Robert E. Lee

M. D. Wade

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

20 Nov. 1854

Dear Sir,

I have just recd. your letter of the 9th Inst. in reference to your Son Cadet Benj. O. Wade. He is in the 5th Class & engaged in the study of Mathematics & English language, & is practically instructed in the duties of a Soldier. The reason why his position in his class was not mentioned in the circular from Washington is that until after the Semi-annual examination in Jany. the Cadets that entered the preceding June have no fixed standing in the class. Their standing is assigned them at the Examination, according to their proficiency in their studies, & after that is reported monthly in the same manner as the other Cadets.

I am sorry to inform you that your son has made very little progress in his studies since he commenced them on the 1st Sept. he has either found them unpalatable to him or difficult to comprehend, & now apparently makes no effort to master them. In the opinion of his Professor, there is now no possibility of his acquiring a sufficient knowledge of them to pass the January examination, & I therefore think it best that he be allowed to resign. He has moreover I regret to say acquired over 300 demerit, whereas any Cadet whose demerit in six months exceeds 100, is required by the Regns. to be discharged at the Examination. His demerit results from violations of the Regns. of the Academy & inattention to his duties, & does not proceed from faults affecting his moral character or standing, but probably were in the first place from entering the academy too young, & before his mind & judgement were sufficiently matured to realize his position & responsibilities. Now he has become careless & reckless & entirely inattentive to his duties. I have endeavoured to explain to him the impropriety of his course, & the disappointment it would occasion both himself & friends. As I see however no possibility of his continuing at the Academy, I would recommend that he be allowed to resign rather than be discharged.

I remain Sir,with much consideration Your obedt. Servt.Signed/ R. E. Lee Br. Col:
Supt: Mil: Acady

P.S. Your son is a little in debt & will require money to take him home.

Sigd/ R.E.L.

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, pp. 150–51. Addressed “M. D. Wade Esq. Shepherdsville Bullis Co. Ky.”