The first Hamilton was named for Alexander Hamilton. See Alexander Hamilton for biography. The second Hamilton was named for Archibald Hamilton.
Archibald Hamilton was the son of Paul Hamilton, Secretary of the Navy from 7 March 1809 to 31 December 1812. Archibald was appointed Midshipman 18 May 1809 and assigned to work with a new kind of hollow shot needed by frigate President. He next sailed for Europe in John Adams 31 January 1811 carrying dispatches for American officers in the Mediterranean. On his return to the United States, Archibald Hamilton was assigned to United States on which he won high commendation from his commanding officer, Commodore Stephen Decatur, for gallantry in action during the capture of British frigate Macedonian, 25 October 1812. Decatur selected him to bear the captured British flags to Washington.
Appointed Acting Lieutenant 21 December 1812 and Lieutenant 24 July 1813, Hamilton served with distinction throughout the War of 1812 only to be killed shortly after the Treaty of Ghent had formally ended the war. Because of the slow communications of the day word of peace had not reached New York by 15 January 1815 when frigate President, carrying Hamilton, ran the blockade out of that port. The next day British men-of-war Endymion, Pomone and Tenedos overtook and captured President after a long and bloody running fight in which Hamilton was killed.
(Sch.: 1.112; cpl. 50; a. 132-pdr., 124-pdr., 8 6-pdr.)
The first Hamilton, formerly the merchant ship Diana, was a schooner of 10 guns in Commodore Chauncey's squadron on Lake Ontario. She was under the command of Lt. H. McPherson. During the War of 1812 her action included attacks on Kingston, York, and Fort George. Hamilton along with the remainder of the squadron gave excellent assault cover to enable American forces to land at Fort George. On 8 August 1813, a heavy squall capsized Hamilton and a sister ship Scourge