tv Alexander Hamiltons Military Career CSPAN August 3, 2021 3:13pm-4:24pm EDT
being willing to do this experiment. i was very worried about this because i will totally confess when i speak i very much engage with the audience and i like making people laugh and i was very nervous about this because no one will be laughing or they will be but i won't know, but the point is i get just as excite as i always do even without the audience there so i learned something, too, but real thank you for what you do. thank you for caring about what you do. i'm applauding you guys. >> and they are -- if you get a chance to look at the chat box afterwards and we can share this with you later, they are applauding you as well. we're bringing you american history tv all this week on c-span3. wednesday morning starting at 8:00 a.m. eastern, a look into the history of aviation. historians discussion world war i and world war ii fighter pilots, the wright brothers and the first military airplane. watch wednesday beginning just at 8:00 a.m. eastern here on
c-span3. next on american history tv, historian damien cregeau talks about alexander hamilton's military career and his relationship with george washington. the dey mansion, the site of washington's 1778 headquarters hosted this event. >> welcome to the dey mansion, washington's headquarters. the i'm so happy that all of you are here and joining us today for this program. if you have not been here before, definitely after the lecture tailed, please stay and take a tour with our staff, and just of 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 cove, 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, 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 and then you have myself, so i am the director of the department of cultural and historical affairs for the county and by de facto i'm director of this site. we, again, are fortunate enough to have guest speaker and historian damien cregeau to share his knowledge expertise on alexander hamilton and his rise to military fame and glory. so mr. cregeau graduated from hillsdale college with a bachelors degree in history and from colorado state university with a masters degree in history. mr. cregeau has been an independent historian researching, writing and given presentations 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 sooerng the journal of the u.s. marine corps as well as the american spirit, financial history and "the journal of the american revolution." he's given presentations on espionage and the revolution to such groups as the north jersey revolutionary group in morristown and has been here before in 2017 with another wonderful presentation. the summit old guard, the francis tavern museum in atlantic city and the fbi's new york office. the mr. cregeau is a longtime resident of southern new jersey. he and his wife who is here today in the front, longtime re-enactors and they 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 home in succession so without further adieu, damien
cregeau. >> thank you. >> wonderful to have all of you here todayism was joking earlier we have our flanking maneuvers, left and right flank in our adjoining rooms, much like the battle of monmouth, so wonderful to have everyone packed into 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 poet a longtime re-enactor. you can see me there dressed as an officer, a captain in the u.s. army with the epaulet there on my shoulder. i have re-enacted at the battle of monmouth three times in sweltering heat like today, and there i am speaking twice for the alexander hamilton awareness society of which i'm a member. i've spoken twice at alexander hamilton's grave which, of course, is a 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 indefnlts i wrote an article called "the six degrees of alexander hamilton and the huntingtons of norwich." and it's because my wife and i own the jedi huntington house. there's his portrait based by john trumble. jeddah's enslet on the right which went to auction a year ago. we attended the auction because we were looking at something else. we got blown out of the water. $26,000 for a pair of epaulets. we were like okay. . the hamilton that we know. there's so little that we know. there's so much that we focus on his accomplishments at treasury
secretary, for the infamous duel. it's kind of like the titanic. we know how the story ends. he's going to be killed by aaron burr and then a few other things, you know. these so-called rumors about scandals and so forth, and a little bit about his military accomplishments so that's what we're focusing on today because that's what we do not know. here'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. he was there for three weeks as a very talented artist during the siege of boston. this was a portrait, of course, used for the $10 bill but there's a lot more to him than just that head, isn't there, there's the entire full length pore trail the which oddly sits in new york city city hall and my wife and i have had the permission from city hall to reproduce and hang in our house and i hope that that's what you take away from today is an amazing appreciation for all the incredible accomplishments of
alexander hamilton in his varied roles as military commander, not just as an aide to washington. that's a heavy portion of it, but you'll see a lot more than that. starts out at a captain, and then he's late every lieutenant colonel. and this is probably i would say one of the 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. there's one problem. he's not dressed as an artillery officer. this is a re-enactor and scholar of revolution, that head is the head of light infantry officer in yorktown in the late war. similar his uniform is very similar to the one he was wearing when he was in the artillery. this is the portrait you probably have not seen. how many. 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 expect. 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, starts out as an artillery overs and becomes an incredibly famous military leader, and that, of course, is napoleon bonaparte so there's an interesting comparison that you can make between those two which i like to do as a military historian. it was the quickest way that you could rise in the military ranks. it's 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 into military career? i 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 that's hard to find in color. it's alexander hamilton, we think. it's a tribute attributed to him. we have no proof. there's little provenance of that. we also don't know who the painter is. it's just simply attributed to hamilton as the subject, of
course, as a teenager born on navis 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. rachel was a very bright woman who in her day was quite rare. had quite a large collection of books, so you should beware of what anans operation she was to him and his learning. he became a bookworm like her. on the slight much more documented painting by charles wilson peele that my wife and i held. it's at the columbia rare books library, and they no longer show that because of the popular -- popularity of the musical. you know longer have the access that the 12 of us were lucky enough to have a decade ago but it was wonderful to get to see that and hold their wedding rings and other items, but just so you know that's where the personal items are located and they are prenchlts i thought maybe some of these guys might show up today. some friends mine run an organization called the hearts of oak. this was alexander hamilton's
