Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Major General Adam Stephen, 13 March 1777

To Major General Adam Stephen1

Head Quarters Morris Town [New Jersey] March 13. 1777


In a letter Just received from Colonel Ward,2 there appears to be an objection made against innoculating his regiment, in consequence of some former order, not to innoculate Militia ’till all the Continental troops had undergone the operation. His Excellency desires that this objection, with respect to Colonel Wards regiment, should cease; and that they may immediately be admitted to the benefit of innoculation, in the usual proportion. He begs also that the present opportunity, while the roads continue incommodious for any movements of the enemy, may be improved to the greatest advantage, as we do not know how long it may last; and shall have no time to spare, even if the utmost diligence is used. There is no need to wait precisely for the moment the Hospital becomes vacant, before the infection is communicated to others. Four or five days before one set is fit to leave it, another set may be preparing to go in; which would save a great deal of time, and forward the business exceedingly. Let this be urged upon the Doctors, and every thing else done which may be conducive to dispatch, in a matter of so great importance.

Colonel Ward has solicited a furlough: It seems hardly worth his while to ask one as his regiment will be going home in about a Month. But the General has referred him to Yourself and Gen[e]ral Maxwell3 jointly; and if you think his reasons for desiring a furlough sufficient; and his going away compatible with the good of the service, his request is to be granted.

I am Sir   Your most humble servant

A Hamilton   ADC

ALS, MS Division, New York Public Library.

1Adam Stephen, a Virginian, served with distinction during the French and Indian War. At the beginning of the Revolution he was given command of the Fourth Virginia Regiment. He was made a brigadier general in September, 1776, and was promoted to major general in February, 1777. When this letter was written he was stationed at Chatham, New Jersey.

2Andrew Ward was a colonel of a Connecticut state regiment from May, 1776, to May, 1777; in June, 1777, he was appointed brigadier general of the Connecticut Militia.

3William Maxwell of New Jersey was appointed colonel of the Western Battalion of New Jersey Continental troops in November, 1775, and at the head of that battalion he accompanied Major General Sullivan on the expedition against Canada in February, 1776. In October, 1776, he was made a brigadier general and appointed by General Washington commander of four battalions in the second establishment of New Jersey Continental troops. In the spring of 1777, he was engaged principally in harassing the enemy in New Jersey.

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