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tv   Alexander Hamiltons Military Career  CSPAN  April 30, 2020 2:11pm-3:24pm EDT

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this murder, the jean harris murder trial before this class? >> the deepest cause where we'll find the true meaning of the revolution was in this transformation that took place in the minds of the american people. >> so we're going to talk about both of these sides of the story here, right, the tools and techniques of slave owner power and we'll also talk about the tools and techniques of power that were practiced by enslaved people. >> watch history professors lead discussions with their students on topics ranging from the american revolution to september 11th. lectures in history on c-span3 every saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on "american history tv" and lectures in history is available in podcasts. find it wherever you listen to podcasts. next on "american history tv," historian damien cregeal talks about his relationship with george wan torks, the dey
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mansion hosted this event. >> welcome to the dey nation, washington's headquarters. i'm so happy that all of you are here and joins us today for this program. the if you've not been here before, definitely after the lecture please stay and take a tour with our staff and just before i kind of introduce our guest speaker today, just a few rules or a few, you know, kind of bits of information. we do have light refreshments for you in the kitchen so there's coffee, tea, cheese, crackers, cookies, all, you know, please feel free to get up and take what you like. rest rooms are in this building so you do not have to go to the visitors' center. they are also in the kitchen. there's a door, open it and the rest rooms are over there. our staff today, we have ken who is in the back there. we have kelly who i'm not sure where he's hiding at this moment
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and then you have myself so i'm the director of the department of cultural and historic affairs for the county and by de facto i'm the director of this site. so we're fortunate enough to have a guest speaker and historian damien cregeau to share his expertise on alexander hamilton and his rise to glory. mr. cregeau graduated from hillsdale and from colorado state university with a masters degree in history. he's been an independent historian, researching and writing and giving presentations are throughout the northeast since 2007. he's a scholar of the american revolution with research interests that include espionage during the war. he has published historical features in "leatherneck mag scene." the journal of the american marine corps" and "the journal
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of the american revolution." he's given presentations on the revolution such as the roundtable norristown. he's actually been here in 20 is with another wonderful presentation. the summit old guard and at francis tavern in new york city and the fbi museum's new york office -- fbi's new york office. mr. cregeau is a longtime resident of summit, new jersey. he and his wife who is here today in the front are longtime re-enactors and own two houses in connecticut dating from 1765. one belonged to a private in the war and the other belonged to three brothers, each of whom became generals as well as owners of the house in secession, so without further adieu. damien cregeau. thank you. [ applause ] >> wonderful to have all of you here day. i was joking earlier we have our flanking maneuvers, left and right flank in our adjoining rooms much like the battle mouth
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so wonderful to have everyone packed in our room that meets the 18th century converging with the 21st century. we can be high tech about this. and i feel much the same as does my wife because i've been both a longtime re-enactor. you can see me dressed there as an officer, a captain in the u.s. army with the epaulet there on my soldier. i've re-enacted the battle mouth in swelter heat three times like today and speaking twice for the alexander hamilton awareness society which i'm a member and i've spoken twice at alexander hamilton's grave which is, of course, at trinity church in downtown manhattan. a very challenging place to speak when you're dealing with construction noise and traffic. i wanted to briefly say a nice connection by coincidence. wrote an article one time called "the six degrees of alexander hamilton and the huntingtons of norwich" and you can read that on the a-ha website.
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that's because we own the house in norwich pictured on the left. and there's the portrait based on the miniature painting by john trumble, the famous painter and his brother-in-law because jeddah married faith trumble, the daughter of the governor of connecticut and her famous young brother john and jeddah's epaulet on the right. we attended the auction a year ago. we got blown out of water, $26,000 for a pair of epaulets, okay. the hamilton we know, there's so little that we know. there's so little where we focus on his accomplishments at treasury secretary, for the infamous duel. it's kind of like the "titanic." we know how the story earns. he'll be killed by aaron buur and then a few other things, these so-called rumors about scandals and so forth and a little bit about his military
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accomplishments. that's what we're focusing on today because that's what we tend not to know. that's a portrait by john trumble and like alexander hamilton john trumble at one point served as an aide to general george washington during the revolution. he served the shortest, a very short time. there's more to him than the head there. there's a full length portrait that cities in city hall and my wife and i have had the permission to produce to hang in our house and i hope that that's what you take away today is an amazing appreciation for all the incredible accomplishments of ahamilton in his varied roles as military commander, not just as aide to washing-to-. that's a heavy portion of it but you're see a lot more than that. starts out at a captain and then he's later lieutenant colonel hand this is probably one of the
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best-known portraits of hamilton in a military uniform during the american revolution, alexander hamilton in the uniform of the new york artillery by alonzo chapel. one problem. no dressed as a al tillery officer. that hat is the hat of a light infantry officer in yorktown in the war. certainly his uniform is very similar to the one he was wearing while in the artillery. this is the portrait you've probably not seen. how many of you, raise your hands, know that hamilton towards the end of his life was a major general in the u.s. army? i wouldn't expect many hands and that's about the number i expected, about four, yeah, and it's by william weaver, circa 1800. here he is, and we'll get to that story in a little bit towards the end. there's someone else like alexander hamilton who comes from humble beginnings, grows up on a remote island and then comes to the mainland being starts out as an artillery
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officer and becomes an incredible military leader and that's napoleon bonaparte so there's an interesting comparison you can make between those two as i like to do as a military his torian. it was the quickest raise that you could rise in the military ranks. like if you're a baseball fan like i am, if you want to get to the majors quickly do, what mike piazza did, get drafted as a catcher. you'll make it to the majors. young hamilton. what do we know about him before we get to the military career? wanted to give a little bit of a warmup. not a whole lot in terms of illustration. on the left we have something in black and white. hard to find in color. alexander hamilton we think. it's attributed to him. we have no proof. there's little provenance of that. we also don't know who the painter is. simply attributed to hamilton as the subject, sk of course, as a teenager. born on knives and raised and working for merchant in st. wonderful charming island and his mother rachel, by the way, was a wonderful woman, a wonderful role model.