first military organization. started out known as the course gans, interesting link again to napoleon if you know your napoleonic history. gets renamed the hearts of oak and on the cap it says liberty or death. beautiful, unusual, bright green uniforms, and as you notice from the photo on the right they have been here to the dey mansion. this is from their facebook page. they have also been, as you see from the center photo, at the grange there. hamilton's estate there, of course, in upper manhattan. where did the alexander hamilton train his hearts of oak new york 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 with headstone. that church has been there quite a long time. there were plenty of headstones already made of stop and wood in the 1770s, but that's where they trade. if you have not been there i highly encourage you do. it's the site of the first memorial to a fallen general in
u.s. history and that's 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 elap rat memorial put up for him here 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 hill on baird's hill in lower manhattan april of 1776. 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. baird's hill, i'll point it out on a map momentarily, is the highest point at that point in lower manhattan. if you know about the manhatta
project years ago, manhattan's contours have changed over times so we've lost our hills and dales substantially so you wouldn't know where baird's hill is now, but i'll show it to you on a map in a minute. one thing we do know that is well dock you'lled is that alexander hamilton's artillery unit does fire on two british ships. they are the hms "phoenix" and hms "rose" and this occurred on july 12th, 1776 so we're talking just a week after the declaration of independence has been read by washington's adujent. the "hms rose" was used in rhett filming of "master and commander." hamilton and burr, 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 ville am. bloomingdale was a separate res depgs area, so manhattan was just that little tip. new york city rather. we just don't have substantial proof of it, okay, and this wonderful high-resolution map, which i wish hi time to blow up does show the location of barreled's hill which is right there. that was the ft. bunker hill that was used by alexander hamilton and his artillery. now, another question comes up. was hamilton in the battle of white plains? probably not. thanks to the scholarship of my friend michael newton who is also speaking today at another location, michael is a scholar of alexander hamilton and has written not one but two books on hamilton. hamilton the formative years and discovering hamilton, and what michael has been able to demonstrate with primary source evidence is that 9/so of the artillery were not at the battle
of white plains, so there's a nine out of step chance then that hamilton was not there, and furthermore, neither henry knox, his commander nor george washington who mentioned hamilton or his unit by name, okay? now this we do know for sure. hamilton first full-fledged compart. he's not just shooting at two ships in the risk you know, and a can no explodes near him later. this is full combat now, and as the grandson of an artillery officer at gauda canal. my grandfather was a career marine, i can appreciate how traumatic this must have been. he was at rutgers. this is brunswick, new jersey, the queens college campus. wasn't known at rutgers just like columbia was formerly known as king's college. my charming wife here graduated from rutgers so it's a nice tlink have and it was during the reunion that i saw this
beautiful plaque here on the campus from the class of 1999, early december 1776, alexander hamilton, not a graduate of king's college as the sign said, had a battery of horse artillery and crossed the fort of the rareton delaying the advance of the british across the river while washington jrue through trenton. that's true. there are multiial eyewitness reports saying hamilton's artillery unit delivered withering fire that dramatically slowed down the advance of the british forces there right where my wife rode every morning with the rutgers crew. we're just west of patterson falls where he worked of that, of course. washington cross the delaware famous scene by emanuel lutz, christmas night december 25th into the morning of the 26th, a large life-sized painting, but here's a realistic one that came
out much more recently by mort counsellor in 2011 and debuted at the new york historical society. can you see it was at nighttime. it was a different kind of craft. there's a cannon. maybe it's hamilton's, and so on and so forth. not good weather. similarly another painting by connecticut's own don troiani, one of the last paintings that he did, victory or death, and it was hamilton and washington and others including the future president james monroe, also an artillery overs under knox for the battle of trenton, and there they are in the early morning light tredging through the ice and snow. you can imagine how cold they must have felt. lambton's artillery was indead at both battles of trenton. what do i mean? we hear of the battle of trenton. what do i mean, patles with an "s" just like there were two battles of stoga. there were two battles of trenton. the second one is not as famous. it's known as the battle of acid
pink creek and i'm showing that in a sketch, unfortunately not a color drawing, that couldn't be found, there on the right and it's well document that had hamilton, much like he did at brunswick over the rareton river uses his cannon fire to deliver withering fire on the british at addison pink creek and this gets overshadowed by the surprise attack at trenton a few days later as well as second surprise attack which is the u.s. army at princeton. the problem is, yes, hamilton's artillery is someone in the battle of princeton. we just don't know exactly where, and there's no evidence whatsoever for the lofty legend but it tells a great story, that he fires a cannon 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. now, this is true. there were offers not from one
