Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from James McHenry, 22 March 1799

From James McHenry

War Department, March 22, 1799. “I transmit for your information copies of several letters, viz, one from Captain Wm Littlefield dated Fort Wolcott 2nd Feby 17991 and one from General Hamtramck dated Fort Wayne 21st Jany 1799,2 together with a letter from Edward Livingston Esq. dated New York 9th March, one from John Dover dated Novr. 24th. 1798 directed to Mr Livingston3 and one from the accountant4 of the Department, dated 1 Feby 1799.…”

LS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Littlefield, the commanding officer at Fort Wolcott, wrote to McHenry concerning two deserters (copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

2John F. Hamtramck wrote to McHenry: “As you are no doubt well acquainted with the disposition of the people of the states of Kentucky and Tenessee; I shall only confine myself to one General observation—that is, that they execrate the Federal Government and its officers. In almost every company I have been in, I have been more or less insulted—they think nothing of condemning the measures of Congress, damning our beloved President.…

“Mr. Zachariah Coxe who made his escape from the Natchez, and who went to New Orleans has returned to Nash-Ville. He came across through the Chocktaw Nation, where one Mr. [Samuel] Mitchell who is there one of our agents, had directions from Governor [Winthrop] Sargent that if Mr. Coxe should pass that Country, for him, Mitchell, to take him up and send him to the Natchez. How it has happened that Mitchell did not comply with the Governor’s directions I Know not. I am informed that Mitchell is concerned with Coxe in the speculation of the Muscle Shoals—if so, Mr. Mitchell’s conduct can be easily accounted for.…

“General Wilkinson has ordered a house to be built for the Turtle and another for the Toad, a Miami Chief, I find that the two carpenters at this place are not more than sufficient to Keep the works and barracks in repair. If these houses are to be built, more Carpenters will be wanted. Soldiers employed in that Kind of labor will no doubt expect payment. I will be obliged to you to give me the necessary directions.…

“Lieut. [Rezin] Webster of the second regiment was, last summer, ordered into Kentucky by Genl. Wilkinson to recruit—and I think, if I recollect right, the General told me he was to be stationed about Lexington. I am informed that he has long ago been at the Rapids of the Ohio, and is there still; I mention this circumstance to you because I think that place is no way calculated for recruiting, and that I have reason to believe that he has taken that position for personal accomodation.…” (ALS and copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.)

H endorsed Hamtramck’s letter to McHenry: “Answered April 29 1799.”

3Livingston enclosed a letter from John Dover and asked McHenry to comply with Dover’s request (ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress). Dover had written to Livingston asking for his help in having Dover’s son discharged from the Army. Dover wrote: “he has now been better than Eight years in the Service … he is Listed under the Name of John Thompson Soldier in Capt [Andrew] McClarys Company 2nd U S Regiment Detroit” (ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

4William Simmons wrote to Livingston, February 1, 1799: “I … find … his [John Thompson’s] last inlistment expired on the 12th … of January 1798 at which time he … reinlisted … for five years. If Mr Dover wishes him discharged application must be made to the Commanding Officer at Detroit who will judge of the propriety of granting it …” (ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

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