Background image is Les Dernières Cartouches (The Last Cartridges) by Alphonse de Neuville

Friday, December 30, 2016

Montmiral: One more in before the year ends

Well, I've done a good bit of gaming over the last few weeks, but not much wargaming. I did enjoy a rare visit with Mr Invisible, in which we played the first couple of turns of GMT's Caucasus Campaign, another from the stable of the accomplished Mark Simonitch. We enjoyed it, as we generally do his games, but after all the catching up we had to do (and solving all the world's problems), we weren't able to finish the game.

Apart from that, my limited effort has gone to preparing for the Montmiral game next month. But I've done sadly little actual preparing. I did pull out my Perry French, and I've gotten some of the infantry and a few officers ready for painting. But I've stalled out there. I've also (of course) picked up a few new books on the campaign, and I've been dipping into those, but only dipping.

Neverthless, I'll add a few snaps of the unpainted chaps, who have now advanced (almost all of them) to base-coated/primered status as I unleashed the wave of black gesso.

There are a couple of mounted officers, whose painting I will intersperse among that of the infantrymen as a reward for getting another batch done. Though probably company or battalion officers, these chaps on the left and right will be acting (for now) as brigade commanders. I don't think les vieux will really deserve a general officer (centre) until I have a fair number of infantry painted, plus some supporting arms.

Infantry officers (left and right) and general officer (centre)


Then there are the tête de colonne, another treat to paint as a reward, consisting of eagle-bearer, dismounted officer, drummer, and sapper.

Tête de colonne in front


There are a series of NCOs (both elite company and centre company) who I will intersperse on the group stands somewhat sparingly, so as to make their presence a little more special. Ideally, I'd like to use 28mm figures for skirmish/small-unit actions, but I've yet to find a set of rules that I think do a good job of depicting horse & musket action at that level (where the units a player commands are, say, platoon-sized groups), but maybe one day I'll find them. If those rules come along, I might pull these NCO figures out and base them as individuals; we'll see.

NCOs: elite companies (front) and centre companies (rear)


Then there are the skirmishing figures. These will get based as pairs, for the moment, as that provides a proper, historical visual cue as to how they fought and allows for dispersing them over a broader front. The simpler marching poses, of both elite and centre company figures, will get based in fours or sixes.

Skirmishers, loading and firing

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Slight diversion: The Battle of Montmirail, 1814

So, one of my local living history acquaintances recently began painting 28mm Prussian infantry and blogging about it, entirely off his own bat. :-) So, of course, I'm doing my best to suck him deeper into the realm of wargaming.

If he had picked 15mm, this would have been simple enough, given the large number of troops I already have painted in that scale. But since he picked the larger size, I have pulled some of my neglected Perry stock out of the back room and am preparing to slap some paint on it. He's got a good start on me (20+ Prussian landwehr infantry already ready to go), so I need to get going. We're hoping to have a small Black Powder set-to in January sometime, probably modeled on a portion of the battle of Montmirail, where part of the 1st Brigade of GM Otto Karl Lorenz von Pirch tried to collapse the French right flank, crashing into the Guard division of GdD Claude-Étienne Michel in the woods around Bailly. Since my friend has started off by painting landwehr, I'll paint up my French as the light infantry of GdD Étienne Pierre Sylvestre Ricard's 8th Division that were dispatched to help out Michel's Flanquers, Fusiliers, and Velites. No fair building guardsmen to fight militia! But if we stick with this battle, it would be kind of fun to produce some of the less famous regiments of the Garde that fought under Michel.

Edited to add a few links about the battle:

Wikipedia (with a nice order of battle)
History of War (passable summary but no maps, boo!)
a visit to the battlefield by my blogging colleague JJ (but he focused on the southern side of the battle while we are in the north with the Prussians)
the Nafziger order of battle
Vernet's (rather dark) painting (I mean, literally dark, hard to see)
the relevant chapter of Maurice Weil's history of the war of 1814, translated by Greg Gorsuch, from the Napoleon Series

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Project 1777, JJ's Talavera project, and Giving Tuesday

Jonathan Jones has posted on the coming culmination of his three-year effort to reproduce the Napoleonic battle of Talavera, a project that inspired my own Project 1777. The work he's done impresses me tremendously, and the determination he's displayed in keeping the project going is inspiring. I get bogged down in other things and run out of steam from time to time, so it's nice to have an example of stick-to-it-ive-ness like this.

Like Jonathan, I love the history of my period, and I'm enjoying delving into the personalities of the leaders that have formed the larger part of my posts so far. I look forward to learning more about all these gentlemen, and, who knows? Maybe some day it will spur an effort like that of my Jacqueline Reiter, soon to be published biographer of an underappreciated British peer and military figure.

Also like Jonathan, I appreciate the hard work of Nigel Marsh, the author of the Carnage and Glory simulation software that powers both JJ's Peninsular set-tos and my own Pennsylvania battles.

And I appreciate Mr J's linking his project to a worthy charity. In abject emulation, and since it's Giving Tuesday here in the US, here's a link to the Brandywine Battlefield Park Association. The association provides tours of Washington's headquarters at Brandywine, battlefield tours to visitors and school groups, staff rides for military officers and cadets, hosts a summer history camp, and provides on-request leadership seminars drawing on the example of Revolutionary War officers. The Association's website includes history, maps, information on battlefield preservation, and assistance on genealogical research.

Other great historic charities include
and of course
  • Colonial Williamsburg, the institution that first got me interested in American colonial history, and where I had my first history-facing job. :-)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

catching up: early Autumn 2016

While I haven't posted recently, I've not been neglecting my wargaming entirely. :-)

Black Powder AWI at Army of Central Maryland
I recently ran a Revolutionary War game at the local club using the Black Powder ruleset; I'll soon have a post about that and some related games I'm planning.


A few weeks before that, I also ran a Rev War Black Powder game at a friend's house, mostly as a trial and to gain familiarity with the rules.
Black Powder AWI at Peter's

Before that, I've played a good deal of Advanced Squad Leader (three games in a month, which is kind of a record for me),

ASL with Gorkowski
ASL with Fortenberry

ASL with Frum
 played Red Poppies: Ypres Campaign with the designer,

Gorkowski explains my cruel but inevitable defeat.
 played Star Wars: Armada with my best friend while his teenaged son refereed (with lots of heavy sighs at our adult ineptitude),

Star Wars:Armada with Peter
played a British Grenadier scenario of Frayser's Farm,
Burgoyne's British let loose a volley.
and refought the battle of Vendôme with Bruce Weigle's excellent 1871 rules at the author's house.

Another of Bruce's incredible battlefields.
I also took a day off work last week and had a full weekend at Fall In. I played four different games: two Carnage & Glory games set in the Polish Commonwealth (17th century),

My Russian nobles about to kick Polish husaria ass!
one medieval game with Bob Bryant's new small-battle Clans and Companies rules, and a final Carnage & Glory game set in the American Revolution. I had several other games on my list to try to get into, but none of them panned out, alas. I also did a bit of shopping for an upcoming project.