or two but actually three very well-known generals in the american revolution at the time. the one on the left is the one you may not have heard it, but many of you are from new jersey so hopefully you have. it's general william alexander, aka lord sterling who is buried just 75 feet from action ter hamilton at trinity church. he wasn't even marked. i mean, he has the family of stone there, but it's my friend john resto who followed up my suggestions to put u.s. flags there so 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 as battle of monmouth. and he lived not far from here. he had the hugest tate and one of the reasons we don't remember shim that his house burned down but we have the beautiful state park interest, so hamilton receives an offer from lord sterling. come be my aide. he receives an offer from nathaniel green, the fighting quaker from rhode island, come be my aide. each time hamilton amazingly 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 the battlefield, and, of course, we know, much like the tiantic story, that it's going to end with yorktown. 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 about it over. like a good attorney. he becomes an attorney later and he says i'll wait on those. let's sleep for a few weeks and think it over and finally says yes. markton made the offer in 1777 and invited him to headquarters for a dinner and 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 decamp to the commander in chief and is to be respected and obeyed as such. alexander, adujen general, you'll hear later about scammel during the siege of yorktown. you can find transcriptions like this letter on the library of congress' website. there's the collection in the washington papers, housed by the library of congress and -- and the transcriptionles are at foundersarchives.oregon. now a lot of authors will say this is all happening when hamilton is 22 years old. he's actually 20. michael newton and other scholars have been able to prove that alexander hamilton was not born in '55. he was bon in 1877. he was 0 years old. think about your grandchildren and yourselves when you were 20. were you helping washington and his chief of snaf could you have risen in battles as many times as he did? he's his younger aide du camp. notice later on the screen, 19th
aide du camp, a turnover 362. a wonderful book by a local author named arthur lefkowicz. recommend it. hamilton serves as aide to washington from 1977 to april of 1881. it's four years. that's quite a stretch. a very colorful stretch filled with frustrations and all kinds of peaks and valleys. so, washington at that point in winter of 1777 has headquarters set up not far from here at jacob arnold's tavern on the green, not the famous tavern on the green, but arnold's tavern on the green in morristown and there's a sign there for it as you probably know if you've been there, and, unfortunately, the arnold's tavern burned down in 19will 18, a 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's distinguishing between a secretary and an aide an aide might have more varied actickets like reconnaissance missions and so forth and the secretary will stay back at headquarters including here at dey mansion that we'll talk about, and that's probably how the labor was split up. most of them at times was search. can you imagine seven sleeping or even sitting in the same room on a hot day like today or the cold times. splust been an incredible challenge for all of them the tip cam task as i mentioned was writing and copying letters for washington. copious is an understatement. copious amounts of writing of letters and they were often dictated by washington to his aides, including hamilton. now, i just stoop here for a little refresher. you have some aides to his excellency george washington who he was particularly fond of and someone who basically became an
honorary stepson and the three aides would be alexander hamilton, david hum frifs derby, connecticut there in the center later in life and on the right a examines it of george washington, mar queal delafayette and tillman. tillman is the third of those three aides that he was very close with. tillman is the one you least likely have heard of. he was incredible, talented man and unfortunately, from maryland. unfortunately, he died in 1786. he died quite young and that is very unfortunate. here's as blowup of that painting by charles wilson peele that hangs at the maryland statehouse in annapolis, washington, lafayette and littleman. now, another interesting thing, speaking of triptiks are the three officers standing on more ustown green be and we're talk, of course, about this statue not put up long ago on this green and it represents lafayette standing on the left. the 5'7" ham top 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 overlooked is action ter ham top's provisions mission into philadelphia. this is quite interesting, and it gets overshadowed by battlefield actions a, 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 wintering encamp president and valley forge. late september 1777 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 that you can think of food basically, clothing and blankets in the city of philadelphia. why? because they know they are going to lose the city to british. they have decided they are not going to put a fight at 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 mash and eventually valley forge and receive the supplies there. and what's key in hamilton's handling of this special operation is his discretion as to who he will take these supplies from. he didn'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 family who is a strong patriot rather than a loyalist and you're planning on evacuating what little you can put on a 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 in which i think we get overshadowed in later life supposed scandals, many of which were refuted to not realize how kind hearted a man, a gentleman hamilton was. and this mission, as you can figure out obviously, really help the state of the continental army during the winter encampment. particularly the blankets.
>> another mission that gets overshouldo, the emissary trip. he's sent as the official representative of george washington in late fall of 1777. he will serve as washington's proxy. leave the philadelphia region and go all the way up. it's going to take him weeks to get there, but washington needs his three brigades back. he had lent three brigades to horacio gates to fight in the saratoga campaign in upstate new york earlier that year. washington needs them back and he would like to have among them daniel morgan egriflemen. this mission will take a while. it takes most of november and into december. when hamilton meets gates it's in albany. gates is not up at saratoga at that point because the battle is over. he's glowing in the aftermath of the victory, and one of the challenges that hamilton, of course, len counter 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 sand 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 george washington for that matter? no. not at all. so much like some of the politics that we all witness or participate in modern times there's poll nicks that time around the military, and alexander hamilton's first attempts are fruitless. they are -- 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 patterson's brigade and says it's way under strength. he does detective work and finds out that patterson's brigade has been wiped out at stoga. that's not even a full-strength brigade. he's duping me and conning me so he puts in both writing as an
in-person face-to-face heated exchanges to gates who finally relents after weeks. he says fine. okay. i will finally relent to washington's demands and it shows how much trust that 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, old put, the hero of the french and indian war and the battle of bunker hill. he doesn't want to listen to alexander ham top either. at this point, you know, putnam is old enough to probably be his grandfather because put snm in his 60s. he says, no, i'm not giving up my soldiers. he'll, too, relent to hamilton's strong demands. hamilton knows when he has to turn the screws and really forcefully speak on behalf of george washington and so it's for that reason that i can have this quote from my friend michael newton who writes by granting hamilton discretion in his mission washington left the
