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From Alexander Hamilton to James McHenry, 5 March 1799

To James McHenry

New York, March 5, 1799. “I recur to your letters of the 31st of January1 4th 152 21.3 224 23 & 275 of February, for the purpose of doing whatever may remain to be done in relation to their contents.

“… the complete formation of the several corps and their subdivisions which includes the appointment of the full complement of Officers is so essential to order that delay in this respect is very prejudicial to the service. I must therefore beg leave to urge that whatever remains to be done by the Executive towards this end may be completed, & that I may without delay be furnished with the necessary lights towards executing the part which has been assigned to me.… It is especially essential that no time be lost in giving to the different regiments the proper commanding Officers, in all the cases in which this has not been already done.…

“There are several points in your letter of the 4th of February upon which I cannot act with due information until I receive the documents promised by that letter. These are

“1   The Regulations which are intended by this paragraph of that letter ‘It is expected &c that you will give orders that the Garrisons &c make Returns and observe the enclosed regulations

“2   The Report of the Purveyor of supplies shewing the quantities of the different articles of cloathing &c.

“3   The schedule of the Officers who have accepted their appointments with the places of their residence.

“4   The list of Officers at present employed in the recruiting service and their places of rendezvous.

“5   The list of the names of all the Officers of the army classed according to their respective Regiments or Corps with the dates of their Commissions.

“Besides these documents it is necessary for me to be informed what are the returns and reports of different kinds which have heretofore been accustommed to be made to the War Department.…

“I ought also to know correctly the various channels of supply and the persons who administer them; and to understand generally the cases in which an application for any of them through the Secretary at War is necessary to the execution of the general system, as contradistinguished from those in which a call of the commanding General upon the Officer who is to furnish may be proper.…

“I have presumed that you have ready a competent number of printed pamphlets containing recruiting instructions6 to be distributed among the Officers who shall be employed on that service. If so, I request that they may be forwarded to me.…

“You speak of a project of regulations which was communicated to me by the Commander in Chief.7 I recollect to have seen a manuscript of this kind, but it was not left with me, and the circumstance of the conjuncture did not permit me to examine it. If now in your possession, will you oblige me by forwarding it? …

ADf, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1McHenry to H, January 31, 1799 (listed in the appendix to this volume), enclosed Captain James Stille to John Caldwell, January 24, 1799, in which Stille requested that Lieutenant George Washington Carmichael be transferred.

2McHenry to H, February 15, 1799 (listed in the appendix to this volume), enclosed a letter of January 15, 1799, from Captain James Bruff in which Bruff made charges against Major John J. U. Rivardi; a letter from Captain Frederick Frye of February 2, 1799, complaining of the quantity of provisions at Fort Jay; a letter from Rivardi of February 21, 1799, defending himself against Bruff’s charges; and a letter from Amos Stoddard, January 27, 1799, complaining of the barracks at Portland, District of Maine. In his covering letter to H, McHenry requested that H speak with Ebenezer Stevens about the contract for supplying West Point with provisions.

3McHenry to H, February 21, 1799 (listed in the appendix to this volume), enclosed Major Lewis Tousard to McHenry, February 10, 1799, in which Tousard asked to be given command of the battalion at those posts where he was employed as an engineer.

4There are two letters of February 22, 1799, from McHenry to H listed in the appendix to this volume. One enclosed Captain Lemuel Gates to McHenry, February 13, 1799, in which Gates complained of a deficiency of clothing and blankets, and the second enclosed letters concerning the arrest of Captain Samuel Vance.

5McHenry to H, February 27, 1799 (listed in the appendix to this volume), concerned the discharge of an indentured servant from the Army.

6This is a reference to the 1798 edition of a War Department pamphlet entitled Rules and Regulations Respecting the Recruiting Service. See H to Jonathan Dayton, August 6, 1798, note 6. For evidence that H had already received a copy, see McHenry to H, December 28, 1798.

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