hamilton to colonel smith (Circular). - 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.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
hamilton to colonel smith
August 9, 1799.
Sir:—Our political situation renders it very urgent that not a moment shall be lost in disciplining our troops as fast as they shall be raised. To this end it is essential that every officer shall personally exert himself to the utmost; and that a very faulty practice which has occasionally prevailed in our armies, as well as others, shall be carefully avoided—namely, commanders of regiments leaving too much to their majors, these to the adjutants, and the company officers to their sergeants.
It is expected that each commandant of a regiment will himself industriously exercise his regiment in the manual and evolutions; that each major will do the like in his battalion, and the company officers in their several companies. These last must charge themselves with the detail of instructing their men from the beginning; using their non-commissioned officers as auxiliaries, not as their representatives or substitutes; and the field-officers must carefully superintend the company officers in relation to this detail.
This course will have the double advantage of insuring the rapid improvement of the soldiers, and of giving every officer practical expertness within his sphere, without which an army is nothing but a mass of disorderly elements.
In the reply which I expect to make to the several corps, I hope for the gratification of observing, in the proficiency of officers and men, that the instruction contained in this letter has been carefully and zealously executed.