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 2 of "the formative years." so, of course, george washington hadn't won at stoeg ark. in fact, he had basically lost at the battles of brand-yard line and germantown outside of philadelphia earlier that fall or the same time period. so at that point gates is getting all the rave success which he didn't deserve by the way. it should be sky lars, arnold's, morgan's, but gates will take the -- gates will take the fame. the rivals, the critics for washington including dr. benjamin rushing the famous doctor outside of philadelphia and many other powerful people like john adams, and these three individuals are seen as the three who had the ear of washington, and rush says i think that they are actually ruled by generals green, general knox and colonel hamilton. why do i want to mention the
three of them? look at how hamilton is only a 20-year-old aild and he's 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. we all know the general story of valley foreign. here is washington's headquarters at volume valley forge. it's the ilack potts who was a wealthy quaker who lived in philadelphia most of the time. this was his summer house so it has only one working fireplace in the main part of the house. built in 1773 and washington and his so-called family. his family were his aides and his secretaries, okay, not literally his boy logical family, but those who were living with him day in and day out from sunrise to sundown, working together, and they will live at isaac potts' house for quite some time, the longest of anywhere, december of '77 to june of 88, azize from the hasbrook house later in
newburgh, new york aten. it's adequate and cozy. you can see the fireplace and the panelling just like at dey map shon. it's a 16-foot room. everyone has to pack in there, and there are some events that 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, that carol. january 29th, 1778, he creates -- he composes a massive document of 16,000 words. that is quite -- quite a lot of writing. hamilton was verbose, both with his speech as well as his written word, and it detailed the necessary steps required by congress to completely reorganize the army. congress was in shambles. the army was in shambles. we've seen that in recent military hand political history. we have plenty of historic
precedent to draw from for that for inspiration. there were ideas contributed by many of the various generals including nathaniel green to create this blueprint and the wording is mostly by alexander hamilton. it's kind of a harbinger of all the work that he'll pour into all the other documents you can think of, most famously the federalist papers. there's a variety of tasks for ham top as an aide. a mini time-out here. correspondence with generals, of course, taking up most of the volume. you have all these up and two-star generals that are militia and continental army that washington is receiving and sending letters to. correspondence with congress, you know. you're talking about all of the presidents of congress starting with john hancock and then samuel huntington of connecticut and everyone else, john adams, john jay. there 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 the fact at up 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 that. that's along with the help of elias boudenow of elizabeth. there were diplomatic measures for hamilton to handle with france. both alexander hamilton and john lawrence, his good friend, were both fluent in french and for that reason they could be sent by washington in the middle of the war to meet withed a dirl destang when his fleet harbored or anchored i should say off the coast of new jersey. then there was my favorite top inning, the intelligence in the american war in which hamilton had to help george washington who was indeed the spymaster with handling all of the different generals and case officers and independent agents who are feeding him all kinds of intelligence. some good, some 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 us have heard of the benjamin talmage's spy ring that operate out of new york city and into long island and fairfield, connecticut. there was another one that was just as effective and interesting and that was right out of here in new jersey into staten island that was colonel dayton, modern day elizabeth into staten island. they at the same time were trying to call the same intelligence. what washington figured out is you need redundancy. what if one of the rings is compromised and can't send the information out punctually, okay? great quote by hamilton's former college roommate. quote the pen for our army was held by ham top. indeed. that's why we know so much of ham top's and washington's inner
thoughts during the revolution is because of the pen of hamilton. and washington is quoted in regards to hamilton as saying, quote, hamilton was his principal and most confidential aide. that pretty much says it all. continuing the though. spies. alexander hamston also not only burr eeld near lord sterile, major general william alexander at trinity church but also the famous spy herculez mulligan. may not be as famous as talmage but hamilton helped with the ring. hamilton and mulligan already knew each other from the manhattan days very early in hamilton's time when he was at king's clem. mulligan was a tailor, and it just so happened that, of course, as a tailor he would be improving or providing new uniforms for british leadership so that's a great eavesdropping opportunity to pick up information, and he's also housing, according to the troops, one of the things we
were rebelling against on july 4th of '76 was the quartering of troops and indeed his home where he and his wife lived at 23 keep street, thing st. france's tavern and also had officers from a regiment so he's able to receive information from that time as well. he talks about this in his 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 in a nearby marketplace 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 kulpa ring and the aforementioned dayton ring. it's also quite possible. we don't have strong proof but we have circumstantial proof that hercules mulligan didn't save washington's life once but twice and there's circumstantial evidence that you can read about and that i can recommend reading
later. washington also has hamilton assigned to help the baron von stuyven. stuyven can speak german but his second language is french so hamilton being french speakers, they whip this into shape famously so and during the drills in russianian interspersed with french curse word and other things and hamilton has to be judicious in how he translates. yes. von steuben was a bit of a hot head. had he done all the things he claimed he did back in prussia. probably not. was not a baron. indeed documented as a major in the prussian army but not like he was a two-star general. hamilton serves as translator and just as perform editor of the baron von steuben drill book
