Archive for the ‘AWI & The War of 1812’ Category

The Battle of Hubbardton – 7th July 1777   Leave a comment

The Green Mountain Men of the Vermont Militia

After General Burgoyne’s attack on Fort Ticonderoga, the American garrison commander, General St Clair, decided to abandon the fort om July 6th and make haste with his army to put as much distance between his men and Burgoyne’s British and German forces.

In the scorching July heat and through heavily forested terrain, the Americans cleared 26 miles, reaching Hubbardton, a small hamlet in the wilderness. St.Clair chose to leave a rearguard to slow any attempt by the British to pursue, while he with the main army continued their quick march south.

The commanders of the rearguard, Colonel Ebenezer Francis and Colonel Seth Warner, assumed they had put sufficient distance between themselves and the British, so on the night of the 6th their men settled down to sleep and recover from their day’s excursions without posting a proper picket line.

In actual fact the British had pursued the Americans with equal vigor, having discovered Ticonderoga empty, the Scotsman Brigadier Simon Fraser had gathered together a quick pursuit force made up of several companies of Grenadiers, Light Infantry, the 24th Foot and in support three Brunswick units as well. On the night of the 6th they too rested near Hubbardton and prepared for their attack the next morning which they readied for at 3am.

Suggested initial set up for the battle of Hubbardton 1777

ORDERS OF BATTLE

BRITISH FORCES

Brig. Simon Fraser – Commander in Chief – Veteran, Elite, Inspirational leader

Grenadiers (200 men) – 12 figures – Open order infantry, elite, veteran, musket

2 x Light Infantry units (2 x 200 men) – 2 x 12 figures – Open order infantry, well trained, veteran, musket

24th Foot (200 men) – 12 figures – Open order infantry, well trained, veteran, musket

Lt.Gen Friedrich Adolf Riedesel – sub-commander – Veteran, experienced, respected leader

Brunswick Jagers (200 men) – 12 figures – Open order infantry, well trained, experienced, musket

Brunswick Grenadiers (200 men) – 12 figures – Open order infantry, elite, experienced, musket

Riedesel’s Regiment (200 men) – 12 figures – Open order infantry, well trained, experienced, musket

AMERICAN FORCES

Colonel Ebenezer Francis – Commander in Chief – Veteran, Patriotic, Inspirational Leader

2nd New Hampshire Regiment (400 men) – 24 figures – Open order infantry, trained, patriotic, variable morale, musket

11th Massachusett’s Regiment (400 men) – 24 figures – Open order infantry, trained, patriotic, variable morale, musket

Colonel Seth Warner – sub-commander – Veteran, Patriotic, Inspirational Leader

2 x Units of The Green Mountain Men Vermont Militia (2 x 400 men) – 2 x 24 figures – Open order infantry, trained, patriotic, variable morale, marksmen, musket

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The battle began on the right, with the 24th Foot attacking the New Hampshire Regiment commanded by Colonel Nathan Hale. Despite being outnumbered the experienced British troops made a steady advance, routing the Americans and capturing their commander.

Attention was then given to the centre with the British Light infantry advancing with the 24th Foot now in a flanking position to support them. Colonel Francis was determined to stand his ground and fighting became an intense firefight testing drilled obedience against patriotic fervour, Major Grant of the 24th was killed in the fighting and the British looked to hesitate in their attack, pulling back to regroup and rally.

On the left, Colonel Fraser sent forward his Grenadiers to climb Zion Hill, a deceivingly steep mound, and attack the Vermont Militia in the flank. Due to the incline the advance took far longer than anticipated and during this apparent lull, Colonel Francis launched his own flank attack on the opposite wing, reinforced by some of Hale’s men who had rallied and decided to return to the field. The attack seriously threatened Fraser’s position and the battle for quite a while hung in the balance. The sound of gunfire had alerted St.Clair, now a distance away, but he decided not to send reinforcements, likewise the noise also alerted British forces, especially Riedesel who was marching to support Fraser, he immediately sent his Jagers forward at double pace while his other units followed up. These German Jagers emerged from the thick forest and on to Francis’s attack, hitting them in the flank. At the same time the British Grenadiers completed their hill climb and after regrouping launched themselves into the flank of the Green Mountain Men. Still the battle held as a fairly even stalemate until Colonel Francis was struck a fatal shot, his men previously so enthusiastic by his leadership, began to panic and the American line began to crumble before turning into a rout along the entire line.

