Most Marylanders know that during the War of 1812 Francis Scott Key, inspired by the bombardment of Fort McHenry, wrote the lyrics to a song that later became our national anthem. But how many Marylanders ever heard of the Battle of Caulk’s Field, the Battle of Slippery Hill, or the Battle of the Ice Mound? How many know that no other state in the Union suffered more British raids than Maryland, that some of the best preserved earthworks from the war are located here, or that Maryland has identified over 400 sites related to the War of 1812? This illustrated talk explores the role that Maryland played in this little understood war and examines the vast resource base that survives, including actual battlefield and raid sites, monuments, and even graves of war veterans. Maryland has a War of 1812 heritage that is largely unknown, under-appreciated, and in some cases threatened.
Ralph Eshelman has over 30 years of cultural resource management experience. He was co-director of the Patuxent River Cultural Resource Survey which discovered and partially excavated an American War of 1812 military vessel from the U.S. Chesapeake Flotilla. He also conducted a holistic inventory of War of 1812 and Revolutionary War sites in Maryland for the National Park Service’s National Battlefield Protection Program. He served as the historian for the “Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail” Study Team of the National Park Service. Eshelman is senior author of The War of 1812 in the Chesapeake: A Guide to the Historic Sites of Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia as well as the author of A Travel Guide to the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake: Eighteen Tours in Maryland, Virginia, & the District of Columbia and Maryland’s Largest Naval Engagement: The Battles of St. Leonard Creek, 1814, Calvert County, Maryland. Eshelman's most recent book, co-authored with Burt Kummerow, is titled In Full Glory Reflected: Discovering the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake.
This lecture is sponsored by the Maryland Humanities Council.