miners—The officers are quartered ¼ of a mile from their men, & the men occupy quarters built for the Arty. detachmt.—who are crowded on the Dragoons. The control & supervision necessary for instruction & discipline, cannot under these circumstances be maintained, & the health & comfort of the men are also impaired.

I have added to the estimate $5000 for the additions to the Prof. quarters; & $20,000 for the commencement of Officers quarters; according to the plans already submitted to the Dept. For the construction of quarters for Officers & men of the Sappers & Miners; grading & enclosing Company grounds &c. according to the plans also submitted & approved, $24,500 will be required, in addition to the amount on hand.

I also transmit an estimate of funds to meet the deficiency of appropriation of the past & present fiscal years, which is therein explained.

I am very respectfully 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. 140–41. Addressed “Genl: Jos: G. Totten Chief Engineer Washington City D.C.”

The letter is endorsed “Annual Estimate.”