BURR AND HAMILTON FACE OFF IN DUEL TO THE DEATH
Weehawken, New Jersey (JFK+50) A long time personal and political feud between former Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton* and Vice-President Aaron Burr** was settled 213 years ago this morning here in Weehawken.
The feud between the two men intensified in the New York Governorship race of 1804 when Hamilton was quoted in the newspapers as having called Aaron Burr "the most unfit and dangerous man of the community."
Hamilton, who fired his pistol first but missed high, was shot in the lower abdomen by Burr. The bullet lodged near the spine. Joseph J. Ellis says that Alexander Hamilton "aimed to miss Burr, sending his ball into the tree above and behind.." but because Hamilton fired in the direction of his adversary, Burr "was perfectly justified" in returning fire.
Burr was indicted for murder in both New Jersey and New York but the charges were either dismissed or resulted in acquittal. Mr. Hamilton was carried from the field in critical condition. He died on July 12, 1804 at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.
*Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) was born in the British West Indies. He graduated from Kings College (Columbia University) in New York. Hamilton practiced law before serving in the Continental Army and after the Revolution continued his law career. AH was a delegate to the Confederation Congress in 1788-89 and served as the 1st Secretary of Treasury 1789-1795.
**Aaron Burr (1756-1836) was born in Newark, N.J. to a Presbyterian minister and mother who was Jonathan Edwards daughter. He studied at the College of New Jersey (Princeton) and served in the Continental Army.
After the war, Burr was admitted to the bar in NY and became NY State Attorney General in 1789. He was elected 3rd Vice President of the United States in 1800 and served 1801-1805.