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rachel was very bright woman in her day which was rare. had a large collection of books so be aware what have inspiration she was to him and his learning. he became a bookworm like her. on right is a much more documented painting by charles wilson peele that my wife and i have held at the columbia rare books library. they no longer show that because of the popularity of the music a. you no longer have the access that the 12 of us were lucky to have a decade ago, but it was lucky to see that and hold their wedding rings and other items, but just so you know, that's where those personalize else are locate asked, and they are precious. i thought maybe some of these guys might show up today. some friends of mine run an organization called the hearts of oak. this was alexander hamilton's first military organization. started out known as the corsigans interesting link again to napoleon if you know the napoleonic history. and it says on the caps liberty
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or death. beautiful bright green photographs and as you can see they have been here to the dey mansion from their facebook page. also have been as you can seal from the center photo the grange, hamilton's estate in upper manhattan. where did action ter hamilton train his hearts of oak militia unit? in the church-yard of st. paul's chapel on broadway. i don't know how you do that without multiple tripping hazards and headstones. that church has been there plenty of time. there were plenty of headstones made of stone and wood in the 1770s. that's where they trained. if you've not been there, i encourage you do. it's the sight of fallen brigadier general richard montgomery who was killed, unfortunately, way ahead of his time for death in the attack on quebec city and ben franklin felt so guilty about that that he wanted to have this elaborate
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memorial put up for him there so you can see that in the front of the church. >> now, was this the first meeting of george washington and alexander hamilton? i'm talking about this story that they met at ft. bunker's hill on baird's hill in lower manhattan in april of '76. we don't know. maybe they met there. maybe they didn't. it's more likely that washington and hamilton met later in 1776 during washington's organized retreat through the state of new jersey, okay? but this is possible, so there's been a couple of illustrations of that. mayor till, by the way, i'll point it out on a way momentarily, is the highest point at that point in lower manhattan. if you know about the manhatta project, that's changed over time and we've lost our hills had and dales, you wouldn't know where baird's hill is but i'll show it to you on a map in a
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minute. alexander hamilton's military unit does file on two ships, the hms phoenix and hms rose on jewel 12th, 1776, a week after the declaration of independence has been read by washington'sed a janet to the troops in lower manhattan. the hms rose was later used in the reproduction of the filming "master and commander." hamilton and buur. it's not proven, but it's likely that they did cover george washington as well as general israel putnam's retreat through manhattan from the left side. there's the dark red that represents all of what new york city was as of 1776. yes, greenwich village was actually a separate village. bloomingdale was a separate residential area, so manhattan was just that little tip, new york city rather. we just don't have substantial proof of it, it okay? and this wonderful high
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resolution map which i wish hi time to blow up does show the location of baird's hill which is right there. that was the ft. bunker hill used by alexander hamilton and his artillery are. now, another question comes up. what hamilton at the battle of white plains? probably not. thanks to the scholarship of my friend michael newton who is also speaking today at another location, mike al is a scholar of alexander hamilton and has written not one but two books on ham top. "hamilton the formative years" and "discovering hamilton" and what michael has been able to demonstrate with primary-source evidence is 9/so of the artillery were not at the battle of white plains, so there's a nine out of ten chance then that hamilton was not there, and furthermore, neither henry knox, his commander nor george washington mention hamilton or his unit by name, okay? now, this we do know for sure.
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hamilton first full-fledged combat. not just shooting the two ships in the river, you know, and a cannon explodes near him a few minutes later. this is full bat now, and as the grandson of an artillery officer at gaudal canal, my grandfather was a marine, i can appreciate how traumatic that must have been. he was at queens college like columbia was known as kings college where hamilton was attending for a few years and would have graduated from had war not broken out and my charming wife graduated from rutgers and it's a nice link to have and it was during the reunion where it said on the campus from the class of 1889. early in december, 1776, alexander ham top, not a graduate of king's college as the sign says, had a battery of horse artillery and crossed the fort delaying the advance of the
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british across the river while washington withdrew through princeton to trenton, and that is indeed true. there are multiple eyewitness reports saying hamilton's artillery unit delivered withering fire that dramatically slowed down the advance of the british forces there. right where my mother rode every morning for rutgers crew. i like to make reference to the local stuff. could also say alexander hamilton helping found american hi industry west of patterson full. >> on a christmas night into the morning of the 26th, a large live-sized painting and here's a realistic one that came out much more recently about mort consular and debuted at the new york historical society. you can see it was at nighttime, a different kind of craft. there's a can none. maybe it's hamilton's, and so on
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and so forth. not good weather. similarly another painting by an amazingly connecticut painter now retired. one of the last paintings that he did, "victory or death" and it's hamilton, washington and others including the future president james monroe, a former artillerives officer in the battle of knox, and there they are in the early morning ice trudging through are the ice and snow. can you imagine how cold they felt. hamilton's artillery was indeed at both battles of trenton. what do we mean battles with an "s." just like at saratoga there are two battles at both places. it's much documented that hamilton much like he did at bruns brick over the rarition river used a cannon fire on the
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british at the creek, and this is a well-documented battle that gets overshadowed by the surprise attack at presidenton a few days later as well as the second surprise attack which is the u.s. army at princeton. the problem is, yes, hamilton's artillery is somewhere in the battle of princeton. we just don't know exactly where, and there's no evidence whatsoever for left legend but it tells a great story that he fires a cannon or with multiple shots at nassau hall and decapitates king george iii whose portrait in oil is hanging on the wall inside. makes for a great story. there is no evidence, according to michael newton and other scholars, for such a tale, but it's a good one. >> this is true, there were offers from not one, not two but three very well-known generals in the american revolution at the time. the one on the left is one you may not have heard of so many of you from new jersey so maybe you have.
