Front Page Titles (by Subject) circular - The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 7
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
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.
August 27, 1799.
In military service it is essential that each individual should move within his proper sphere, according to a just gradation and the relations which subsist between him and others. It is a consequence of this principle that a regular chain of communication should be preserved, and that, in all matters relating to service each person should address himself for information or direction to his immediate superior officer, and should not step beyond him to a higher authority. This observation of course excepts the case where an individual, having received an injury from his immediate superior, is disposed to seek redress from the superior of both; but in other cases the principle ought to be rigidly observed.
It is not so in practice. I have received communications from captains of companies, which in propriety ought to have been addressed to commandants of their regiments or of the districts within which they are stationed; and I know that communications have in some instances been made my particular officers to the Secretary of War, which ought to have been addressed to me. These things are not regular, and must be avoided. The good of the service and the dignity of every officer, from the highest to the lowest, require that they should not prevail. The officers and persons attached to the army, who are charged with the expenditure of money and with the providing or issuing of supplies, will properly correspond with the Department of War on those subjects; but every other officer ought to address himself to his immediate chief, and the chiefs of corps or distinct commands must make their communications to me, except in the cases in which particular regulations direct otherwise.
To apply the rule. The officers must not go beyond you with their verbal or written communications; you must address yours to me, except—
1st. Returns and applications respecting ordnance, arms, accoutrements, and other military stores, clothing, articles of quartermaster’s supply, hospital stores, including medicines, which for the present must be addressed to Ebenezer Stevens, Esquire, agent for the War Department in New York (the proper officers in respect to these objects not being yet appointed).
2d. Monthly and other returns respecting the numbers and state of corps and detachments, including inspection and recruiting returns, which must be addressed to Brigadier-General North, Adjutant-General.
3d. Muster-and pay-rolls to Caleb Swan, Esquire, Paymaster-General, at the seat of government.
These last had best be forwarded by the respective paymasters of regiments and detachments, where any exist.
The Paymaster-General has been advised to confine his communications to paymasters, and to such others as have received public money, for which they are accountable directly to the War Department.
It is expected that other officers will shortly be appointed and annexed to head-quarters, to whom the objects under the first and third heads will properly belong.
This, when it taken place, will be announced in general orders.
You will take care to make these instructions known within the sphere of your command.