Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Battle of Camden 1780


Surprising as it sounds in all the years I have gamed the American Revolution have never fought this battle.  Possibly because it was so lopsided.  Possibly because you need so many militia figures!  Or, because tactically it's rather boring.  Both sides line up and just march forward.  plain table with a few trees and swamps in both flanks.

  But its time to try it out and here I'd my order of battle.  Battle report will follow soon.

Battle of Camden August 1780

British Southern Army:   (2100)

Lieutenant General Lord Charles Cornwallis

      Rawdon's Brigade:  Lieutenant Colonel Francis Rawdon

Royal Artillery (light)

Royal North Carolina Regiment (30 figures)

Bryan's North Carolina Loyalist Militia (30 figures)

Volunteers of Ireland (30 figures)

British Legion:

British Legion Infantry (16 figures)

British Legion Artillery  (light)

Webster's  Brigade:  Lieutenant Colonel James Webster

Royal Artillery (light)

British Light Infantry (16 figures)

23rd Regiment of Foot (30 figures)

33rds Regiment of Foot (30 figures)

Reserve Brigade:  Lieutenant Colonel Alexander McDonald

71st Highland Regiment (30 figures)

1st Bn/71st Highland Regiment (18 figures)*

2nd Bn/71st Highland Regiment (12 figures)*

Royal Artillery (light)

* can field as two units or as just one.

British Legion:Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton

British Legion Dragoons (180): 

1st Squadron (10 figures)

2nd Squadron (8 figures)


total: 230 figures and 4 guns

 American Southern Army:  (4000)

Major General Horatio Gates

Continental Artillery/Army Troops:

Captain Anthony Singleton

Meredeth's (Virginia) Co/Continental Arty (light)

Dorseys (Maryland) Co/Continental Arty (light)

Bookers (Maryland) Sec./Continental Arty (light)

Waters (Maryland) Sec./Continental Arty (light)

Advance Brigade: Colonel Charles Armand

Continental & Virginia Cavalry:

Armands Legion Cavalry (6 figures)

Nelson's Virginia State Cavalry Regiment (6 figures)

Pinckneys S.C. Volunteer Mounted Infantry (6 figures)

Continental Light Infantry: 

Armands Legion Foot (6 figures)

Porterfields Virginia Light Infantry (8 figures)

Armstrongs Militia Light Infantry (12 figures)

Militia Division :  Major General Richard Caswell

1st North Carolina Militia Brigade:  Brigadier General John Butler

Left Wing Battalion/1st NC (24 figures)

Right Wing Battalion/1st NC (24 figures)

2nd North Carolina Militia Brigade:  Brigadier General Griffith Rutherford

Left Wing Battalion/2nd N (24 figures)

Right Wing Battalion/2nd NC (24 figures)

3rd North Carolina Militia Brigade:  Brigadier General Isaac Gregory

Left Wing Battalion/3rd NC (24 figures)

Right Wing Battalion/3rd NC (24 figures)

Virginia Militia Brigade:  Brigadier General Edward Stevens

Left Wing Battalion/Virginia (24 figures)

Right Wing/Battalion/Virginia (24 figures)

Continental Division (@1200):

Major General Baron de Kalb

1st Maryland Brigade:Major General William Smallwood 

1st & 3rd Maryland Regiments (30 figures)

5th & 7th Maryland Regiments (30 figures)

2nd Maryland Brigade:  Brigadier General Mordecai Gist

Delaware & 2nd Maryland Regiments (30 figures)

4th & 6th Maryland Regiments (30 figures)

Total 330 figures and 4 guns

Victory Conditions:

The first side to break and retreat off the table is the loser. The side that remains on the table is the winner


The Whites of Their Eyes.