that historians and re-enactors love to study. there's the painting of him by the famous ralph earl after the american revolution. hamilton is also a translator for the famous marquis delafayette who as i said earlier was like a son to george washington. lafayette was such a young charming arrest kuralt that as the 19-year-old boy general washington took him upped his wing. he's also going to help hamilton, that is, with the lesser-nope general but who is as important as an army engineer and that's deportier. both of these are by charles wilson peele, very talented artist. now something that i like to study and i'm writing a scholarly article and it hardly gets talked about are washington's many councils of war and there are two in particular that are fascinating because of who is there. let's read through the list and
imagine them all crammed into isaac potts' living room. here we go. george washington, charles lee, nathaniel green, benedict arnold. remember, he's limping in because he's the military governor of philadelphia at the time, lord sterling, marquis delafayette. baron von steuben. a host of brigadier generals including henry knox, matt and the any wayne, jeddah donnington whose house we open and just mentionled du portier and that's quite a list and who is taking notes and makings suggestions off the record, alexander hamilton who himself will become a major general later in life. it's a who's who. that is the moment that i would pick if i had to go back in time in the american revolution. i wouldn't pick a battlefield. i would pick being in the room at that time just to think of who was in there. so they are meeting to figure out the strategy for the summer of 1778. are eventually, of course, it becomes what we famously know
here in new jersey as the battle of monmouth. alexander hamilton not well-known ride out in advance of the battle and is doing reconnaissance and is doing an advance intelligence operation on horseback for several days for both washington and lafayette. this is long before any encounters with charles lee on the battlefield, okay of several days, and it's very helpful in order to set up the place president of lee, lafayette and eventually washington. and, yes, in the famous confrontation between lee and washington, it was just prior to that that an altercation between hamilton and lee, and hamilton handled it pretty well as you're going to see here. he's incredulous. could not believe that lee would be retreating in some kind of disorganized fashion when he should actually be attacking the rear guard of the british force with its baggage train moving ever so slowly, crawling through the middle of nowhere new jersey at the time and ham top's quote of bravery was recounted by charles lee himself during his
trial weeks later. the quote from hamilton was, quote, i will stay other with you, my dear general and die with you. let us all die here rather than retreatment. that's a testament to hamilton's bravery and thinking on his feet as well as he's rallying the forces which was largely successful just as washington comes on to the scene. similarly we have another aide to washington, future secretary of war james mchenry writing to elias boudeneau, i'm happy to have in my power the merit to mention colonel ham tomorrow. he was successful during his endeavors, we don't know why this sis, but in reconorthing the enemy and rallying and cheering and whether he and colonel lawrence deserve our commendation is doubtful. both exhibited similar proofs of bravery. this is just another testament of hamilton's incredible bravery in battle.
here are two scenes that are fairly well known from the battle of monmouth. the one on the left more famous than the one on the right and the one on the right, of course, showing the altercation between lee and washington. something that's largely overlooked, and they could have been incredibly impactful. hamilton and lawrence's 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 al louvil blacks tone list in southern regiments in the u.s. army. there was a man mother short and and largely the population in the south was loyalists. much more uglier downp there than other. they both believed, ham top as well as lafayette, that of a cap americans were very bright and
very brave in battle. and yet, unfortunately, it fell on deaf ears. congress just would not do it. some of the congressmen were in fact slave-owning plantation openers from the south like john lawrence's own father henry. now we can get into date op's ring for one minute. so this is colonel dayton who later becomes one of the last colonels promoted to brigadier general during wartime and his communications to hamilton, and there was a key one on july 21st of 1780. on that date that dayton information washington of a british fleet that's leaving new york city and heading towards new port via long island sound. just one problem. george washington is absent. he's out on an errand of some sort. lafayette gets the letter and realizes i must immediately dispatch this news to lafayette would was in connecticut. to get it to him was enough of a challenge and then lafayette
those get it from there over to rhode island, a complicated operation and it works economically enough and they were able to warn the french. by the way, the british do not wind up attacking new port. they decide to call it off for whatever reap. maybe they were tipped off that the americans now. we just don't know. often the culla spy ripping is given credit for warping the french but that's not the case because their jens came in two days later, same intelligence that the brit wish reaching but it wasn't as punctual as the announcement in dayton's. now the infamous black as betweenon of benedict arnold. major general benedict arnold is, of course, of connecticut, born in for one of, lives as a wealthy merchant in new haven, and he is beginning his communication, one of the common misunderstandings is that his trader's activities are all confined to september of 1780. that is not the case. it actually had about going on
for 16 months beginning in may of '79 which is just a month after arnold had fallen in love happen married peg e of benedict arnold from life. all the other ones you've is only are bayled off of this with offer are fakes, not actually pep ticket around, and washington is but the lafayette, hamilton, henry knox and others at the hardford house conferring for three days were rochembeau. it's three days of time. the 22nd is when alexander hamilton, pep dict arnold rather, is meeting with john andre, aka john anderson and
they are meeting just south of west point. it's on the same day. uncanny timing. after that conference in hartford, washington is returning with hamilton and washington and others back to west point to meet with arnold 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 exploring the earthworks with me? something is amiss. it's already clear that arnold is going to escape on the aptly named "hms vulture." a great one for traitor and hamilton decide, the quick-thinking army that he must prepare the army for a possible counterattack. first he plans to capture armond himself. he jumps on horseback with the aforementioned james mchenry and goal crop down the east back down the hudson to verplank's
