Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from William North, [27 March 1800]

From William North

[New York, March 27, 1800]


I have the honor to present herewith regulations for conducting military funerals, & executions; For the disposal of the effects of those who die, or are killed in the service; they are with some alterations, & additions which appeared to me proper, extracted from Reid1 & Symes,2 & tho’ not of great consequence, are necessary to make a whole. The plan for the service of the guards which is also presented,3 is in part taken from the regulations of Baron Steuben,4 & in part formed on a principle which I believe has not heretofore been adopted, & which for this reason, I offer with great diffidence. The guards, & detachments instead of being taken promiscuously from the different companies of a reg, or the different Regiments of an army, are by the plan accompanying this, to consist of entire Squads, Sections, platoons &c. So that the Officers and the men attached to their particular Command may on all occasions remain together. I need not say to you, Sir, that the separating Officers from their men has been & will always be fraught with bad consequences—the officer to a certain degree, gets rid of his responsibility for their Clothing, arms, & discipline, & the men under the command of a stranger have less to hope from a strict performance of their duty, or to fear from its neglect.

The alteration with respect to the camp Guards, by permitting them to remain in the tents which as a platoon or section they occupied previous to their recruiting, will, in my opinion, be attended with no inconvenience to the service, & with much convenience to the Officers & men; the Camp & Quarter Guard being thrown together under the command of a Commissioned Officer, & a tent or hut appropriated for Prisoners where they can not mix with the guard & will feel that they are confined will, I should suppose be attended with good Effects.

The continual attention necessary to the Common & daily duties of my Office, is Offer’d in excuse for having done so little in the extra business committed to me,5 & I hope will be accepted.

With the greatest Respect, I am, Sir   Your Obed Serv

W North
Adj Gen

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Major Thomas Reide, A Treatise on the duty of Infantry Officers, and the present System of British Military Discipline (London, 1798).

2Thomas Simes, The Military Guide for Young Officers, containing A System of the Art of War (London: Printed for J. Millan, near Whitehall, 1781), 302–04.

3“Service of the Guards” (AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

4Steuben, Regulations description begins Baron von Steuben, Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States (Philadelphia: Printed by Styner and Cist, in Second Street, 1779). description ends .

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