The Second War With England.
"Resolved, That we are determined to employ all our exertions to produce a speedy and honorable peace, and that we will obey all constitutional acts of our government.
|1 Riots had occured in Baltimore.|
Little of interest can be gleaned, at this late day, from our annals respecting the progress of the war. That there were a number of soldiers enlisted from our county is fully ascertained, but the names of such persons have been forgotten in the lapse of time, and because they were recruited into organizations not strictly local. We know that the two sons of Elisha Price, of Chester, both died in the service, one from diseases contracted, and the other killed in action on the Canadian frontier.
An intersting scrap of local history is furnished in the following extract from the Freeman's Journal, published in Philadelphia, March 12, 1813, for it not only shows the means used to convey intelligence of important events in those days, but it indicates that the ancient borough of Chester was proud to have an opportunity to send forth to the public the news of the great victory achieved by the gallant captain who made that town his home:
"Postscript. Another Naval Victory. - The following important note was endorsed on the way-bill from Chester, Penna., received at the Post-office last night: '"Essex" frigate captured the British frigate "Castor," and killed one hundred and fifty of her men.' The report adds that the 'Essex,' Capt. Porter, had arrived in the Delaware, March 10, 1813."
The safe arrival of the "Essex," thus reported, was only six days previous to the active blockade of the Delaware River and Bay by the British vessels of war "Poictiers," "Belvidere," and several smaller crafts under the command of Commodore Beresford. On March 16th, when the former vessel lay off the village of Lewes, near Cape Henlopen, and threatened to open fire on the hamlet unless twenty-five bullocks and a proportionate quantity of vegetables should be contributed to the support of the English fleet, the news of the outrage was carried by couriers to arouse the people to resistance, and Delaware County promptly responded. That organization was effected within our county previous to Admiral Cockburn's attack on and spoliation of Havre de Grace, and even before the latter's forces applied the torch to the village of Fredericktown, is evident from the official correspondence. Under date of April 7, 1813, James Trimble, deputy secretary of the commonwealth, wrote to William Brooke, brigadier-general of the Third Division of militia, stating that on the application of Samuel Edwards and Thomas D. Anderson, of Chester, Governor Snyder had consented to furnish sixty muskets with bayonets, and, if possible, as many cartridge-boxes, for the purpose of arming the Chester Company of Infantry, on condition that Messrs. Edwards and Anderson, with two other gentlemen to be approved by Gen. Brooke, should enter bonds to return the arms and accoutrements in good order in six months after they received them. On May 12, 1813, Secretary of State Boileau wrote to Thomas S. Anderson that Governor Snyder was prepared to forward as early as practicable five or six hundred stands of arms and cartridge-boxes, and orders had been forwarded to Deputy Quartermaster-General Foering to furnish whatever ammunition might be required, but that there were no tents or other camp equipments belonging to the State, fit for use, that could be had. He suggested that in the then season of the year, and in a country so thickly settled, the men in service might find shelter from any inclement weather in houses, barns, or temporary huts. He further stated that in 1793 Governor Mifflin had loaned one hundred and sixty tents to the Board of Health in Philadelphia, and Gen. Foering would be instructed to ascertain their condition, and, if found fit for use, they would be delivered to Gen. Brooke, the brigade inspector for the district including Delaware County. Under date of May 15, 1813, Secretary Boileau wrote to Joseph Engle that three hundred and fifty stands of arms, with other articles, had that day been forwarded to Chester, and as Gen. Brooke lived some distance from the latter place, the arms had been sent in Mr. Engle's care, and he should receipt to the wagoner for them. In a postscript he adds that after the muskets were loaded in the wagon it was found it would not carry more than three hundred boxes, and as it was thought the other articles were not as necessary as the guns, they had not been forwarded.
The muskets mentioned in the letter to Anderson of May 12th, and those that were forwarded to Engle on May 15th, were doubtless intended to arm the emergency men, when the intelligence of the destruction of Fredericktown was received, together with the report that a large force of English troops, accompanied by Indians, who spared neither women nor children, had landed there, doubtless intending serious mischief. The latter part of this rumor was without foundation.
Nothing of interest appertaining to the war occurred in Delaware County for fifteen months, although the militia must have been held in readiness to move at short notice. In the early part of March, 1814, Secretary Boileau wrote to Gen. Brooke that a thousand muskets had been sent by the United States to the State arsenal in Philadelphia to arm the militia, and the quota of Delaware County would be de-