Attempting to pin down the local militia and keep them from reinforcing Baltimore's defenses, the Marines landed in Kent County and marched toward Chestertown. (Sir Peter is said – probably apocryphally – to have vowed: “I will have breakfast in Chestertown, or in hell.”) Shortly after midnight on August 31, the redcoats were intercepted by three companies of the Eastern Shore militia at a place known as Bel Air (not to be confused with the better-known Bel Air north of Baltimore across the Bay). The British charged but were met with deadly volleys from the Marylanders, losing 13 killed and 27 wounded. Among those left lifeless on the field was Sir Peter himself. Lord Byron later composed a poem on his cousin's untimely death and the undying glory that would be his reward.
Contemporary newspaper stories also reveal that Capt. James Roe lived near Poplar Grove, in the Church Hill District of Queen Anne's County. He and General Thomas Emory, the owner of Poplar Grove, were political allies as leaders of the local Democratic-Republican party in the 1810s, and in the 1820s joined in support of the administration of John Quincy Adams. James Roe eventually became a militia colonel and judge of the Orphans Court, and lived until 1856.