Portrait of Philip Reed. Source: house.gov.

This Week’s Kent County History Quiz question: Who led the American victory in the Battle of Caulk’s Field?

A. Philip Reed

B. Samuel Smith

C. Robert Wright

D. None of the Above

This Week’s Answer: Philip Reed.

The Battle of Caulk’s Field, fought on August 30-31,1814, was an important American victory during the War of 1812, which President James Madison had declared on Britain.  Lt. Col. Philip Reed, a Revolutionary War veteran and prominent Kent Countian, had seven companies totaling 174 men ready for combat.

Reed was born in 1760 near Chestertown. After completing his formal education, he joined the Continental Army, fighting in major battles of the Revolutionary War as a member of one of the early American special forces groups led by Brigadier General “Mad Anthony” Wayne. Their unit carried out a nighttime attack in July of 1779 that defeated the British and forced a retreat in what became known as the Battle of Stony Point. Reed was injured in 1780 during routing of American forces at the Battle of Camden, South Carolina. He attained the rank of Captain and returned home.

Reed’s political career included elections to the House of Delegates, Sheriff of  Kent County and the United States Senate, where he served from 1806 until 1813. He voted against declaring war on Britain in 1812, but joined the war effort and took a commission as a lieutenant colonel commandant in the 21st Regiment of the Maryland Militia. His great military achievement was leading the American defense of the British incursion into Kent County at Caulk’s Field on the night of August 30 and into the morning of August 31, 1813. The British commander, Royal Navy Captain Sir Peter Parker was mortally wounded.

After the War of 1812, Reed was elected to the House of Representatives in the 15th Congress, serving from March 4, 1817, to March 3, 1819. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in , but successfully contested the seat the following cycle, gaining his seat back from his rival Jeremiah Cosden. He retired in March 1823. He was a member of the Society of the Cincinnati, an organization of Revolutionary leaders who were committed to the virtues exhibited by the Roman hero Cincinnatus.

After a full life of civic valor, he died on November 2, 1829, at Huntingtown, Calvert County, Maryland and was laid to rest in the cemetery of Christ Church I. U. near Chestertown.

The Caulk’s Field battle site is located on Md. Route 21 just off of Md. Route 20 heading to Rock Hall. The battlefield is one of the most pristine battle sites except for a somber marker.  The bi-centennial of the Battle of Caulk’s Field was gloriously re-enacted on August 31, 2014. To learn more about the Battle of Caulk’s Field, visit the Kent County Historical Society website:  https://kentcountyhistory.org/history/#War-of-1812-In-Depth

The Kent County History Quiz is a weekly local brainteaser sponsored by The Peoples Bank. Kent County historian and author Joan Horsey contributes to the quiz’s development. Our goal is to create an opportunity for local learning and discussion. If you have a quiz idea, send it to steve@kentpilot.org.