The Americans lost 150 killed, 450 wounded and 250 captured to the British 60 killed and 150 wounded.

British Grenadiers charge American lines

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

This is an excellent battle to game, not requiring too many figures and being pretty evenly balanced throughout.

It would lend itself to large skirmish rules as well as regular sets.

For those inspired by this battle and period, take a look at our American War of Independence Starter set which includes both a British and American army, complete with MDF bases and the brilliant Land of The Free rules published by Osprey and full of excellent information. You can find it at https://www.thelittlecorporal.co.uk/product-page/the-complete-awi-starter-set

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in AWI & The War of 1812

The Battle of Lundy’s Lane – 25th July 1814   Leave a comment

Brigadier General Winfield Scott is severely wounded at Lundy’s Lane

At the beginning of July 1814 the US military launched an offensive across the Niagara River, capturing Fort Erie, they then proceeded north. The overall plan of the US was to try and capture major cities in Canada in hope of using them as bargaining chips with the British to get them to stop attacking US shipping and encouraging the native American Indian tribes to raid US settlers. Defeating the British at the Battle of Chippawa on the 5th July, the Americans continued to push back the British with flank marches threatening to cut the British off from their rear supply bases until finally the British withdrew to Fort George on the shores of Lake Ontario. Here the British were safe from attack as a number of British warships patrolled the lake and were able to give heavy artillery support to the fort if required, The Americans didn’t have the guns to take on the navy vessels so took up base at Queenston, a few mile south of Fort George. It wasn’t long however before Canadian Militia with native Canadian Indians, loyal to the British, began harassing and raiding the American base and supply lines, which then forced them to then fall back to secure their lines of supply and communication. As soon as the Americans withdrew, the British under the command of Major General Phineas Riall and Lt.General Gordon Drummond advanced to Lundy’s Lane, a few miles north of Chippawa, and here on the evening of 25th July the US army and British met.

 

Initial suggested deployment for the Battle of Lundy’s Lane

ORDERS OF BATTLE

Using a 1 to 25 figure ratio

BRITISH ARMY

Major General Phineas Riall – Commander In Chief – veteran, skilled

Lieutenant General Sir Gordon Drummond – Sub-Commander – veteran, excellent

Royal Scots Battalion (340 men) – 14 figures – veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

Glengarry Light Infantry (450 men) – 18 figures – veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

Assorted Light Infantry (240 men) – 10 figures, veteran, solid, smoothbore musket

41st Infantry (340 men) – 14 figures – veteran, solid, smoothbore musket

89th Infantry (500 men) – 20 figures – veteran, solid, smoothbore musket

Royal Artillery (24lbs and Rocket teams) – 2 gun models & 2 rocket models – veteran, elite

ADDITIONAL BRITISH FORCES ARRIVING DURING THE GAME

Native Militia (340 men) – 14 figures – tribal warriors, musket and tomahawks

8th Infantry (340 men) – 14 figures – veteran, solid, smoothbore musket

Canadian Militia (500 men) – 20 figures – trained, militia, smoothbore musket

19th Light & Canadian Dragoons (150 men) – 6 figures – light cavalry, veteran, elite, sabre

103/104th Infantry (480 men) – 20 figures – veteran, solid, smoothbore musket

Royal Artillery (6lb guns) – 2 models – veteran, solid

AMERICAN ARMY

Major General Jacob Brown – Commander In Chief – veteran, skilled

Brigadier General Winfield Scott – Sub Commander – veteran, excellent, inspired

SCOTT’S BRIGADE

9th US Regular Infantry (320 men) – 14 figures – veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

11th US Regular Infantry (340 men) – 14 figures – veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

22nd US Regular Infantry (320 men) – 14 figures – veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