I'll try to arrange for a few posts to summarize these exploits and get a few more photos up. Needless to say, I've also been continuing to read and learn about the 1777 Philadelphia campaign and to enlarge my Rev War research library.

I've also expanded my board wargame library a bit and taken up two new sports, curling and German longsword fencing. So, it's not like I've been sitting on my duff. :-)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Project 1777: WIP: Troops for Bound Brook

I have almost enough ragbag Americans to supply both Lincoln's garrison at Bound Brook (including the NJ militia who had gone home before the historical British attack) *and* Greene's division that could have supported Uncle Ben if the British OPSEC had been less watertight.

But the British brought their classic elite strike force: scads of light infantry, Guards, British grenadiers, Hessian grenadiers, and Hessian jaegers. I have some 15mm jaegers (though I'd like to replace them in time) but of the rest I have only a paltry number of lights and grenadiers, and those are old Frontier figures that nothing else can rank up with and that are long since out of production.

So here are a ton of Old Glory light bobs and grenadiers and a slew of Blue Moon Brits in cut-down coats and hats who will be representing the Guards battalion (complete with grenadiers and lights in cap-hats). A lot of white metal that will need red coats and white ducking trowsers before we can sneak along the Raritan's shadowed banks.

There are a few multicoloured Doodles in view as well, waiting to become a battalion of Virginia line and a light infantry battalion for later 1777.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Project 1777: The Second Pennsylvania Brigade and Proctor's Artillery

John Phillip DeHaas by CW Peale (Wikimedia)
2nd Pennsylvania Brigade

In the (never explained) absence of Dutchman-turned-Pennsylvanian Brigadier General John Phillip DeHaas (formerly of the 2nd Pennsylvania), Colonel Richard Humpton commanded the division's second brigade. A Yorkshireman who had held a King's commission in the British army and fought in France during the Seven Years' War, Humpton had settled in Pennsylvania after that conflict. He was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel, then colonel, in the Pennsylvania Flying Camp in 1776, then given command of the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment in October of 1776 and commanded it through the battle of Trenton.

Humpton commanded the 2nd Brigade in the 1777 campaign, fighting at Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown. After the battle of Monmouth, the 11th Pennsylvania was merged into the 10th, Humpton taking command of the combined regiment. Following the Pennsylvania Line mutiny of 1781, the 10th was dissolved, and Humpton took command of the 6th Regiment, then headed the 2nd Regiment before he retired in 1783 with the brevet rank of brigadier general.

Humpton became the center of a bitter dispute with Anthony Wayne following the battle of Paoli. Humpton maintained he had been warned of the attack at Paoli by a Scots deserter and that he had attempted to convey the news to Wayne, whom he said mocked him and refused to believe an attack was imminent. Wayne denied any such discussion had taken place and blamed Humpton for reacting slowly and ineffectively with his brigade when the British attacked, forcing Wayne (who claimed to have been alert and prepared to fight) to fall back to avoid encirclement. A court martial eventually acquitted Wayne unreservedly, though it cast no direct aspersion on Humpton.

4th Pennsylvania Regiment
Authorized in late 1775 and raised early in 1776 as the 3rd Pennsylvania Battalion, the unit saw action in the New York campaign. The battalion was detached from the Main Army to help build fortifications around New York and so missed the battle of Long Island. The unit rejoined the Main Army and served in the rest of the battles of the New York campaign, eventually returning to the fortifications it had helped build. A large part of the unit was captured when Fort Washington surrendered to the British. The remainder was reorganized as the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment in January 1777. As such, it fought at Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown in 1777 and at Monmouth in 1778, and it took part in the genocidal campaign against the Iroquois ordered by Washington and carried out by Major General John Sullivan in 1779.

Of interest, Lambert Cadwalader, a Philadelphia merchant and a member of the Provincial Assembly, served as the lieutenant colonel of the 3rd Battalion and was taken captive at Fort Washington. He was released on parole, and he was appointed colonel and commander of the now renamed 4th Pennsylvania. But as he had not been exchanged (Washington having prohibited the release of British field officers held as prisoners of war), his scruples prevented him from accepting that commission, and he eventually resigned from the army and returned to politics in Pennsylvania. He was elected to the Continental Congress in 1784. In his absence, the regiment seems to have been commanded by by Lt. Col. William Butler, one of five brothers, first-generation immigrants from Ireland, who fought in the Pennsylvania Line during the Revolution.

Deserters from the regiment captured in 1776 suggest that the regiment at that time was uniformed in brown regimentals faced white, buckskin breeches, and hats bound with white tape. A deserter captured the following year wore a hunting shirt, linen trousers, and woolen stockings (no colours given) and had no shoes (!)

5th Pennsylvania Regiment
This regiment originally raised at the 4th Pennsylvania Battalion. It served in Canada and in the defense of Lake Champlain. Moved back to the Main Army from the Canadian and Northern Departments, it was reorganized as the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment. It had been commanded by Anthony Wayne; when he was promoted to brigadier general, command of the 5th was assigned to Colonel Francis Johnson, a friend of Wayne's who had been the 4th Battalion's lieutenant colonel. Johnson commanded the 5th for the rest of the war. Under Johnson, the regiment fought at Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown. It later fought at Monmouth and Springfield in New Jersey and at Green Spring and Yorktown in Virginia.

The 4th Battalion had been uniformed in blue coats faced white. More coats were issued to the 5th in 1777 by the Clothier General, but I have not been able to ascertain what colour(s) they were. Deserter descriptions from 1777 include a rainbow of clothing, including blue and white or brown and white regimentals, brown or "light-colured" coats, grey or green or blue jackets, purple or yellow hunting shirts, and one blanket coat!

Col. Daniel Brodhead by CW Peale (Robert Cairns)
8th Pennsylvania Regiment
Originally raised as Mackay's Battalion (after its colonel, Aeneas Mackay), this formation was embodied in the far western counties of Pennsylvania as a troop for the defense of the frontier. In January 1777, it was renamed the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment and summoned to join the Main Army in New Jersey. The regiment, lacking tents and even coats for some of its men, suffered considerable loss from its mid-winter march across the state; 50 men died, including the colonel and lieutenant colonel, and many more became ill. After some recovery, the unit took part in the Forage War, including the battle of Spanktown. Colonel Daniel Broadhead transferred from the 4th to command the 8th, while Maj. Richard Butler (another of the "fighting Butlers") was promoted to serve as lieutenant colonel.

The 8th was part of the small garrison of Bound Brook that was severely handled by the British attack. Although most of the regiment got away, the experience, after the grueling trek of January and the loss of their senior officers, put the regiment into what General Washington referred to in a letter as a "distracted State"; disciplinary actions were taken, and an inquiry into the state of the unit was undertaken (conclusions unknown).

In June, the regiment lost its new lieutenant colonel, a captain, and 140 men, who were sent to join Morgan's Rifle Corps in the Northern Department. The hard-luck 8th next participated in Wayne's defeat at Brandywine and at the disaster of Paoli. It was then part of the initially successful assault on the British light infantry at Germantown, helping to chase off the lights and plunder their camp; but circumstances of that confused battle led to the 8th appearing unexpectedly in front of Sullivan's division, which promptly began shooting into the mass of horrified Pennsylvanians.