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general alexander aka lloyd sterling who was buried just 75 feet from action ter hamilton at trinity church. he wasn't even marked. i mean, he has the family stone there, but it's my friend john resto who followed up the suggestions of putting u.s. flags there and i thank john for doing that because it's important that we mark him. an incredibly brave general in multiple battles including the battle of new york as well acts battle mouth and he lived not far from here. he had the hugest tate and one of the reasons we don't remember him is his house burned down, but we have the beautiful state park there. hamilton receives an offer from lord sterling. come be my aide. receives one from nathaniel green, come be my aide. each time amazingly hamilton says thanks but no thanks. what does he yearn for? battlefield command? he's worried if he takes a desk job he doesn't rise as quickly, doesn't achieve the prestige as quickly as he would if he were on battlefield and, of course, we know, much like the "titanic"
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story he'll end with yorktown that he'll achieve that in the battle. but in the meantime someone named george washington comes along and that's an offer he can't refuse. he still takes a month to think it over. like a good attorney, isn't he? he becomes an attorney later, and he says i'll wait on those. let me think about that, sleep for a few weeks and think it over. he finally says yes. washington had made the offer in january of '77 andin had invited him to his headquarters for a din der, and i think hamilton was convinced that this is definitely going to be well worth it. so our first proof of this agreement is washington's orders of march 1st, 1777, and it reads headquarters, morristown, alexander hamilton esquire is appointed aide-de-camp and you'll heard about scammel during the siege of george
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toumpt you can find transcripts like this let her on the army corps website. the torrential descriptions are at founders already now a lot of authors will say this is all happening when hamilton is 22 years old. actually 20. michael newton and other scholars were able to prove that alexander hamilton was not -- >> were you helping washington as his chief of staff? could you have risen in battles as many times as he did? he's his youngest aide-de-camp and most are in the 30s. lots of aide-de-camp, a lot of turnover by the age of 32 it. a wonderful book by the name of
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arthur l arthur levkowitz. filled with frustrations and all kinds of peaks and valleys. washington at that point in the winter of '77 has headquarters set up not far from here at jacob arnold's tavern on the green, but the tarn on the green but arnold's tavern in morristown. there's a sign for you as you probably know if you've been there and arnold tavern's burned down in 1918 of fire. washington typically had five aides and/or secretaries. secretaries were probably doing most of the writing side of things. aides were also doing writing, but what i would guess, there's no proof of this, but my assumption would be when washington is distinguishing between a secretary and an aide, the aide might have more varied activities, reconnaissance missions and so forth where the secretary will probably stay back at headquarters, including here at dey mansion, that we'll talk about, and that's probably how the labor was split up.
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most at any time was seven. can you imagine seven of them sleeping in the same room or even sitting in the same room on a hot day like today or the cold times, must have been an incredible challenge for all of them had. the typical task, as i mentioned was wright copy and letters for washington. copious is an understatement. copious amounts of wright and letters, and they were often dictated by washington to his aides, including hamilton. now, as i just stoop here for a little refresher, you have some aides to his excellency george washington. he was particularly fond of and then someone who basically became an honorary step-son and the three aides would be alexander hamilton, david humphries of derby, connecticut there in the center later in life and on the right a composite of george washington, marquis delafayette and tillman,
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tillman is the third of the three aides that he was very close w.tillman is the one you least likely have heard of. he was an incredibly talented man, from maryland and unfortunately he died in 1786. died quite young and that's very unfortunate. here's a blowup of that painting by charles wilson peele that hang in the statehouse in annapolis, washington, lafayette and tillman. now, another interesting thing is this, speaking of trip tiks can, are the three overs standing on morristown green, and we're talking, of course, about this statue that was put up not long ago on the green and it represents lafayette who is standing on the left, the 5'7" hamilton in the middle and the ever so tall giraffe-like george washington on the right. was george 6'3"? probably not. probably more like 6'1" like myself. there's been some new scholarship on his height, okay? now, one of the things that gets
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overlooked is alexander hamilton's provisions mission into philadelphia. this is quite interesting, and it gets overshadowed by battlefield actions, but this is very important. you have to feed mars. if the army is going to go anywhere it needs to march on its stomach so you must feed it especially as they are about to go into winter encampment in valley forge. late september '77 and hamilton is sent by washington with other officers to go on horseback and go into downtown philadelphia and gather as many horses, general supplies you can think of, food basically, clothing and blankets in the city of philadelphia. why? because they know they are going to lieutenants city to british. they have decide they are not going to put a fight at the city. they are not going to defend the city itself as the british come down with a larger force, so they will stay out towards white marsh and eventually valley forge and receive the supplies there. and what's key in hamilton's handling of the special operation is his discretion as to who he will take these
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supplies from. he doesn't just take them nilly willy from everyone. if you're poor and you rely on your horse for your transportation, he does not take the horse. if you're one of those families whose a strong patriot rather than loyalist and you plan on evacuating what little you can put on the horse before the british come into the city he also doesn't take from those people. that discretion is quite telling. there's so many times that i think we get overshadow with later life. many which were refeud, to not realize how kind-hearted a man a gentleman hamilton was, and this mission as you can figure out obviously really helped the state of the continental army during the political encampment. particularly the plankets. another mission that gets overshadowed the emissary trip. he sein the late fall of '77 hel serve as washington's proxy,
