Alexander Hamilton, a grandson of the Founding Father, served in the American Civil War and was prominent in the social fabric of New York City and Hudson River Valley cultural life before and after the war.

Alexander Hamilton, grandson and namesake of the first Treasury Secretary, was born on this date in New York City in 1816. Hamilton was the younger brother of Eliza Hamilton Schuyler, which thus makes him the uncle of Louisa Lee Schuyler. Hamilton served in Spain as a diplomat on the staff of his friend Washington Irving in the late 1840s and early 1850s. When the American Civil War broke out a decade later he and his brother-in-law George Lee Schuyler served on the staff of General John E. Wool in Virginia and elsewhere. It is lost on us sometimes how close to the Revolutionary War was the Civil War; many of the figures on both sides of the Rebellion were the grandchildren of the first generation of Americans and were convinced that they were fulfilling the wishes of the Founders. It is a theme I expand upon in Incorporating New York, my book manuscript about the Civil War Era generation that came of age in the mid-1850s and lived on through the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Alexander Hamilton (1816-1889) headstone, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Alexander Hamilton was a Civil War officer, prominent lawyer, and founding member & eventual president of the Knickerbocker Club. He died 130 years ago this year and is buried in the Hamilton-Schuyler plot in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery north of New York City, up the hill from the final resting place of his friend Washington Irving. I took the photo above when a friend and I visited early this past December.

(top image/D. Appleton & Co.: A.A. Turner, photographer)