Alexander Hamilton’s role in preventing the attempted treason of Lieutenant Colonel Herman Zedwitz

An extract from Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years about recently discovered evidence regarding Alexander Hamilton’s role in preventing the attempted treason of Lieutenant Colonel Herman Zedwitz:

In August 1776, Alexander Hamilton helped prevent the attempted treason of Lieutenant Colonel Herman Zedwitz. On August 25, Zedwitz was charged with “holding a treacherous correspondence with and giving intelligence to the enemies of the United States.” Zedwitz was also accused of planning to “Spoil [poison] the Watering place.” Augustus Stein stated in a written deposition that Zedwitz “wanted me to go to Long Island with a letter to Governor [William] Tryon.” At Zedwitz’s trial, Stein added, “I took the letter. I went immediately to Captain Bowman’s house and broke the letter open and read it. Soon after, Captain Bowman came in, and I told him I had something to communicate to the General. We sent to Captain Hamilton, and he went to the General’s, to whom the letter was delivered.”  This Captain Bowman, or Bauman as it is spelled elsewhere in the court-martial record, was Captain Sebastian Bauman of the New York Artillery.  Accordingly, Captain Hamilton must have been Alexander Hamilton, Bauman’s colleague in the New York Artillery.  Thus, it was Alexander Hamilton who “went to the General’s” to give Zedwitz’s letter to Washington. Hamilton may have personally delivered the letter into Washington’s hands and explained to him how he came to have it. If Hamilton already knew Washington, that would explain why Stein and Bauman chose him to deliver the letter. On the other hand, Hamilton may have done nothing more than drop off the letter with Washington’s staff.

Supporting evidence and citations will be found in the endnotes of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years. Please support the publication of this important work by pre-ordering your copy today.

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