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leave the federation and go all the way up but washington needs his tree brigades back. he had lent three brigades to horatio gates to fight in the campaign earlier that year. washington needs to have them back and he would like among them daniel morgan's riflemen. this mission will take a while. takes most of november into december. when hamilton meets gates it's inable by. gates is not up inable any because the battle is over, glowing in the aftermath of victory and one of the challenges that hamilton, of course, will encounter is that he's a 20-year-old aide who is born on an island. he's dealing with someone in gates who is well-established with the new england and northeastern aristocracy who is very powerful, old enough to be his dad and is a two-star general. do you think he wants to hear from a 20-year-old colonel that washington would like three brigades back? does gates have any respect for
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george washington for that matter? no, not at all. much like some of the politics that we all witness or participate in modern times, there's politics in that time around the military and alexander hamilton's first attempts are fruitless. they are futile. he then finally decides he's been duped. when gates says okay, fine. you can have patterson's brigade. he looks at part season's brigade and says it's way under strength. does some detective work in albany and finds out within days. patterson's brigade has been wiped out in saratoga. it's been huge attrition numbers. he's duping me and congemi so he puts in both writing and in person face-to-face heated exchanges to gates and he finally relents. after weeks he says i'll finally relent to, with aton's demands and it shows how much trust that
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hamilton received from washington to go on this mission. similarly after he meets with gates he then has to meet with an equally incorrigible general israel putnam and oldtimer, old put, the hero of the french and indian war and the battle of hunk bunker hill. he doesn't want to listen to alexander hamilton either. at this point putnam is old enough to be his grandfather because put snap in his 60s. no, i'm not giving up my soldiers. he, too, will eventually relent to hamilton's strong demands. hamilton knows when he has to turn the screws a little bit and forcefully speak on behalf of george washington and it's that reason we can have this quote, by granting hamilton discretion in his mission washington left entire course of the war and possibly its outcome in the hands of his youngest aide. hamilton had already earned washington's complete trust. that's from page 220 of "the formative years." so, of course, george washington
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hadn't won at san diego. he had basically lost at the battles of brandywine and germantown outside philadelphia earlier that fall or the same time period. so alternate point gates is getting all the rave success but he didn't deserve by the way, it should be skyler, arnold's and morgan's but gates will take the fame. the rivals, the critics for washington include dr. benjamin rush, the famous doctor outside of philadelphia and many other powerful people like john and amsa and these people are seen as the ones who had the ear of washington and rush said i think they are ruled by generals green, colonel next and general hamilton. why do i want to mention the three of them? look at how hamilton is only a 21-year-old aide and already seen as influential as two senior generals in the american revolution. that says a lot about alexander hamilton's leadership ability and the confidence that washington placed upon him.
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we all know the general stormy of valley being to. here is washington's headquarters at value reforge. it's the isaac potts who was a wealthy quaker who lived in philadelphia most of the time. this is his summer house, so it has only one working firehouse in the main part of the house built in 1773 and washington and his so-called family, his family and his aides and section, not literally his biological family, but those who were living with him in day in and day out from sunrise to sundown working together and they will live at isaac potts' house for a long time, azize from the hasbrook house in newburgh, new york at the end. it's a claes interior but cozy. you can see the marble fireplace surround and beautiful wood planning just like we have here at the dey mansion but a cozy interior. 16-foot room, 16 feet long. everyone has to pack in there, and there are some events that
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are quite influential where lots of people are packed in there, much like we are today. hamilton's blueprint for reorganizing the army is often overlooked. he has this beautiful blueprint that he drafts in the bleak mid-winter if you can think of that christmas song and carroll. january 29th, 1778 he creates and composes a massive document of 16,000 words. that is quite -- quite a lot of writing. hamilton was verbose bolt with his speech as well as with his written word and it detailed the necessary steps by congress to completely reorganize the congress. congress was in shambles, army was in shambles. seep that in recentment and political history. we have plenty to draw from for that inspiration. there were ideas contributed by very many generals including nathaniel green to kreemt this blueprint and the wording is mostly by alexander hamilton. it's kind of a harbinger of all
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the work that he will pour into all of the other documents he can think of, most famously the federalist papers. there's a variety of tasks for hamilton as an aide. a mini time-out here and correspondents with japans are, of course, taking up most of the volume. you have all these up and two-star generals that are both militia and continental army that washington is receiving and sending letters to. correspondence with congress. you're talking with all the presidents of congress starting with john hancock and samuel huntington of connecticut and everyone else, john adams, john jay. there will were negotiations for prisoner exchanges. that often gets overlooked. hamilton was very skilled at these -- at the nuances of prisoner exchanges with the british and at one point some 600 soldiers were exchanged from the british back to the americans. i believe it was at elizabeth sometime in the middle of the war, and hamilton handled all of
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that along with the help of elias boudineau and there were matters for hamilton to handle from france. he and his friend were fluent in french and they could be sent in the middle of the war to meet with admiral destang when he was anchored off the coast of new jersey and my favorite topic, the intelligence in the american war where hamilton had to help george wash-to-be who was indeed the spymaster of handling all the different japanese and case officers and independent agents who were feeding him all kinds of intelligence, some good, not so good, and, of course, constantly suspicions of double agents or moles, just like the tv show or novel. two spy rings were particularly important. most of usered had a of the spy
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ring that operated are out of new york and long island and fairfield, connecticut and another one just as interesting that was right out of here of new jersey and into staten island and that's colonel elias dayton in then what was called elizabeth town, in staten island and they were at the same time trying to cull the same intelligence that talmage's agents were doing. what washington figured out you need redundancy. what if one of the rings is compromised and what if one of the rings can't send the information out punctually? great quote, the pen for our army was held by hamilton. indeed. that's why we know so many of washington and hamilton's inner thoughts is pause of the pen of hamilton and washington is quoted in regards to hamilton as saying, quote, hamilton was his principal and most can have tension aide. pretty much says it all.
