Robert E. Lee

Eleazer Harmon

United States Mil. Acady. West Point

18 Dec. 1854


Your letter to Capt. Brewerton on the subject of the demerit recd. by your son Cadet Luke G. Harmon, has been forwd. to me from Baltimore. The regns. of the Acady. requires any Cadet who shall at the Examination in Jany. & June, have an amount of demerit exceeding 100 for the previous six months; be declared deficient in conduct, & recommended to the War Dept. for discharge. The Academic Board have no discretion in the matter, nor can they consider the degrees of the offenses, for which the demerit has been recd. provided the sum of the whole shall exceed 100. That you may understand the manner in which the conduct roll is completed, I send herewith a Register of the Academy, & refer you to page 16 for explanation. All offenses & violations of Regns. are published daily to the Corps & excuses for the same considered by the Commdt. & Supt. Those not removed are recorded on the conduct Roll.

I am very sorry to inform you that the demerit of your son now amounts to 118, & though it results mostly from carelessness & omissions in the discharge of his duties, is not calculated to affect his moral standing or character; yet it proceeds from habits & conduct unbecoming the character of a soldier; & which it is the object of the institution & discipline of the Acady. to correct.

I therefore very much regret being unable to point out to you any way of relieving him from the consequences of his acts, & should the penalty of the Regns. be suspended in his case, it must be done in all others, no only now, but hereafter, as it would be considered as establishing the precedent; nor would there be any way of enforcing discipline or a compliance with the Regns. of the Acady.

I remain Sir, 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. 161. Addressed “Eleazer Harmon Esq. Detroit Michigan”