Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to John F. Hamtramck, 27 May 1800

To John F. Hamtramck

Head Quarters
Union Brigade [Scotch Plains, New Jersey]
May 27th 1800


It is very important in Tactics to ascertain the proper length and speed of the step. For this purpose I am causing experiments to be made in various quarters1—and have drawn up the enclosed paper2 to serve as a guide in making them. I request that you will have experiments made in all the varieties indicated, and report the result.

Df, in the handwriting of Thomas Y. How, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1See “Elements of the Tactics of the Infantry,” 1799; H to Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Nathan Rice, and William S. Smith, March 18, 1800, note 1; Smith to H, March 25, 1800; Pinckney to H, April 3, 25, 1800; H to Pinckney, April 14, May 14, 1800; Rice to H, April 19, 1800; H to Vicomte de Noailles, May 5, 13, 1800; Noailles to H, May 9, 20, 1800.

To assist with these experiments, on May 9, 1800, in a letter which is listed in the appendix to this volume, H requested Aaron Ogden to procure three pendulums that would vibrate seventy-five, one hundred, and one hundred and twenty times per minute. See also “Kennedy Miller’s Account with the United States,” May 20, 1800 (DS, Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan).

2ADf, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; copy, The Indiana Historical Society Library, Indianapolis.

In JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 407, this document is dated “1800”.

H’s enclosure, which is endorsed “Guide in making Tactical Experiments relative to the Step,” is similar in content to H to Pinckney, Rice, and Smith, March 18, 1800.

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