Game Length:

The battle began at dawn, roughly 7 am. The historical battle lasted only one hour but the game should go on until one side breaks and retreats from the field. Sunset was roughly 8 pm, but one side should break far before sunset.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Veterans Day


My grandfather, Edward McNamara from Lexington Massachusetts served with the 101st Regiment (Medical company), 26th Yankee Division in the first world war.  He seldom talked about it, and when he did it was a terrible memory which haunted him.  It was only later that I found out  he was mentioned in the division's orders and was decorated for heroism.  He never mentioned this to me.  I found out later through my own research.  But  I will always remember his smile when he told me how at 11:00 A.M. on 11th November the guns stopped and he and his friends knew they would live, knew they had survived.  He went on to raise a family and contribute to society.  During the next war he built ships for the Navy at the Charlestown Navy yard.

   And as this date is now called Veterans Day I say thank you to my father in law, Aldrich Stevens  who served in the  3rd Ranger Battalion (Darby's Rangers) in the Second World War.  He saw service with them at North Africa, Sicily and Italy.  Seriously wounded he did not make the Anzio landing and thus missed the action at Cisterna (although he may have listened to the last radio calls while at headquarters).   Like my grandfather he too was haunted by the memories of what he saw, experienced and especialy those he lost.  But again he went on with life.  Due to the GI bill he got a education, raised a family and contributed to society.  

I remember their sacrifices and hope both men  have found peace.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie

 One of my favorite stories in Bar Harbor Maine  concerns an ocean liner, its cargo of gold and silver and some unusual navigation.

  At the end of July 1914 the German ocean liner SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie sailed from New York harbor to Breman Germany.  In addition to her full passenger list of 1200 people the ship carried a large amount of gold (over 10 million dollars) and silver  (over 3 million).  The Cecilie was built in 1906 and was a popular ship on the Atlantic trade.  She was a little over 19,000 ton, 700 feet long with a top speed of 23-24 knots.

  After an uneventful series of days at sea as the ship neared Liverpool its Captain received a coded message.  War had been declared, British ships were probably searching for her and he was advised to turn back to America to avoid capture and loss of cargo.  Captain Polark turned his ship about and headed back to American. To throw off any ship that spotted him he had the funnels  repainted in White Star Line colors to fool passing ships into thinking he was the RMS Olympic. 

  But where to go?  Both New York and Boston were out if the question. British ships would be patrolling off those ports and looking for enemy shipping.  With dwindling coal supplies he headed for the Maine coast.  One if his passengers, a summer resident of the town of Bar Harbor and a yachtsman offered to assist navigating them into the small harbor.  

  they came into the harbor at night. Quite a feat if navigation with the number of islands they had to slip through.   When the sleepy town awake at dawn everyone was surprised to find a ocean liner in their small port.  A number of passengers had summer residence in the town.  They quickly had servants open their homes to wait while transportation to Boston and New York was arranged.  Tours of the ship were quickly organized for the locals and just as quickly cancelled when numerous items on the ship disappear due to the fine American habit of taking souvenirs.  Governments and bankers became involved in deciding who owned the gold and silver and who now owned the ship.  While diplomacy played out the ships' band held daily concerts on the town green.

The ship and its crew were interned and in November they were transferred to Boston.  Once America declared war on Germany the ship was sized.  Turned into a transport and remained the USS Mount Vernon the old German liner became a troop ship bringing American soldiers to France.  During one crossing the ship was hit by a torpedo but managed to limp back to Boston where it was repaired and continued service.  Sadly after the war the ship was sold for scrap.  A sad but common end for many not these beautiful ships.

Its a great story and each time I go up to Bar Harbor I like sit by the harbor on the green and imagine the ships band playing in the background and the ship sitting peacefully.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Fort George and the Penobscot Bay Fiasco 1779


   One of the more unknown and forgotten battles of the American Revolution occurred in Castine Main

  Fort George  was built in 1779 by the British during the American Revolutionary War in Castine, Maine built  on high ground over looking Panobscot bay on the Bagaduce Peninsula. It was the site of the Massachusetts Penobscot Expedition, a disastrous attempt in July and August of 1779 to retake Castine. The British re-occupied Castine in the War of 1812 from September 1814 to April 1815, rebuilding it and establishing smaller forts around it. They withdrew after the war  and following a brief period of American use, the fort was abandoned and demolished in 1819.

