Kingston, September 21st 1814
I received by Ensign Meyers on the 19th instant your letter of the 11th representing that several of the American vessels have been for some days near the shore opposite the District of Newcastle; and requesting that 80 or 100 stands of arms with ammunition, flints, etc. should be sent up for the use of the 1st Regiment Northumberland Militia.
M. General Shemp ? has inconsequence of your representation directed me to send you the following arms, etc.
Muskets, English 80
Bayonets with scabbards 80
Cartouche boxes with belts & frogs 80
Cartridges, musket balls 3000
At the same time the M. General commanding has directed me to express his astonishment at the shameful neglect, abuse, and destruction of arms issued to the Northumberland Militia since the commencement of the present war and furthermore instructs me to impress on your mind the great necessity not only of your constant attention and inquiry into the state of the arms, ammunition, etc but also that of the officers belonging to companies to whom arms may be entrusted by a little attention from them the arms in general might be always fit for service, frequent inspection by the officers is absolutely necessary. The trifling expense of keeping them in order might be paid out of the Regiment fund arising from fines.
(Crossed out. They should be at the present moment after the campaign is closed once a month will be sufficient. I requested you last spring to hand me a return of arms, etc and also to send down all arms that were not serviceable or that could not be repaired at Newcastle, I have not received the return or been informed if any arms had been sent down.)
In addition to what I have written you on the other I have to observe that the M. General will not approve of your keeping arms at your own house or at any other house on the lake side. Perhaps the best plan you could adopt would be to deposit with the Captains of your Regiment certain number of arms as you may think best for the good of the service and should there be any remaining have them sent to Major Rogers, the arms that you deliver out should be under the immediate care and responsibility of the Captains and kept at their houses, and upon an alarm the men to assemble there and receive them to be returned to the Captains when (crossed out - the object of their being called out) the service no longer require the Militia in the field.
The General does not think it necessary to have the Militia called out, except it should be for the conveyance of prisoners, for the protection of Depot, of provisions or prevent the destruction of mills and a small party to be on the look out to give the alarm in case of the enemy’s attempting to land.
I have the honour to be sir, your obedient servant, N. Coffin
Kingston 21st September 1814 (Entered page 171)
Source: National Archives RG 9C1-B-1 Northumberland 1814
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