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Ring The Bells for 1812 by Steve F.
To mark the beginning of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, everyone in Kent County is asked to “Ring the Bells for 1812” at 12 noon on Monday, June 18th.
Often called the forgotten war, or incorrectly, the second war of independence, Benjamin Franklin set the record straight. “The Revolution was the war of revolution, the War of 1812 was the war of independence.”
While fighting took place in the Midwest (Detroit), East (Upstate New York) and the South (New Orleans), for the residents of Kent County, the fighting was very close to home. After a slow start, by 1813 the British were finished with their war with France and were able to concentrate more men and more ships on their struggle with America. Chesapeake Bay offered a near perfect location for the British. They had plenty of sheltered water in which to maneuver, islands (Kent and Poole’s) to use as safe anchorages which also supplied water and food.
In April of 1813, the British began to pay close attention to Kent County. The farms along the bay made easily accessible targets. The British frigate H.M.S. Maidstone bombarded Howell Point. At the same time, the British attempted to land troops at Still Pond Creek. Then they fired on houses at Plum Point, where they landed, looted farms and killed cattle.
Then on May 6, the British stopped at Turner’s Creek and forced a resident to act as their pilot as they sailed up the Sassafras and burned both Georgetown and Fredericktown. At this action, the valiant Kitty Knight stood up to the British when they threatened to burn the house where she was living. The house she thus saved later became what we today call “The Inn at the Kitty Knight House”.
In July, 1814, the British were back at the doorstep. Four barges entered Worton Creek on July 11 and were met by a group of locals led by Colonel Philip Reed who happened to be on a visit in the neighborhood. Fourteen to twenty British were killed with no American losses. But the British were not finished with Kent County.
On August 28, the British fired Congreve rockets at the farm of Henry Waller on the west side of Fairlee Creek. One hundred troops then landed and burned every building on the farm. Two days later, the British raided Great Oak manor on the north side of Fairlee Creek. They also raided the farm of Richard Frisby.
Then on the night of August 30, British naval troops and Royal Marines commanded by Sir Peter Parker landed at what became known unofficially as Parker Point. They encountered the local 21st militia led by Colonel Philip Reed at Caulk’s Field. The British lost fourteen men killed including their commander. The Americans suffered only three wounded. The American victory at Caulk’s Field, won by local militia over regular British troops, proved an important morale boost in the ensuing military struggle at Baltimore.
A Note from Pastor Asher:
As pastor of Christ United Methodist Church, I hope that our community will make an effort to honor this part of our shared history and heritage by ringing our bells.
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Or contact Steve F. at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org