New War of 1812 book covers many local events
When the late Stanley L. Quick moved into historic Carvill Hall overlooking Fairlee Creek in Kent County in 1985, he could look out the window and see where the British launched a raid in the creek in the summer of 1814.
Always fascinated by history, it didn’t take long for him to be captivated by the history that was made practically in his own back yard. Before long, he was obtaining every scrap of information he could lay his hands on pertaining to the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Bay region and the end result is this excellent and long-anticipated book.
It is a work that was many years in the making and one that, unfortunately, Quick did not live to see to completion. He died in Chester- town in 2008 at the age of 85, and the last two chapters — detailing the battles of Bladensburg and Baltimore — were written by reporter, editor, and historian Chipp Reid of Annapolis. The completed work was published by the U.S. Naval Institute Press late in 2015.
The story of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake is often overshadowed by the British occupation of Washington and the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, but there is so much more.
Anyone with an interest in local history — especially lesser-known historical occurrences — will find this book appealing. For Mid-andUpper Shore readers, there are detailed accounts of events that took place in familiar surroundings.
For instance, there was the British base of operations set up on Kent Island, the Battle of Slippery Hill outside of Queenstown in Au- gust 1813 (the only bloodshed of the war in Queen Anne’s County), the two-pronged British assault on Queenstown the same day, British soldiers clashing with American forces at St. Michaels, and the Battle of Caulk’s Field in 1814 when British commander Capt. Sir Peter Parker was mortally wounded by American militia.
The re-telling of the Battle of Slippery Hill goes into much detail as does the story of the British presence on Kent Island, from which were launched the attacks on Queenstown and St. Michaels. In contrast to the burning of many bayfront communities by the British, we are told that the residents of Kent Island received better treatment from the British than did other locations.
It was, however, a bit disappointing to read an editor’s note stating that while Quick had written in depth about Sir Peter Parker’s expedition to Caulk’s Field, the account had been condensed in the final work. If not in the main body of the text, could the uncut version perhaps have been made available elsewhere, such as an appendix or online?
There is a similar editor’s note stating that the author’s detailed descriptions of the many difficulties the British had taking warships up the shoal-ridden Potomac River were also condensed.
These two reservations aside, the book is a most welcome addition to the literature of the War of 1812 on the Chesapeake and should appeal to both serious historians and the casual reader.
Lion on the Bay by Stanley L. Quick and Chipp Reid, U.S. Naval Institute Press, 280 pages, illustrated. Available in hardback, Kindle, and Nook versions.