Monday, September 30, 2019

Wayside Inn Fife and Drum Muster

    I guess it is officially fall here in New England. How do I know this?  Because Saturday was the annual Colonial Faire and Fife and Drum muster at the Wayside Inn in Sudbury.  This event is something we look forward to each year.  A chance to get together with friends, enjoy the fall weather,  hear lots of very good Fife and Drum music and have a couple beers. This event has been going on since, well I do not know.  I have been going since the mid 1970's and it was an annual event then.

   What happens?  There are about 20 different Fife and Drum bands. Some are very small, only about a dozen members.  Others very large with 30 or more.  Costuming (this is not where you go for authenticity) ranges from colonial type dress to 19th century band uniforms and everything in between.  There are bands that have been together performing for decades; and other started just last week.  But each group gets a time to appear on stage and perform. At the end of the day lots of people get together to jam.

   In addition there are craft persons selling their wares.  Blacksmiths and artist and basket weavers.  Individuals selling reproduction colonial clothing.  This year there were a farm that raises Alpaca and sells their wool. Our dog Fritz was most puzzled by what these strange animals were!

  The muster is held by the famous Wayside Inn.   For nearly three hundred years there has been a inn at the location. The Sudbury minute men and militia marched from here on April 19.  The poet Longfellow used this location for his "Tales from the Wayside Inn" which included the poem "The Inn Keepers Tale" better know as "The Midnight Ride if Paul Revere. "  Today you can still stay over night and get an outstanding meal here.

 Here are some of our favorite Fife and Drum groups.  Prescott's Battalion started as a volunteer group at Minute Man NHP.  It is still going today.

The Middlesex County Volunteers are also still going strong.  They have appeared around the country and around the world.  A brilliant group and a delight to hear and watch.

  A newer group and one of our favourites is the William Diamond junior Fife and Drum.  These are high school students from Lexington Massachusetts.  They look and sound outstanding!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Dansey Flag

  The "Dansey Flag" is one of a handful of flags which were used during the American Revolution and still in existence today.  It is  possibly a grand divisional color of a Delaware militia unit, although which one is not known. It is named after the British Officer, Captain William Dansey who captured it sometime between the Battle of Couch Bridge (3 September 1777) and the  Battle of Brandywine (11September 1777).  He reported the event in a letter dated 11 October 1777 at Germantown; and states he captured it along with a number of other items from "a Rebel Colonel of the Delaware Militia". Held by his descendents as a treasured heirloom the flag was sold at auction in 1927 to the Delaware Historical Society.   This silk flag as it exists today is somewhat faded but is in otherwise excellent condition.

   There is a record of Colonel John Haslet's Delaware Battalion, along with Colonel Smallwood's Marylanders, fighting at Long Island on 27 August 1776 with "their colours flying", but what these looked like is unknown.

  The portrait of Dansey was done after his return to Great Britain after The war.  It is owned by The Duke of Wellington's Regiment Museum in Halifax England.  The letters Captain William Dansey write during The war have been published.

   Both the flag, letter mentioning it's capture  and portrait of Dansey will be displayed as part of the Museum of the American Revolution 's upcoming special exhibition "Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier from Sept. 28, 2019 – Mar. 17, 2020."

Saturday, September 14, 2019

She wore a yellow ribbon

  At game night Peter put on one of his outstanding " Yellow Ribbon" games.  Cavalry vs Indians doesn't get better on the table top.  Visually the games are beautiful and the rules cover the actions as they were fought and not a Hollywood version. The rules, "Yellow Ribbon" reflex the realities of fighting in the old west.  These are one of Greg Novak's  best rule sets.

  One aspect of Peter's games are his meticulous pre game briefings.  Each figure in the game is named and players have orders and objectives for each command.  For the U.S. Forces their objective was to move the wagons and mule train through a valley and off the board.  Commanders had to maintain a steady stream of ammunition to their men as they used up a lot and fast.  There weapons had longer ranges but they had fewer men and were less mobile. 

  For the various Indian war bands these briefings explain their marksmanship, medicine (morale) and victory points.  Yes, they were supposed to stop the wagons. But each band could gain victory points for other things.  These included capturing horses, counting coup or collecting scalps.  It is very difficult to coordinate bands and once your medicine (morale) is exhausted your band leaves the field.  In other words Indians fight like Indians and not Napoleonic light cavalry.  One of the most difficult things for the Indians were activating their war bands. To do so you had to roll two six sided dice and equal or better your medicine. Hard to do if your medicine was 12!  Thus some bands moved right away while others watched the game unfold and never moved!