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continuing the theme of spies. alexander hamilton is also not only buried by -- near lloyd sterile, major general alexander but also as -- >> hamilton hand mulligan already each other from manhattan days, very early in hampton's time when he was at ying's college. mulligan was a taylor and it just so happened as a daily he'd be performing or providing new information for british and he's -- up. things we were rebeling against on july 1th, '76 is the quartering of troops and the home where he and his wife lived, you can think the francis tavern area of manhattan, also
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had officers as regiments and he's able to receive information from that as well. he talks about this in the so-called narrative later in life, and it's also the reason why we know that his younger brother hugh was also involved in gathering intelligence. he was basically a merchant at a nearby market play, and he could gather information from the british. so the mulligan brothers really did a great job through hamilton to washington to provide timely intelligence in addition to the core of the culver ring and the aforementioned dayton ring. it's also quite possible that we don't have strong proof but we have circumstantial proof that washington saved hamilton's life not once but twice in a series that i can encourage you to read about later. washington also has hamilton well general von steuben. he, of course can, speak german but his second language is
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french but native french speakers are able to help steuben ship this rather continental army into ship, famously so at vale forge, and he's doing the drills, in prussian interspersed with french curse words and hamilton has to be judicious in how he translates. yes, van steuben was bit of a hothead and had he done all the things he claimed, probably not. was identified as a prussian in the major arm we now like he was a two-star general. there's a painting of him by the famous ralph earl after the american revolution. hamilton is also a translator for the famous marquis
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delafayette who i said earlier was like a son to george washington. lafayette was such a young, charming aristocrat that as the 19-year-old boy general, washington took him under his wing. help's also going to help hamilton, that is, with the lesser known general but who is important as an army general who worked at vale forge and other places such mouth and both of these are by charles wilson peele. very talented artists. now something i like to stud to and i'm writing a scholarly article about there are washington's many counsels of war during the american revolution, and there are two in particular that i find particularly fascinating because of who is there. let's read through list and imagine them all crammed into isaac potts' living room, the 16-foot room. here we go. we have george washington, charles lee, charles green, benedict arnold, he's limping in because he's in philadelphia at the time, lord sterling, marquis
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delafayette, baron von steuben, a host of brigadier generals including henry knox, matt anthony wayne, jeddah donnington and the house we owned and the just pensions just mentioned di rt poe. who is taking notes and asking questions off the record, alexander hamilton, who himself will going a general later in life. it is a who's who. that's the time i would pick if i can go back in time, i would pick being in this room at this time just the meet what is in there. they are frig youring out the strategy for the summer of 1778, what we have come to know as the battle of monmouth courthouse. alexander hamilton rides out and is doing reconnaissance, an advance intelligence operation on horseback for several days for washington and lafayette.
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this is before encounters with charles lee on the ballotsfield. several days. it is very helpful, in order to set up the placement of lee, lafayette, and eventually washington. yes n the famous confrontation between lee and washington, it was just prior to that that altercation between hamilton and lee. and hamilton handles it pretty well as you are going the see. it is incredulous. he cannot believe lee would be retreating when he should be attacking the gear guard of the british force with its baggage train moving ever so slowly tloul sue through the middle of new jersey at the time. his confident brivry is accounted by charles lee himself during his trial weeks later. the quote from hamilton was quote i will stay here with you my dear general and die with you. let us all die here rather than retreat. it is a testament to hamilton's bravery and thinking on his feet as well.
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as he is rallying the forces, which was largely successful just as washington comes onto the scene. similarly, we have another aide to washington, future secretary of war, james mc-ry writing, quote, i am happy to have it in my power to mention the merit of colonel hamilton. he was incessant in his endufrs during this -- there is typo's here but in re -- cornering the army and rallying and cheering. but whether he or general lawrence deserves commentations is doubtful. both arer had their horses shot from underneath them. both exhibited bravery. another testament of hamilton's incredible brave lee in battle. two scenes that are fatherly well-known from the battle of monmouth. the one on the left more famous than the one on the right. on the right showing the altercation between lee and washington.
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something that's largely overlooked, and it could have been incredibly impactful, hamilton and lawrence progressive idea that we could have african-american soldiers in the continental army. how progressive. lafayette was also an advocate of this. hamilton and lawrence will ask congress in writing several times, would you please allow blacks to enlist in southern regiments in the u.s. army? there was a manpower shortage. and largely the population in the south was loyalist. it is much more of a civil war down there, uglier than it was up here. it would help fill a number shortage. they both believed, lawrence as well as lafayette that americans were both very bright and very brave in battle. unfortunately it fell on deaf ears. congress just would not do it. so many of the congressmen were in fact slave owning plantation owners from the south like john lawrence's own father, henry.
