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Aaron Burr

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It was a cold morning in Newark, NJ, on the 16th of February 1756 when my good friend Aaron Burr, Jr. was born. My family lived next door to the Burr residence and became very friendly with the Reverend Aaron Burr, Sr and his wife Esther. Aaron and I attended Princeton University where we originally studied theology, but later gave up it began the study of law in Litchfield, Connecticut. Our studies were put on hold while we served during the Revolutionary War, under Generals Benedict Arnold, George Washington, and Israel Putnam.

During the Revolutionary War, Aaron and I accompanied General Benedict Arnold's expedition into Canada in 1775, a difficult trek of over 500 miles in the middle of winter. Upon arriving before the Battle of Quebec, we were sent up the St. Lawrence River to make contact with General Richard Montgomery, who had taken Montreal, and escort him to Quebec. Montgomery liked the Aaron, and promoted him to Captain and added him to his staff as an aide-de-camp. After Montgomery was killed and the advance party thrown into confusion, Burr single-handedly gathered some of the soldiers and began an attack on the British lines. Overwhelmed by cannon fire, we were forced to retreat. Burr carried the body of Montgomery a short distance before retreating from the field. Our courage made us a national hero and earned us a place on Washington's staff in Manhattan, but we quit after two weeks because we wanted to return to the field.

General Israel Putnam took Burr and I under his wing and with his alertness in the retreat from lower Manhattan to Harlem, Burr saved an entire brigade from capture. On becoming Lieutenant Colonel in July 1777, Burr assumed the command of a regiment called the Malcolm's which I was also a part of. During the harsh winter encampment at Valley Forge, we guarded the "Gulph," a pass commanding the approach to the camp, and necessarily the first point that would be attacked.

On June 28, 1778 at the Battle of Monmouth, our regiment was decimated by British artillery, and Aaron suffered a stroke in the terrible heat from which he would never quite recover. Aaron and I resigned from the Continental Army in March 1779 on account of ill health, renewing our study of law. Despite this brief interlude, we were able to finish our studies and were admitted to the bar at Albany in 1782. We began to practice in New York City after its evacuation by the British in the following year.

That same year, Aaron was married to the widow of a British army officer who had died in the West Indies during the war. Her name was Theodosia Bartow Prevost. They had a daughter, Theodosia Burr Alston, born in 1783. He and his first wife were married for twelve years, until her death from cancer.

Aaron invited me to New York with him from 1784 to 1785 while he served on the State Assembly. He became seriously involved in politics in 1789, when George Clinton appointed him New York State Attorney General. He was commissioner of Revolutionary War claims in 1791, and that same year he defeated a favored candidate, General Philip Schuyler for a seat in the United States Senate, and served in the upper house until 1797. After some time, Aaron became bored with the inactivity of the new U.S. Senate; Burr ran for and was elected to the New York state legislature, serving from 1798 through 1801. During John Adams's term as President, national parties became clearly defined. We loosely associated ourselves with the Democratic-Republicans.

In 1796, Thomas Jefferson chose Aaron as his vice-presidential running mate, only to lose to John Adams. But, in 1799 Jefferson and Madison requested our help for a second run for the Presidency in 1800. This led to ultimate victory for Jefferson and drove wedge between Alexander Hamilton, a federalist campaigning for the other side, and Aaron. Upon confirmation of Jefferson's election, Aaron became Vice President of the United States, but despite his letters and his shunning of any political activity during the balloting he lost the trust of Jefferson after that, and was effectively shut out of party matters. However, Aaron's even-handed fairness and his judicial manner as President of the Senate was praised even by his worst bitterest enemies, and he fostered some time-honored traditions in regard to that office. His final address to the Senate

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