To Alexander Hamilton
My dear Sir,Mount Vernon 10th April 1799
I have received your letter of the 27th ulto, enclosing a design of dividing the State of Virginia into Divisions, & subdivisions, for the head quarters of the Rendezvouses in each: asking my opinion of the proper distribution of them, for the convenience of the Recruiting Service.
The Grand division of the State, I conceive to be well allotted—and with the following alterations, the sub-division of it may be so likewise: but of the latter, I can speak with no precision, because of the number of New Counties which have been established, the situation of which I know not, and even the names of some were unknown to me before.
The alterations I propose, are as follow—1st to make Hobbshole, instead of the Bolling Green, the 8th Rendezvous (refering to the plan you sent me)—because, as you will perceive by the Map of Virginia, Caroline County is the uppermost in that subdistrict, and the Boiling Green lyes at the upper corner of the said County. 2d Let Fairfax & Loudoun Counties (which were formerly one) form a subdivision in place of Fairfax & Fauquier, which are seperated by other Counties. Alexandria, or Leesburgh may be the head quarters of that Rendezvous. The first is, (comparatively), large & populous, & on Navigation; the other is 40 miles above Navigation, & a small Village—both are healthy, and well supplied with provisions &ca. 3d Prince William and Fauquier ought to be annexed, instead of Prince William & Loudoun, which join at the extreme corners only. Dumfries in Prince William, or Fauquier Court Ho. might be the Rendezvous. The first is on Navigation; the latter 40 miles above, & more central. 4th York Town is more in the centre of the 6th subdivision than Williamsburgh; & 5th Northumberland Court House is too low for the 9th subdivision; either Westmoreland or Richmond Court Houses in point of centrality, would be more eligable.1
General Lee’s absences from home, canvassing for the ensuing Election of Representatives to Congress, and an indisposition with which he has (as I have lately heard) been siesed, from it, has been, I presume, the cause of your not having received an answer to your letter; for I am certain Mr Bushrod Washington wd have left it at his house as he returned home, agreeably to his promise to me.2
Your letters to Colonels Parker and Bently I have forwarded by the Post; the 1st under Cover to General Morgan, to whom Parker is a neighbour; the other to Colo. Carrington who will be able to give it a safe Conveyance from Richmond; to the Post Office in which, it must have proceeded.3
Not an Officer in this State (that has come to my knowledge) has yet received his Commission; to the great dissatisfaction of all, & relinquishment of many; who would no longer remain in a state of suspence and idleness. With great truth, I remain My dear Sir Your Affecte Hble Servant
ALS, DLC: Hamilton Papers; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW.
1. For reference to Hamilton’s enclosed “design of dividing the State of Virginia into Divisions” for recruiting, see Hamilton to GW, 27 Mar., n.2. Hamilton responded from New York on 17 April: “I have the honor of your letter of the 10th instant and am much obliged by the trouble you have been so good as to take. The alterations you suggest are adopted. . . . P.S. I have written to the Secy of War on the Subject of Comissions” (DLC: Hamilton Papers). Hamilton’s letter to Secretary of War James McHenry, 15 April, is calendared in Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 23:44.
2. Hamilton enclosed his letter to Henry Lee of 18 Feb. in a letter to GW of that date. See also Hamilton to GW, 27 March. Henry Lee answered on 12 April Hamilton’s letter of 18 Feb. (DLC: Hamilton Papers).
3. For the forwarding of Hamilton’s letter to Col. Thomas Parker, see GW to Daniel Morgan, 10 April. GW’s draft of a letter to Edward Carrington of this date reads: “Dear Sir, The enclosed letter was forwarded to me by the Inspector General of the Armies of the United States, to whose superintendance the recruiting service is committed that it might be put into the best channel for getting to Colo. [William C.] Bentley’s hands with safety and dispatch. As I am unacquainted with the Post Office which is most convenient to Colo. Bentley, and know not how to forward it directly to him, I have taken the liberty of putting it under cover to you, requesting you will be so good as to have it transmitted to its address by the most ready & certain conveyance. With very great regard, I am Dear Sir, Your most Obedt Servt” (Df, DLC:GW).