Every year in July, the flag of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is raised at Bowling Green at the bottom of Broadway in lower Manhattan in honor of Alexander Hamilton, who died on July 12, 1804. This year (2015), the Lower Manhattan Historical Society and the Alexander Hamilton Awareness (AHA) Society invited me to raise the flag and say a few words about Alexander Hamilton.
Rand Scholet of the Alexander Hamilton Awareness (AHA) Society spoke first, calling my new book, Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years, the definitive work on the first half of Hamilton’s life.
After Mr. Scholet, James Kaplan of the Lower Manhattan Historical Society addressed the crowd.
Then it was my turn to talk. Focusing on Hamilton’s activities at Bowling Green, I spoke about:
- In August 1775, Hamilton and 60 compatriots rescued 21 cannon from the Grand Battery under fire from a British ship, dragging them past Bowling Green and up Broadway to the Common (now City Hall Park).
- In June 1776, Hamilton and his artillery company were stationed at Fort George, where the Alexander Hamilton Custom House now stands just below Bowling Green, and at the Grand Battery just below the fort.
- On July 12, 1776, Alexander Hamilton and his company fired their cannon at some British ships sailing up the Hudson. One of Hamilton’s cannon exploded, killing some men, who were buried in Bowling Green. July 12 is thus both the date that Hamilton first led his men into battle and the date of his death.
After some group photos…
…it was time to raise the flag of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Thank you to everyone at the Lower Manhattan Historical Society and the Alexander Hamilton Awareness (AHA) Society for providing me with this rare experience. Thank you as well to Arthur Piccolo, who invited me to speak at this event and for taking the great photographs seen above.
After four years of research, writing, and editing, Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years is now available for purchase.