Fifers and Drummers were an important part of the 18th-century military. Just as the states enlisted soldiers and stockpiled arms and ammunition, it also trained fifers and drummers to work with soldiers in the field. In the 18th century, fifers and drummers tended to be boys ages 10 to 18. Caldwell.s 2nd Fife and Drum Corps is entering its sixth semester of existence. We were founded in the spring of 2008 by Sam Mellon.


On December 9, 1775, the Continental Congress resolved that a military battalion was to be raised from the lower three counties along the Delaware River. Jonathan Caldwell organized the first or second company of militia with men from Kent County and became its captain.

Jonathan Caldwell was a gentleman and a devotee to the so-called sport of cock-fighting. He was well known all over the Delaware and Maryland peninsulas as a respected owner and breeder of gamecocks. Mr. Caldwell produced a strain of fighting gamecocks noted for their blue plumage and fighting ability that were descended from a famous Blue Hen. The renown of these chickens spread rapidly throughout Kent County and the "Blue Hen's Chickens" developed quite a reputation for ferocity and fighting success.

One story has it that the Captain John Caldwell's company was first hailed as the "Blue Hen's Chickens" before they marched off to war. It's told that, when his company first paraded on the Dover green, a wagon loaded with Blue Hens was part of the entourage. It seems natural that these men would bring their sporting chickens with them as the left home to fight the British.

Other stories suggest that the nickname was not earned until Captain Caldwell's men found themselves in battle. It's said that heroics during the battle of Long Island and at White Plains, New York, the Delaware regiment distinguished itself, earning the reputation of fierce and courageous warriors like the "Blue Hen's Chickens" they had brought with them. When not fighting the enemy, the officers and men amused themselves by pitting their Blue Hen Chickens in cock-fights. The fame of these cock-fights spread throughout the army and when in battle, the Delaware men fought so valiantly that they were compared to these fighting cocks.

Our Corps is named after the brave captain to remember the history of the colony of Delaware.

Have you heard of the Blue Hen's Chickens,
Of the brave old Delaware line?
The tale of their deeds is a record
Of courage almost devine—
A record of storms and battles
And marches in fasting and pain,
But they suffered in resolute silence—
They were never known to complain...