This letter was written by a Revolutionary War Soldier named John Mix (1753-1817) of New Haven, Connecticut. John’s biography was published in 1886 and includes a length description of his activities during the Revolutionary War as a Lieutenant of Marines, including his capture and imprisonment on the famous Prison Ship Jersey in New York Harbor for six months.
The biography does not say much about John’s activities after the American Revolution, simply stating that “in business, he was unsuccessful, and in 1808 he removed to New York and again engaged in trade, but gave it up at the breaking out of the War of 1812. From this letter we learn that at the age of 60, he was still engaged in supporting his country in the disposition of arms on behalf of his state. A search of newspapers from the period reveals that John had been servings as Quarter Master General for the State Militia of Connecticut until he resigned in November 1814.
The letter was addressed to Gen. Enoch Foote who served as a Connecticut militia officer before and during the War of 1812. Enoch was tasked by the Governor to maintain a militia to be called out on short notice to protect the coastal region between Stratford Point and Black Rock, thus protecting Bridgeport itself.
While researching this letter, I stumbled on an interesting article appearing in the “Today in Connecticut History” under the title, “July 2: Connecticut Refuses to Fight in War of 1812.” Good story.
New Haven [Connecticut]
April 27, 1814
General E. Foot, Sir,
I shall forward to you in a short time by order of his Excellency, Gov. [John Cotton] Smith, one box of muskets (25) for the use of the matross [artillery] company at Bridgeport. For these guns you will consider yourself responsible (casualties of war excepted) and are not to be given out to individuals except on a pressing emergency, to be returned to you again when such emergency ceases. It will be found that the bayonet has the same character on it as there is on the sight of the gun which it fits; flints and cartridges you will find in your magazine.
The bills you forwarded to me a few weeks ago since had some informality in them, but not having them with me, do not now recollect and cannot point out what it is; will endeavor to do it on my return home. The bill for transporting the baggage of the second detachment was paid at New London when dismissed by my assistant at that place by Mr. Hez[ekiah] Goddard.
Respectfully, your obedient servant, — John Mix
to General Enoch Foot, Bridgeport