From James McHenry
Trenton 28 Augt. 1798.
My dear Sir.
I received your note of the 25 inst. yesterday. I had written on saturday to the Lieutenant General as per copy annexed.1 You will return this paper, with your opinion respecting the proposed arrangements, and say nothing to anyone about its contents (I mean a part of its contents)2 either now or hereafter.
Majr Gen. Alex. Hamilton.
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; ADf, James McHenry Papers, Library of Congress.
1. McHenry to George Washington, August 25, 1798 (ALS, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress; ALS, letterpress copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress). Except for the third paragraph, this letter concerns McHenry’s proposals for recruiting, organizing, and supplying the army. The third paragraph concerns the dispute over the relative ranks of H and Henry Knox in the army. See the introductory note to Washington to H, July 14, 1798.
2. This is a reference to the third paragraph of McHenry’s letter to Washington. It reads: “I have received no satisfactory answer from the President on any of these several points, except what respected the assistants necessary to yourself, and fear, that there is reason to apprehend embarrassment and delay from a disposition on his part to have the relative grade of three of the Major Generals so altered, as that Knox shall be first and Hamilton last. I have reminded him of the grounds which induced him to offer their names in a different order to the Senate; suggested the consequences that might flow from an attempt at an alteration, at this time, in the relative grade; and reasoned, that their relative grade, in the revolutionary army (on which General Knox relies for preference) cannot legally avail him, or be considered as giving him a legal claim to preeminence in the formation of the proposed army. What effect this may produce I cannot tell.”