The Battle of Caulk’s Field – As it happened

Battle of Caulk's Field

The battle of Caulk’s Field took place on August 30, 1814, at wait for it…Caulk’s cornfield. One week before the battle, a British ship, H.M. Menelaus landed at the Swan Creek led by Peter Parker. the forces from the ship raided farms in the area. In 1814, royal vessels, still led by Peter Parker fired rockets at Henry Waller’s house in Fairlee Creek and burnt his house and barns to the ground

Well, this was in present day Kent County in Maryland. Philip Reed, then leading the American militia within the area received information about the movement of the British troops to Skidmore.  The major used the Eastern Neck Island to mislead the oncoming British forces in regards to the size of the militia. This happened in a rather interesting way. the Britons, from their camp, had a good line of view of the American militia at the island. The Colonel instructed a few of his men to walk past the waterfront from the mainland and back again. This led the British to believe that their enemies were far outnumbered.

Once the British had landed, Reed prepared to strike them only to realize they were in search of the American Militia. The major gave orders for a countermarch with the Right going towards Caulk’s house. the British Marines moved along with the British sailors towards the Americans. The Major alerted his men and mobilized them towards the enemy. The Americans took their positions in a cornfield that belonged to Isaac Caulk and got stationed ready for an ambush. The American militia started to shoot at the oncoming British men wounding and killing several of them. The American troops’ ammunition, however, began to get depleted quickly but just then the British troops started to retreat. Among the wounded was the leader, Sir Peter Parker who had been mortally shot. He died shortly afterward and his body was shipped to Bermuda in a barrel for burial.

The local rumor mill has it that after Sir Peter Parker was wounded, he was taken to the current day Inn at Mitchell House, pickled by the American militia then sent to England. However, this seems to have been confused with the story of General Mitchell who owned the house by then. the general was captured by British forces and imprisoned in England for three years. The militia’s victory over the British at the Battle of Caulk’s Field uplifted the morale of many other Americans beyond Kent’s borders.

As the year came close to an end, the war ended with a signing of the Treaty of Ghent on the 24th of December. It is however notable that the treaty was not ratified by the United States Senate until early 1815. One effect of the delay was that battles such as the Battle of New Orleans led by Andrew Jackson still took place. The battle of Caulk’s Field was definitely a defining moment for the war and for Kent County in particular.