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now we can get into dayton's ring for one minute. this is sol dayton who will later become one of the last colonels promoted to big dear general during wartime and his connections to hamilton. there is key one on july 2 st of 1780. it is on that date that dayton informs washington of a british fleet leaving new york city and heading towards newport via long island sound. there is one problem. george washington is absent, out on an errand of some sort. lafayette is at headquarters, receives the order realizes i must immediately dispatch this news to lafayette who is in connecticut to get it to him is enough of a challenge. then lafayette has to get it from there over to rhode island. it is a complicated operation but it works quickly enough and they were able to warn the french. by the way, the british don't end up actually attacking knew port. they design to call it off for whatever reasons. maybe they were tipped off that
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the americans knew. even the corpse is given credit for warning the force at now port. it not accurate. it was just arrived two days later. same information, just not as punk actual as lafayette's. now the famous treason of benedict arnold. the major general is of connecticut, born in norwich. lives a a wealthy merchant in new haven. he is beginning his communication, one of the common misunderstandings is that his traitorous activities are all confined to september of 1780. that is not the case. it actually had been going on for 16 months beginning in may of '79, which is just a monday after around had fallen in love and married peggy shipman. it goes on for 16 months this. portrait to the right is the only known proven portrait of
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benedict arnold from life. all of the other portraits are based off of this one or are simply fakes, not of actually benedict arnold. it was done by a french portrait painter whil i was military governor in philadelphia. washington is with hamilton and knox and others at the hartford conference in downtown hartford conferring for three days with french general row sham bow and his retinue. this is september of 1780. it is the same stretch of time, those three days. around 21st, 22nd, 23nd, the same, 22nd is when alexander hamilton, benedict arnold rather, is meeting with john andre, aka john anderson, and they are meeting just south of west point. it is on the same day. uncanny timing. after that conference in hartford, washington is returning with hamilton and lafayette and others back to
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west point to meet with hamilton -- i mean, arnold rather to go over the fortifications at west point. arnold is absent. he's gone. washington is trying to figure out why isn't he here expecting the earth works with me? something is amiss. now, it is very clear that arnold has already decided he is going to escape on the apartmently named hms vulture. a great one for a trader. and hamilton decides immediately the quick thinking officer that he is that he must prepare the amy for a possible counter-attack. first he attempts to camture arnold himself. he jumps on horseback with the aforementioned james mchenry and they gallop at top speed down the east bank for 12 miles along the hudson to verplanks bury. vs low a hapless mission. they don't capture arnold. right after that he writes of this team to george washington, his boss, and he tells him he is also planning on riding momentarily to general green and colonel megs. he does just that. he writes to general green
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encamped at tackan new york 30 miles south of west point and also to colonel megs and if they could both quickly respond to the area that will save not only west point but george washington and the rest of headquarters. here is the letter to green. quote, there has been unfold of theled at this place a scene of treason. arnold has fled. i came here in pursuit of arnold was too late. i advise you putting the amy under marching orders and detajjing a brigade immediately this way. quite dramatic. hamilton in fetching peggy shipman and john andre, a charming man and a charming women. peg peggy shipman was the paris hilton or kardashian of her day. she was quite the dashing figure. she had her own crush on the
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fetching john andre, a man of many talents. he could sing, he could das, he could write poetry, he could spy for the british. he drew her in what you are seeing there as what the kiddies with would call now a selfie. she would keep lock of john and andre's hair for the rest of her life. after she dies it is found in one of her drawers. they are voging to keep an eye on john andre. they are charmed by the amazing personal of john andre. he pleas through them the washington, would you please shoot me with a volley of execution fire rather than hang me as a spy? and of course that team fails. and he is indeed hung. but you can tell in the writing of both hamilton and talmadge that they were touched by their time with andre and his having to be hung which was payback for
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the hanging of nathan hale years earlier. i have to mention when hamilton and washington were here it was two long visits of about a monday each, july of 1780 and october of 1780. i mentionet now so you can think about how washington and hamilton were responding still to the aftershock from around's treason when we were here the second time. if these walls could talk. here's july of 1781. it's the final turning point. alexander hamilton gotten married december 1th to the fetching elizabeth aka betsy schuyler up in albany at her dad's beautiful mansion there. a beautiful mansion like this one. and seven months later, july 31stex hamilton finally gets a field command. washington's orders, quote, the light companies of first and second regiments of new york will form a battalion under command of lieutenant colonel hamilton and major fish. after forming aof the battalion
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lieutenant colonel hamilton will join the advance corps under scammel. hamilton is so happy. there are going to be four light infountainry commanders. we know what hamilton looks like. he works with the aforementioned john lawrence in this bejewelled frame on the left. in the center is colonel alexander scammel of new hampshire. and on the right is lieutenant colonel ab kneeser huntington of norwich, connecticut, whose house we own. the complication here is that alexander scammel in the middle is the highest ranking officer killed during the siege of yorktown. he is unfortunately killed in a surprise attack. he is shot in the back, mortally wounded, wun up dying in williamsburg and writes in his dying words to huntington to take over the light infantry battalion or regiment. the three of them knew each
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other other well. the twist of fate i suppose for hero. i is that hunting ton decides he would instead like to serve benjamin lincolns the second ranking general. alexander hamilton will then be asked with helping lead -- he is going lead but he is helping the general assault, redoubt nine and ten. the french will take theirs, hamilton is tasked with receiptout ten. it is going to take a little while. that's the plan. it only sakes six minutes because hamilton decides we are not going to wait for the miners and sappers to clear the space safely for us to stream through as light infantry with our bayonets and sabers. no shots fired. bayonets and sabers. it is a nighttime attack just after sunset. here's one painting on the
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right. that's how he actually would have been dressed that evening on the left. here's another alternate view which shows the energy of what it would be like. it is interesting as an reenactor i have stormed a readout. it is interesting to do, each when you are doing it fake, without real gunfire. then we have the famous paymenting of john trumible by john cornwell of the surrender at yorktown. there is three versions of this painting. they just get bigger and bigger as they get recreated. and in that particular painting i would show on the right are ebenezer huntington who is on horseback. scammel cannot be portrayed because he had already been killed. then john lawrence and alexander hamilton. i will briefly point them out here on the right. right here. huntington is up there, hamilton and lawrence are up there. i am going to wipe my brow