In 1778, things were not much better, with the 8th dispatched back to the Pennsylvania frontier, where it was involved in Brigadier General Lachlan McIntosh's abortive attempt to invade the Ohio Country. In 1779, the regiment took part in an secondary operation of Sullivan's campaign against the Iroquois. Finally, in 1781 the regiment took part in the Pennsylvania Line mutiny and was disbanded, with its remaining men being consolidated into the new 2nd Pennsylvania.

Deserters after Bound Brook were reported wearing, variously, brown coats, blue coats, and hunting shirts, though none of these are described in terms that convince the reader they were military issue. It may well be that there had been no issue of uniforms to the regiment even as late as that. A portrait of Col. Brodhead from the winter of 1777/1778 shows him in a regimental coat of blue faced red; if the regiment eventually wore these colours, it would be in keeping with the norm for much of the Pennsylvania Line.

11th Pennsylvania Regiment
Humpton's lieutenant colonel, Francis Gurney, presumably commanded the regiment in his absence. The 11th had been raised in September 1776 and had served at Assunpink Creek and at Princeton in that year. In 1777, the regiment fought at Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown. It was present but saw no action at Whitemarsh. In 1778, it fought at Monmouth; later that year it was consolidated into the 10th Pennsylvania.

The 11th wore blue coats faced red. 

Proctor's Artillery

Marker at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Philadelphia
(US Gen Web Archives)
Thomas Proctor emigrated from Ireland to the Americas with his parents in the 1740s or 1750s and proceeded to establish himself as a carpenter in western Pennsylvania and later in the Philadelphia area. In 1775, he was commissioned as a captain by the Pennsylvania Council of Safety and raised the state's first company of artillery. In August 1776, his grew to a battalion, with Proctor, now a major, in command. Over the winter of 1776/1777, Proctor took temporary command of the entire Continental artillery establishment while Knox was on leave from the army. In the spring, the Pennsylvania Artillery Battalion was expanded to a regiment (Proctor was promoted to colonel) and then transferred to Continental service as Proctor's Continental Artillery Regiment.

As the Pennsylvania Artillery Battalion, Proctor's men fought bravely at Trenton and at the battle of the Assunpink. In 1777, a detachment from Proctor's regiment lost its guns at Bound Brook, and another detachment lost some or all of its pieces when Knyphausen's division stormed across Chadd's Ford at the battle of Brandywine. Now officially the Proctor's Continental Artillery Regiment, Proctor's men fought at Germantown, where it unsuccessfully bombarded the Chew House. The regiment served at the battle of Monmouth, where it may have provided the source for the legend of Molly Pitcher. In 1779, the regiment acquired a number (the 4th Continentals) and went as part of Sullivan's Expedition. Returning to the main army, the regiment fought in smaller battles around New York. In 1781, it went south with Wayne as part of his command in Virginia, but by this time Proctor had left the regiment, and the army, resigning over a dispute with the Pennsylvania government over who could issue commissions to command the regiment's companies. The 4th served at the siege f Yorktown and was finally dissolved in 1783.

The uniform of Proctor's regiment was consistently blue regimentals with red facings. Apparently when some of the army's artillery went to black coats faced red, Proctor refused; the change never took hold fully, and the army switched back later to blue faced red. Proctor's regiment included a band of music (dressed in red coats, given a request from Proctor to the Clothier General) at one point, who played for the commander in chief's birthday celebration at Valley Forge in 1778.

(Note: military bands, often civilian contractors paid by the regimental commander rather than serving soldiers, were distinct from the "field music"--fifers and drummers--who signaled orders and provided drill cadences. A regimental band of music generally consisted of hautbois (oboes), bassoons, serpents, and/or trumpets and played for ceremonial and social functions.)

For a look at some Continental Artillery dressed as Proctor's probably were, see Giles Allison's American Artillery (5) post. For his version of Molly Pitcher, see American Artillery (3).

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Project 1777: Lincoln, Wayne, and the Pennsylvanians

The first engagement of the 1777 Philadelphia campaign, to my mind, was the British attack on Bound Brook. It served as the transition between the winter's Forage War, the petite guerre of outposts and ambuscades, and the opening of General Lord Howe's field campaign, the attempt to draw General George Washington and the American army into an open battle.

Ewald's map of the engagement at Bound Brook (Wikimedia)
Bound Brook also served as Major General Benjamin Lincoln's first and last engagement as commander of the 4th Division of the Main Army. Lincoln had taken command of the division shortly after receiving his major general's commission from Congress in February 1777. Only one regiment (the 8th Pennsylvania) from his division fought at Bound Brook, along with a few Pennsylvania and New Jersey militia units and a Pennsylvania artillery company, Proctor's.  In July, three months after the brief skirmish on the Raritan, Lincoln was riding north, along with Major General Benedict Arnold and Colonel Daniel Morgan--two tough and unconventional fighters--to assist in the defense of the Northern Department. General George Washington ordered Brigadier General Anthony Wayne to take charge of the division in Lincoln's absence.

Wayne and horse by Alonzo Chappel (Wikimedia)
Anthony Wayne

Wayne was the son and grandson of immigrants. His grandfather, Captain Anthony Wayne, served in the Anglo-Dutch army of William of Orange against the Jacobites in 1690 and later brought his Dutch wife and young son Isaac to Pennsylvania from Ireland in 1699. Isaac, our Anthony's father, served as an officer in the Pennsylvania Military Association (the volunteer defense force that protected the colony during the French and Indian War because the Quaker-owned colony refused to establish a militia) and in due course took over running the family estate as well as the tanning business his father had established, which had grown to be the largest in Pennsylvania. Young Anthony sought a more exciting life and, after studying at his uncle's private academy and the College of Pennsylvania, he became a surveyor, working for Benjamin Franklin and other Philadelphia land speculators. Chester County electors sent him to the Provincial Assembly in 1774, and he joined many of the revolutionary organizations (the Provincial Committee of Safety, the Provincial Convention, and the Committee of Correspondence) that sprang up as war came closer.

In 1776, Wayne was appointed colonel of the 4th Pennsylvania Battalion (later the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment). He commanded the regiment through an ignominious campaign in Canada and was left in command of Fort Ticonderoga when senior officers abandoned it for the warmer and better-supplied surroundings of the Main Army and Congress. In February 1777, Wayne was among those promoted to brigadier general, and he was summoned south to take up command of the 1st Pennsylvania Brigade.

"Dandy Wayne" (he took pleasure in dressing well) studied military arts and sciences as many Americans did, by reading everything and anything of a professional military nature that he could get his hands on. He swore like a sailor, drove his men hard, but asked nothing from them (like bravery or self-discipline) that he didn't expect from himself. He assumed a bold manner; one fellow Pennsylvania officer compared him to the French Marshal-General the Duc de Villars, who was as renowned for his braggadocio as for his bravery. While fierce and boastful, Wayne was calm, almost ice-cold in action, so much so that later in the war Washington selected him on several occasions for special commands that required a brave but cool-headed officer, such as the Corps of Light Infantry's attack on Stony Point in 1779.

