My Eastern Shore, Maryland
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
TOLCHESTER — Imagine the terror faced by Kent County plantation owner Joseph T. Mitchell and his family, when heavily armed British marines and sailors shattered their peace and repose, and took him prisoner in 1814.
“Caulk’s Field Remembered at the Inn at Mitchell House” is one of a number of activities highlighting incidents in Kent County, associated with the War of 1812. One of those was Mitchell’s abduction in the early morning hours of Sept. 3, 1814.
The unexpected visit was three days after the Battle of Caulk’s Field, near Fairlee. Led by Royal Navy Lt. Henry Crease, a squad of British sailors and Royal Marines went to Mitchell’s 1,000-acre plantation and took him and a slave into custody.
It may have been a mission of reprisal.
Crease was acting commander of H.M.S. Menelaus after the death of Capt. Sir Peter Parker at the Battle of Caulk’s Field. The British erroneously thought that Mitchell was a federal commissary official.
In the process of taking him prisoner, they also caused havoc at the plantation, killed Mitchell’s horses and stock and terrorized his family.
Mitchell was held for a length of time but was eventually repatriated with his family.
The incident is being remembered at the Inn at Mitchell House with a festival Saturday, Aug. 31- Sunday, Sept. 1.
Saturday’s plans include a camp set up by the Eastern Shore Militia, a group representing the militia of old, including the 21stRegiment that fought at the Battle of Caulk’s Field. Members will conduct drills throughout the day. There will also be exhibits, crafters and living history demonstrations. There will be a small petting zoo, pony rides, horseshoes and an “archaeological dig” for the children.
An American Girl Doll basket, courtesy of the Daughters of the War of 1812, will be among several baskets that will be raffled.
Also on Saturday, scheduled for 11 a.m., will be the wreath-laying ceremony at the Caulk’s Field monument on Caulk’s Field Road. British military and Maryland National Guard personnel will honor both sides that fought in the battle. The public is invited to attend the ceremony.
Immediately after the ceremony Maj. Gen. James Adkins, adjutant general and commander of the Maryland National Guard, is scheduled to visit the Mitchell house and personally review the Eastern Shore Militia.
There will be food and beverages for purchase and music on both days.
Sunday’s festivities will include music by Chester River Runoff, living history demonstrations, plenty of food, and more of the children’s activities. The day will be topped off with a scripted re-enactment of Mitchell’s kidnapping.
It’s all open to the public. Parking at the Kent County fairgrounds opens at 10 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday with horse and wagon shuttles both days.
The Inn at Mitchell House is located at 8796 Maryland Parkway, near the Kent County fairgrounds.
Caulk’s Field Remembered is one of a number of events planned in conjunction with the bicentennial of the War of 1812 by the Friends of Kent County Maryland War of 1812. For more information call the Kent County Office of Tourism and Economic Development at 410-778-0416 and be sure to visit the website, http://kentcounty1812.org.