The Prince Frederick Raid, on July 19, 1814, was one of many British raids which occurred in Calvert County. Following the Battle of St. Leonard’s Creek, the British began to burn and pillage the plantations of Calvert County. Commodore Barney, who had been ordered to remain with his forces in the Patuxent River, was blamed by many of the county’s residents. Among these forces was Colonel Michael Taney VI, the brother of future Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who was leading a company of Calvert County militia.
The locals believed Colonel Michael Taney VI had been “luring the British up the Patuxent River, thereby instigating them to pillage the homes and properties of the County.” About 300 troops reportedly landed and began their raids on July 15, including the capture of Leonardtown in St. Mary’s County. On July 19, Prince Frederick was set upon, and fifteen British troops were seen burning down the Calvert County courthouse and jail. Among them, according to two separate witnesses, was Frisby Harris, a slave of Dr. John H Beall, who joined the forces and was seen “in company with said troops with a sword by his side.” The report of the destruction to General Winder created alarm as to the “safety of important records, and other public papers.”
The Calvert County militia was criticized for its failure to stop the British raids. Barney himself claimed, they were “to be seen everywhere but just where they were wanted – whenever the enemy appeared, they disappeared.” Colonel Taney led the lone company of militia that was ordered to remain on site. Due to their failures, however, Taney and the other militia officers were “reported to be Federalists at heart, and that their lukewarmness actually encouraged the enemy to commit depredations up and down the river. Federalists were said to be old fashioned tories under a new name.” This means they were suspected of being pro-British sympathizers, and were allowing the British to move up the river.
“Baltimore, July 21,” Daily National Intelligencer vol. II, issue 485, page 3. 7/23/1814.” British; Calvert County Court House,”
Daily National Intelligencer vol. II, issue 484, page 3. 7/22/1814.
Calvert Celebrates 300 Birthday” Calvert Independent, Sept 23 1954, p 19 http://www.calvert.lib.md.us/
“Frisby Harris”, Archives of Maryland (Biographical Series), 1. http://www.msa.md.gov/ (Accessed March 20, 2012).
Shomette, Donald. Tidewater Time Capsule p.74 1995.