  The action commenced with the U.S. Forces slowly advancing through the valley.  Some war bands advanced against them, others stayed put.  The cavalry dismounted to form firing lines while the War bands advanced and skirmishes with them;  then fell back when their medicine failed. 

  My three bands of Oglala Sioux activated right away and I moved them towards the right wing of the U.S. Line.  Due to random movement speeds (throw three dice) I could not coordinate the advance and it was more of a one at a time attack.  Each band moved forward, exchanged fire with the skirmish line and fell back.  On my right Bruce also advanced his bands to skirmish with the cavalry troop to my left.  Poor Art and Dave could not get their warriors moving!  An interesting part of the game was each bands medicine points.  For each casualty you got you lost two points. This caused you to call back and rally. If you lost all points your band was removed from the game.

  Byron's cavalry troop managed to put up enough fire to cause my bands to retreat. But I finally caused enough casualties on him that I could close.  At this point he ran out of ammunition and I wiped out his troop!  Although his horses got away I managed to gather a tremendous amount of victory points so I could go back to my tribe and brag about my great brave victories!  Actually I had all but exhausted my medicine points and had to leave the field.

  In the other side of the hill the U.S. Gray horse troop tried to charge a war band and got their captain shot out of the saddle!  One of Dave's war bands managed to drive off some horse holders and capture a number of horses.  And finely, in the last turn he got his last band activated!

  All in all a fine game and a great evening.  Thank you Peter gives great game.


Monday, September 9, 2019

British Brigade

 Now that I have added the 4th and 49th Regiments of Foot to go with the 23rd and 33rd Regiments I have a full brigade of line infantry.  Eventually I will add a second brigade of line but for now this creates a very nice command.  And ready for my Battle of White Plains game I am working on.

  Reviewing the brigade is Lord Cornwallis.  I have also attached a light 3 pounder gun for fire support.

   I am planning on remounting my mounted command figures on round bases.  Brigade officers will have small bases for a single figure.  Division commanders slightly larger to hold two figures.  In addition I like how my artillery on round bases looks in my War of 1812 collection.  So I will remount my Rev War artillery likewise.

Friday, September 6, 2019

49th Regiment of Foot

  The second of my two new British line regiments.  The 49th Regiment served with the 4th and 23rd Regiments in the 1st Brigade at Brandywine.  One of my favorite regiments from the War of 1812 I thought I would add them to my Rev War collection.  I painted them in more worn campaign look with the rank and file having removed the lace from their uniforms.  The officers have kept theirs on as have The drummers.

  Again like most of my regiments these are from Fife and Drum miniatures.  Flags are from GMB.  And really nice flags they are too!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

4th (King's Own) Regiment of Foot

  To correct the lack of British line infantry in my Rev War collection I am adding two more battalions.  One of my favorite regiments I have just finished the 4th (King's Own) Regiment of Foot.  This fine regiment fought at Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill, Long Island, Brandywine and Germantown.   If you stop by the North Bridge in Concord the grave of two soldiers  British  soldiers there were men from the Light Company of the 4th.

  Figured are from the Fife and Drum Miniature range.  Flags are from GMB.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Armies of The War of 1812: The Armies of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada from 1812 - 1815

   I recently discovered this wonderful little book through Aly Morrison's blog (thank you!).  Although the text is pretty basic it does a very good job of describing the uniforms of the armies of the War of 1812.  This can be very confusing as the United States changed uniforms about every year. Each state also maintained its own militia who often outshine the regulars in dress.    And what is the difference between the Sedentary and Incorporated militia anyway?

  Well this book will explain all that and more.  Best of all are the uniform plates.  These are from the website of Olivier Millet at History-Uniform (  Although not as well know as they should be his illustrations are a treasure trove for the War of 1812 gamer.  Great detailed illustrations of uniforms of the type needed to paint your miniature warriors.  These are organized on his web site by regiment and changes by year.  So if you look at the 41st Regiment of Foot you see them in  1812 with stovepipe shakos but by 1814 they are in belgic shakos.  Very nice details!  Best of all all these illustrations are now at your finger tips on this handy book.

These are the type of illustrations you will find in the book.

  Once of the best sections of the book are the various militia regiments.  Each state had its very own army.  And a wide and colorful array of uniforms they are.  While they may not fight well (the Blandenburg races?) they do enliven a table top battle.

  So if you are a War of 1812 buff, or someone who has considered gaming this fascinating period pick.up this book.  You will be doing yourself a favor.  Highly recommended