1st Pennsylvania Regt. colour (http://www.vssr.org)

The Pennsylvania Division

As the 1777 campaign opened, the 4th or Pennsylvania Division of the Main Army consisted of two brigades, one of five regiments and one of four. Although the artillery doctrine devised by Washington and the army's artillery chief, Brigadier General Henry Knox, called for a company of two to four guns to support each brigade, these companies were not formally allocated as part of the divisional organization. As brigades were formed mostly from troops from one state or region, the army tried to arrange that supporting artillery would come from the same state or region. In 1777, the Pennsylvania Division was often supported by gunners from the command of the Irishman-turned-Pennsylvanian Thomas Proctor.

The First Pennsylvania Brigade

With the departure of Lincoln and Wayne's shift to divisional command (though it came with no promotion--Wayne was not commissioned as a major general until 1783), the 1st Pennsylvania Brigade was commanded by Colonel Thomas Hartley.

Hartley was an attorney who practiced in York and Philadelphia and who served in Pennsylvania's Provincial Convention in 1775. He held commissions first as lieutenant and then as lieutenant colonel in the Associators. He the commanded the 6th Pennsylvania Battalion as lieutenant colonel during its service in Canada in 1776. In 1777 Congress authorized Washington to raise several additional regiments to supplement those allocated to specific states. With lobbying from Richard Henry Lee, Hartley obtained the commission to raise one of these and spent the spring raising it and attending to other matters (for an entertaining correspondence between Hartley and an increasingly annoyed Washington, see this page at the National Archives).

1st Pennsylvania Regiment
One of the first units raised in the war, this regiment started out as Thompson's Rifle Battalion or the Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment. Several companies were sent on Arnold's expedition to Canada, while the remainder served in the siege of Boston. After the siege ended, and with Col. William Thompson promoted to brigadier general, the regiment became the 1st Continental Regiment, under the command of Lt. Col., later Col. Edward Hand. A new name change saw the regiment re-titled the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment, and as such it fought at Long Island, providing the army's rearguard in that action.It fought at Harlem Heights and White Plains. When Washington led the army across the Delaware to attack Trenton, the 1st Pennsylvania led the way in the battles of Trenton, Assunpink Creek, and Princeton.

In early 1777, Hand too was promoted to brigade command and Col. James Chambers took command of the 1st. Under Chambers' command the regiment fought at Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown and was prepared to engage at White Marsh. In 1778, the regiment exchanged its rifles for muskets and bayonets and as regular infantry fought at the battle of Monmouth. The regiment's light company took part in the storming of Stony Point under Anthony Wayne.

In 1777, the uniform of the 1st Pennsylvania was brown regimentals faced green, but when in the field the unit more often wore hunting shirts and linen or deerskin overalls. In 1776, Col. Hand had ordered material for shirts that were intended to be green, trimmed in red. Similar outfits were often made of brown, black, white, or "drab" cloth. Another account suggests that the 1st received green regimentals (possibly faced red) in the winter of 1776 and green hunting shirts with buckskin breeches. Though he didn't paint them specifically to be the 1st Continental/1st Penna., Giles Allison features some well painted American riflemen on his Tarleton's Quarter blog here and also here.

2nd Pennsylvania Regiment
Originally formed in 1775 as the 1st Pennsylvania Battalion, this unit served in the invasion of and then retreat from Canada and the defense of Lake Champlain. IN 1776 it was reorganized as the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment and fought at Trenton and Princeton. Its colonel, John Phillip DeHaas, was promoted to brigadier general. A replacement colonel was appointed but did not take command of the regiment before he resigned in the summer of 1777. In the meantime, the regiment was commanded by Major William Williams.

Some sources suggest the regiment took part in the action at Bound Brook. It certainly fought at Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown (where Maj. Williams was captured). It was present at Whitemarsh, fought at Monmouth, and served throughout the rest of the war.

In 1777, the uniform of the 2nd Pennsylvania was brown regimentals faced green. For some handsomely painted 2nd PAs, see Giles Allison's Tarleton's Quarter blogpost here.

Division flag of the 7th Pennsylvania (www.vssr.org)
7th Pennsylvania Regiment
Commanded in 1777 by Colonel David Geier. The 7th Pennsylvania was raised in 1776 as the 6th Pennsylvania Battalion, which served in Canada and in the defense of Lake Champlain in that year. In January 1777, it was reorganized as the 7th, in which capacity it served in the campaigns in northern New Jersey, in defense of Philadelphia, and in 1778 at the battle of Monmouth.

In 1776, the 6th Battalion may have worn blue regimentals faced red, and it appears that the 7th Pennsylvania retained these. Another possibility is that they wore brown coats faced red.

10th Pennsylvania Regiment
Originally raised by Colonel Adam Penrose, who led it in combat at Princeton, the 10th was commanded in 1777 by Lieutenant Colonel Adam Hubley. It fought at Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown and the next year at Monmouth. When the 11th was combined into the 10th in 1778, Col. Richard Humpton took command of the consolidated unit.

I have not been able to find a reliable indication of the 10th's uniforms, so one can only made educated guesses. The uniforms adopted by the Military Association in 1775 had been almost all variations on brown regimental coats, while the two Pennsylvania state units (a rifle regiment and a musketry battalion) had worn blue coats faced white. The Pennsylvania Continental regiments of 1776 had been uniformed in blue faced red, blue faced white, brown faced green, and brown faced red. When officers bought cloth for additional coats in late 1777 the majority were blue faced red, with smaller quantities of blue faced white, brown faced white, and brown faced green.

Hartley's Additional Continental Regiment
Hartley being in command of the brigade, his regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Morgan Connor. Hartley had recruited Connor (or Conner or Conneer or O'Connor, spellings varied) from the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment, which he had joined in 1775, serving at Boston and later at Trenton, where he was wounded. An Irish Roman Catholic, Connor had also served twice as a staff officer in South Carolina and would go on to command other Pennsylvania regiments before becoming the Continental Army's adjutant general. He received sick leave in 1779 and was lost at sea when traveling to the West Indies for a rest cure.

Recruited from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware, the regiment was barely made up in time to join the spring 1777 campaign. It fought at Brandywine, Paoli, and Germantown during that year. In 1778, it was moved to the Pennsylvania frontier to fight Indians, and in 1779 it joined several other regiments in being subsumed into the "new" 11th Pennsylvania.

In 1777, Hartley's Additional Regiment was uniformed in blue regimental coats faced white.You can see some well-painted Hartley's here.

Next Post: the Second Pennsylvania Brigade and Proctor's Artillery

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Project 1777: lost post

I had written a detailed post on Benjamin Lincoln, Anthony Wayne, the Pennsylvania Line, the 4th Division of the Main Army, both its brigades, and other supernumerary units. Unit histories, uniform notes, principal officer bios, everything.

Vanished.

I deleted two lines, then reconsidered and closed the edit window without saving and reopened it, thinking I would have the page before I had made any changes.

It was entirely blank. Everything I've written and carefully saved for weeks. All the links to my reference materials, all the written and rewritten passages.

Gone.

