GENERALPHILIP REED PhilipReed was born in Kent County in 1760. He was well known for his activities at the Battle of Caulk's Field and as a United States Senator. He owned a farm at Huntingfield and was apparently living there at the time of his death. According to the Biographical Directory of American Congress his many activities were summarized as follows: "PHILIP REED - Completed preparatory studies; servedinRevolutionaryWar and attained rank of Captain of Infantry; Member of the Maryland House of Delegates 1787; Sheriff of Kent County 1791-1794; Member Executive Council 1805-1806; Resigned; Elected to U.S. Senate in 1806 to fill the vacancy of RobertWright; Re -e Iected same year and served from November 25, 1806, to March 3, 1813; Lt. Colonel, 21st Regiment, Maryland Militia, in 1814, when defeated British at Caulk's Field; in recognition made Brigadier General of Maryland Militia; elected to 15th Congress (March 4, 1817 to March 3, 1819) defeated in 1818; successfully contested election of Jeremiah Cosden to 17th Congress. Served March 19, 1822 to March 3, 1823; died November 2, 1823 at Huntingtown=, Kent County, Md.; interment in cemetery at Christs Church, near Chestertown, Md. The Hon, William M. Marine speaking at the unveiling ceremony of 1902 had the following to say of General Reed, "You shall hear at this moment of a real hero; one who was idolized within and without this county; one whom you had nearly forgotten, whose life and record as far as it is possible, shall be placed before you. Henceforth from this day you reinstate him on the throne of your affectionate remembrance." *Probably Huntingfield because General Reed owned a farm at Huntingfi e ld, SOME EVENTS IN AND AROUND ROCK HALL DURING THE WAR OF 1812 (Reprinted from an Oration by the Hon, William M. Marine) The entire State was divided into military districts. Kent district was designated as the sixth, and was under the command of Brigadier General Benjamin Chambers. Colonel Reed commanded a regiment of less than the full complement of men necessary to constitute one. He was looked to to do the fighting. Among his soldiers was a troop of horsemen commanded by Captain Wilson. The subjoined entries are from that company's book. Opposite one of the soldier's name is this entry: "Returns in good time." Opposite the name of another: "Leave of absence until to- morrow." A further one has: "This day joined the troops." The method of their detailment is thus disclosed: " 9th May, 1813 - Sunday, Guard No.2 at Richard Miller's: class 1 relieved for a week if not sooner called on by class No.2. This day week the troop was split into two classes, viz: 1 class, whose tour commenced 2d May, Sunday, 8 o'clock A.M." A class consisted of about 20 persons. New classes were formed in times of invasion. When English ships appeared, the troops, which, during their absence, were permitted to go to their homes, reported for active service. The following entry illustrates that method: "May 15th, Thursday, order received for our troops to disband." A further sample order reads of date June 5th: "The troops met on Wharton Commons;" still another of date July 27th: "State payroll was made out for time of service of the troop while on the bay shore." The horse-men were actively kept in the saddle. "August 7th, Saturday, the troop started for Rock Hall." During an encampment at Rock Hall, a heavy easterly gale accompanied by rain made the ground muddy. The tents were uncomfortable, and the men complained that they had tosleep upon the wet ground. Colonel Reed sent for Michael Miller, acting quartermaster, and pretended to berate him for carelessness, which Miller, who was a wag, perfectly well understood, was with the intentionofpacifying the men who were grumbling at their accommodations. "Quarter-master Miller," said Reed, "my men must not sleep on the wet ground, and you must get straw for them, and right away, sir-to-night, sir, and at once, sir." "But," pleaded the Quarter-master, "itis night now and late, and it cannot be done."
