To Colonel John Cox, Jr., or John Mitchell
Fish-kill Octr 4th 1778.
I am informed that Sundry Goods (in the Military line) addressed to Mr Jas Rivington of New-York, were taken—carried into Egg harbour—and are now in Philadelphia. Among them a compleat sett of Camp equipage—As I am perfectly incompleat in this way, I should be glad if you would enquire into the truth of this matter, and make a purchase of it for me, if it answers the description; and can be had upon terms not unreasonable.
I am also informed that there are proper Camp Trunks, with Straps &ca; two of which, equal in size, I should be glad to get; and a Cut & thrust Sword—genteel, but not costly—with Chain & swivels—strong.
p.s. If there are any of Dolands best pocket Telescopes be so good as to get one of these also, & send it to me as soon as you can.1
ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
GW docketed the draft: “To Colo. Coxe Assist. Qr Mastr or Mr Mitchell 4th Octr 1778.” Mitchell replied to this letter on 16 October.
John Mitchell (1741–1816), a native of Ireland who had been a merchant in the West Indies before establishing himself in Philadelphia sometime before the war, was appointed a deputy quartermaster general by Q. M. Gen. Nathanael Greene in April 1778, and when the British evacuated Philadelphia in June, Greene stationed him there . Earlier in the war, Mitchell had served as a colonel of the Philadelphia militia, commissary of the Pennsylvania artillery, and mustermaster of the Pennsylvania navy. As deputy quartermaster general, Mitchell clashed frequently with the Pennsylvania executive council, and he was not reappointed following Greene’s resignation as quartermaster general in July 1780. Mitchell settled in Charleston, S.C., after the war. His attempts between 1789 and 1791 to obtain a federal appointment from GW were unsuccessful.
1. GW wrote Dr. David Griffith from Fishkill on 6 Oct.: “I am told that Major Clough had a very good pocket perspective of Dolands construction—in case you can find it among his effects you will be kind enough to send it by some safe opportunity to me—I shall pay its value to the persons appointed to the charge of his effects” (LS, in James McHenry’s writing, ViHi). Griffith was unable to obtain that telescope for GW (see Griffith to GW, 15 Oct.). John Dollond (1707–1761) entered into the optical business in London with his son Peter Dollond (1731–1820) in 1752, and their subsequent improvements of the refracting telescope, in particular the elder Dollond’s development of an achromatic lens, made their firm’s telescopes much in demand in Britain and its colonies. James Rivington advertised Dollond’s telescopes in his New York newspaper, the Royal Gazette, for several weeks beginning on 5 Sept.: “NOW the Military have taken their several posts, those not possessed of a portable SPY-GLASS, may be accommodated with this approved RECONNOITERER, first invented by Mr. Dollond, a prime Optician. Please to apply to James Rivington; the prices from Seven to Sixteen Dollars each.”