Duel Reenactment at the New-York Historical Society
On July 10, 2016, and again on August 7, 2016, the New-York Historical Society hosted a reenactment of the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr that took place on July 11, 1804. The event was coordinated in conjunction with the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society and the American Historical Theatre and hosted as part of the Summer of Hamilton programming, as well as CelebrateHAMILTON.
The event opened with Kathleen O'Connor from the New-York Historical Society speaking on the historical events that led up to the affair of honor, or duel, between Hamilton and Burr. The reenactors included Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Nathaniel Pendleton (Hamilton's 'second' in the duel), and William P. Van Ness (Burr's second). The actors gave an animated reading of the original letters exchanged between Burr and Hamilton that resulted in the four men meeting on the Weehawken Dueling Grounds.
For the reenactment, 'Nathaniel Pendleton' provided both 'Alexander Hamilton' and 'Aaron Burr' with replicas of the original 18th century dueling pistols. Standing back-to-back, the two took their ten paces apart and turned towards each other. To represent the differing accounts of what happened when the gunfire was exchanged, the stage faded to black at the moment Hamilton and Burr aimed at each other.
When the stage was relit a moment later, Alexander Hamilton was found on the ground and the two seconds continued to narrate their account of the duel. After Aaron Burr had retreated from the scene, Nathanial Pendleton crouched over Hamilton as the audience suddenly heard Eliza Hamilton's voice from off-stage. She read aloud the letter which Hamilton had written to be delivered to her only in the case of his death in the duel, which can be read in full here. As she read the letter, the lights continued to fade until she concluded and the stage once again turned to black.
- "At Reenactment, Hamilton is History" - West Side Spirit
Note: By clicking on the picture to the left, you will be directed to the AHA Society Facebook page, where our albums are posted. You do not have to be a member of Facebook to browse the pictures (But if you are, we welcome 'likes' and comments!)
You can also click here to see the photo album.