I'm shattered.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Project 1777: the American Army of the Philadelphia Campaign

Like any great epic, our narrative of 1777 sometimes takes us backward as well as forward. The next step in Project 1777 is to look at the American force engaged in the campaign. But before we can understand what they are, we have to know where they came from.

Bunker Hill by Don Troiani (artist's website)
From Humble Beginnings


The American Army of 1775 had been a gathering of militia companies, begun by Massachusetts and coming to include contingents from all the New England provinces. This was refined and polished into a regular army of sorts by a cadre of political-military leaders, many of them veterans of the late war with France and Spain or self-taught students of the military arts. The new Continental government adopted this army and in 1776 began expanding it, gradually turning what were at first a collection of separate, Provincial forces into a Continental Army. The following year of war tested the army's officers and men; the fire of combat began melting away the dross of cowards and incompetents (though many brave and bold men were also lost in that year of successive disasters for the Continental Army).

But though by the end of 1776, the men of the Continental Army were becoming veterans, they were also disappearing. Since the army had been raised, like previous Provincial forces, to address a short-term emergency, the army of 1776 melted away as enlistments expired and privations increased. For 1777, a new army would have to be recruited, an army that would serve for the duration of the war. Congress would need to work more closely with the commanders of its army and their staffs, so as to ensure that they built together a stronger, more professional, better trained and equipped, more durable and effective army.

After the defeats of the New York campaign in 1776, General George Washington had taken his army across the Jerseys and across the barrier of the broad Delaware River to temporary safety in Pennsylvania. To increase the value of this barrier, he had gathered up or destroyed as many boats as possible along the navigable course of the river, so as to prevent the British from pursuing him across it. After the winter campaign of 1776/1777 in which he defeated the Crown Forces at Trenton and Princeton, he changed plans and withdrew into the Watchung Mountains of New Jersey instead of back across the Delaware. The mountains provided almost as much protection as the river from a swift British approach, and he could move down out of them more easily and quickly than he could cross the river.

Reforging the Blade

Continental Army encampment at Morristown (warfarehistorynetwork.com)
Behind his mountain barrier, Washington rebuilt his entire army. While reorganizing or enlisting the infantry
that made up the bulk of the army was perhaps the largest task, the artillery, cavalry, staff, and logistical elements of the army also received considerable attention and, as far as possible, upgrades. Congress authorized the creation or transfer of cavalry units from the provinces to create the army's first four regiments of light dragoons, troops that Washington saw more valuable as reconnaissance and intelligence assets than as battlefield troops. Artillery units were likewise reorganized and transferred from the control of the colonies' service to that of Congress. Guns were given new, lighter carriages to increase the speed with which they could move to support the infantry. The army was reorganized into divisions and brigades, each with their own commanding officers, infantry regiments, and artillery brigades, which made supplying, planning, and commanding the army in battle easier. Washington overhauled his staff, finding replacements for the young men of his "family" who had been promoted to command some of the new regiments that Congress was putting into the field. And new logistical and support organizations ensured that arms were manufactured and procured more systematically and that uniforms and comestibles were better accounted for and supplied to the army.

But while this new army was being assembled, Washington relied heavily on what he felt to be a rather weak or broken reed--the state militias. The New Jersey militia had become very animated by the damage done by British and Hessian troops over the autumn and winter, and the combats between militia units and occupying troops looking for supplies became known as the Forage War. Normally such engagements would be quite limited in scope, but as the ferocity of encounters grew and desire on both sides to draw the enemy into a grave trap increased, so did the size of battles. In the fight at Spanktown in February 1777, nearly an entire division was engaged on both sides.

Engagements of the Forage War (Wikimedia)
The Small War

Washington had been explicit in his discussions with his own staff and with Congress about his desire to avoid an open field battle with the British army, at least while his forces were smaller, less experienced, and less well supported than their opponents. He knew the value of fighting from fixed positions, but he also knew that the British would do their best to maneuver in such a way as to force him out of any works he should build, if they could possibly do so. Moreover, if he simply immured his command in a fortress, it would be unable to protect the countryside around it and risk a siege in which he might lose the entire army and its supplies at once. So he wanted to keep tabs on what the British were doing, so he would have plenty of time to react.

In any war, keeping tabs on the enemy is part of the art and craft of reconnaissance. You want to know where the enemy is, what his numbers and equipment are, what he's doing, and if he shows any sign of moving, and if so where he may be going. (Reconnaissance also covers things like knowing the lay of the land, both around your current position and anywhere you or your enemy might want to move, what the state of local population is, where you may be able to find more supplies, and things of that sort.) And ideally one finds those things out very close to the enemy, so you have time to react to any changes, rather than close to your position, where you may not have time to use the information you find.

The enemy, of course, would like the same information about your forces, the local population, and the local terrain. And both of you want to prevent the other from gaining all of this useful knowledge. So between two armies there will be a mass of scouts, spies, counter-scouts, guards, patrols, and outposts.

Of course, the 18th century being what it was, there was no real staff college to learn this sort of thing, but numerous helpful military gentlemen had published manuals on how this sort of thing was done. Several of these guides were to be found in Washington's personal camp library. (PDF) Another would be written by one of the Revolution's leading practitioners of Partisan Warfare.

In its essence, the idea was to have a series of posts, or "guards," between your lines and your enemy's. These would send out patrols to gain information and other patrols to prevent his scouts from getting any information. Each guard would be small, and behind several of them, closer to your army, you would have a smaller number of larger posts or "grand guards" ready to reinforce any guard that might be attacked, to supply troops to relieve those that had been on guard duty for a long time, and occasionally to mount small attacks on the enemy's guards and grand guards so as to disrupt their operations, do some minor damage, and generally be a nuisance. The attack at Bound Brook in April 1777 was just one of these.

This sort of skirmishing or "small war" (la petite guerre as it was called in French, kleiner Krieg in German, or la guerrilla as it was known in Spanish) went on all winter (the Forage War was part of it). On the American side, the New Jersey militia had been invaluable for it, both because of their local knowledge and because at times they made up the bulk of the American army! At several points during the winter and spring, senior Continental officers gave thanks that the British seemed to have no impetus to probe harder, because they might have found nothing but a shell or framework of an opposing force. In March, Washington confided to a Congressman from Pennsylvania that he had barely 4,000 men under arms, while he believed the British had 10,000 (in fact, the British had closer to 15,000).

From Small War to War in Earnest

So what was the state of this American army, replenished and reinforced, ready to take on the British lion? In the next post, we'll look at the American forces in some detail, starting with the divisions of Anthony Wayne (who took over Lincoln's command after Bound Brook, when the latter was sent north to assist Major General Philip Schuyler defend New York State from Burgoyne's expedition) and of Nathanael Greene (whose division served as supports to Lincoln's Bound Brook outpost and which held the cream of the troops from the Commander in Chief's home state).

Monday, August 29, 2016

Catching Up: Late Summer 2016

Sur Dynasty forces sweep towards the Mughal army. (Author)
Nearly two months later and while the summer feels like it's dragged on forever, the end is in sight!

