Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to the New York Committee of Correspondence, 28 April 1777

To the New York Committee of Correspondence

Head Quarters Morris Town [New Jersey]
April 28, 1777


Extreme hurry of business puts it out of my power to say but very little.

Your information concerning a piece of ordnance lately constructed at Philadelphia is true. There is such a piece at Head Quarters, weighs 227 ld, carries a three pound ball. The iron is wraught hooped and welded together. The General and others esteem it a great acquisi[ti]on. It has been fired twenty times as fast as possible, and is supposed to be thorough proof. For my part I am rather dubious of this matter, and have recommended 50 successive discharges instead of 20. If she would stand that her sufficiency would be ascertained beyond a doubt, and her value would be immense; and as it is a new experiment, we cannot take too much pains ⟨to be sure. If Mr.⟩ Livingston1 ⟨can con⟩struct ⟨pieces of the same kind⟩2 and weight that will stand a similar proof, he will render the most essential service to his Country. We cannot have too respectable an artillery; and he need not doubt they will be wanted.

As to the ships opposite Fort Washington, The General first supposed they might be intended to make a descent on the Jersey side and come by surprise on our left flank; but he now considers it wholly as an amusement, while they were executing their attempt upon the stores at Danbury.3 Of this affair, you are probably as well advised as we are.

I thank you for your promise of sending me the model of your Government4 as soon as published. I have sanguine expectations concerning it.

Nothing new at Head Quarters but the attempt against Danbury. If the enemy do not ⟨take the field⟩5 in a general way in a fortnight, of ⟨which except⟩ the maturity of the season, ⟨there are no new arguments since I last, entered upon the Subject, I shall begin to think with you, that they probably mean to confine themselves to a partizan war⟩ ’till they get reinforced or receive further orders.

Troops coming on from the southward. We are told there are 2000 Carolinians, far on their way to Philadelphia—a part arrived.

I am with great respect   Gentlemen   Your most Obdt servant

A Hamilton

ALS, New-York Historical Society, New York City.

1Robert Livingston, mentioned in committee’s letter to H, April 24, 1777.

2Bracketed material in this paragraph taken from JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851). description ends , VI, 576.

3On April 26, 1777, 2,000 British troops under Governor William Tryon marched into Danbury, Connecticut, an important supply base for the Continental forces. After burning the public stores and some private dwellings, the British withdrew on April 28. They were then attacked by militia and Continentals, and in the ensuing fighting, the American casualties were approximately 100, and those of the British were approximately 150.

4This is a reference to New York State’s first constitution which was voted by the Provincial Convention on April 20, 1777.

5Bracketed material in this paragraph is taken from a copy of this letter in the Bancroft Transcripts, MS Division, New York Public Library.

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