Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to James McHenry, 19 October 1798

To James McHenry1

N York Oct 19. 1798

My Dear Sir

I received yesterday your private letter of the 16th, with its inclosures, now returned.

It was essential for you to take a decisive course & to leave the blame of further delay at some other door. There can be no doubt of the propriety of combining the aid of General Officers. But Pinckney being now arrived,2 it seems to me very proper & necessary that he also should be called upon. You will learn with pleasure that he sent me a message by young Rutlege3 purporting his intire satisfaction with the military arrangement & readiness to serve under my command.4 Communicate this to our friends Pickering & Wolcott, as I am not well enough to write them by this post.

Yrs. Affectly

A Hamilton

J M. Henry Esq

ALS, The Sol Feinstone Collection, Library of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia; ALS (photostat), James McHenry Papers, Library of Congress.

1For background to this letter, see the introductory note to George Washington to H, July 14, 1798.

2When Charles Cotesworth Pinckney arrived in New York from France on October 12, 1798, he remained on board his ship because of the yellow fever epidemic in that city. On the following day he disembarked at Paulus Hook, New Jersey (Gazette of the United States, and Philadelphia Daily Advertiser, October 15, 1798).

3Henry M. Rutledge. See H to Rufus King, October 2, 1798, note 1.

4On October 31, 1798, Pinckney wrote to McHenry: “… A few hours after the Ship in which I came, had cast anchor in the North River, it was intimated to me, that it had been doubted whether I would accept an appointment, as General Hamilton, who was of inferior Rank to me, in the last war, was ranked before me, in the new arrangement. I declared then, and still declare, it was with the greatest pleasure I saw his name at the head of the list of the Major Generals, and applauded the discernment which placed him there. I knew that his talents in war were great, that he had a genius capable of forming an extensive military plan, and a spirit courageous & enterprizing, equal to the execution of it. I therefore without any hesitation immediately sent him word, by Major Rutledge, that I rejoiced at his appointment and would with pleasure serve under him” (copy, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress; copy, Adams Family Papers, deposited in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston).

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