Robert Hanson Harrison - Revolutionary Chief of Staff

Robert Hanson Harrison - Revolutionary Chief of Staff

Robert Hanson Harrison

The smash hit play Hamilton has a song titled ‘Right Hand Man,’ (it’s good, listen to it) which implies that Alexander Hamilton was George Washington’s #2 during the Revolutionary War.

While it is no secret that Hamilton was uniquely important to the Patriots, he was not Washington’s right-hand man.

That honor fell to Robert Hanson Harrison.

Harrison acted as Washington’s military secretary for most of the Revolution.  He oversaw Washington’s orders and correspondence.

He was, in essence, George Washington’s Chief of Staff.

When Washington sent a message to Congress, Harrison wrote the letter.

When he rode into battle, Harrison was at his side.

Harrison was also in charge (along with Hamilton) of exchanging prisoners of war.

After the War

Before the Revolution, Harrison acted as Washington’s lawyer.  It was here he earned respect for his knowledge of the law.

When the hostilities were over, Harrison became Chief Justice of the Maryland Supreme Court.

When voting commenced in the first U.S. Presidential election, each elector had two votes.  Washington came in first (obviously) by receiving one vote from each person.  The Vice-President was the person who received the second most votes.

John Adams won the Vice-Presidency by a clear margin.  After him was John Jay.

Robert Hanson Harrison had the third most votes in the race to be the First Vice-President of the United States.

This was mostly due to trust from his home state of Maryland.  But it is also notable that the man who was Washington's #2 during the war was also considered to be he #2 under the new government.

Harrison was chosen to be an original member of the United States Supreme Court.  His poor health, however, led to him declining the position.  He passed away soon after.

While there are no biographies specifically written about Harrison, you might enjoy one of these with similar themes.

Nathaniel Scudder - The Doctor Who Died in Battle

Nathaniel Scudder - The Doctor Who Died in Battle

Elbridge Gerry - More Than Just Gerrymandering

Elbridge Gerry - More Than Just Gerrymandering