Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from William S. Smith, 10 November 1799

From William S. Smith1

Union Camp [Scotch Plains, New Jersey]2
Novr. 10th. 1799.

Major General Hamilton


It would be of Service to the troops if some arrangements were made, that they might attend divine service on Sundays. The minister of this Parish is a firm good friend to Government, & the Army and preaches up the necessity of Supporting the one and accommodating the other. Finding the officers of the 11th. Regt. much disposed to visit their homes frequently I requested the Minister to give us a Sermon, on the 11th. Verse of the 11th. Chapter of the 2d. of Samuel,3 and made as many officers attend as could with propriety leave the Camp. The Parson acquitted himself well, inculcating the necessity, that officers should be attentive to their duty &c. and after singing the 101st. Psalm, we returned to camp. I wish if consistant, you would permit me to employ this Minister, he will work cheap, & render the appointment of a Chaplain not immediately necessary, it will give pleasure to his Parishioners, and perhaps be of some service to the Troops, under divine favour with great Zeal, I have the Honor to be Sir

Your most Obedt. Humble Servt.

W. S. Smith 12th. Regt.

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Smith was lieutenant colonel commandant of the Twelfth Regiment of Infantry.

2On October 14, 1800, the United States Government paid C. and E. Vermeule $4,450 for eighty-eight acres on Greenbrook in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, “purchased by order of gen Hamilton for winter quarters of the 11th, 12th and 13th regiments” (A Statement of Expenditures description begins Message from the President of the United States, Accompanying A Statement of Expenditures from the 1st of January, 1797, by the Quarter Master General, and the Navy Agents, for the Contingencies of the Naval and Military Establishments, and the Navy Contracts for Timber and Stores.… (Washington City: Printed by William Duane and Son, 1803). description ends , 252).

3The text of this verse in the King James’s Version of the Bible reads: “And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my Lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.”

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