I was able to got to Historicon this year for the first time in forever. I had a blast, playing a Carnage & Glory scenario of the battle of Camden run by David Bonk and Bob McCaskill, an Et Sans Resultat scenario of the battle of Vitebsk run by the author, David Ensteness, and a Pike & Shotte game (Providence at Panipat, a battle in 16th century India) run by John Shirey.

Punic War battle in Triumph! WAR. (Author)
I also played in two mini-tournaments of Triumph! WAR, the new ancient/medieval wargame from the Washington Grand Company. One campaign was set in the First Crusade, the other in the Punic Wars.

I did a good deal of shopping, met up with a few old (and new) friends, and generally had a good time. Now that I know it's not as hard to get to or as difficult to navigate as I thought, I will be back more often.

I've made it to two more game days with the DC Conscripts, the local ASL club. In one I got in a couple of scenarios from the late Ian Daglish's Scotland the Brave scenario pack (StB8 The Lost Platoon, StB3 Seaforth Objective, and StB2 Cameronian Crossing). At the other, Stephen Frum gently and politely hammered me into the ground as we played BoF4 About his Shadowy Sides.

Americans (left) advance toward the British (right). (Author)
And I did get a little Rev War miniature gaming in; Mr Invisible and I made it up to Games and Stuff in Glen Burnie to meet some of the local Marines (British Rev War, not modern USMC :-) for a playing of the battle of Bemis Heights with British Grenadier. Mr I. faced off more or less opposite me, he commanding the American right and center and me the British center and left. I bloodied the nose of one of his militia brigades as it thrust forward, but we Brits had to give up a great deal of the ground to find a position safe enough to defend, and I'm not sure we would have been able to hold on, as the American left was setting up to give us a walloping blow on our weak right side.

In other Rev War news, I've been reading away and taking copious notes, and I hope to have another couple of posts on Project 1777 available shortly. One of the surprises at Historicon for me was picking up the range of Rick Priestley's new games (Black Powder, Pike & Shotte, and Hail Caesar) after, I admit, poo-pooing them for some time. They're not the most simulation-y or period-tailored sets of rules in the world, but they are fairly easy to learn and provide both a simple framework and enough widgets to hang on it that I'm impressed by what I have seen of the period supplements. I enjoyed the one P&S game that I played, and I look forward to trying out several more scenarios with these rule sets. I think their breadth of scope and shallow learning curve will make them popular among my friends who like military history and enjoy playing games but who are not rules junkies or interested in/prepared to learn more complex games with many more moving parts and details to keep track of and consider.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Catching Up: Early Summer 2016

While work has been busy, keeping me from doing as much blogging as I would like to do, I have also had the opportunity over the last couple of months to squeeze in a bit of wargaming here and there.

For one thing, I was able for once to get out to a meeting of our local ASL club, the DC Conscripts. I played two scenarios, WO3--Counterattack at Carentan and the venerable scenario 11--Defiance on Hill 30. I lost both, the first to Jason Sadler and the second to David Garvin, but enjoyed both games.

My Germans in their futile attack on Garvin's paratroopers.
Second, I met up with a group of gamers in Falls Church who meet somewhat regularly to play board wargames. I've now played four sessions with them. In one I finally got to play GMT's Virgin Queen, an excellent but highly complex game of European great-power politics in the 16th century. As the Ottoman Empire, I was able to rid the Mediterranean Sea of the Spanish scourge and establish my rule over almost all of the North African coast, as well as roust the Knights of Malta from their island stronghold. I came in third out of six blocs, which against some brainy opponents made me feel good.

Having thrashed the Spanish, the Ottoman navy book in for a minibreak at the Knights of Malta B&B.
In two other outings with the group I've had a chance to play GMT's new COIN game, Falling Sky, about the politics and warfare among the Romans and the Gallic states of the 1st century BCE. In the first playing I drew the Arverni, the central Gallic faction, against the two game designers, one playing the Romans and the other their Aedui allies. with a fourth player in charge of the Belgi, the warlike northern Gauls. I acquitted myself adequately there, with a drawn game when we stopped. On the next occasion I got the Belgi and was able to come close to winning when we had to stop the game for lack of time.

Our German cousins (black) regroup, but the Belgi (gold) have reclaimed all their territory.
And most recently I brought Wellington and was randomly selected to command the Iron Duke. I completed the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo in record time, recaptured Salamanca, and was able to draw Marshal Soult off from his siege of Cadiz, but he and Wellington fought to a standstill and we had to call the game before any decisive result was achieved.

My canny French opponents Adrian (Joseph, left) and Roberto (Soult, right) plot and plan.
 UPDATE: Here's a blog post by our host on recent boardgaming.

I've also managed to get in a couple of miniatures game. A couple of weeks ago several of us played two American Revolution scenarios using the new edition of Sharp Practice from the Too Fat Lardies. I'll put up some photos and comments in a future post, but my short review is that I was disappointed in the rules. They seem to have gone in just about the opposite direction I was hoping--instead of clarifying and streamlining the first edition rules, they're no clearer and have added layers of complication that (in my opinion) add nothing to the game. Instead of becoming more like a historical wargame covering small-unit actions (a field woefully bare in horse-and-musket era gaming), they've become more generic and game-y.

M&T: Mohawk warriors move forward in an attack on a French outpost.
I also played two scenarios of Muskets & Tomahawks recently. In like manner, I'll try to add a post with photos and commentary from our games soon. The game rules are much more clearly written than Sharp Practice, but I didn't find the games terribly compelling. Units are very small and combat results are therefore highly variable; a single round of shooting from one unit on another can be completely ineffective of completely catastrophic. Like Sharp Practice, the game feels more like watching a Hollywood movie than watching a historical battle unfold.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Project 1777: Addendum concerning orders of battle.

"So, what does that mean, again?" (siftingthepast.com)
Some folks have asked about my system of notation on orders of battle.

The larger number next to a unit is its historical strength, or my best approximation of it. The number in brackets is the number of stands used in the game to represent it.

Additionally, I should perhaps explain "wings". Because units, especially British units, often used very wide spacing between files, large units became hard for a commander to maneuver easily. So units over about 300 or 400 men were often broken into two subunits or wings that operated as separate units. Thus, for instance, the Queens Rangers at Short Hills are a 400-man battalion represented on the tabletop by two 4-stand wings.

As far as troops go, most will have muskets of some quality. I'm relying on research in historic records that a friend of mine did many years ago to determine which American units are likely to have been provided with bayonets.

Only a few units on the American side, and on the British side the German jaegers and a few units of Provincials carried rifles throughout. There isn't any way in C&G, currently, to reflect the practice of arming one company of a battalion, or one platoon of a company, with rifles, as the Crown Forces often did, other than treating that body as a separate unit. That's more the province of a lower-echelon game, where individual platoons are the maneuver units.

I'll add commander ratings later on, after I've had time to do a little more research and evaluation.  But at the higher level my read is that Cornwallis and Greene were some of the best general officers who served during the war, both in terms of tactical insight, organizational skill, and their ability to inspire and motivate their men. Alexander was undeniably brave, but a bit foolhardy. Grant was well-connected (a good friend of Howe's and with experience of and friends in British political circles) but alternated between rash boldness and overconfident torpor.

