Robert E. Lee

C. F. M. Noland

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

13 Nov. 1854

Dear Sir,

I am sorry to inform you that your young friend J. VanBuren Tate, appointed a Cadet from Arkansas is not making that progress in his studies as will insure his passing the coming Jany. Examinations. Indeed in the opinion of his Prof. there is no prospect & scarcely a possibility of his doing so. He has also been very inattentive to his military duties & to the Regns. of the Acady, & without committing any offenses calculated to affect his moral conduct or standing, has incurred an amount of demerit already exceeding 160, while the Regns require the Acad. Board at the Jany. & June Examinations, to declare any Cadet deficient in conduct, whose amount of demerit for the past six months, shall exceed 100, & recommend him for discharge. I have endeavoured on several occasions to call his attention to the importance of strict attention to his studies & duties, the opportunities for an education &c. he was throwing away, & what was due to his father & friends who exerted themselves to procure his appointment. Though sensible of his position & obligations at that time, & secure in his resolutions of amendment, he would soon forget them & relapse into his former course. The difficulty I think is in his being too young to master his course or to realize his responsibilities & I think his continuance at the Acady. will not be of any benefit to him, but will result in his being discharged in Jany.

To save him & his friends this disappointment & mortification, I would recommend that he be allowed to resign, & his father’s consent is necessary for him to do so. I am very sorry to be obliged to give such unpleasant information, but thought it was better for him & his friends that you should know the state of the case, that they might exercise their own judgement as to what might be the best to be done.

I remain with much respect Your friend & Servt. 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, p. 148. Addressed “C. F. M. Noland Esq. Batesville Arkansas”