25th US Regular Infantry (340 men) – 14 figures – veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

US Artillery (6lb guns) – 3 models – veteran, elite

ADDITIONAL US FORCES ARRIVING DURING THE GAME

PORTER’S BRIGADE

New York Militia & Dismounted Dragoons (380 men) – 15 figures – trained, militia, smoothbore musket

5th Pennsylvanian Volunteers (340 men) – 14 figures – trained, militia, smoothbore musket

RIPLEY’S BRIGADE

21st US Regular Infantry (415 men) – 16 figures – veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

23rd US Regular Infantry (340 men) – 14 figures – veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

US Artillery (12lb guns) – 2 models – veteran, elite

2nd Light & New York Dragoons (150 men) – 6 figures – light cavalry, veteran. elite, sabre

ADDITIONAL WARGAMING NOTES

Both Orders Of Battle have troops for initial deployment and then additional troops arriving during the game, our suggestion would be that sufficient games turns are allowed to take place that represent approximately an hour of time elapsed ( whichever rules you choose to use) before these additional troops begin to arrive from their respective table edges. They should arrive in column but may then move to deploy immediately they are the table if desired.

 

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The battle began late in the day at around 6pm when the US 1st Brigade led by Brig.Gen Winfield Scott emerged from the heavily wooded lower ground. The British began to hard pound them with their massive 24lb guns and inflicted heavy casualties, despite this Scott’s brigade advanced, with the him ordering one unit, the US 25th, to swing out to the right in a flanking move and try and capture the Lundy Lane crossroads. Scott’s men succeeded in pushing back the British, who in the centre pulled back the infantry, leaving their artillery in a forward and exposed position. Meanwhile on the US right flank the 25th made good ground and came across a number of British wounded making their way to rear positions, including the British C-in-C, Phineas Riall, whom they captured and took prisoner.

Despite these gains Scott’s troops were suffering heavy casualties and were struggling to maintain the momentum, when as dusk fell the remainder of the army arrived, Porter’s & Ripley’s Brigades as well as cavalry and more artillery with the C-in-C Jacob Brown. Seeing the situation they immediately deployed for battle and took over the front line allowing Scott’s men to pull back to the second line as a reserve and in some hope of relief from their intense fighting. Seizing the moment the fresh US infantry in the front line rapidly advanced to the British positions and poured murderous musket fire into the exposed Royal Artillery guns that were forming an over extended front, they then charged the survivors of the volley with bayonets and captured the British guns intact.

As light fades, the US infantry charge the British artillery guns

British reinforcements began arriving on the field of battle, but in the fading light and confusion of the situation were immediately repelled by US forces, the situation for the British was now dire. Second in Command (now the commanding officer), Sir Gordon Drummond **(note he also fought at Alexandria in 1801 – see our previous Battles For Wargamers March 21st), in desperation rallied men and formed up into the most basic of battle lines and launched a counter attack, in response the Americans threw all they could back at them and stopped the recapture of the British guns. A second attack, the same plan as the first, was launched and again the Americans held the British back, though not without considerable casualties including Brig.Gen Scott who after committing his men again to the front line battle was severely wounded.

At midnight, Drummond, himself wounded in the neck by a musket shot, rounded up every man he could find to attack a third time. By now there was no longer any formed battalions or units, just simply soldiers of all regiments grouped together to fight. In what became a massive melee of bayonets and musket butts, the two sides again battled over the captured British guns, the Americans again forcing the British to pull back.

From a force of over 2,500 only 700 US soldiers were still now in fighting condition, and all of those were exhausted. Both Jacob Brown and Winfield Scott were wounded (Scott severely) and ammunition and water was running low, reluctantly Brown ordered the US army to withdraw.

The British, despite still having over 1,200 men capable of fighting were unable to pursue or follow up due to the exhaustion of their men too.

Historically the battle was seen as inconclusive, “a draw”, but was by all accounts one of the bloodiest and fiercely contested battles of the 1812 War and in Canadian history, which should make for it being a fantastic battle to re-fight in miniature.