Declaration Of War:
The Declaration of War on June 18, 1812 was the closest vote on any war in U.S. history. The primary theatre of engagement became the U.S./Canadian border; Americans felt that they had a better chance for success invading Canada then confronting the British navy at sea. It would become apparent that the Federalists were correct that the regular forces and militia were not prepared for war. During the first year of war, American forces and their commanders blundered their way through humiliating engagements with the highly trained British regulars. The U.S. Navy, however, proved in naval engagements in the Great Lakes that is was, ship for ship, the equal of the British, whose navy was considered the finest in the world.
The citizens of Kent County would not feel the full impact of war until the spring of 1813 when the British turned their attention to the Chesapeake. In spite of Kent County’s Republican leanings, there would have been anti-war sentiment among the population. Two unnamed men were detained in Chestertown in summer 1813 under suspicion of supplying the British with grain. An Independence Day celebration that year called upon Kent County residents to stand firm against the enemy. And, for the most part, they did.