Robert Edward Lee, USMA 1829

19 January 1807 --- 12 October 1870

Acting Assistant Professor Of Mathematics as a yearling and Second Classman [Pappas p. 273].

The regulations authorized the appointment of a number of  "senior cadets," to serve as acting assistant professors of mathematics, with a compensation of $10 a month. . . . Generally, the words "senior cadets" were interpreted to mean members of the first class.* this year, however, either because of their own proficiency, or else because a large number of new cadets were backward in their mathematics, Lee and the three other members of his class who had stood first in that subject were made acting assistant professors. The duties of the position were largely tutorial. . . . 

*    I.e., cadets in their fourth and final year at the academy. Lee taught first year mathematics while studying second year mathematics. He continued to teach during his second, third, and part of his fourth year.

Quoted from R. E. Lee, A Biography (1934), volume 1, by Douglas Southall Freeman (1886-1953). USMA:  E467.1.L4 F83. Check this out and see what else is there. Need to fill in these ellipses. 

Question: How are we to track down those who served as instructors while cadets? In Lee's case this is not mentioned in Cullum 1990. Is it in earlier editions?  Not in 1890. 

The half archival box USMA Library Circ. Records contains a typed sheet listing the books that Lee checked out of the library, October 1824 to March 1829. Of the 33 titles listed, including multiple volumes of several of these, the following are of interest (the list is also in the Freeman Biography):

There are six items in French, including six volumes of Voltaire.


Lee represents Virginia in the Nation Statuary Hall Collection in the U.S. Capitol.


His son George Washington Custis Lee (#1631) is a graduate.


  Dictionary of American Biography
 Assembly, April 1871.

Cullum #542. [From 1990 Register of Graduates]


Agnew, James B., Eggnog Riot: The Christmas Mutiny at West Point, San Rafael, Calif: Presido Press, 1979.

This historical novel tells the story of the December 25, 1926 riot. "Agnew draws heavily on the documentary record and stays very close to it." [Crackel, p. 315].  JSTOR has a review of this book. On pp. 18-19 [my photocopy of these pages is filed under Lee] a visit by Lee to Thayer's office is described. Lee is a yearling and in his first year as assistant professor. He suggested that military applications be introduced into the trigonometry course. Curiously, these were in the discontinued Hutton text, but not in Lacroix. Were French texts by Lacroix ever used, or only the English translations?

Freeman, Douglas Southall (1886-1953), R. E. Lee, A Biography, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1936. USMA: Circ: E467.1.L4 F83. The entire text has been transcribed and is on line.

Chapters 2 and 3 of volume 1 give an excellent account (Denton) of WP during Lee's years as a cadet, 1825-1829. Be sure to take advantage of this. Chapters seem wrong.

Questions and To Do:

See if I can track down the books Lee used here at USMA. They could be heavily annotated.


In February 2008, COL Michael Phillips informed me that the Dean has a receipt for one of Lee's monthly payments. Ask for a copy to publish.