Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hamilton Burr Dueling Grounds in Weehawken, New Jersey

Hamilton Burr Dueling Grounds in Weehawken, New Jersey

Enjoy a climb and the spectacular city skyline of New York from the famous Weehawken dueling grounds where Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton.

Aaron Burr was the Vice President of the United States when he challenged Alexander Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton finally said one too many things against Burr. No one knows exactly what it was that Hamilton said against Burr, but both men we on the downward spiral of their once-great careers and felt they had to defend their honor above else.

It is subject to some debate, but generally it is held that Hamilton shot first -- and missed. Did he deliberately throw away his shot? Probably not, but no one knows for sure. A few seconds later, Aaron Burr shot and hit Hamilton, and he died the following day.

There's no way to get yourself to the exact spot of the duel. For one thing, the ledge fell into the river many years ago. And the gates from the park are locked, preventing you from climbing down. But it's a great view across the river to Manhattan which is a reminder of the legacy left by Alexander Hamilton.

Why was the duel in New Jersey, across the Hudson River from New York City? Dueling was against the law and the combatants considered it less likely to be arrested if they conducted the duel in New Jersey rather than New York.

There is a tall staircase leading up to the dueling grounds from the river's bank. There is a scenic walking path along the river.

I started my road trip on the west end of the Lincoln Highway, and ended up on the eastern end!

There are many good reads about the duel. Some of my favorite books are --


War of Two by John Sedgwick is especially good, and it's just recently been published. What's unique about it is that it was inspired by the last letter written by Alexander Hamilton, and it was written to a relative of the author's.

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