Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 2

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Author: Alexander Hamilton

U.S. History

From Colonel Hamilton.

*

Head-Quarters, Fishkill, 2 November, 1777.

DEAR SIR,

I lodged last night in the neighbourhood of New Windsor. This morning early, I met Colonel Morgan with his corps, about a mile from it, in march for head-quarters. I told him the necessity of making all the despatch he could, so as not to fatigue his men too much; which he has promised to do.

I understand, from Colonel Morgan, that all the Northern army were marching down on both sides the river, and would probably be to-morrow at New Windsor and this place; and that General Putnam had held a Council for the general disposition of them, in which it was resolved to send you four thousand men, and to keep the rest on this side the river. I came here in expectation that matters were in such a train as to enable me to accomplish my errand without going any farther, unless it should be to hasten the troops that were on their march. But, on my arrival,

I learn from Mr. Hughes, an Aid-de-camp of General Gates, that the following disposition of the Northern army had taken place.

General Patterson’s, Glover’s, and Nixon’s brigades, and Colonel Warner’s Mountain Boys to remain in and about Albany; barracks building for them.

General Poor’s brigade, marching down this side of the river to join General Putnam, will probably be here to-morrow. General Learned’s brigade, Morgan’s corps, Warner’s brigade of Massachusetts militia, and some regiments of New York militia, on their march on the west side of the river.

I have directed General Putnam, in your name, to send forward, with all despatch, to join you, the two Continental brigades and Warner’s militia brigade. This last is to serve till the latter end of this month. Your instructions did not comprehend any militia; but as there are certain accounts here that most of the troops from New York are gone to reënforce General Howe, and as so large a proportion of the Continental troops have been detained at Albany, I concluded you would not disapprove of a measure calculated to strengthen you, though but for a small time, and have ventured to adopt it, on that presumption.

Being informed, by General Putnam, that General Winds, with seven hundred Jersey militia, was at King’s Ferry, with intention to cross to Peekskill, I prevailed upon him to relinquish that idea, and send off an immediate order for them to march towards Red Bank.

It is possible, however, unless your Excellency supports this order by an application from yourself, he may march his men home instead of to the place he has been directed to repair to. Neither Lee’s [nor]

Jackson’s regiments, nor the detachments belonging to General McDougall’s division, have yet marched. I have pressed their being sent, and an order has been despatched for their instantly proceeding.

Colonel Hughes is pressing some fresh horses for me. The moment they are ready, I shall recross the river in order to fall in with the troops on the other side, and make all the haste I can to Albany, to get the three brigades there sent forward.

Will your Excellency permit me to observe, that I have some doubts, under present circumstances and appearances, of the propriety of leaving the regiments proposed to be left in this quarter? But if my doubts on this subject were stronger than they are, I am forbid, by the sense of Council, from interfering in this mutter. I have the honor to be, with the warmest esteem and respect,

Your Excellency’s most obedient servant,

ALEXANDER HAMILTON.

P. S. General Poor’s brigade is just arrived here. They will proceed to join you with all expedition. So strongly am I impressed with the importance of endeavouring to crush Mr. Howe, that I am apt to think it would be advisable to draw off all the Continental troops. Had this been determined on, General Warner’s sixteen hundred militia might have been left here.

* Appointed an Aid-de-camp to General Washington, March 1st, 1777.

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Chicago: Alexander Hamilton, "From Colonel Hamilton.," Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 2 in Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, ed. Jared Sparks (Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1853), 24–26. Original Sources, accessed August 14, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=49PFDJG1N5AAQVL.

MLA: Hamilton, Alexander. "From Colonel Hamilton." Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 2, in Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, edited by Jared Sparks, Vol. 2, Freeport, NY, Books for Libraries Press, 1853, pp. 24–26. Original Sources. 14 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=49PFDJG1N5AAQVL.

Harvard: Hamilton, A, 'From Colonel Hamilton.' in Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Vol. 2. cited in 1853, Correspondence of the American Revolution: Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, ed. , Books for Libraries Press, Freeport, NY, pp.24–26. Original Sources, retrieved 14 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=49PFDJG1N5AAQVL.