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because of all the sweat. i am not reflecting too much. i don't want to will be like the bejeweled john lawrence with his diamonds. i pale in comparison. so alexander hamilton doesn't get enough credit. the patriots win, the brsh are defeated. yorktown is not the actual end of the war. we wouldn't have anticipated that but that's how it turned out to be in terms of major battles. now let's turn to 1790. we know that hamilton has been working as treasury secretary. he also found the u.s. revenue cutter service. he is considered the father of the u.s. coast guard. i go there every graduation to give an award right there on that spot, right there. and i was there for the unveiling of this beautiful sculpture by benjamin convictor. it was donated by the class of 1963 last fall. that is the appropriately named hamilton hall. that's the main administration hall at the coast guard academy
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in new london, connecticut. there is a painting inside hamilton hall. that is of him running the revenue cutter service. you can see an early u.s. flag in the background. a cutter, full sail, and a light house. that's why this chinese painter, june jiang. at the time, there was a cutter named after alexander scammel. on the left. the one on the right, then what we could consider the seal for the cutter service. always ready is the motto for the coast guard. tied in with that is u.s. customs. the collecting of taxes and import duties along with the revenue cutter service intersecting privateers and so forth. around this time, 1789, washington had become president. he asked his friend who had been
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at the battle of monmouth with him and others, huntington to serve as port of customs collector at new london, which also included not just the thames river of southeastern connecticut but the connecticut river itself. that is a lot of commerce. here is light house there that still stands were that era. it was built around 1800. and there are many bers between huntington and hamilton dealing with while oil for the light house lamps and so forth. then there is a quasi war with france. mane of you have not heard of it. it takes place 1798 into '99. it begins in may of 1798 when a french privateer off the coast of new york harbor captures several american vessels. that's embarrassing. hamilton ever offering opinions is quoted this is too much humiliation after all that has passed he says in a letter to his friend and former fellow aide secretary of war, james
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mchenry. there is a major problem. john adams realizes he has a potential military crisis on his hands. there is shots fired in open ocean on the atlantic. he needs a military commander. he goes to george washington by letter, would you please return to military service. you know george washington was the only one who ever did this, the only president. commander in chief, then president, and then back to running the u.s. military. that has never happened before. and washington says yes but on one condition. hamilton would be my second in command. i am not taking field command. he will. john adams is incredulous. he says how dare you make such an imposition on me. that's preposterous. and it takes many weeks for adams to eventually calm down and realize okay if i am going to get washington out of this deal, i have to put my personal agenda aside and my personal feelings about hamilton aside and recognize that i must put up
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with major general alexander hamilton as part of the deal. here's a quote from onadams as to hamilton's influence at this time. late 1790s quote, such was the influence of mr. hamilton in congress that without any recommendation for the president, that meaning himself, adams, they, congress, passed a bill to raise an army. that's from page 553 of of course, ron chernow's seminole engrossing biography of hamilton. i have to say, chernow does the best job of going through of course hamilton's litter military is. and adams is incredulous. you have to keep in mind hamilton severed as a congressman from the state of new york already at that point before becoming treasury secretary. here's a letter to george washington from hamilton in which he is negotiating about how he will take this role on as major general. quote, if you command, washington, the place in which
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i, hamilton, should hope to be most useful is that of inspector general with a command in the lines. he wants that field command. and washington, trustily was done with doing field command at 66 years old. he wanted it to go to hamilton. this i would accept. it includes the rank and pay of a major general. the other generals who were going to serve in the war were incredulous. they were in shock as adam. i am going to be answ general bi have to serve under hamilton? again, a testament to how high hamilton had climbed and deservedly so in the eyes of former president george washington. here's hamilton's letter around that same time, we are talking late 1791 to olive woll cot jr. of connecticut who succeeded him as treasury secretary. hamilton says u.s. should boost taxes. by the way, while you are
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preparing for war, take out a lorge loan, finally, quote, establish an academy for naval and military instruction. wow. that's a lot. okay. woll cot has got his hands full. around the same time, speaking of people who were jockeying for position. aaron burr, aaron burr wanted to be a brigadier general. he is applicationing for position, playing tutsi with the politicians. problem was he had already been so critical of george washington that that effort did peter out. there is portrait of major general hamilton that is not well-known. we don't know who the artist was. we don't know when it was painted, even who decade. he does have a federal era uniform on with a high color. it is u.s. army. we don't know what the medal is on his lapel. it was donated around 196 by john lawrence hamilton who went by lorry hamilton and it hangs
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at cincinnati heads in washed. otherwise known as anderson house. one man not known as much as jackieing for positions is ep knees ear hunting ton, who writes to his friend alexander hamilton and successfully receives an appointment from john adams to serve as a brigadier general in the war. this is a painting again by john trumible. there are two of these. one at princeton art museum here in new jersey. and also one down at anderson house in d.c. there are five key weeks in philadelphia, probably spent at the famous city tavern, i would imagine, and alcohol may have been involved. november and december of 1798. generals washington and hamilton will meet with general charles pinckney. they needed a good federalist who had military experience from the south because they were afraid that the french might attack the south, savanna or charleston. he comes up from charleston for
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this meeting along with secretary of war, james mchenry. they will converse there for five weeks and hamilton breaks out detailed charts for regiments. he detailed out how everything is going to work with platoons and companies and regiments and battalions. it is very organized. it shows how obsessive compulsive he was for uniform details on uniforms and solars huts. he was a bit of an amateur architect perhaps. after the five weeks are over in philadelphia hamilton then will return to his office at 36 greenwich vita in manhattan. he is basically trying to operate the u.s. army from that office space. there is an enchampment not all too far from here, the only one we are aware of that has been documented, that is scotch plains new jersey. it is the site picked by new jersey's own -- this was an officer from elizabeth, just like all the others i mentioned like bud know and dayton.
