Saturday, September 10, 2016

Last of the Photos and the End of the Game - Black Powder AWI 09-10-2016

 OK folks, you might say "what happened to all the photos? Me, in my ten thumbs way, trying to add the story, somehow erased them and now I have to re-do it. SORRY!!!

Third week of July 1777   Somewhere in East Jersey

His Majesty's troops and the patriot forces in East Jersey were both on the move, and they made contact with each other simultaneously.  The field of battle was mostly open ground, and both sides deployed quickly.  The Crown forces anchored their right on a small farmstead with a walled garden, while the patriots had the right of their line anchored on a light wood.

The battle opened with an epic blunder, as patriot General Mad Anthony Docherty, commanding the left of the patriot line, completely ignored his orders for a cautious advance.  He charged most of his brigade straight into the British line, forcing a unit of light infantry and a British line battalion to retire.  Rebel jubilation, however, was short-lived.  That the British units retired at all must have been due to their sheer astonishment and disbelief at the rebel charge, as very few casualties were caused, and they quickly recovered their composure.  In fact, the two Continental units that led the charge were soon engulfed in a firestorm of musket balls as the entire left of the British line concentrated their fire on them.  The New York Continentals disappeared in a cloud of black powder, not to be seen again that day, and the shaken New Jersey Continentals wisely retired behind some conveniently located militia.

On the right of the patriot line General Big Joe Turney was doing his utmost to move in support of the blundering patriot left.  His Indian allies and light infantry moved quickly to harass the British flank from the protection of the light woods.  The militia were slower to advance, but they were able to cover the flank of the shaken Continentals and deliver some long range fire on the British line.

General Arthur Aubrey Mallard Turner, commanding the British right flank, watched this spectacle unfold, and saw an opportunity to end the battle quickly.  He ordered his infantry, cavalry, and guns to leave the shelter of the farmstead and advance on the patriot left flank.  At the same time General Sir Gilbert High-Garfar, the British CinC commanding the British left, was advancing into contact all along the patriot line and delivering the firestorm that destroyed the New York Continentals.

At this point, the battle was taking on a distinct resemblance to the ancient battle of Cannae, with the British commander playing the part of Hannibal and the hapless patriots playing the part of the Romans surrounded on three sides.

But the carnage was not over yet. 

The cavalry on the British right flank charged into the over-extended patriot left, supported by a British line unit.  The cavalry hit a militia unit in the flank but to everyone's amazement, not least the militia themselves, the militia held and turned to face the cavalry.   On the patriot right the militia, along with their battalion gun, delivered some heavy fire into the British line.  In retaliation the militia were promptly charged by a unit of Hessians.  In another shock to all who observed it, these militia also held and the Hessians were pushed back.  The shaken New Jersey Continental unit was rallied and with General Turney's adroit shuffling of units the Americans managed to create the semblance of a line from the wreckage of the blundering charge.

The charge of the British cavalry had exposed their own flank to the American light dragoons, but the chaos of the battlefield made it impossible for the American cavalry to charge their British counterparts.  Instead, they vented their fury on a unit of British light infantry, who thought so little of the American fury that they stood firm in the face of the cavalry charge.  Time seemed to stand still for a moment all along the line where the two armies met, as units became locked in melee and others exchanged musket fire.

The illusion only lasted for a moment though.  In the next instant the British cavalry broke the militia facing them and charged into the front of the rallied New Jersey Continentals.  The Continentals held and the British cavalry retired to safety behind their lines.  At the same time the American light dragoons finally forced the British light infantry to retire and charged into a unit of Tory militia behind them.  Colonel Crusty Upperbutt, in charge of the Tory militia, had seen enough of the battle to know that light dragoons would find it extremely difficult to break formed troops, or unformed troops for that matter.  He laughed at the pathetic attempts of the American light dragoons and stood his ground.

On the patriot right, the unequal contest between British regulars and rebel militia was soon decided in a hail of musket balls.  A unit of Indian allies decided they had done enough for the day, with a unit of riflemen following their lead.  The militia, the NJ Blues, and another unit of Indian allies were all shaken by the fury of the British fire. 

With both brigades of the rebels having taken heavy casualties while causing very little damage to the King's men, the bloody and beaten American army was relieved to retire from the field.  It was a decisive victory for British arms.



And the artillery rolls....a BLUNDER!!! And the result is....a "5" - Make one move to the units front. It could have been much worse!

Another shot of the Brtitish line moving into contact all down the line

And a Rebel unit is crushed under the might of British horsemanship!

Also, the line troops in the foreground have bested their opponents!

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