I’m back in the War of 1812 correspondence files of Connecticut Governor John Cotton Smith, and Quartermaster General John Mix had the most adorable handwriting. No, really, look:
What he had to tell the Governor on July 19, though, was rather serious:
I went to New London the day before the Militia there in service were dismissed; immediately after their dismission I made arrangements to collect the arms, ammunition, and other property of the State which had been in use, and get it to a place of greater safety; accordingly it was put on board a Sloop and ordered up the river to Stoddard’s landing a little above Decatures station, there to remain on board untill circumstances might render a different disposition necessary, leaving nothing of much consequence behing behind excepting Capt French’s two field pieces, about 70 muskets, and a supply of ammunition for both. This I considered the most prudent measure that could be adopted for the security of our valuable property, as the town was left defenceless, not more than 200 national troops of every description, the inhabitants flying in all directions, and an attack hourly expected.
Immediately after Gen’l Isham ordered in two Regiments of his Brigade, of which your Excellency, doubtless has had information, the Sloop with our munitions was directed to return to N. London, from which the necessary supplys will be drawn, and the residue, if any, remain on board; our situation is yet in my apprehension so critical, that I am very unwilling to leave any thing on shore except what is indispensably necessary.
Your Excellencys letter of 10th instant by Capt Whittlesey was received at N. London the 13th; I have been to Stonington point and selected a long nine pounder, had it transported to Saybrook fort where I saw it safely on shore the 17th in the morning, and have made the necessary arrangements for mounting; the inhabitants appear well satisfied with it; have also forwarded flints to Col’o Sill, powder and shot for the field piece at Lyme, and the same to Captains Bray and Jewett, a small supply for each.
I came along the coast from Saybrook to N. Haven on saturday, (17th) the inhabitants that whole distance had been in a high state of alarm for two or three of the preceeding days from various causes, but had then got tolerably quiet.
I have appointed M’r Hezekiah Goddard my Deputy or Assistant at the port of N. London and its dependencies; should this appointment meet your Excellencys approbation, be pleased to communicate it to me in writing.
Clearly, he was organized in other ways than his handwriting. This letter, though, is further evidence of the dysfunctional relationship between the State and Federal governments during this war. I haven’t looked up the specifics of what was going on, however.
This summer, the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812 will occur. It doesn’t look like I’ll have time to get anything really interesting (like a day by day blog of it) all prepped in time, unfortunately. But I’ll still keep poking at all this correspondence!