"But it must be done, sir, and I will hold you responsible if it is not done, for disobedience of an order. Go and get straw; take it from anywhere around here; take carts and oxen and bring it, and do you go at once, sir." Miller went off and after midnight returned with the straw, which pleased the men. Reed complimented Miller for his promptness in executing his order, after which he recognized one of his slaves. He wished to know from him what he was doing there. He then learned that Miller had passed everyone's farm until he had reached Reed's Huntingfield farm, where he ordered the Colonel's slaves to yoke up his oxen and load the carts with straw and drive them with it to the tents. When the British encamped on Kent Island, Reed was apprehensive lest they should cross the Chester River in large force and devastate the farms. He resorted to a clever stratagem. He directed his cavalry, which as we have seen, was a small force, to cross from what is now R. B. Willson's farm, known as Trumpington, to the Jones farm on Eastern Neck Island. The crossing was in full view ofthe enemy's lookout-boats stationed in the mouth of the Chester River; hours were apparently consumed in doing so, but it was the little force counter-marching and recrossing all the while in a ferry scow. Such stratagems were more than once resorted to during the war of 1812. Indeed, the science of that struggle was immensely similar to the tactics and ruses of the Revolution. There was slight improvement in arms or tactics until a much later period. About this time two sentinels were stationed on the Huntingfield farm towatch the outlook-boats of the British at the mouth of the Chester River. The sentinels had paced their weary rounds through the night. On beholding the streaks of daylight in the east, their muskets grew heavier from fatigue. One of the sentinels said to the other one: "I am sick from hunger. I had nothing to eat last night; itistimewe were relieved; they have forgotten about us, and I am going to hunt for something to eat." "But," said his comrade, "should you leave your post and it get to the Colonel's ears, you will be undone." The sentinel went off, and in a short time there was such a howling that the sentinel at his post thought one of the black regiments of slaves formed by the British were marching in his direction. Looking up he saw his brother sentinel returning with a pone of corn cake, through which he had rammed his bayonet, followed by women and children in blabbing despair at having lost their breakfast bread. The sentinel happened by one of the slave's huts as the bread was taken out of the oven; it was too hot for his hands so he ran his bayonet through it and marched off. Rejoining his associate, he said: "Here is provinder - - we are all right now." BATTLE OF CAULK'S FIELD (Reprinted by special permission of Lewis Historical Society and Charles B. Clark) All Maryland hadbeen alerted. Across the Chesapeake Baybodies of volunteers were camped ready to move at a moment's notice. In Kent the Twenty-first Regiment of Maryland Militia under Colonel Philip A. Reed was encamped at Bellair, now known as Fairlee, situated about five miles from the Bay shore and about seven miles west of Chestertown. The regiment consisted of five companies of infantry, one cavalry and one artillery company, in all just 174 men. They had five pieces of artillery and were fairly well equipped with guns, pistols, and swords, but had only twenty rounds of ammunition for each man. Percy Granger Skirven's account of developments is herewith presented: Late Saturday afternoon, August twenty-seventh, news reached Col. Reed that a frigate was headed up the bay abreast of Swan Point and with her were two smaller vessels. A strong southerly breeze filled their sails and they came bounding up the Chesapeake over the white caps presenting a beautiful sight. This ship was the MENELAUScommanded by Captain Sir Peter Parker, Bart. She carried in addition to her regular crew about one hundred and twenty soldiers. She was armed with thirty-eight guns -- only six less than our then famous war ship Constitution. That Sir Peter Parker was ordered to make a "dr-
position Col. Reed could see the open low land of "Moore's Field" -- fifty acres perhaps of cleared land. Here Col. Reed halted his men, forming in position to cover the probable advance of the enemy. The following letter written by Col. Reed to Brig. Gen. Benj. Chambers gives a very excellent description of the arrangement of the troops as well as a fair account of the engagement and result: "Camp at Belle Air. 3rd Sept. 1814. Sir: I avail myself of the first moment I have been able to seize from incessant labor, to inform you that about half past eleven o'clock in the night of the 30th ult., I received information that barges of the enemy, then laying off Waltham's farm were moving in shore. I concluded their object was to land and burn houses, etc. at Waltham's and made the necessary arrangements to prevent them and to be prepared for an opportunity which I had sought for several days, to strike the enemy. During our march to the point threatened it was discovered that the blow was aimed at our camp. Orders were immediately given to the Quarter Master to remove the camp and baggage, and to the troops to countermarch, pass the road by the right of our camp, and form on the rising ground about three hundred paces to the rear -- the right towards Caulk's House, and the left retiring on the road, the artillery in the centre, supported by the infantry on the right and left. I directed Captain Wickes and his Second Lieutenant Beck with a part of the rifle company to be formed so as to cover the road by which the enemy marched, and with this section I determined to post myself, leaving the line to be formed under the direction of Major Wickes and Captain Chambers. The head of the enemy's column soon presented itself, and received the fire of our advance party at seventy paces distance, and being pressed by numbers vastly superior, I repaired to my post on the line, having ordered the riflemen to return and form on the right of the line. The fire now became general along the whole line and was sustained by our troops with the