Monday, 17 August 2015

Battle of Caulk's Field 1814

One of the numerous obscure engagements of the War of 1812 was the "battle" of Caulk's Field between a Royal Navy raiding party and the Maryland militia in 1814.

My friend KevinS has had a long interest in the 'campaigns' around the Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812; the most famous instances being the burning of American capital government building including that of the Presidential Palace (aka the White House) and the artillery and rocket attack on Fort McHenry protecting Baltimore.  Well this little battle on a Marylander farmer's field hold's much less interest I am afraid.
Kevin had lent me a book on the conflict in the bay area and while those engagements are more famous, I was taken by this battle's simple affair.

A runaway slave offered information that a weakly defended militia camp could be easily attacked thus British officer Sir Peter Parker landed near Fairly, MD with 250 sailors and marines.  Hearing of the attack, Reed, the militia captain led his 21st regiment of Maryland Militia of some 150-160 men facing across across a 50 acre field with the right of his line toward's Caulk's House and the left resting on the road, two cannon in the centre, and along a fringe of the woods.

Parker's British force included a congreve rocket,  However, the man carrying the staffs fell early and the Royal Marines never brought the rockets into the action.  Sigh.  Really would have like to use them on the table!

Armed with this information I gave myself a 1 stand to 20 men ratio and allowed the Americans a cannon (albeit much larger model than they historically used) and 7 stands divided into the two flanks.  The British I gave 7 stands of sailors (because I had 7 stands of them) and 6 of relatively newly painted Marines on the right flank of their advance.
The American commander Reed was no greenhorn but an officer of the Revolution and the Marylanders seemed to acquaint themselves well and were said to only retire when running out of ammunition.  The British showed much pluck in the charge, historically losing 14 dead and 27 wounded (16% casualties).

The battle was simple enough.  The British charge across the field and the Americans shoot at them.

The game went similarly with the marines and sailors taking hits until meeting with and chasing away the militiamen but unwilling to go into the dark woods in pursuit --- I rolled a 1 once again! -- for this action.  The Marines seemed more willing but once in the woods their progress slowed. The rules have a reduction off each dice rolled for movement in rough ground and they became disordered -- generally my dice rolling once again -- but it does create "narration" to the story which I like.
Parker - who was not fatally hit as he was in the historical affair and with I playing this affair solo,  call a halt and his men tended to the wounded.  His scouts reported that the Americans had escaped off the table battlefield.
Royal Marines advance across Caulk's Field.  The fellow in blue is a sailor and perhaps the officer's servant who has joined the unit. Foundry figures which only really 2 poses so I added some rolls and bags to offer a bit of variety and had them turn in slightly different directions to lessen the repetitive look.
Brigade Games Napoleonic Royal Naval Landing Party,  Slightly more petite than the Foundry Marines or Old Glory they are facing but not noticeable on the table. Nice proportions nonetheless.
Old Glory's dismounted Kentucky boys filling in for the Maryland militia of the battle. Love the look of the round hats/tophats.  The fringed shirts of this era were longer and usually with a collar than those of the revolutionary era.








8 comments:

  1. What a treat! An unusual scenario and a peak at unusual mini's!

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    1. Very simple affair. Fun as a solo game. The homebrew rules I use takes the results out of my hands. I TRY to give what I feel is the best and most reasonable of orders to each of the units but they often go off on their own, so it seems you are watching history in the making as they do their own thing and thus one is not merely pushing around minis on a table. Great fun.

      Thanks for the comments. Cheers.

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  2. What rules did you use for this one Doug?

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    1. As per my response to the comment above, it is very much a home-brew set of rules which has the "ordering" of units on a chart of various commands (such as: "press enemy" or "reposition") but as the modified dice (modifiers being number of disorder points, class of troops, etc) along with a very random d6 roll means units often do not do want would be wished for....
      I play it solo most of the time playing each side as best I can that an opposing player is not necessary to create enough interesting events!
      With that being said the 3 pages of rules (yup, that's it!) still creates, what I feel anyway, is a accurate play as most units will not stay to the death as many miniatures rules allow them. Poor units will most certainly run early. Great for realism; not so good if you just painted them.....
      cheers

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  3. Great looking game and minis there!

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    1. Thanks. My war of 1812 collection is quite extensive and growing. Still have many units to paint. Have no idea how I am going to get room for them on the table, but they are ready....
      cheers

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  4. Fantastic looking game.
    Cheers
    Stu

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    1. Thanks for the kind comment. Simplicity sometimes is a good thing

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