Robert E. Lee

Joseph G. Totten

U.S. Mil. Acady West Point

19 Dec. 1854


I recd. today your letter of the 16th Inst. announcing the desire of the Honble. Secy. of War to organize the instruction of the Cadets in Arty. & Cavalry into two separate departments; & directing a draft to be prepared, exhibiting the changes in the regulations necessary to carry this instruction into effect. There seems to be nothing in the regns. of the Acady. conflicting with such an arrangement, or necessarily requiring change.

Instruction in both branches is properly provided for, & is now given, to the extend the time & occupations of the Cadets will permit. To place Cavalry on the same footing with the other departments & still retain Arty. at its present standard, there should be introduced in par: 8—after Arty. “and Cavalry”—

Par: 77 should also be so amended as to separate the instructors of Arty & Cavalry, & to place both on the board of Medical & Mily. Officers for the examination of the Candidates for admission—amended copies of the pars: in question are enclosed.

The Act of 20 July 1840 (chap 183, p. 270 Hezels edn. of Mily. Laws), in the absence of other legislation on the subject, would seem to unite the instruction “of Cavalry & Arty tactics” in one person; & to establish the pay of the instructor of the united branches. If separated, it would seem to require a corresponding change in the law to secure the pay to each instructor.

The same men & horses are now used for practical instruction in both departments & must so continue in the event of their separation, unless detachment of men, horses, & separate stables are provided for each. As Arty instruction in the field can only be given in the summer months; & as much can be taught in Cavalry, especially when the new stall shall be completed, in the winter, much expense would be saved by employing the same men & horses in both, & without detriment to instruction in either; provided horses of suitable kind & number were provided.—

For the Cadets can only be employed at one exercise at a time; & the guns being light,
ground level & exercises short; heavy Arty. horses required in the genl. service are not
necessary; & compact active horses suitable for cavalry practice, would be equally good for

The instructors of each department would therefore be equally interested &
concerned in the men, horses & stables; & these would seem to be no more propriety in giving to
the officers of Cavalry their exclusive control than to the Arty; while it is clear that one should
alone be responsible for their care & management.

It is however very desirable in my opinion to give to the course of Cavalry tactics, which
has been recently enlarged & extended; every importance & consideration; & to cause the officer
charged with its instruction to feel his responsibility & obligations. Should it be found
impracticable to place each on a separate & proper footing, independent of each other; much
might be attained, by attaching to the dept. of Arty. an officer of Cavalry, charged with its
theoretical & practical instruction, & placed on the same footing as to pay & emoluments with
the 1st Ass. in other departments. There is no real objection to an officer of one branch of the
service, serving under another, & by proper arrangements, instruction in Arty., Cavalry & fencing may be given under a common head.

Very respfy. Yr obedt Serv.Signed R. E. Lee Br. Col.
Supt. Mil. Acady.

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, p. 162. Addressed “Genl: Jos: G. Totten Chief of Engineers Washington City D.C.”

Lee enclosed his Proposed Change in Regulations, this date.