  Fort George is a  square earthwork, about 200 feet on each side.  There are four bastions at the corners.  Parts of the fort that have not survived includethe palisade, moat, and gateway. The fort is one of a series of defenses erected by the British in 1779, which  included the digging of a canal across much of the neck separating the Bagaduce Peninsula from the rest of the mainland.

 The site of the fort's remains is now a park of 7 acres owned by the state and maintained by the town. Within the fort is a baseball diamond and a soccer field.  The few stone structures within it are crumbling to ruin.  

  The Fort is the location for Bernard Cornwell's 2010 book " The Fort",about the Penobscot Expedition.  For more details of the siege and fiasco:

Monday, November 8, 2021

Hiking in Acadia National Park and Blue Hills Maine


After our vacation I am at last back home.  We have had a most excellent time and gotten out into nature before the winter snows hem us in.  We drove way up north to the north eastern area of Maine for the week.  Its a wonderful time to visit there as tourist season is done and there are very few people about.  Of course most visitor centers and such are also closed but that us the price you pay.  Temperatures dropped while up there so that by the time we left there was frost on the ground in the morning.  Please note, when I talk about hiking its more strolling.  Thus is not like the hikes Mr Ed has done in the White Mountains.  Janine and I are much more the sauntering style of hiking.  

We stayed in Ellsworth which was a great central location.  First day there we dropped can get to Arcadia National National Park.  Although the visitor centers and most tourists sites were closed there was still plenty to do.  A shore walk was a perfect way to start our trip.  There were great views of the Harbor.

The town of Bar Harbor gets it name because if a very long and wide sand bar which appears at low tide.  It connects the town to Bar Island.  its a pleasant walk across the sand bar and then a wonderful walk around the island.  Great views of the Harbor and town.  At this time the New England foliage was still bright and beautiful colors which added to the walk.  By the way please keep a eye on the time as once the tide starts to come in it dies so very quickly!  Tide charts are posted everywhere.

There are a number of short but interesting walks in most towns around here.  These can be very rewarding and of course not crowded at all.  One was in the town of Ellsworth off a old farm.  Locals maintain it and its a very pleasant walk.  Afterwards there is a very nice brewery in town.  The local beer is Airline Brewery.  Its is not named for aircraft but for the road between Bangor where driver "Fly" by you. The New England IPA is most excellent.

A local mentioned to us a nice climb up Blue Hill mountain. It took us a while to find but we were rewarded by a good steady climb and beautiful views of the area.  This walk is off the beaten path but was a good climb.  

Another feature of the coast of Maine was the rocky shore line and light houses.  We saw a couple.

There were a number of other walks but I would be just repeating myself.  Lets us just say we got out and enjoyed ourselves each day.  Plus we also got a little history in.  But more on that later.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

When life gets in the way


  I have busy with other things as of late hence no posting for a while.  Or at least no wargame material or answering emails.  instead we have been traveling and celebrating Janine's birthday and then getting ready for my return to the working world.  Yes my retirement has ended and looks like I will be returning to work at JetBlue.  But at Boston and not Worcester.  For her birthday Janine had wanted to getaway to a warmer climate, okay some golf and see some (Amerucan) football.  So we went off to Orlando Florida for a week.  Neither of us are golfers but we took a couple lessons and by the end I was hitting more balls then pieces of grass and dirt. Janine used to play a lot with her father and is pretty goid.  Neither of us are very competitive but just enjoy getting out and hitting the ball.  If nothing else it was a pleasant way to get out in the sun.  We also took in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs the Chicago Bears .  it's the second game this year I gave been to.  The first was in September with my sun Nathaniel when we went to see the Buccaneers okay the Cowboys.  Interestingly Nathan likes a game that goes down to the last minute (final score was 31 to 29) while Janine likes a more relaxed game (i.e. a blow out, 38 to 3).  Both like it when their team wins!  Both got the type of game they wanted and I was just happy to get out and enjoy football in person again. 