Carl von Donop (Wikipedia)
Von Donop sounds to have been a bit of a martinet, but generally a capable commander; he had good instincts for arranging his posts in New Jersey that were overridden by Howe, and he conducted his withdrawal in the face of the American surprise attack capably and without rush or fuss. His attack on and death at Red Bank seems to have been due more to bad intelligence about the fort and its defenders than anything else.

Benjamin Lincoln is a challenge to rate: he had a largely undistinguished and unsuccessful career as a general officer, being alternately commander of a rear guard that was not hard pressed, commander of reserves that saw no action, surprised and chased out of his billet in his nightshirt, wounded in a pointless skirmish, superintendent of a failed capaign hamstrung by poor troops and lukewarm civilian support, forced into the most humiliating surrender of American forces during the war, and then unsuccessful in his first combat command after returning to the army. On the other hand, Washington seems to have thought fairly highly of him. He recommended Lincoln for a general's commission despite his lack of experience. And he continued to put him in positions of command after repeated reverses. My guess, after a quick read, is that he was an able administrator and competent, if not distinguished, field commander who was simply cursed with some of the worst luck going.

Peter Muhlenberg seems to have been a competent, somewhat inspirational officer. George Weedon sounds as if he were very competent (or connected) given how regularly he was promoted and then tipped for adjutant general, but also hot-headed (given his leaving the service over the question of his senority). Washington seems to have blown hot and cold on him, praising him in 1777 and then many years later damning him with faint praise and implying he was a drinker. My historian friend remarks "I see Weedon and Muhlenberg as fine administrators and solid battlefield commanders (not thrilling but reliable).  Weedon had more fire in his belly early in the war.  Both inspired their men with great confidence."

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Project 1777: the Battle of Short Hills

Apologies, faithful readers! Life has kept me busy with family matters and projects at work that have eaten up my time and energy. Weekend time to devote to work on Project 1777 has been sparse. I still mean to get a playing or two of some of these early skirmishes under my belt, both to re-familiarize myself and some of my comrades with the game system and to test out some of my ratings for the units invovled.

Until I can make that happen, though, I have another battle synopsis to share with you. This engagement, though still a bit one-sided historically, could be touched up to make an interesting game a little more easily than Bound Brook.

Nathanael Greene (Wikipedia)
Back to 1777

When we last left General Sir William Howe, his ploy to draw the American Army into a trap at their forward post of Bound Brook had failed. Lt. Gen. Lord Cornwallis had surrounded and attacked the American post, chasing off Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln in his nightshirt (possibly even without that!) and capturing several cannon. But the Americans' nearest supports, Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene's division, had not arrived to reinforce Lincoln until after the British forces had left. Greene harassed the rearguard of the retreating British, then ensconced himself in Bound Brook.

However, after Greene had waited several weeks to see what else might develop, Lt. Gen. George Washington had pulled his division back, leaving Bound Brook to lie in the debatable zone between the two armies. Bound Brook was too far from the main American position at Morristown to be supported adequately; it was too vulnerable to sudden attack to be a suitable forward base.

Nevertheless, Washington gave Howe some room to hope that the rebel commander could still be drawn out of his fastness in the Watchung Mountains. On May 28th, two days after Greene was recalled from Bound Brook, the American army moved from its winter camp at Morristown to Middlebrook, still in the mountains but closer to the British advanced base at (New) Brunswick.

A Cunning Plan...Foiled

In June, Howe feinted, trying again to bring the Americans down out of the mountains and onto the plains of New Jersey where he hoped to defeat them in detail. Attempting to convince the Americans that he was marching toward the Delaware River and Philadelphia, the American capitol, Howe moved the main British army out of New York into New Jersey and settled for several days at Somerset Court House, south of Brunswick. But spies had told the Americans that the British bridging train had remained in New York, without which they could not cross the Delaware River. Other supplies had also been left behind, meaning that the British could not stay in the field for long.Washington did not bite on Howe's proffered bait.

William Alexander, Lord Stirling (Hidden New Jersey)
Instead, Washington waited, and when Howe began moving back towards New York, the Americans came down from the mountains into the foothills, shadowing the King's army as it moved back to its base and picking off any stragglers who fell behind on the march. With his main army at the delightfully named Quibbletown, Washington sent an advanced guard under Maj. Gen. William Alexander to harass the British rearguard, much as Greene had chivvied Cornwallis's men after Bound Brook.

Alexander, sometimes known as Lord Stirling because he claimed to have inherited that Scottish title, had a reputation for bravery forged at the battle of Long Island the previous summer. Holding the right of the American line in that battle, Stirling had eventually been surrounded and his command forced to flee or surrender. His force had taken heavy losses, but through its sacrifice it had prevented the encirclement and capture of the entire American army. Alexander was later exchanged for Monfort Browne, the Governor of the Bahamas, who had been captured during an American raid on the islands in March of 1776. After returning to the army, Alexander commanded a brigade under Greene in the winter 1776/1777 campaign, leading the center of the American line at the battle of Trenton.

Now he sought to inflict some losses on the British rear guard as their army retreated to Perth Amboy and from there, presumably, returned to New York.

Barking at the Heels of the British Army

Howe determined to deal a sharp blow to Alexander's force and, as always, hoped that in the process he could draw the American field army into a decisive battle. Cornwallis, Howe's most aggressive general officer, received command of a strike force designed for speed and power. Cornwallis set off  an hour after midnight with a task force of light dragoons, mounted and foot jaegers, the Queen's Rangers, a unit of Guards, and battalions of British and German grenadiers. Howe and Maj. Gen. John Vaughn followed with more jaegers, more British grenadiers, and a force of British light infantry.

A Hessian officer's map of the battle of Short Hills (Wikipedia)
As shown in the map drawn by Friedrich von Wangenheim, a Hessian mounted jaeger officer, Cornwallis' force and that under Howe advanced on parallel road, hunting for Alexander's division. Cornwallis made contact first, his jaegers coming into contact with American riflemen of Morgan's Corps just after dawn. The riflemen fought hard, not falling back until charged with the bayonet. As they were pressed, the riflemen fell back on Ottendorf's Corps, an independent light infantry force commanded by Lt. Col. Charles Armand Tuffin in the absence of its titular leader, and a body of New Jersey infantry--either militia or Continentals from Brig. Gen. William Maxwell's brigade--backed up by several artillery pieces. These supports helped stiffen the riflemen's resistance, but as more troops were deployed from the British column to the attack, the Americans were forced further back.

A Bitter Fight

Charles Armand Tuffin, Marquis de la Rouerie (Wikipedia)
Alexander had selected a defensive position on a ridge running perpendicular to the road. There he placed the main strength of his force, the remainder of Maxwell's brigade and a brigade of Pennsylvanians under Brig. Gen. Thomas Conway. Cornwallis tried to outflank this position by sending a battalion of Hessian grenadiers in a wide sweep around the Americans' left flank, but this was stalled by a battery of four French artillery pieces, carefully concealed in enfilade on a wooded hillside. One Guards officer foolishly attempted to capture the battery single-handed, and was shot down at Alexander's direction. But a force of less than 2,000 men, even possessed of good defensive terrain, cannot hold against nearly 4,000 indefinitely. Eventually the pressure of the British attack forced Alexander's troops backwards, through the town of Westfield and another line of wooded hills to the edge of the Watchung Mountains. The British, exhausted by nearly six solid hours of fighting, set to plundering Westfield. Joined by Howe's column, the expedition camped in area around the town that night and then marched back towards Staten Island the next day by way of Rahway.

