Robert E. Lee

J. J. Abert

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

10 Jany. 1855


I read with much pleasure the letter of your nephew enclosed to me on the 3rd & admire the spirit & resolution it evinced. The day that I wrote to you, I had a conversation with him on the same subject- He then showed such a desire & determination to succeed, that as he had a full week to prepare himself, I really thought he would; & began to regret having unnecessarily alarmed you—I am now very sorry to inform you, that my hopes & expectations were displaced & that he did not pass a satisfactory Examination & has been declared deficient in his course by the Acad. Board & recommended to the Secy. of War for discharge—

Whatever may be the decision of the Secy. I hope you will not allow him to be discouraged, in prosecuting any other calling in life: but that his failure in this instance may impress him with the necessity of more earnest application in whatever he may undertake—with sincere regrets for the result of his examination

I remain very respfy.Signed/ R.E. Lee Br. Col.
Supt. Mil. Acady.

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, pp. 171–72. Addressed “Col. J. J. Abert Chief Topal. Engineers Washington City D.C.”