Alexander Hamilton Papers

Lieutenant Colonels Alexander Hamilton and John Laurens to Major General John Sullivan, 21 September 1777

Lieutenant Colonels Alexander Hamilton
and John Laurens
to Major General John Sullivan

Head Quarters [Potts Grove, Pennsylvania] Septr 21: 1777

Dear Sir

We have just received your favour of Yesterday,1 desiring from us a Testimony of your Conduct, so far as it fell under our Observation, the day of the Battle on the Brandywine.2

As we had not the pleasure of seeing you in the fore part of that Action when the Line at large was Engaged, We are unable from our own Knowledge, to say any thing of your Conduct at that time. But we can chearfully testify in justice to Your Reputation, that when we had an opportunity of seeing you, it was in circumstances which did you Honour. This was from the time you rode up, and joined Genl: Weedon’s Brigade3 ’till your Horse was wounded. You were employed in animating and encouraging the Men, to their duty, both by your Words and example; and in every Respect behaved, with becoming bravery, and Activity.

We have the Honour to be   Sir   Your most Obedt Servts.

A Hamilton

John Laurens

Major Genl. Sullivan

Copy, New Hampshire Historical Society, Concord; copy, Reel 72, Item 59, III, p. 61, Papers of the Continental Congress, National Archives; copy, RG 93, War Department Revolutionary War Records, Miscellaneous Records, National Archives.

1Letter not found.

2At the time that this letter was written, a court of inquiry was investigating Sullivan’s conduct of a raid against Staten Island in August. At the same time he was being severely criticized in Congress and the Army for his part in the Battle of Brandywine (September 11, 1777). In this battle, in which he had commanded the right wing of the American Army, he had permitted his forces to be outflanked by the British. In an attempt to clear his name, he asked various officers for testimonials concerning his conduct. The present letter by H and Laurens is in reply to such a request by Sullivan.

3Brigadier General George Weedon was in command of a brigade of Major General Nathanael Greene’s division, which had been sent to re-enforce Sullivan during the Battle of Brandywine.

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