New War of 1812 book cov­ers many lo­cal events

Record Observer - - News - By JACK SHAUM jshaum@kibay­

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.

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