Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Aaron Ogden, 8 May 1800

To Aaron Ogden1

New York May 8th. 1800.


As tents may not arrive in time, I would thank you to take a convenient house within a small distance of the Camp at Scotch Plains for me and my suite. I expect to be there by the twentieth of the month.

With great consideration   I am Sir   Yr. ob Servt.

A Hamilton

Colo. Ogden

LS, Lloyd W. Smith Collection, Morristown Historical Park, Morristown, New Jersey; Df, in the handwriting of Thomas Y. How, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Except for a general reference in H to Samuel Hodgdon, March 26, 1800, the letter printed above contains the first mention by H of his plan to visit and review the Union Brigade, which consisted of the Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Regiments of Infantry and which was stationed at Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Although H did not know it when he wrote the letter printed above, the members of these regiments, as well as the members of the other nine regiments of the Additional Army, were to be discharged on June 14, 1800, in accordance with the provisions of “An Act supplementary to the act to suspend part of an act, intituled ‘An act to augment the Army of the United States, and for other purposes’” (2 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845); II (Boston, 1850). description ends 85–86 [May 14, 1800]). See H to Nathan Rice, May 13, 1800, note 1; James McHenry to H, first letter of May 16, 1800.

H left New York on May 21, 1800, and arrived at Scotch Plains on the same day. On May 27, 1800, The [Newark] Centinel of Freedom stated: “General Hamilton passed through this town on Wednesday last [May 21], on his way to Scotch Plains, as was supposed, to pass sentence of disbandment on the effeminate sons of Mars, now quartered at that place. We hope he has afforded them some vivifying consolation, as the all-terrific news had so fractured their animal faculties as to cause it to be despaired of, whether they could reach their various lucrative employments, which their patriotism had called them from.”

H reviewed the troops on May 22 (Abigail Adams to John Adams, May 22, 1800 [ALS, Adams Family Papers, deposited in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston]). He remained in Scotch Plains until May 31 and was back in New York by June 2. Throughout his visit H had his headquarters at Plainfield, New Jersey.

The following accounts cover part of the cost of H’s trip to and from New Jersey and his visit to the troops at Scotch Plains:

“June 1800 Sundry Persons For various transportations, &c. load of bricks to gen Hamilton’s quarters, carrying prisoners to Newark, stores from union camp to Elizabeth Town, general Hamilton’s baggage to camp, &c. 135.69
Aug. 5 1800 Sundry persons for various transportations, &c. baggage of 13th regiment, and of officers of do. &c. from camp to Elizabeth Town, from genl. Hamilton’s quarters to camp, &c. 359.93
1800 Maj. gen. Hamilton and suite 21st to 31st May, general’s staff 32.35
July 4 1800 J. Chapman postage of letters to general Hamilton, from 23d to 31st May 5.60”

(A Statement of Expenditures description begins Message from the President of the United States, Accompanying A Statement of Expenditures from the 1st of January, 1797, by the Quarter Master General, and the Navy Agents, for the Contingencies of the Naval and Military Establishments, and the Navy Contracts for Timber and Stores.… (Washington City: Printed by William Duane and Son, 1803). description ends , 270, 273, 284).

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