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Robert E. Lee

William G. Anderson

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

27 Nov. 1854

Dear Sir,

I have recd. today your letter of the 3rd Inst. in reference to your son Cadet Wm. Anderson. I am sorry to inform you, that without having committed any grave offenses calculated to affect his moral character or standing, he has by repeated inattention to his duties & violations of the regns. of the Acady. incurred up to the present time nearly 350 demerit. The Regn. Requires that any Cadet whose demerit at the Examination in Jany. or June should exceed 100, shall be reported to the War Dept. for discharge. I therefore see no prospects of his being able to continue at the Acady. longer than Jany. I have endeavoured to point out to him the error of his course & its consequences, & regret it has not been attended with better success. At first his duties seemed easy to him, & for the first month, July, he recd. no demerit. Latterly, perhaps from being dissatisfied, he has become careless & inattentive; & he has made so little progress in his studies; that in the opinion of his Prof. there is no prospect of his being qualified to pass his examination in Mathematics. I would therefore recommend that he be allowed to resign, as soon as you can make arrangements for his return home, as I fear his longer stay here will be of not benefit to him. If you will therefore send a written permission for him to do so, I will forward his resignation to the Secy. of War & recommend its acceptance.

I can very well understand that accustomed to all the comforts of home, he should not find the Cadets fare as palatable, as might be desired. But you will see the necessity of Soldiers’ fare being plain & simple; & that young gentlemen whose pay is on $24 per month for all their expenses, clothes, books, lights &c &c cannot indulge in any luxuries.

I remain with much 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, p. 153. Addressed “Wm. G. Anderson Esq. Panola Co. Texas.”