Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to James McHenry, 21 February 1800

To James McHenry1

New York Feby 21. 1800


As the season advances fast, when it will be proper to give effect to the new disposition for the Western Army—and as the arrangement of the Officers regimentally is a necessary preliminary to that Operation, I have recurred to your letter of the 15 of November last respecting the arrangement ⟨w⟩hich was submitted to you upon the plan of Brigadier General Wilkinson.

A material object of the arrangment was to prevent as far as practicable the dislocation of Officers from their men, who to avoid very inconvenient and expensive changes of position must be incorporated differently from what they have been. But the effect of that arrangement upon the relative situation of certain Officers appears on examination greater than I apprehended it to be—and it is your decisive opinion that the result would operate injuriously to the service.

In conformity with these considerations I have attempted a new arrangement which is now sent & in which the transpositions are few, and as I understand the matter without prejudice to any. I entreat your speedy consideration of and decision upon it.

In the Regimental staff, some officers are placed differently from the functions they now exercise. But these functions are relative to temporary service & therefore form no objection to a different permanent disposition.

The list which you transmitted me2 differs from that which was furnished by General Wilkinson—omitting the persons mentioned at foot. I suppose the difference is accounted for by deaths & resignations, which were unknown to the General. If not I must request you to insert them where you think they ought to be. And in every case I request a definitive arrangement.

With great respect & esteem   I have the honor to be Sir   Yr. Obed servt.

Secy. of War

Officers omitted
Capt. Jacob Kreemer3
1 Lt. Wm. Scott4

P.S. The following officers have been appointed Inspectors.
Major Thomas H. Cushing Division Inspector
Capt. Isaac Guion Brigade Inspector
Capt. Edwd. D. Turner The same
& Lt. Wm. R. Boote has been appointed by General Wilkinson Aid de Camp.5

Capt. B. Shaumbergh is recommended as Brigade Quarter Master,6 and I hope will be confirmed in that capacity.

ADf, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1For background to this letter, see H to McHenry, October 31, 1799; McHenry to H, November 15, 1799.

2McHenry’s list has not been found. In the Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress, however, there are two lists of officers of the first four regiments of infantry which are arranged according to rank and date of commission. One copy has the name of Jacob Kreemer inserted in H’s handwriting, while the second copy, which is in the handwriting of Ethan Brown, includes the names of both Kreemer and Scott.

3Kreemer, a resident of Pennsylvania, was a captain in the First Regiment of Infantry. He was court-martialed and found guilty on April 11, 1799, in a trial at Loftus Heights, and on October 23, 1799, was cashiered from the Army (Heitman, United States Army description begins Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, From Its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903 (Washington, 1903). description ends , I, 609). See also James Wilkinson to H, August 13, 1799 (listed in the appendix to this volume); McHenry to John Adams, September 11, 1799 (ALS, Adams Family Papers, deposited in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston).

4William Scott of Maryland was a second lieutenant in the Third Regiment of Infantry. In the draft, but not the final copy of the enclosure, Scott is listed as paymaster of the Third Regiment of Infantry, and before his name H wrote: “Where?”

5Cushing, Guion, and Turner are listed with the titles mentioned by H in both the draft and the final copy of the enclosure.

No record has been found of a recommendation of Boote as Wilkinson’s aide-de-camp. His name, however, appears with that title in the list which McHenry sent to H on February 28, 1799.

6In the draft of the enclosure, but not in the final copy, Bartholomew Shaumburgh is listed as brigade quartermaster.

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