I have been working with an idea for a “Pint Sized” campaign for the Too Fat Lardies game Sharp Practice for some time. Last night I ran what would be the first scenario for my club, The Williamsburg Legati.
This campaign centers upon the action of Benedict Arnold leading an army of mostly loyalist forces in my area of Virginia at the beginning of 1781. Not completely trusted by Clinton yet, the former American hero was sent to Williamsburg to build a defensible port for British efforts to deny efforts to support General Green in the Carolinas, as well as to disrupt lines of supply and destroy stores of war material.
His ships were spotted coming into the area and the word was sent to Governor Jefferson, who feared that they might really be French Allies decided to do nothing until their identity was confirmed.
Arnold brought with him the Hessian and Anspach foot Jagers sptsin Ewald, The 80th Regiment, under the Command of Lt Col Dundas, The Queen’s Rangers commanded by Lt Simcoe, Robinson’s Corps (Loyal American Regiment) commanded by Major Robinson, The Althause Sharpshooters (Company of York Volunteers), A Company of Royal Artillery and 100 Pioneers.
A real advantage to playing this campaign is that two of the commanders wrote memoirs that survive. Captain Ewald, who had command of Hessian Jaegers, and Lt Colonel Simcoe of the Queen’s Rangers. Ewals also made a number of maps which decorate this post.
After landing at Portsmouth, Arnold quickly sailed up the James towards the New Virginia Capital at Richmond. After a failed attempt to land near Jamestown, Arnold continued to sail westward. Where he encountered Hood’s battery.
Artillery had been placed upon the bluff to stop British vessels from sailing up the river to bombard Richmond. Arnold needed to remove this battery. Ewald Jaegers and either the Grenadiers and the Light of the 80th or the Queens Rangers, depending upon which memoir you believe, landed at Wards Creek where the ships are shown on the map above. From here about a mile from the battery, they marched around the flank to attack the unprotected rear. The Americans, having spotted the landing boats, fled, leaving the guns to the mercy of the enemy.
This does not a good wargame make. For this campaign I have decided to propose a “what if” aspect. The fictio0n of this campaign, is that Jefferson responds by ordering reinforcements be raised, and for some of the Virginia State Line, being raised and trained by Baron Von Steuben to be sent to the Carolinas, be diverted to face a new threat.
The Americans were defending the battery with two groups of Militia as well as to groups of these Virginia State line. They also had two groups of militia skirmishers. for support, they chose an explorer scout and a marksman specialist.
The British were mostly Queen’s Rangers. Two groups of line and two groups of Skirmishers. Ewald was represented by a group of Jaeger skirmishers which they choose to further support by spending their points an a second.
Early on, the Americans took a strong flank position with their militia skirmishers, much to the chagrin of a local farmwife. They also dispatched some of their line militia to try to figure out how to turn and load some of the guns.
The Hessians also had flanks on their mind, and they used their rifles to good effect, safely outside their opponent’s musket range.
Here things got difficult for the British. Although inexperienced as artillerymen, the militia at the guns, aided by the withering fire of their comrades still in line, had a devastating effect on the main body of the Queen’s Rangers, The slowly fell back and eventually one group broke. That combined with a lack of red cards left the British forces frozen in the field and exposed.
In the end, everyone had a good time, but those guns were an issue. Now that I look at Ewals map, I think I will leave the actual battery of the table, and center the fight on the redoubt instead.
until next time, Cheers,