ferry. obviously that's a hapless mission. they do not capture arnold, but right after that he writes of this attempt to george washington, his boss, and he tells him he's also planning on writing momentarily to general green and colonel megs. he write to general green enxampd in new york 30 miles south of west point and also to colonel return megs, healed of the light infantry area and if they respond in the area that will save west point and george washington and the rest of the headquarters. here is the letter to green. it's just been unfolded at this place the scene of blackest treason. arnold has fled to the enemy. andre the british adujent general is in our possession as a spy. i came here in pursuit of arnold but was too late. i advise you putting the army under marching orders and detaching the brigade immediately this way. quite dramatic. hamilton and the fetching peg el
shippen and john andre, a charming man and a charming woman. pepgy was the paris hilton or kardashian of the day. quite the dashing if you go and. john allen could sing and write and spy for the british and drew here as you're seeing there and as the ciddies would say now with a selfie the night before he is hung. he's a very bright map. she will keep a lock of his hair, john andre's hair the rest of her life in a drawer. it's found when she dies. well, what's the point of this? to talmage and ham top, both benjamin talmage and hamilton are tasked with having to keep an eye on john andre and they are both very impressed and both charmed by the amazing personality of john andre. he pleads through them through washington. were you please shoot me with a volley of execution fire rather
than hang me as a spy and, of course, that attempt fails, and he is indeed hung. you can tell in the writings of both hamilton and talmage that they were touched with their time with andrew and his having to be hang which was payback for the hanging of foughtan heal years earl ier. i have to mention when hamilton and washington when here was two long visits about a month each. july of 1780 and october of 1780. you mention it now so that you can think about how washington and hamilton were responding still to the aftershocks from arnold's treason when they were here the second time. if these walls could talk. here's july of 1781. it's the final turning point. alexander hamilton had gotten married december 14th to the fetching elizabeth aka betsy sky lar up in albany at her dad's beautiful mansion, beautiful brick man shofn like this one and seven months later july 31st
hamilton gets what he finally wanted for, a field command. washington's orders. quote, the light companies of the first and second regiments of new york will form a battalion under command of lieutenant colonel hamilton and major fish. after the formation of the battalion lieutenant colonel hamilton will join the advance corps under the orders of colonel scammel. hamilton is so happy. there are going to be four light infantry commanders that we need to briefly acquaint ourselves with. we already know what action ter hamilton looks like. he works with the aforementioned john lawrence in this beautiful bejeweled frame on the left. in the center is finally an illustration that have colonel alexander scammel of new hampshire and on the right is lieutenant colonel ebenezer huntington of norwich, connecticut whose house we own. now, the complication here is that alexander scammel in the anile is the highest ranking officer killed during the siege of yorktown. he's unfortunately killed in a
surprise attack. he's shot in the back and mortally wounded and winds up dying in williamsbrug and yutz to ebenezer huntington to take over the light infantry battalion or regiment. the three of them knew each other well and the unfortunate twist of fate i suppose for herecism that ebenezer huntington decides he instead would like to serve of the narcoleptic major general benjamin lincoln, the second ranking general as his aiptd du camp. alexander hamilton will then be tasked with leading -- he's going to lead and helping the general assault. readout 9 will be taken by the french and read 10 by the americans, adjacent to each other, 500 yards apart. weave been on that ground for 2925th an verse aas re-enactors. the french will take their and hamilton is tasked with readout so. it will take a while. that's the plan. it actually takes six minutes
because action ter hamilton says we're 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. bayonet and sabers, a nighttime attack just after sunset. one painting on right. that's how he would have actually been dressed that evening on the left. her's another alternate view which shows the energy of what this is like. it's quite interesting to do when you'll doing it are neighboring without real gun fire and then we have the famous painting by john trumble. there's three versions of this painting, up at yashlgs one that i'm showing and up at hart firsthand and the third at the u.s. capital rotunda. just jet bigger and bigger in that particular painting i would show on the fright.
skwamel cannot be portrayed because he was already killed and john lawrence and alexander ham top so i'm going to quickly point them out on on the right. huntington is up there and hamilton is there. i'm just going to wipe my brow because of all the sweat. by the way, i'm not reflecting too much. i don't want to look like the bejeweled john lawrence with his do i mondays. i pale in comparison. so alexander hamilton does not get enough credit. we all know how the war ends. the patriots win and the british are defeated. yorktown is not the actual end of the war. we couldn't have anticipated that, but that's how it an turned out to be on turns of major battles. now let's turn to 1790. we know that hamilton has already been working as treasury secretary. well, he also funds the u.s. revenue cutter service so he's considered the father of the u.s. koerks and go there every graduation to give a award right there on that spot, right there,
and the i was there for the unveiling of beautiful sculpture by benjamin victor and that's the appropriately named hamilton hall, the aptly named hall at the coast guard academy. there's a painting inside hamilton hall and that's him running the revenue-cutting service. you can see an early u.s. flag in the background. a cutter, full sail and a lighthouse, and that's by this chinese painter jang. some illustrations of the u.s. revenue cutter service at the time. there was one named after colonel alexander skakel. that's on the left. that ensign that you see in the painting that i've blown up and am showing you on the right and then what we could consider the seal for the revenue cutter service, semper paratis. always ready, 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 intercepting privateers and so forth and around this time, 1782, washington had just become president, he asked his old friend who had been at the battle of monmouth with him and hamilton and others, jeddah huntington to serve of as port of customs collector at new london which also included not just the thames river southeastern connecticut by the connecticut river itself. that is a lot of xhefrs and here is a lighthouse there that still stands from that era. it was built around 1800, and there are many letters between jeddah huntington and alexander hamilton dealing with whale oil for the lighthouse lamps and so forth. then there's this quasi-war with france. many of you have not heard of it. it takes place a little over a year. 1798 are into '99. it all begins in may of 1978 when a french privateer off the coast of new york harbor captures several american develops else.
