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The Hamilton-Eacker duel was a duel between Philip Hamilton and George Eacker that took place in 1801. Due to Hamilton's close friend's failure in his duel with Eacker, Hamilton took it up to challenge Eacker himself after the man publicly degraded Philip's family name and reputation. Philip was mortally wounded and killed however, and Eacker won the duel.

Hamilton vs History

The series of events is very accurate to that which it is based on, if not exaggerated for entertainment purposes.

  • On July 4, 1801, George Eacker gave an Independence Day speech at Tammany Hall, a Democratic-Republican party political organization that Aaron Burr had built up. In the speech, Eacker reportedly said that Alexander Hamilton would not be opposed to overthrowing Thomas Jefferson's presidency by force.
 
"Our Fourth of July speaker, he disparaged my father’s legacy in front of a crowd"
— Philip Hamilton. "Blow Us All Away"
  • Four months later, on November 20, 1801, Philip and a friend named Stephen Price encountered Eacker while attending a play at the Park Theatre.
    • In Hamilton, the timeline is a lot faster, Philip tracking Eacker down in one week, however in truth he just happened upon him 4 months later
 
"Saw him just up Broadway, couple of blocks, he was going to see a play"
— Martha Jefferson, "Blow Us All Away"
  • Philip confronted Eacker about the speech during the play. Eacker was heard to call Philip and Price "damned rascals". In response to the verbal hostilities and Eacker's insult, the two formally challenged Eacker to a duel.
    • In Hamilton, only Hamilton challenged Eacker, Price was not in the theater. The play's canon doesn't necessarily omit the idea that Eacker and Price duelled, but nothing came of the duel and was not worth including
 
"See you on the dueling ground. That is, unless you wanna step outside and go now"
— Philip Hamilton, "Blow Us All Away"
  • Acquaintances wrote that Alexander Hamilton counseled his son, telling him to not to engage, throwing away his first shot.
 
"Stand there like a man until Eacker is in front of you, when the time comes, fire your weapon in the air."
— Alexander Hamilton, "Blow Us All Away"
  • Philip took his father's advice, and refused to raise his pistol to fire after he and Eacker had counted ten paces and faced each other. Eacker, following suit, did not shoot either. For the first minute, both men stood, doing nothing, both refusing to shoot. After a minute, Eacker finally raised his pistol, and Philip did the same. Eacker shot and struck Philip above his right hip. The bullet went through his body and lodged in his left arm.
    • In Hamilton, Eacker immediately fired upon Hamilton. This portrayed his father's advice as being ignorant and makes him appear to have indirectly killed his son. The advice appears to have been sound, with the reason being Eacker being on edge and untrusting that Hamilton wouldn't fire.
 
"I did exactly as you said, Pa"
— Philip Hamilton, "Stay Alive (Reprise)"


The Ten Duel Commandments

1. Agree to the duel

The duel is agreed to inside Park Theater, offered by Hamilton and accepted by Eacker.

2. Assign a second-in-command

In the play, seconds were assigned but never named.

3. Have your seconds meet

The peace-talks are not shown on stage but Philip assures his father that they took place but were unfruitful

4. Organise weapons and medical help.

We do not see Eacker get his gun but Alexander gives Philip his own. The doctor is never named but is the same doctor that Alexander assigned in his own duel, Dr. David Hosack

5. Duel before dawn

The time is never audibly said nor agreed upon, however when Hamilton and Eacker meet again, the stage lights are dim, giving the impression that it is still dark.

6. Leave a message 

Philip didn't have a wife or children, and his father already knew about the duel, which is likely why Philip didn't bother with this commandment

7. Pray.

Philip doesn't directly pray to a higher power, however he is seen talking to himself and explaining to himself and the audience why he has to do this.

8. Have your seconds meet again

Again, no peace talks are played out but the opponent's seconds are seen facing each other with the pistols they would hand to their duellers.

9. Take your places. 

While George Eacker takes his place, Philip remains in place, with only the turntable taking him to his place. This symbolizes the face that Philip won't be taking action.

10. Fire 

Philip changes the original commandment out loud, adding "slowly and clearly aim your gun at the sky". George Eacker follows through with the commandment and fires upon Hamilton.

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