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Robert E. Lee

Bernhart Hess

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

8 Dec. 1854

Sir,

I am sorry to inform you that your young friend Cadet Edwd. T. Jennings of Oregon has made so little progress in his studies; Mathematics & English, that in the opinion of his Proffers., he cannot pass the approaching Semi-Annual Examination in Jany. I have therefore thought it would be more agreeable to you & his friends, that he should now resign his appointment; than to be subjected to the mortification of failure. He is himself of the opinion that he cannot pass a satisfactory examn. & would prefer to resign; but the Regns. of the Acady. require the assent of his father, which cannot now be obtained in time.

Having endeavoured to stimulate him to greater exertion, & finding that he was himself discouraged at his prospects of success, I advised him to write to you on the subject, that he might have the benefit of your judgement & aid, & ascertain whether you might feel authorized under the circumstances to take upon yourself the office of Guardian, so far as to give the required permission.

I should myself have written to you before, but was unwilling to impart information which I know would be unpleasant; until I felt assured it was necessary & that there was no chance of his redeeming his position.

In reference to his clothing &c., concerning which you wrote me last June; arrangements were made to supply him with what was necessary; the cost of which was not met by the small deposit he made on entering. He is therefore now in debt to the Clothing Dept. about $70. He will also require a small amount of funds to take him to his friends in Iowa, if you wish he should return there.

It will give me pleasure to do all in my power to carry out your wishes in reference to his future plans.

I remain Sir, very respfy, 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. 156–57. Addressed “Honble. Bernhart Hess Ho. of Rep. Washington City D.C.”