Front Page Titles (by Subject) Answer to Questions of the Secretary at War of November 10, 1798 - The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 7
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Answer to Questions of the Secretary at War of November 10, 1798 - Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 7 
The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols. Vol. 7.
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Answer to Questions of the Secretary at War of November 10, 1798
No. 1. First and second questions. —The rule which appears proper as a primary one, is the relative population of the States severally. In the application of this rule, the distribution made by the Secretary appears so far correct as to be deemed an eligible standard.
Improper to tie down the recruiting service by an absolute apportionment of the men among the States.
The officers will naturally be assigned to recruit in the States of which they are; if the men can be found there they will be had; but it is possible they may not be obtainable, and there ought to be liberty to obtain them elsewhere.
The troops of horse not to be confined to any division of the United States; but an exact distribution of so small a number would be inconvenient. It is therefore deemed proper to let the arrangement be governed principally by the characters who have occurred as officers. It is proposed to assign Virginia and Maryland 3 troops; Pennsylvania 1; New Jersey 1; New York and Connecticut 1.
The number of horse inadequate. Presuming that an increase will be found eligible, the distribution can be made with an idea to the other States. Consideration has been had as a secondary motive to the fitness of character.
Third question.—The fact solves this question.
Fourth question.—Provisions of law peremptory. Will not examine bounds of executive discretion; but it must be evident that a suspension cannot be justified but by a very urgent motive. None such are known to exist.
Nothing has been communicated as to foreign relations, to induce an opinion that the ground upon which the act for augmenting the army was passed, has been changed. As far as can be inferred from the Treasury documents communicated, no obstacle is perceived to arise from financial considerations; but this is a point on which it cannot be expected that the responsibility of any definitive opinion will be assumed. The head of the proper department will no doubt explicitly pronounce.
Fifth question.—The opinion is, that they ought all to be immediately appointed, and immediately to receive their pay and be put into activity. This is with the exception, from want of adequate information, of the two Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee.
It is conceived that it will be expedient to confide to General Pinckney, with the aid of Generals Davis and Washington, to prepare the arrangement for these States, subject to the ratification of the President, but with as large a discretion to fix the arrangement as propriety will permit.
Sixth question.—Inexpedient at present to withdraw the troops in question, with a view to reinforce those on the sea-board. But our whole plan on the northwestern and southwestern frontier may require revision, and it is deemed eligible to require General Wilkinson to repair as soon as possible to the seat of the government, in order that it may have the benefit of his local knowledge and advice. He should be cautioned to avoid any demonstrations of hostility towards the Spaniard; but, on the contrary, as far as may be, to assume a different complexion.
Seventh question.—It is conceived best that the additional companies shall reinforce the Western army.
Eight question.—As to artillery. It is understood that the two regiments comprise twenty-eight companies; that of these, eight are in the Western country. The remaining companies may temporarily be thus disposed of: one to Bosten, three to Newport, one to West Point, three to New York, two to Fort Mifflin,, two to Baltimore, two to Norfolk, one to Cape Fear River, three to Charleston, one to Savannah, one to St. Mary’s.
It is desirable that entire companies be stationed, and the mingling of different corps be avoided. The field officers will, of course, be distributed proportionally.
Ninth question.—The permanent distribution of the troops after they shall have been raised, may be influenced by circumstances yet to be developed. The first object of attention is the distribution, with a view to the recruiting service. To this end, each State should be divided into districts, equal to the number of companies to be recruited therein. The men to be brought to the company rendezvous as soon as may be after they are recruited; and a certain number of these rendezvous, where it can conveniently be done, to be put under the superintendence of a field officer. During the winter it would be inconvenient, in most of the States, to assemble in larger corps than companies.
Tenth question.—The public ought to provide the rations by contract or otherwise, as it may be found best.
The giving money to the recruit would have many inconveniences, by giving pretext of absence to provide supply, unfavorable to discipline, tending to disputes with the inhabitants, and to desertion. Many of the men will apply their money to strong drink, rather than to food.
Eleventh question.—Contracts for stationary posts are to be preferred; but for an army operating in the field, purchasing is to be preferred, except that the magazines, which are to be formed at particular places, may be best formed by contract.
Twelfth question.—Springfield, Harper’s Ferry, Rocky Mount on the Wateree.