Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from James Wilkinson, 25 February 1800

From James Wilkinson

Natchez [Mississippi Territory] Feby 25th 1800

Sir,

I arrived at this place on the 22nd. inst. and find our military concerns, as far as my observation has extended, in good order; I am making up a report, in detail, which will be transmitted over land to you, and in the interim I send this letter to New Orleans, to take its chances by sea, in order to apprize you, that the Officers of the 3rd Regiment, on this station, having named Lieut. Boote1 for their Pay Master, I shall order him to find the necessary security, to negociate the bills transmitted for the late Lieut Lovel,2 if possible, and proceed to pay up the Troops as far as the sum may suffice.

If my recollection does not deceive me, this arrangement for the payment of the Troops in this Quarter, by the agency of a Regimental Paymaster, will meet your views, and supercedes the necessity of any other appointment or further expence, of which, should my ideas be correct, it may be necessary for you to warn the Paymaster General.

I am not certain whether the bills in favor of the late Lieut. Lovel can be negotiated or not, but the attempt will be made, and the Deputy Pay Master Capt. Vance,3 at Fort Washington, shall be seasonably advised of the result.

I shall impatiently wait the arrival of Lt. Col: Gaither,4 & from the assurances of the Secty of the Navy, will expect an armed vessel at the mouth of the Mississippi, for my safe conduct to some Atlantic Port,5 early in April; to ascend the river with my family, against the vernal flood will be impossible.

I found here your note of the 3rd Decr.6 which is the last received from you. To your enquiry I reply, that Capt. Pope died on the 12 July past, & I am sorry to add that Lieut. Lovel made his exit on the 24th Octr. following. But I feel no regret in advising you, that Lieut. Campbell of the Artillery has resigned his commission,7 & will be struck from the rolls, the last day of the present month, because he had long disgraced his profession.

It is to be regretted that we have no information, of the dismission of Capt. Kreemer from the service, who was cashiered in May last,8 and continues to draw his pay and subsistence from the public.

A Capt of Artillery is much wanted to take charge of the company assigned to this station. Sterret9 is entitled to a company, but has offered his resignation, and is compelled to go to the seat of Government for the settlement of his public accounts; Capt. Guion10 will soon go to the same place for the same purpose, he has hitherto been prevented by sickness & by the death of Lieut. Lovel, whose accounts I understand are made up, & will be transmitted by Capt. Guion.

Lieut Boote’s appointment must be considered an act of expediency it is temporary and subject of course to your ratification or revocation.

My last letters were sent by sea and are dated the 12th inst.

With most perfect consideration & respect I am sir   Yr. Obed Ser

Ja Wilkinson

Majr. General Hamilton

LS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; LS, marked “duplicate,” Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; LS, marked “Triplicate,” Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

3Samuel C. Vance, Third Regiment of Infantry. On June 14, 1799, in a letter listed in the appendix to Volume XXIII, Caleb Swan had written to H that he had appointed Vance deputy paymaster for the Western Army.

4Having spent three or four days at his headquarters following his extended trip to the eastern seaboard, Wilkinson at the time this letter was written was completing preparations for his return trip. Lieutenant Colonel Henry Gaither, commanding officer of the Third Regiment of Infantry, who was stationed in Georgia, was to serve as Wilkinson’s replacement during the 1800 trip. On November 13, 1799, in a letter listed in the appendix to this volume, Wilkinson wrote to H: “The early arrival of Lt. Col Gaither at my Quarters on the Mississippi is a matter of moment, as it will enable me to accelerate my return. I therefore hope the thing will not escape your attention.”

5On February 24, 1800, Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert wrote to Silas Talbot, captain of the U.S. Frigate Constitution and commodore of United States squadron in the West Indies: “General Wilkinson and his family are returning to the United States from New Orleans about the 10th. April—You will be pleased to send the General Greene to that place, to receive on board the General and his family, and to return by way of the Havana in order to convoy any vessels homeward bound” (Naval Documents, Quasi-War, January, 1800–May, 1800 description begins Naval Documents Related to the Quasi-War Between the United States and France: Naval Operations from January 1800 to May 1800 (Washington, 1937). description ends , 241).

6In this letter, which is listed in the appendix to this volume, H had asked when Piercy Smith Pope had died. See also Wilkinson to H, September 6, 1799, note 24.

7Joseph Campbell was a lieutenant in the First Regiment of Artillerists and Engineers. He resigned from the Army on February 28, 1800 (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, 278). See also Wilkinson’s general order, February 26, 1800 (LC, RG 94, Adjutant General’s Office, General Orders, General James Wilkinson, 1796–1808, National Archives).

8Wilkinson was mistaken, for Kreemer was cashiered on October 23, 1799. See H to James McHenry, February 21, 1800, note 3.

9James Sterrett of Pennsylvania was a captain in the First Regiment of Artillerists and Engineers. He did not resign, however, until September 20, 1805 (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, 921).

10Isaac Guion.

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