It’s true – Alexander Hamilton is having a moment! A NEW exhibition at Fort Ticonderoga displays rare Alexander Hamilton objects associated with this popular founding father and best known Secretary of the Treasury in American history. Fort Ticonderoga’s rich museum collections contain a number of pieces owned by Hamilton from his remarkable career as a young soldier in the Revolution through his brief tenure as the highest ranking officer in the US Army. The Hamilton exhibit will be on display through October 30, 2016.
Featured items in the exhibit include a sword (1790-1800) that proudly displays Hamilton’s name on it. Hamilton likely carried this sword in late 1799 following George Washington’s death when Hamilton was the highest ranking American military officer in the United States. Accompanying the sword is a sword knot which bears the handwritten tag inked on it “Genl A. Hamilton.” Other items on display include a mahogany writing box (1800-1810) with an engraved plate which reads “Alexander Hamilton, Yorktown, October 19 1781,” as well as an epaulet (1775-1783) made of silver, wool, linen, and silk. Epaulets were worn on the shoulder to distinguish officers from enlisted soldiers. It is unknown whether the epaulet was originally part of a pair. If not, it may date to Hamilton’s earliest service in New York in 1777.
“Hamilton has always appeared as a formidable character in the early American pantheon. As brilliant, ambitious, opinionated and impetuous as he was, Hamilton’s legacy and achievements are surrounded by what-ifs,” said Matthew Keagle, Curator at Fort Ticonderoga. “His premature death at the hands of Aaron Burr in an 1804 duel has left historians wondering what could have been for over 200 years.”
Alexander Hamilton never visited Ticonderoga, however, his connection to the region was well established when he married Elizabeth Schuyler in 1780,
the daughter of General Philip Schuyler, whose command of the Northern Department of the Continental Army included Fort Ticonderoga from 1775 to 1777.
By 1945, Schuyler Hamilton, the great-great-nephew of Alexander Hamilton, sold a number of artifacts belonging to the Schuyler and Hamilton families to the Fort Ticonderoga Museum. In addition to the new exhibit, some of Philip Schuyler’s and his daughter Angelica’s possessions are on display in the Fort Ticonderoga South Barracks exhibition space.
The Fort Ticonderoga Museum was founded in 1909 and quickly earned a reputation as a national museum of artifacts from the founding generation. Objects that belonged to George Washington, Henry Knox, Benedict Arnold, Thaddeus Kosciuszko, Philip Schuyler and other early Americans were acquired by what was described as “the finest military museum in America.”
America’s Fort is a registered trademark of the Fort Ticonderoga Association.
Photo: An Alexander Hamilton Exhibition is on Display at Fort Ticonderoga through October 30, 2016. Photo credit: Fort Ticonderoga.