Featured Artifact Burr and Hamilton Dueling Pistols

Burr and Hamilton Dueling Pistols – Wogdon & Barton

The Burr–Hamilton duel was a duel between two prominent American politicians: the former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and sitting Vice President Aaron Burr, on July 11, 1804. In Weehawken in New Jersey, Burr shot and mortally wounded Hamilton. Hamilton was carried to the home of William Bayard on the Manhattan shore, where he died at 2:00 p.m. the next day.

Burr

Burr

Hamilton

Hamilton

The pistols belonged to Hamilton’s brother-in-law John Barker Church, who was a business partner of both Hamilton and Burr. Later legend claimed that these pistols were the same ones used in a 1799 duel between Church and Burr, in which neither man was injured. Aaron Burr, however, claimed in his memoirs that he supplied the dueling pistols for his duel with Church, and that they belonged to him.

The Wogdon pistols used in the duel

The Wogdon pistols used in the duel

In 1801, Hamilton’s son Philip used the Church weapons in the duel in which he died. The pistols reposed at Church’s estate Belvidere until the late 19th century. In 1930 the pistols were sold to the Chase Manhattan Bank, now part of JPMorgan Chase & Co and are on display in the Investment Bank’s headquarters at 270 Park Avenue in New York City.

From www.jpmorgan.com The firm owns the brace of dueling pistols used in the infamous 1804 duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, who was the founder and a director of The Manhattan Company, the firm’s earliest predecessor.

A 20th-century artistic rendering of the July 11, 1804 duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.

A 20th-century artistic rendering of the July 11, 1804 duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.

The mortally wounded Hamilton died the following day and was buried in the Trinity Churchyard Cemetery in Manhattan. Governor Morris, a political ally of Hamilton’s, gave the eulogy at his funeral and established a private fund to support his widow and children.

Burr was charged with murder in New York and New Jersey, but neither charge reached trial. In New Jersey, a grand jury indicted Burr for murder in November 1804, but the New Jersey Supreme Court quashed the indictment on a motion from Colonel Ogden. Burr fled to South Carolina, where his daughter lived with her family, but soon returned to Washington, D.C. to complete his term of service as Vice President.