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that's aaron ogden. he served as a colonel during the revolution. he picked this spot probably because of it is heights. 2,000 soldiers were encamped there. and hamilton does review the troops sometime in the fall of 1799. as woe begin e begin to wrap itf the things that gets overlooked is hmm's membership in the society cincinnati. this is the so-called diamond eagle, a gift to general washington, d.c. it was presented from officers of the french navy in march of '74 at the tachb there in philadelphia. that was their first try enial, first meeting every three years. it has some 200 diamonds and other jewels that make it up. and of course upon his death, sometime after, betsy sky letter -- i'm sorry, martha
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washington, the widow l send the medal to alexander hamilton for his safekeeping because he is now the second at that point governor -- i mean president general of the society. and for many, many decades it has been owned by the society of cincinnati and is housed very safely in a vault at anderson house in d.c. beautiful piece. i enon a very poignant note, the last letters between george washington and alexander hmm. obviously george doesn't know he is about the die. and as the -- my father-in-law was a graduate of west point class of '56 and i give an award every graduation at west point this is poignant, these letters, and they involve the creation of a military academy that hamilton is suggesting. he writes to washington from november november 28th. sir enclosed is a copy of a letter which i have written to secretary of war james mchenry
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on the subject of a military academy. washington will then reply on december 12th. he will die two days later. he writes to hamilton sir i have duly received your letter of the 28th, enclosing a copy of what you had written to the secretary of war on the subject of a military academy. the establishment of an institution of this kind upon a respectable and extensive basis has ever been considered by me as an object of primary importance to this country. while i was in the chair of government, meaning president i omitted no proper opportunity of recommending it in my public speeches and other ways to the attention of the legislature but i never undertook to go into the detail of organization of such an academy leaving this task to others whose pursuits in science and the arrangements of such institutions had better qualified them for the excould you tell accusi-- qualified the
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the execution of it. your letter to the secretary will prevail upon the legislature to place it upon a personal inmemanent and respecte confusing. i am, s -- that's the end. >> so we are going to do a q and a, but i wanted to announce -- you can see all the equipment here, that we have c-span taping this event. so if you want to have a question, we are going to have a mic brought to you so that they can capture what you are saying. okay. >> thank you, kelly. >> questions? anybody? >> including from the flanks. i didn't pay wade to ask the first question. >> damien, i am curious, i
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believe one of your slides depicted a private home that was used as headquarters, military headquarters at one point. >> yes. >> your well familiar with the ford mansion in morsetown, washington's headquarters. >> yes. >> did general washington solicit homeowners to use these facilities that were their private dwellings as military headquarters or did you just walk in and say i am taking over, you are over here and i am over here. >> it was a blend of the two. i am not an expert on that dynamic but i understand that depending on the nature of the time of year and who owned it sometimes he was already acquainted with the own e sometimes it was an advanced solicitation. other time it is a quick convincing, yeah. i really don't know the details to answer it. yeah. sno okay. from the greens right flank. david cowen. >> did you give any consideration in 17894 with the
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whiskey rebellion when washington leaves office and hamilton goes as well. is there any evidence of what they were doing military during that that fits into your lecture? >> it crossed my mind briefly that i should mention. we are talking about the whiskey rebellion which is then brewing -- i should say distilling whiskey out in ohio territory. america always had an independent spirit. they were rebelling that they would have to pay some kind of tax. hamilton had no problem putting taxes on people because he felt it was the only way we could build ourselves as a country's testimony foundation and ensure independence and standing in the united states. on the military side we have an illustration of this, a beautiful painting that hangs in the metropolitan museum of art. it shows george washington going out at a later age and it is washington inspecting the troops at fort couple better lane. i believe hamilton is also in uniform in tow with perhaps james mchenry or henry knox.
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i really wasn't sure how i could incorporate it all so i left it out. you can read about it in both newton and chernow and others. but it shows -- it is part of the whole theme that the federal government is going the use the military to back up the strength that they are trying to exert with its citizens. okay? it is a federalization model, something that someone like jefferson would have abhorred as a political opponent. other questions? there must be more. it is alexander hamilton. >> was lawrence hamilton realitied to alexander hamilton? and was he -- related to alexander hamilton and was he a commander in the great lakes in the war of 1812? >> i never looked into that. i know there are several desc d descendants of hamilton who took on great roles in the military. it is incredible when you read
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on this. but for that particular war of 1812 weld have to look it up or ask a descendant. >> i may be deputies here but what did washington die of? >> he had gone out on his horse that day on his planttation in mount vernon. it was a cold rainy day. he got sick from the wet clothing. what do you do in 179 when you get cold and get sick and have a doctor? they bring in leeches and do blood letting. that's not going to make you better. it accesser bait his what probably would have been a preventable cold with something simple in its day. tragic. how symbolic isn't it that he dies at the very end of that sentry. i have an an cess for, private hitchcock, he wrote in his memoirs the day that the news arrived of washington's dead. he said, my goodness -- i am
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paraphrasing what shock we are all in, we all loved the founder of this country, it brings tears to my eyes. historians will use words that i cannot. it is wonderful 200 years later to be able to do that as a historian. thank you everyone, for your rapt attention. it is wonderful to be here. [ applause ] you are watching a special edition of american history tv during the week while members of congress are in there are districts due to the coronavirus pandemic. american history tv's real america series looks at history through archival films. today the focus is health initiatives beginning with m.d. international that highlights american doctors working at health clpgs and hospitals abroad and includes an sbruks by vice president richard nixon. that's tonight at 8:00 eastern.
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american history tv, now and over the weekend on c-span3. every saturday night, american history tv takes you to college classrooms around the country for lectures in history. >> why do you all know who lizzie borden is? raise your hand if you had ever heard of this murder, the gene harris murder trial before this class. >> the deepest cause where we will find the true meaning of the revolution was in this transformation that took place in the minds of the american people. >> we are going to talk about both of these sides of the story here, right, the tools, the techniques of slave owner power. we will also talk about the tools and techniques of power that were practiced by enslaved people. >> watch history professors lead discussions with their students on topic ranging from the american revolution to september 11th, lectures in history, on c-span3, every saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv. and lectures in history is
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available as a podcast. find it where you listen to podcasts. >> up next on american history tv. historian h.w. brands talks about his biography of aaron burr, the new york politician and vice president who is most remembered for killing former treasury secretary alexander hamilton in a duel in 18 04. mr. brands presented a collection of letters between mr. burr and his daughter that redown his political rise and down fall. it was regarded at the freer gallery of art in washington, d.c. in 2012. >> thank you for having me back. i am delighted to speak here. i always like to speak in washington where the audiences are well informed and engage. having just finished teaching a semester, and for the year at the university of texas, i am always delighted to speak to an audience of people who don't have to be here. there will be no test. i say this


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