Hamilton lifted his gun and fired on the word "Present!" after he and Burr had taken their places 10 paces apart. His shot was deflected by a tree a few feet to Burr's left. Burr had no way of knowing if Hamilton had missed on purpose. After all, Hamilton had accepted the challenge, raised his gun, and shot. Why would he want to kill someone he hadn't even seen?
Some people say that this is why Hamilton failed to shoot Burr in the face at close range, but this is not true. At close range, using a pistol, it is impossible to fire without hitting your target. The only reason why Hamilton didn't shoot Burr in the face is because he was not trying to kill him. He just wanted to wound him so that he could run away.
Here are some other reasons why Hamilton did not shoot Burr in the face at close range: 1 He was not sure that he could hit him; 2 He wanted to give himself a chance to run away; 3 He may have been concerned about killing an innocent man.
So, while it is true that Hamilton did not shoot directly at Burr's face because he wasn't trying to kill him, he still could have killed him easily at close range if he had decided to.
Hamilton levelled his gun as he faced Burr and then requested for a moment to put on spectacles. Hamilton, on the other hand, had previously warned confidants and made it obvious in valedictory letters that he meant to waste his shot, maybe by aiming wide of Burr. In any case, Hamilton missed, although Burr did not.
There have been several explanations offered for why Hamilton failed to shoot Burr. Some historians have suggested that he was not able to pull the trigger because of severe eye pain caused by an infection he had received the previous year at the Battle of Long Island. Others have argued that he requested time to put on his glasses so that he could read a letter from Elizabeth Schuyler (his former fiancée) that had been delivered to him just before the shooting occurred. Still others have claimed that he intended to fire but his pistol misfired.
Whatever the reason, it is certain that Hamilton's failure to shoot Burr ended their duel. It also seems clear that neither man wanted to kill the other; they were only fighting for honor.
As they walked back to their cars, both men knew that they must end the confrontation before something worse happened. So, they agreed to meet again the next day at the same place, with a second witness present this time. If no one showed up the next day, then they would know that they had been declared unworthy to carry on a feud over honor.
Hamilton did fire his weapon on purpose, and he was the first to do so. He did, however, intend to miss Burr, putting his ball into the tree above and behind Burr's location.
This proves that both men were equally responsible for the feud that ensued. The only reason why Hamilton would have done this is because he knew that if Burr shot first, it would be considered self-defense and he would go free.
After these events, Congress appointed a committee to investigate the matter and make recommendations about how to proceed. The committee concluded that since there was no real evidence of treason against Hamilton or anyone else, they should be given a fair trial before an impartial jury.
However, the president at the time, John Adams, had other ideas about what should happen to them. He believed that since they were both responsible for the feud, they both needed to be punished. So, he ordered that they be executed by hanging.
Now, it is important to remember that at this time in America's history, there were no laws prohibiting people from taking the law into their own hands. If someone killed another person without justice being served, nobody could stop them from going ahead and doing whatever they wanted to get revenge.