Monday, 23 December 2013

Engagement at Lloyd's Mill

The US Twenty-Eighth Regiment moving through the orchard

Excerpt from the diary of Lt. S.G. Milne, U.S. Twenty-Eighth Regiment, dated 1814

My Dearest Meg,
Quite the excitement yesterday.  Our regiment along with the Sixteenth,  was to gather flour from a nearby mill before the enemy could get to it.  The General also led some New York militia cavalry - you will be surprised that they wear red tunics! 

The travel was not difficult but unpleasant as the order of route had us at the tail end of this long column. Ahead of us were the cavalry and all the many horse-drawn wagons so, with a warm day, we were stepping in horse dung which literally covered the road. Oh my, Meg, I am ready to throw away my boots!

The battle started suddenly at the front of the column with gunfire and rockets. Yes my dear, rockets!  Their streaks across the blue sky and they alit the very mill we were to gather the flour. All was lost. The wagoneers apparently were spooked and panic reigned.  The Rifles deployed but were thrown back by larger numbers of their British counterparts also clad in green.  John mentioned that not one redcoat was seen.  All the enemy this day had green uniforms. Odd that.

Of all this we did not know.  We did finally move through an orchard and deploy along a creek and I fired upon some of those "grasshoppers" but be assured my sweet, I probably did not hit one!  We could blame the smoke from the burning mill.

That was it.  We covered the march (dare I say running retreat) back from when we came. 

I am safe
love, Sam.
The American commander and the US Sixteenth Regiment route of march just as the firing started

Official Report of Major John Hay, 95th Rifles, commanding the Lloyd Mill force

Sir,
In command of 3 companies of the 95th, two companies of the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles and one battery of RA (Rockets commanded by Lt. Whitgate)
and one company of the Independent Company of Foreigners.

I advanced with all companies of the 95th with one company of the Glengarries to my flank and the other in support. The rocket battery was left on a knoll to be used at the discretion of Mr. Whitgate. The ICF in their support.

The engagement began as Mr. Whitgate fired rockets which did spectacular service causing much confusion to the enemy wagon train and firing the mill itself. The fire to that building was so sudden that I am assured the enemy gained no supplies from within.

The enemy finally did advance upon us but the 95th fended off this attack by some of the enemy riflemen.  The Glengarries did stellar work and moved to the enemy flank and together we forced the enemy to hasten back down the road from which they came.  Due to the blockage of the bridge across the creek,  the burning mill, and a full strength American regiment in good order defending the crossing that I was unable to pursue further. Nevertheless I believe I accomplished the order of my force and prevented the enemy from gaining valuable food supplies.

yours in obedience......

the British 95th Rifles moving up through the woods

Letter from Lt. Whitgate to his brother:

dear Brother,
My rockets did well today.  Great fun!  I found a convenient knoll and set up my rockets on the ground as usual in the troughs only propped up on mounds of earth.  All I need really. Those heavy ladders of which I described in my last letter are silly really although the manual has them illustrated a plenty.  No just fire them off which I can do very quickly.  We didn't carry that many so I needed to use them sparingly but still had a few left at the end of the battle as the first ones did very well.  But we were lucky.  The first one fired promptly veered left and came almost all around. Thought I might have to run from my own weapon! Yes you might laugh brother, but the second aimed toward the mass of Americans along the road but instead flew toward a large building ( the mill the Americans were marching for as it turns out ) barely missing it and landing among the wagons. That, we could see caused great excitement!  
I decided to change target to the mill and fired off another salvo. The first veered right this time and went off into the distance -- dear brother I did not say they were accurate but offly (sic) fun to watch! -- but the second went directly into the building and immediately smoke billowed out. In no time the mill was in flames!

I clapped my hands and said to gunner Wilson, "our job is done here"  He laughed as did I.  I may have sent off a few more for good measure later on but the Major was well pleased with us.
"Gunner Wilson, where is that rocket going?!"


---see next blog post:  Firing off rockets for rules and pictures.---

Later rockets doing better effect. This one to cause disorder in the US Sixteenth Regiment

In this scenario, based upon the Battle of Cook's Mill during the War of 1812, it was a fight over food supplies of flour at a mill between the two armies.  Rather than follow the historical forces, I put on the table any units which fit my fancy including an all rifle-green force for the British and the lead unit of red-coated American cavalry.
The red clad New York 7th Dragoons early in the game

The following is a quick narration of the game.

The New York 7th Dragoons were shocked to see dark green shadows in the woods to the right after crossing the bridge at the Mill which was their destination. The wagons were told to get off the road but several of the wagoneers panicked and blocked the bridge.  The US Rifles were to move through the mass but were forced to go via the creek "got the feet wet".  Confusion was everywhere as the commanding general of the American forces was still in conversation with his brother, the commander of the US Sixteenth Regiment; a newly raised unit and not well trained.
As we know the mill was now on fire by rocket fire and the US Rifles had engaged the 95th in a rifle duel which the Americans were losing. Hoping to force the issue and with the support (which did not come however) from the 16th now deployed behind them the rifles made a fatal charge. Their rout, also caused the US Sixteenth to rout and together with the militia dragoons, wagons and wounded, ran down the dung covered road toward their camp.

The home-brewed rules are simple, not quite written down and use a command chart which I use as the basis for both command decisions and their results. Think free-kriegspiel.  If bad things usually happen to units, it is probably the result of them being of poor training and I, again, rolled a 1 on the dice!!

2 comments:

  1. Any chance of your rules being posted online anytime soon? Love the rocket rules and am curious to see the rest!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Trojan Bunny (I laugh every time I read your name...very good!) Anyway, my rules have more holes in them than a pair of fish-net stockings I am afraid. Like I suggested, this is more free-kriegspiel, or in other words, I kinda wing it....than any thing in written as gospel. I barely have it written down from myself with all the editions. One day perhaps. If and when I do I will post for everyone to shoot them down in flames I fear. My solo gamer in me I guess.

      Glad you liked the rocket rules; simple as they are. Great for young sons or daughters to have a go with.

      Delete