Robert E. Lee

John G. Abert

U.S. Mil. Acady West Point

25 Dec. 1854


I am very sorry to inform you that your nephew Cadet Jn. A. Abert has made so little progress in his studies, that in the opinion of his Profr. there is little probability of his passing his examination in Math, at the appg. Examination. His position has been considered doubtful from the beginning, but I had hoped that on the final review of the subject, he would show sufficient improvement as to warrant the belief of his proficiency. But the report of his Prof. at the end of last week (23d) gives me little hope of his success.—I have therefore determined to inform you of his prospects, that you may endeavour to stimulate him to greater exertion; or should you find it necessary or advisable; authorize his resignation. Although he has not been very attentive to his duties, still he has committed no serious breach of discipline, & even should be declared deficient by the Academic Board, his conduct will not prevent his being allowed the privilege of resigning, should he prefer that to being discharged. I have thought however it might be more agreeable to him & to you to resign beforehand, rather than run the risk of failure; & have therefore taken the liberty to advise you of his situation. I have endeavoured through his instructors to urge him to exertion & had hope he would have passed a satisfactory examination.

I remain Colonel very truly yoursSigned R. E. Lee Br.Col.
Supt. Mil. Acady.

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, p. 165. Addressed “Col. John G. Abert U.S. Topcal. Engineers Washington City D.C.”