  The reports of my retirement have been premature.  Back in 2020 the airline closed our station and I was retired.  I am not ready to retire and although I found things to do and enjoyed the time getting in a good number of games I was seriously adrift.  It wasn't the way I wanted to end my second career and honestly I liked getting out and working.  So I had been looking for some work (part time not full time) to pass the time.  Nothing really interesting but I did note that not many places are interested in hiring a person of my age.  So it was with a bit of surprise that JetBlue reached out and wanted to know if I would return to work, part time in Boston.  I will be going off to training in early November run back to Boston.  Of course getting back to work just before the holidays and just as winter hits is going to be interesting.  

  Since I will be busy working again we decided to celebrate  by continuing our road trip but this time heading north to Acadia in Maine.  We plan on walking to trails and coast line and just relaxing a bit.  



Friday, October 8, 2021

Sudbury Historical Society Talk


  On Saturday morning I  attended a tour of the  Wandsworth cemetery at Sudbury Massachusetts.  The cemetery is located on the lower slope of  the hill where Captain's  Wadsworth and Brocklebank and their  companies fought on 18 April 1676.  Most of the men killed during that action were buried in a mass grave near here and later moved to the large monument in the center of the cemetery.

The tour was put on by the Sudbury Historical Society.  In addition to talking about the Sudbury fight in 1676 it also talked about a number of the individuals  buried there.  Members of the society dressed in period clothing stood near that Igrave to tell you a little about them. It was most interesting and entertaining. 

I was particularly interested and enjoyed talking to the World War One "veteran" dressed in an authentic uniform of a member of a medical company.  My grandfather Edward McNamara served in the medical company of the 101st regiment 26th "Yankee Division."

Following talk I took a quick drive past some of the sites associated with the 1676 fight.  Looking at the picture of the monument the colonial companies had been fighting up the hill from where the monument is located today.  Driving up Concord road to Lancaster road you go between Goodwin and Green hills.  This is the area the Native warriors ambushed the companies marching from Marlboro to relieve the Haynes Garrison house.  The militia held if the warriors for a number if hours until they were forced to retreat down the hill when the grass and brush are set fire.  As they raced down the hill most were overtaken an killed.  Later their bodies were collected and buried about Fifty yards to the right of the monument.  When the monument was built in 1852 the mass grave was dug up and the bones re buried under it.  

About eleven militia men escaped the fight and took refuge in the Hop Brook Mill at the foot of the hill.  This is located by Concord road and Route 20 (The Boston Post Road) in Sudbury today.  The area has been built over and nothing remains of the battleground.

On the way home I made sure to go pass the Haynes garrison house site.  Its about two miles from the cemetery.  The site today is marked but very overgrown.  

There is also a good view of the area where the Concord river runs in the distance. Its along the modern tree line.   A small group of eleven men from Concord marched along the river to come to assist the town of Sudbury.  This view from the Haynes site showed the view the members of the garrison  might have had of the approach of the Concord men.  Near where the bridge is today (to the left of the tree in the distance) they were ambushed with only a single individual escaping.  Later the bodies were burning by the Bridge.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Fife and Drum muster at Wayside Inn


  On Saturday 25 September Janine and I went to the annual Fife and Drum muster at the Wayside Inn at Sudbury Massachusetts.  This was the 50th anniversary muster and it was outstanding getting together again after missing last year due to covid.   The weather was great, there was cold draft beer available and plenty of great Fife and Drum groups.


The muster field opens about 10:00 am.  Once you arrive to watch fund a patch of ground to set up on for the day.  

  There are various vendors selling crafts and such.  One vender made toy soldiers out of clothes pins!  And he hand made A really neat castle also.  

 During the morning there are also some demonstrations like 18th century military drill and dancing. 

Middlesex Fife and Drum 

 At 12:00 A grand parade is held where all groups present march onto the field and pass in review.

The Ancient Mariners

Stowe Minute Men

The Old Guard (3rd US Infantry)

William Diamond Junior High School Fife and Drum Corps.

Grand Republic

For the remainder of the day each group gets to perform.  They set up in the center of the field and are in the spot light.  

After that is over a few individuals get together and jam together.  That is great fun.

A bunch of friends I have not seen in over twenty years!

Fritz meets up with his old friend

And a chance to see old friends again after a long time.  It was a wonderful time and wonderful day.  I am already looking forward to next year.


See you next year!