Early in the morning of March 31, 1806, two young men of Boston faced each other across a marshy field outside Providence, Rhode Island. With the sun beginning to peek above the horizon, they marked out ten paces between themselves, then stood facing one another. Each had a friend at his right hand, as they coolly leveled their pistols at one another. Now, one of the friends called out, “Are you ready… Present… Fire!” And both men squeezed the triggers on their dueling pistols.
If that sounds an awful lot like the famous duel that Alexander Hamilton fought against Aaron Burr two years earlier, you’re not wrong. In ways that we’ll examine, it’s even more similar to the duel that Alexander’s son Philip Hamilton fought against a man named George Eacker in 1801.