George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, 25 March 1799

To Alexander Hamilton

Mount Vernon 25th Mar: 1799

Dear Sir

Your letter of the 14th instant with its enclosures, came to hand by the last Post.

In the present State of the Army (or more properly the Embryo of one, for I do not perceive from any thing that has come to my knowledge that we are likely to move beyond this) and until the Augmented force shall have been Recruited, Assembled and in the Field, the residence of the Paymaster Genl (I did not know there was one until your letter announced it) will be found most eligable at the Seat of the General Government; and you will please to give such Orders respecting it, as you shall think proper, for I am unwilling to issue any.

Under this Cover, you will find a letter which I have just received from Colo. Hamtramck, with a short acknowledgment of its receipt; which you will be so good as to forward with your dispatches for the Western Army.1 With very great esteem & regd I am Dr Sir—Yr Most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

ALS, DLC: Hamilton Papers; ALS (letterpress copy), DLC:GW.

1Lt. Col. John Francis Hamtramck (d. 1803), commandant of the 1st Regiment of Infantry in the U.S. Army, wrote GW from Fort Wayne on 28 Jan. 1799: “it is impossible for me to Express to you the joy and Satisfaction I received when I first heard of your having once more taken up that sword, which has rendered your name so Dear to American posterity, and your fame so immortal in the annals of the American Revolution. General Wilkinsen having Been a spectator and an Eye Witness to the Decline of my health on the Mississippi, has permitted me to return to Duty in a more Northern Latitude—he has writen to the Secretary of War respecting the Command he wishes me to have—I have also reported my Self to him, but I have t[h] ought proper also to inform you of my return. I would offer you a Detail of the Situation of the troops on the Mississippi, and of the Contemplated fortification for the National Barrier, but as those things have already Been officially Communicated by General Wilkinsen to the War Office, and which have, or will no Doubt be laid Before you I will therefore Conclude . . .” (DLC: Hamilton Papers). GW’s letter to Hamtramck of 25 Mar. reads: “Sir Your polite and flattering letter of the 28th of January, dated at Fort Wayne, has just got to my hands. For the favourable sentiments you have been pleased to express for me, I pray you to accept my grateful thanks.

“If any thing besides a duty, which I think every good Citizen owes his Country when its rights are invaded, and every thing dear to it is threatned, could console me for quitting the peaceful scenes on which I had entered with avidity, it would be the meeting again in the Field of Mars of so many of my Compatriots in Arms, with whom I had toiled through more than a Seven years War; and for whose aid & exertions, I was so much indebted. Among this number I certainly shall place Colo. Hamtramck.

“The particular care of all matters, which relate to the Western Army, and Posts in that Region, is Committed to Majr General Hamilton, to whom all Returns, Reports &ca are to be made. With esteem & regard—I am Sir Your most Obedt ⟨illegible Go: Washington⟩” (letterpress copy, DLC:GW).

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