Howe had again failed to draw out Washington's army, and he had missed even the prize of surrounding and capturing Alexander's division, though the British did take three of Alexander's four French guns back to New York with them. One amateur historian alleges that Washington heard the initial gunfire between the jaegers and Morgan's riflemen ten or fifteen miles away in Quibbletown and that the terrified commander immediately ordered his main army to begin fleeing back into the Newark Mountains.This seems unlikely, as does the claim that Alexander's fight at Short Hills was a brilliant strategic victory, allowing the main army time to escape a British trap. The trap had been set for Alexander, who did deftly avoid it, but Howe had not expected, when he set out in the dead of night, to encircle the American main army, only its somewhat dangerously advanced guard. One account even goes so far as to suggest that Alexander deliberately ignored an order from Washington to fall back from contact with the British main force; if that is true, Alexander was lucky to keep his command, escape or no.

A Tentative Order of Battle

My preliminary order of battle for this engagement (drawn from returns, and assuming that Howe's column proves, as it did historically, to be too far away to support Cornwallis) looks something like this, much smaller than some of the fanciful and inflated numbers of some modern accounts:

Major General William Alexander, Lord Stirling (1,800 of all arms)

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Armand Tuffin
Ottendorf's Independent Corps (100 [2]): Line, Trained, Poor, Average
Morgan's Provisional Rifle Corps, detachment (100 [2]): Elite, Crack, Average, Excellent

Brigadier General William Maxwell
1st & 2nd New Jersey Continentals (300 [4]): Line, Trained, Average, Average
3rd & 4th New Jersey Continentals (300 [4]): Line, Trained, Average, Average
Spencer's Additional Continental Regiment (200 [3]): Line, Trained, Poor, Average
New Jersey state artillery (two sections of two four-pounders, 100): Line, Trained, Average, Average

Brigadier General Thomas Conway
3rd & 6th Pennsylvania Continentals (300 [4]): Line, Trained, Poor, Average
9th & 12th Pennsylvania Continentals (300 [4]): Line, Trained, Poor, Average
Pennsylvania state artillery (two sections of two four-pounders, 100) Line, Trained, Average, Average

Lieutenant General Charles, Lord Cornwallis (3,600 of all arms)

Captain James Weymss
Queen's Rangers (400 in two wings of [4]): Line, Veteran, Average, Good
Ferguson's Rifle Corps (120 [2]): Line, Trained, Average, Excellent
16th Light Dragoons (300 in three squadrons of [1]): Line, Veteran, Average, Poor 
Royal Artillery (two sections of two six-pounder guns, 100): Elite, Veteran, Average, Good

Brigadier General Carl von Donop
Hesse-Kassel Feld Jaeger Korps, foot companies (100 [1]): Elite, Crack, Good, Excellent
Hesse-Kassel Feld Jaeger Korps, mounted company (80 [1]): Elite, Crack, Good, Excellent
Linsing Grenadier Battalion (430[5]): Elite, Veteran, Good, Poor
Minningerode Grenadier Battalion (430[5]): Elite, Veteran, Good, Poor
Lengerke Grenadier Battalion (440[5]): Elite, Veteran, Good, Poor
Hessian artillery (three sections of two four-pounder guns, 150): Line, Veteran, Average, Good

Lieutenant Colonel Sir George Osborn
1st Foot Guard Battalion (450 in two wings of [5]): Elite, Veteran, Good, Average
2nd Grenadier Battalion (500 in two wings of [5]): Elite, Crack, Good, Average
Royal Artillery (two sections of two three-pounder guns, 100): Elite, Veteran, Average, Good

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Another Quick Update




Sharp Practice 2 game in progress (Diary of a Wargames Butterfly)

Just another quickie post because I ran across a cache of blogging on the new version of Sharp Practice forthcoming soon from the Too Fat Lardies.

Diary of a Wargames Butterfly has a number of articles on the new edition. The author, Mike Hobbs, is working on a campaign book abou the War of 1812 to go with the new edition of SP. He also got to play and watch a couple of games with Rich "Fondler" Clarke himelf and the crew at TFL headquarters.

Mike is also the co-host of Meeples and Miniatures, the gaming podcast, and he and his co-hosts Mike Whitaker and Neil Shuck recently interviewed Mr Clarke on M&M about Sharp Practice 2.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Filling in the Corners

Much of my gaming lately has been Euro gaming, rather than miniature or board wargames of a military sort, but I did get to attend a portion of Cold Wars this year, so I have some photos of that and a game report to share. Plus I have some fruits of my research labours that have almost ripened that I should be posting soon, as we begin the Philadelphia Campaign of 1777.

But I need to download some photos to go with the game report, and pull together the threads of research to ready the 1777 posts, so this is more by way of a filler until I can put those devices before you, gentle readers.

Hessian grenadiers crossing a stream with jaegers covering them. (Too Fat Lardies)

I thought I should mention that the Too Fat Lardies are e'en now readying the second edition of everyone's favourite horse & musket skirmish game, Sharp Practice. We've been given a look at the cover and a peek inside at the layout. They've introduced us to the new force-building system, and shown us a sample learning scenario set in the American Revolution. But most interestingly, they've posted twoplay-throughs of (semi) historical scenarios, one of the attack on the fenceline at Bunker Hill and, most aptly for my coming 1777 campaign, a scenario based on the skirmish at Bound Brook (to which they add a superfluous S). Overall, it looks as if the game has been evolving in a wobbly but steady path from its roots in IABSM to the first edition of SP to Through the Mud and the Blood to Chain of Command and now on to the second edition of Sharp, dropping some elements (blinds have been banished, cards have been replaced--optionally--with chits, and the rather clumsy special event system replaced with something a little more streamlined) and adding new ones (Deployment Points, a cousin of COC's Jump-Off Points).

The geography of Bounds Brook is not quite the same as that of the historic Bound Brook, and while the Lardies have added Americans ( as I do in my hypothetical treatment of the action) to bring the sides a little more in alignment, they've also hugely chopped down the British forces, so the two sides end up being more or less equal (that "balanced" battle so beloved of wargamers that appears so rarely in actual military history).

American Revolution militia (Tarleton's Quarter)
They have some photos of very nicely painted troops, but of course the past master of handsomely painted Rev War soldiers is Giles Allison of the Tarleton's Quarter blog. And since a LOT of the troops we'll be seeing in the 1777 campaign are American militia, here's a link to Giles's past posts on those American volunteer infantry (ten posts in all, with some handsome work done).

And for good measure, here are his posts on artillery: French, British, and American guns and gun crews as well as some carts and wagons. Beautiful work, and well worth a look!