The War of the Revolution had passed and "political independence" was an assured fact. Now scarcely more than a quarter of a century had elapsed, when, because of Great Britain's interference with our trade came the demand from our nation for Commercial Independence.
The following is the voice of our government."AN ACT Declaring War between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the dependencies thereof and the United States of America and their territories.The military records from the State of Maryland of the War of 1812 were removed from the Adjutant General's office in Annapolis to the War Department at Washington during the Civil War and are not now accessible for private citizens to collect historical data therefrom, therefore the war history of local interest relating to Caroline County cannot be fully obtained.
BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That War be and the same is hereby declared to exist between the U. Kingdom of G. Britain and Ireland and the dependencies thereof and the United States of America and their territories, and that the President of the U. States be and he is hereby authorized to use the whole land and naval forces of the U. States to carry the same into effect and to issue to private armed vessels of the U. States commissions or letters of marque and general reprisal, in such form as he may think proper, and effects of the government of the said U. Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the subjects thereof, June 18, 1812.
While six thousand soldiers were Maryland's quota, twelve thousand volunteered. Without records, however, for examination, the volunteers from Caroline County cannot be fully named.
Caroline County, true to the spirit of Revolutionary days, took up the cause and called a citizens meeting which was held at Denton. Col. William Whitely, state senator, was made chairman, and Sheriff Robert Orrell, secretary; while William Potter, a Federal leader, headed the committee on resolutions. The committee of eight appointed to draft the resolutions was also made "A Committee of Correspondence and empowered by the meeting to represent Caroline in any subsequent measures taken by her sister counties in vindication of the national honor."
Resolutions condemning the attack of the "Leopard" were also adopted.
Again when the nominating committee from the electoral district met in Denton, July 21, 1812, they passed resolutions which the following gives in part:"That an important and awful crisis has now arrived."Then came the call for militia and Caroline responded to the call by contributing to the 12th Brigade, commanded by Brigadier-general Perry Benson, captain of the Fifth Regiment, Maryland line during the Revolution. Her contribution was the 19th Regiment, also an extra Battalion.
"That it is no longer a contest between Federalists and Democrats but a contest of much more serious nature."
"That the time has now arrived for a line to be drawn between the friends of their country and those who stand up bodily and condemn the measures of government and advocate or palliate the conduct of our implacable enemies."
The Regiment and extra Battalions were officered as follows:
Governor Wright appointed Robert Orrell, Lieutenant Colonel and commander of the Regiment.
Of the extra Battalion only two officers are named indicating, probably, that it was as yet incomplete. These officers were Captain Alemby Jump and Lieutenant Samuel Culbreth.
INFANTRY William Potter Major & Lieut. Col. Nehemiah Townsend Major Solomon Richardson " John Boone Adjutant Andrew Baggs Captain Selby Bell " Levin Charles " James Colson " Frederick Holbrook " Purnell Fisher " Elijah Satterfield " Hugh Taylor " Thomas Styll " Joseph Talbot " Thomas Carter " Peter Willis " William Chaffinch " Garretson Blades " Henry Harris " Thomas H. Douglass " Emory Bailey Lieutenant Henry Jump " William Coursey " James Richardson " John Morgan " William Turner " George H. Smith " Thomas Manship " Henry Willis " Jesse Collins " Richard Cheezum " John Jump Ensign Nathan Russell " James Shaw " Thomas Andrew Jr. " George Andrew Jr. " Thomas Silvester " Jacob Covey " Daniel Cheezum " William Bell " Peregrine Rouse " Marcellus Keene Surgeon Sharles Tilden " Timothy Caldwell Surgeonís Mate Nathan Whitby Quartermaster Alemby Jump Paymaster James Sangston "
CAVALRY Richard Hughlett Major Mitchell Russum " William Boone " Wm. Hughlett Captain Samuel Slaughter " Thomas Goldsborough " Thomas Saulsbury " Jemfer Taylor 1st Lieutenant Wm. Hardcastle " Daniel Leverton " Henry Nichols 2nd Lieutenant John Stevens " Wm. Orrell " Peter Hardcastle " John Stewart Paymaster Stephen Fisher Coronet
While the British were ravaging the Eastern Shore as a whole, wanton outrages were committed at many points along the Bay, and later we will see that Caroline was probably saved by the stern resistance of the Militia along the bay coast.
Among the places suffering from British depredation were:Caroline County was indirectly connected with some of the above. In the capture of the Mail boat this county lost a quantity of mail.1. Capture of Mail packet on Bay.
2. Attack on Frederickstown, Cecil Co.
3. Attack on Georgetown, Kent Co.
4. Occupation of Kent Is. by British.
5. Attack on Queenstown.
6. Attack on St. Michaels.
7. Fleet at Castle Haven.
When the British fleet set sail from Kent Island and landed at Castle Haven near the mouth of the Choptank River informants said the British were coming north to the Dover Bridge vicinity, from there proceed to ravage the town of Easton and probably all the surrounding territory. A letter written at Chestertown during that period says, "This day their (British) whole fleet got under way, and stood down the bay, so that we have a little more respite but how long God knows. Report from Kent Island says they intend going up the Choptank River at or about Dover Ferry."
Why they went no further than Fairhaven will never be positively known but remembering the strong resistance of the Militia at St. Michael where a British soldier was overheard to say that one officer had been killed who was more valuable than the whole town, we may give the bravery of the militia as a probable reason.
Caroline lent her aid to the unfortunate citizens in the bay section by permitting them to drive their cattle inland to the Choptank marshes where they could feed safe from the marauding British.
The war closed. We son in our second bout with the English in spite of blunders, and strange to say when the treaty was made no mention was made of the cause, i.e., Free Trade and Sailor's Rights.
Of the war, Hart says,"The United States was like a turtle which draws its feet and tail beneath a protecting shell, yet reaches out its hooked jaws to catch its adversary in the most vulnerable part";while of the Treaty, Tubb says:"The best that could be said of the treaty of Ghent was that it was an honorable one."
AN INTERESTING DOCUMENT
Mr. William A. Stewart holds the Commission issued by Gov. Thomas G. Pratt in July 1846 whereby his father Alexander Stewart, Esq. was appointed captain of a uniform Volunteer Corps attached to the 17th Regiment Md. Militia. This Caroline County Corps was known as the "Caroline Stars." The Commission says, "That reposing especial trust and confidence in your Fidelity, Courage, Good conduct, and attachment to the State of Md. and the U.S. you are constituted and appointed captain." Captain Stewart never saw active service, as the Mexican situation was soon well in hand.
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