that's embarrassing, so hamilton then, of course, is -- is ever offering his opinions and is quoted this is too much humiliation after all that has passed, he says in a letter to, of course, his friend and former fellow aide secretary of war james mchenry. there's a major problem. john adams realizes he has the potential military crisis on his hands. there's actually shots fired in open ocean on the atlantic. he needs a military commander. he goes to george washington by left. 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 and then president and then back to running the u.s. military. that's never happened before. and -- and washington says yes but on one condition. alexander hamilton must be my second in command. i'm not taking field command. he will. john ald afscme 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'm going to get washington out of this deal, i have to put my personal agenda aside and my personal folks about hamilton aside and recognize that i must put up with major general alexander hamilton as part of the deal. here's a quote from john adams as to hamilton's influence at this time, late 1790s. quote, such was the influence of mr. hamilton in congress that without writing a relegation for the president, that meaning himself adams, they, congress, passed a bill to raise an army, and that's from page 53, 553 of, of course, ron chernow's seminal engrossing biography of hamilton. i have to say chernow does the best job of going through, of course, hamilton's later military service, and adams is just incredulous. of course, you have to keep in mind that hamilton had served 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's negotiating about how he'll take this role on as major general. quote, if you command washington, the place in which i, hamilton, should hope to be most useful is that of inspector general with the command in the lines. he wants that field command, and -- and washington, trust me, was done at doing field command at 66 years old. he wanted it to go to ham tomorrow this. i would accept and it included the rank and pay of a major general. the other generals who were going to serve of in the war were incredulous. they were just as in shock as john adams. i'm going to be a general but i have to serve of under alexander hamilton? i'm henry knox, i was already a general in the american revolution. i have to serve of 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're talking late 1798 to oliver w olc ott jr. of connecticut who succeeded hamilton as treasury secretary. hamilton says to wolcott, u.s. should boost taxes, and by the way while you're preparing for war, take out a large loan and finally, quote, establish an academy for naval and military instruction. wow. that's a lot. okay. wolcott's got his hands full. around the same time, speaking of people who are jockeying for position, aaron burr, aaron burr wanted to be a brigadier general. he's politicking for position. he's playing footsie with the federalist. yeah, make i don't like the jeffsonnian republicans so much after all. yeah, i'd like to be a brigadier general. problem is he'd been so critical of george washington that that effort did peter out. there's a portrait of major general hamilton that's not well-nope. we don't know who the artist was. we don't know when it was painted, even what decade. he does have a federal era uniform on with a high collar. it's u.s. army.
we don't know what the medal is on his lapel. it was donated around 1960 by john lawrence hamilton who went by laurie hamilton and hangs at cincinnati headquarters in washington, d.c. otherwise known as anderson house. one general who is not mentioned nearly as mention as jock exfor position is the second owner of our house ebenezer, jeddah's younger brother, huntington who writes to alexander hamilton and rightfully receives an appointment to serve of as a brigadier general in the war. this is a painting again by john trumble. there are two of these. up 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 spend 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 pinkney. they needed a good federalist who had military experience from the south because they were afraid that the french might attack the south, whether it be savannah or charleston so he will come up from charleston for this meeting along with secretary of war james mchenry. they will converse there for five weeks, and hamilton breaks out these detailed charts for regiments and so forth. he's organized how everything is going to work with platoons and companies and regiments and battalions. it's -- it's very organized. it shows how obsessive compulsive hamilton was with detail, including designs for uniforms and even the soldiers' huts. okay. he was a little bit of an amateur architect perhaps, and after the five weeks are over in philadelphia, he'll then -- hamilton will then return to his office at 36 greenwich street in manhattan. he's basically trying to operate the u.s. army from that office space. there's be a encampment not too
far from here. the only one we're aware of that we're aware of is scotch plains, new jersey and a site picked by new jersey's own. this was an officer from elizabeth just like all the other ones i've mentioned like elias boudenou and elias dayton hand that's colonel ogden who served in the revolution and he picked this site probably because of its strategic heights on the plains with the mountains. about 2,000 soldiers wren camped there, and hamilton does review the troops sometime in the fall of 1799. as we begin to wrap it up, one of the other things that gets overlooked is alexander hamilton's membership in the society of cincinnati. the this is the so-called diamond eagle that was a gift to general washington. it was presented to officers of the french navy in march of 1784 at that beautiful city tavern in philadelphia that was there first tre enial. the first meeting every three years, and, of course, it was
owned by york washington until his death on december 14th. 1799 at mt. verne op. it has some 200 diamonds and other jewels that make it up and, of course, upon his death sometime after betsy skylar -- i'm sorry, martha washington, the widow, will 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 end on a very poignant note which is the last letters between george washington and alexander hamilton. obviously george washington doesn't know he's about to die, and as the -- as my father-in-law was a graduate of west point class of '56 and i give an award, the so-called sword award every graduation at west point, this is quite
poignant these letters, and they involve the creation of a military academy that hamilton is suggesting help. writes to washington from new york november 28th. sir, enclosed is a copy of a letter which have written to the secretary of war, of course, james mchenry on the subject of a military academy. washington will then reply on december 12th. he'll die two days later. this is one of his last letters and he writes to ham top, sir, i have received your letter of the 28th enclosing a cop of what you have written to the secretary of war on the 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. and while i was in the chair of government, meaning president, i omitted no proper opportunity of representing it in my public speeches and other ways. to the attention of the legislature, but i never undertook to go into a detail of the organization of such an academy.
