Between the dates of June 18 and June 27, 1804, an extensive communication by letter took place between Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and their appointed seconds, Nathaniel Pendleton for Hamilton and William P. Van Ness for Burr, in an attempt to resolve the confrontation initiated by Burr’s reaction to an article published in The Albany Register on April 24, 1804.

The Research Library of the New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown, NY possesses 34 original documents relating to the events, including original correspondence, drafts of correspondence, and reports.  The eight selections (see links on left) in this exhibit have been chosen from those documents to illustrate the train of events which culminated in the duel at Weehawken on the morning of July 11, 1804.

The reproductions of the original documents and their transcriptions in this exhibit highlight the major stands taken by Burr and Hamilton as the correspondence unfolded and thus allows you to understand how the two antagonists remained locked in positions which neither one was willing to relinquish. The tragic result was the duel which took Hamilton’s life.

For more information about the Burr-Hamilton Collection, please contact the Research Library at (607) 547-1470 or email