; born in Carlisle, Pa.
, Nov. 25, 1758.
While a student at Princeton
, in 1775, he became a volunteer in Potter
's Pennsylvania regiment, and was soon afterwards made an aide-de-camp to General Mercer
He was afterwards placed on the staff of General Gates
, and remained so from the beginning
of that officer's campaign against Burgoyne
until the end of the war, having the rank of major.
Holding a facile pen, he was employed to write the famous Newburgh addresses
They were powerfully and eloquently written.
After the war he was successively Secretary of State
; and in 1784 he conducted operations against the settlers in the Wyoming Valley
The Continental Congress in 1787 appointed him one of the judges for the Northwestern Territory
, but he declined.
Two years later he married a sister of Chancellor Livingston
, removed to New York, purchased a farm within the precincts of the old Livingston Manor on the Hudson
, and devoted himself to agriculture.
He was a member of the national Senate from 1800 to 1804, and became United States
minister at the French Court in the latter year, succeeding his brother-in-law, Chancellor Livingston
He was commissioned a brigadier-general in July, 1812, and in January, 1813, became Secretary of War
in the cabinet of President Madison
His lack of success in the operations against Canada
, and at the attack upon and capture of Washington
in 1814, made him so unpopular that he resigned and retired to private life.
He died at Red Hook
, April 1, 1843. General Armstrong
wrote Notes on the War of 1812
, and Lives of Generals Montgomery and Wayne
for Sparks's American biography
; also a Review of Wilkinson's memoirs
, and treatises on agriculture and gardening.