George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, 15 October 1799

To Alexander Hamilton

Mount Vernon, October 15th 1799


Since writing to you on the 29th ultimo, I have received a letter from Colo. Parker, informing me that he had fixed upon a spot, on the public Ground, at Harper’s Ferry, as the most eligable place for cantoning the 7th, 8th and 9th Regiments, agreeably to your instructions, and the ideas which I communicated to him.1 And, I presume, measures are now taking to provide huts at that place for these Regiments.

Colo. Parker has undoubtedly written to you on this subject since fixing upon the spot;2 and as the advanced season of the year will admit of no delay in collecting and hutting the Troops, I trust that the 7th and 9th Regiments, as well as the 8th, will receive immediate orders to march to that place.

The enclosed letter, mentioning the wish of Major Campbell to be appointed a Division Inspector, has been put into my hands, and as I have no personal knowledge of Major Campbell, and the choice of this Officer laying with the Inspector General, I have thought proper to forward it to you as I received it.3 With very great esteem & regard I am, Sir, Your most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, DLC: Hamilton Papers; Df, DLC:GW. Both copies are in Tobias Lear’s hand.

2On 21 Oct. Hamilton wrote GW about Parker’s letter to him of 10 Oct. and enclosed his own letter to Parker of 21 Oct. in reply, in which he took Parker to task for implying in his letter of 10 Oct. that he intended to build barracks instead of huts for the troops that were to be quartered at Harpers Ferry. GW on 26 Oct. and Parker on 30 Oct. assured Hamilton that he had misunderstood Parker’s meaning, and that Parker fully intended to build huts, not barracks, on the Shenandoah. The three letters exchanged by Parker and Hamilton are quoted at length in the notes to Hamilton’s letter to GW of 21 October.

3Maj. William Campbell of the 8th Infantry Regiment wrote Hamilton on 9 Oct. and asked to be made division inspector. In his letter to GW of 23 Oct., Hamilton had this to say about Campbell: “I find that I omitted in my official reply [of 21 Oct.] to say any thing on the subject of Major Campbell. On the appointments of this kind for the Troops South of Potowmack it is my intention particularly to consult General Pinckney with the advantage of the observations he shall make on the spot. But I do not publish this lest I should subject the General to embarrassment & ill will” (DLC:GW). Hamilton made a noncommittal reply to Campbell on 2 November. The letter about Campbell that GW sent to Hamilton has not been identified; the two letters that Hamilton and Campbell exchanged are in DLC: Hamilton Papers. There are also in the Hamilton Papers a number of other letters recommending Campbell for the appointment, including one from Parker himself, dated 6 Oct., one from Edward Stevens, 9 Oct., and one from Henry Lee of 16 October.

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