most determined valor. The enemy pressed our front; foiled in this he threw himself upon our left flank which was occupied by Capt. Chambers' company. Here, too, his efforts were unavailing. His fire had nearly ceased when I was informed that in some parts of our line the cartridges were entirely expended, nor did any of the boxes contain more than a few rounds, although each man brought about twenty into the field. The artillery cartridges were entirely expended. Under these circumstances, I ordered the line to fall back to a convenient spot where a part of the line fortified when the few remaining cartridges were distributed amongst a part of the line, which was again brought into the field, where it remained for a considerable time, the night preventing pursuit. The artillery and infantry for whom there were no cartridges, were ordered to this place (Belle Air). The enemy having made every effort in his power, although apprized of our falling back manifested no disposition to follow us up but retreated about the time our ammunition was exhausted. When it is recollected that very few of our officers or men had ever heard the whistling of a ball; that the force of the enemy, as the most accurate information enables us to estimate, was double ours; that it was commanded by Sir Peter Parker of the MENELAUS one of the most distinguished officers of the British Navy and composed (as their officers admitted in subsequent conversation) of as fine men as could be selected from the British service, I feel justified in the assertion that the gallantry of the officers and men engaged on this occasion could not be excelled by any troops. The officers and men performed their duty. It is however but an act of justice to notice those officers who seemed to display more than a common degree of gallantry. Major Wickes and Captain Chambers were conspicuous; Captain Wickes and his Lieutenant John Beck of the rifle corps, Lieutenant (Eunick) and Ensign Wm. Skirven of Captain Chambers' Company exerted themselves, as did Captain Hynson and his Lieutenant Grant,
version'von the Eastern Shore is verified by the following extract from a letter to the Admiralty written September 1st, 1814, by Vice Admiral Cochrane then on board the Flagship TONNANT in the Patuxent River. "Captain Sir Peter Parker on the HENELAUSwith some small vessels was sent up the Chesapeake above Baltimore to 'divert the attention' of the enemy in that quarter." The most important part of "diverting the attention of the enemy" was to prevent the troops from crossing the Bay to the assistance of Baltimore. Captain Sir Peter Parker was ordered to capture when possible the small bodies of American soldiers, to b urn the farm houses along the Bay shore and to har.ass the people in every possible way. Following the instructions of his superior officer he brought his vessels to anchor late Saturday night off the moughofFairlee Creek. Sunday morning, August 28th, Captain Parker landed about one hundred men on the farm known as "Skidmore," then owned by Mr. John Waltham, where they burned every building on the farm together with all the wheat in the granary, as well as in the stacks in the field. According to a letter written from Chestertown on September 6th, 1814 to the WEEKLY STAR published in Easton, Talbot County, Maryland, Mr. Waltham sustained a loss of eight thousand dollars. On the following Tuesday morning, August 30th, the farm belonging to Richard Frisby, Esq., then living in Baltimore, was raided and buildings burned. His farm of 422 acres in Kent County just north of Fairlee Creek was part of the grant known as "Great Oak Manor." He sustained a loss of not less than six thousand dollars. That night the Menelaus dropped down the Bay and anchored off the shore about a mile to the north of the farm on which T'olchester Beach is now located, abreast of "Chantilly," the farm recently owned by Captain William 1. Rasin, The day had been hot and sultry ••. Captain Parker ••• had been told by one of the Negroes onMr. Frisby's farm that morning that about two hundred militia were encamped behind a woods about a half mile inland from where his vessel lay at anchor. The Negro intentionally misled them as the troops under Col. Reed were FIVE miles away! Sir Peter Parker determined to surprise and capture this body of soldiers late in the night. It has recently been stated ••• that Sir Peter Parker made the statement on leaving the vessel that night that he would eat his breakfast in "Chestertown or hell." This statement is entirely without foundation and is an unwarranted aspersion on the character of the man. There is no historical evidence that he even thought of attacking Chestertown. Captain Sir Peter Parker, his chief officer Henry Crease and his Lieutenant Pearce together discussed that evening the proposed attack on the American camp. They formed their plans and determined to wait until after midnightto land the soldiers and seamen on the shores of Historic old Kent ••• At Bellair, out in the country about five miles from where the vessels lay at anchor, Col. Reed, who had fought the British in the War of the Revolution, discussed with his officers and a few of the leading citizens of the County the plans to meet the threatened attack of the British. He had sent pickets to the Bay Shore to give warning when there was a landing made by Sir Peter Parker. About twelve o'clock at night, one of those pickets brought word to Col, Reed that Captain Parker "had landed about one hundred and fifty men" and was marching eastward out the road past the north end of the "Big Swamp." The moon had risen and threw long shadows over the fields, making objects in the mist less distinguishable than they otherwise would be. Col. Reed lost no time in ordering the militia to advance at once. They proceeded toward the Chesapeake Bay, crossing the "Tulip Forest," "Eccleston" and the "Everest" farms and reached the ridge on the high ground on Mr. Isaac Caulk's farm justto the south of his house, at about half past twelve. To the left of the ridge the main road ran down towards the Bay. To the right of this road a strip of heavy timber stretched away to the west. Immediately in front of his 28
Published on May 27, 2010