leaving this task to others whose pursuits in the paths of science and attention to the arrangements of such institutions had better qualified them for the execution of it, amend washington closes. i sincerely hope that the subject will meet with due attention and that the reasons for its establishment which you have so clearly pointed out in your letter to the secretary will prevail upon the legislature to place it upon a permanent and respectable footing w.very great esteem and regard, i am your most obedient servant, george washington. that's the end. thank you, everyone. [ applause ] >> so we are going to do a q&a but i wanted to announce as you can see all the equipment here we have c-span taping this event so if you want to have a question, we're going to have a mic brought to you so that they can, you know, capture what
you're saying. okay. >> thank you. >> questions? anybody? >> including from the phalanx. i didn't pay wade to ask the first question. >> damien, i'm just curious. i believe one of your slides depicted a private home that was used as headquarters, military headquarters at one point. >> yes. >> and you're well familiar with the ford mansion in morristown which is washington's headquarters. >> yes. >> did general washington solicit home owners to use these facilities that were their private dwellings as military headquarters, or did he just walk in and say i'm taking over? you're over here and i'm over there. i'm just curious how that worked exactly. >> it was kind of a blend of the two. i'm not an expert on that dynamic but i understand depending on the nature of the time of year and who owned it sometimes he was always acquainted with the owner and other times it's a advance arrange president. i really don't know the details. >> do you have a question on the slides?
>> okay. from nathaniel green's right flank. >> hi there. >> damien. >> yes, sir. >> did you give any consideration in 1774 in the whiskey rebellion where washington leaves office and hamilton goes as well, is there any evidence of what they were doing militarily in that to fit into your lecture? >> oh, right t.crossed my mind briefly that i should mention it. that's a great question. we're talking about the whiskey rebellion which of course is then brewing or i should say distilling whiskey out in the ohio territory, and america has always had a very independent spirit, haven't they, so 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, a financial foundation to ensure our independence and standing in the -- in the united states. on the military side of things, we do have an illustration of this, a beautiful painting that hangs in the metropolitan museum
of art, and it shows georgl george washington going out at a later age and it's washington inspecting the troops at ft. couple blapd, and i believe alexander hamilton is also in uniform in toe with perhaps james mchenry or henry knox. i really wasn't sure how i was going to have the time to incorporate it all but i left it all but i could have included it and can you read about it in both newton and chernow and others, yeah. but it shows -- it's part that have whole theme of the federal government is going to use the military to back up the strength that they are trying to exert with its citizens, okay. it's a federalization model, something that someone like jefferson would have abhorred as a political opponent. other questions? there must be more. it's alexander hamilton. >> was lawrence hamilton related to alexander hamilton and was he
a naval commander in the great lakes in the war of 1812? >> i have no idea. i've never looked into that. i know that there are several descendants of alexander hamilton who took on great leadership roles in the military. it's incredible when you read about this on sources like wick pied yeah, but for that particular leader from the war of 1812 we'd have to look tum or ask a descendant. yes, sir. >> i maybe just dense here but what did washington die from? >> he had gone out on his horse that day on mt. vernon on his plantation in virginia, and it was a cold, rainy day, and he got sick from the wet clothing and -- and, of course, what do you do in 1799 when you get cold and get sick and have a doctor? they bring in leeches and they do bloodletting and that's not going to make you better. that's going to make you worse. it exacerbated what probably would have been a preventable cold with something simple in its day, yeah. tragic, and yet how symbolic, isn't it, that he dies at the
very end of that century. i have a patriot ancestor named private justin hancock who wrote in his memoirs the day that the news arrived of washington's death he said my goodness. i'm paraphrasing what, shock we're all in. we all loved our beloved, you know, founder of this country, you know. brings tears to my eyes. historians will do justice which i cannot and it's wonderful as a descendant 200 years later to to be able to try to do that as a historian. well, thank you, everyone, for your rapt attention. it's wonderful to be here. [ applause ] . >> we're bring american history tv all this week on c-span3. wednesday morning starting at 8:00 a.m. eastern, a look into the history of aviation. historians discuss world war i and world war ii fighter pilots, the wright brothers and the first military airplane.
watch wednesday beginning at 8:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span3. 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 1804. mr. brands presented a collection of letters between burr and his daughter theodosia that recount his political rise and downfall. this was recorded at the fryar gallery of art in washington, d.c. in 2012. >> thank you for having me back. i'm delighted to speak here. i always like to speak in washington where the audience is well informed and engaged and having just finished teaching a semester and for the year at the university of texas, i'm always delight tolled speak to an audience of people