Saturday, January 29, 2022

The Hartwell Tavern Part 2: Gambrelle 1783 and kitchen 1830 additions


  After construction of the Tavern I set it aside to start the two additions.  The gambrelle addition was added in 1783 to give addition living space for the family.  A new kitchen area was added in the  1830's.   Because both of these additions are part of the restored building many visitors get the wrong impression thus was how the tavern looked on April 19, 1775.  Things From The Basement makes all three sections which you can buy together or separately.  Together these are a very large building for the Wargames table!  But, the economical player can set them up separately to have two or three buildings on the table.  

  In putting this kit together I would once again suggest you fit the parts before gluing. Follow the instructions and you should gave no problem.

  Starting the gambrell section I put together the interior sections of the chimney and stairs.  I added the previously constructed windows and doors.  Once done I carefully added the walls.

  Next was the second floor.  Again fit the chimney together carefully before gluing.  once done it fits snuggly on top if the main floor.  If you use these buildings for skirmish games this is a nice touch as you can remove roofs and floors to battle through the house.

  On the side of the addition is a ground level hatch for a root cellar.  This goes together easily.

The frame for the roof is rather tricky.  I fit it together first, then glued it and then added extra glue along the edges for strength.  Because of the unusual shape there is a lot more careful fitting and gently pushing into place.  Once done fit it into place.  Done!

Moving onto the kitchen wing.   Finish the smaller windows and the details on the doors.  Fit them in to the walls.  Next glue the walls and the support together.  

The roof is very simple and goes together easily.  Again it sits right in top.  You have to decide if you want to permanently attach the roof or let it lift off to put troops inside the house.

So here we are, both additions done.  Now onto painting the structures and sign post.

Snow day!


  Usualy, working for an airline it doesn't matter the weather you come to work.  Rain, shine, snow, below zero temps  you name it I have worked through it.  Part of the job.  What do we do during storms?  If it not too bad we are outside getting flights out. If too bad we wait and do what we can.  

 So all week we have been told it was going to be a noreaster, a bad storm and upwards of two feet of snow.  So this time the airline I work for cancelled and rescheduled flights .  Because there were no flights until very late in the afternoon the morning crew were given the day off!

Hurrah!  A day off!  I feel like I am back in school.  What a great day!

Update:  Fritz says I am not enjoying today!

"Well!  To check with this!  I am going inside we today!"

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Building the Hartwell Tavern Part 1 The 1775 Structure


  "Things From The Basement" latest historical building kit is of the Hartwell Tavern.  The tavern is located in Minute Man National Historical Park in Lincoln Massachusetts. 

  The tavern is a typical late 17th early 18th century Salt box style  New England house.  Built along the Bay road that connected Boston to Concord and other towns to its west the building saw heavy traffic (for the time) passing by .  Being a typical "thrifty" Yankee Ephraim Hartwell converted the front rooms of his hone into a tavern.  Drivers brining cattle to market to Boston could stop, feed themselves and their cows before the final push to Boston.  On April 19, 1775 Colonel Smith's British troops marched passed it in the morning and heavy fighting took place around it later that afternoon.  It continued to be a private home up until the 1960's when it was bought by the National Park Service.

 The tavern was restored in the early 1980's to its appearance during the 18th century.  Two additions had been added to the house in the 1780's and 1790's and are included if you want to add them and make it like it looks today.  It was in one of these wings that I had my office during the summer months.   It was around the tavern that many of the parks costumed interpretation programs were staged.  

  First off the kit is very big and I recommend laying out all parts to familiarize yourself before starting.  Also download the instructions from "TFTB" website.  Make sure you have a clean workspace and some good glue.  I use a superglue and also a white glue.   Once done with that you are off and running!

First off are the buildings windows.  And there are lots of them.  Take your time lay our the pieces and put them together. Make sure they fit together nicely, otherwise they will not fit into the openings for then in the building.

Next you start on the main floor if the tavern itself.   The stair case is a bit finicky so fit it together before you use glue. The tavern was built around the big central fireplace.  Again take your time and cut the pieces together.

In the background my famous coffee mug.

Once done you can glue the walls of the tavern together. I first use a little superglue to hold it together. Then I add white gorilla glue along the edges for strength. This is also when you add the doors.  These are tricky and a set of twisers helps. There is a molding around the door that goes on last

The upper floor is mainly the chimney.  Again take your time fitting the pieces together first.  Add the stair case railing and you are all set.

Next the roof.  Carefully fit the rafters together.  I add some gorilla glue afterwards for added strength.  Then fit the roof to the rafters.  This will take a while to fit together.  Take your time.

While waiting for the glue to dry I put together the tavern sign.  This adds a nice touch to the set up!  The actual tavern sign is still in existence.  "TFTB" has a Xerox if the sign you can print, cut out and paste on.  Or you can paint it yourself.

Almost done!  Place the second floor and roof together and admire your house!

Next time in part 2 I put together the additions.  Then stain the structures just like the restored structures.


Monday, January 24, 2022

Lauzun’s Legion

One of the most interesting and colorful units of the American Revolution was Lauzun’s Legion. A mixed force of Hussars (some armed with Lances), infantry and artillery, they could provide a colorful and unusual element for your games.  They arrived in America in July 1780 as part ofthe French Army under  Rocheambeau.    They marched south a year later participating in the Yorktown campaign.  During the siege they fought a battle with Tarleton and his Legion.  Its a unit I have always wanted to add to my collection and its about time I did.

Lauzun's Legion was one (the 2nd) of eight foreign legionary corps to be formed by the Ministry of Marine for service overseas.  The project was abandoned after only three legions had been formed.  The 1st was sent to the Caribbean; the 2nd to Africa; and the 3rd to India.

Each legion was supposed to be made up of a company each of hussars, gunners and workmen as well as a small infantry battalion of one Grenadier company, one  Chasseur company and two Fusilier companies. There was also a "Compagnie Generale" (a sort of HQ formation),  of one company of hussars. This unit was thought to be the one armed with lances.

  The 2eme Legion became "Lauzun's Legion" around 1779/80.  The new Legion was composed of the 2nd Legion Volontaires Étrangers de la Marine and new recruits, was named Volontaires Étrangers de Lauzun (Foreign Volunteers of Lauzun).  This new Legion was made up of 800 infantry and 400 cavalry divided into 5 companies of infantry.  These included 2 companies of Fusiliers, one Grenadier, one Artillery and one Chasseur company.  Each squadrons of hussars were to be made up of two companies; one of French hussars and the other of Polish lancers.  The uniform of the Legion would be the same as the previous 2nd Legion except  that all  hussars were supposed to be dressed as the Compagnie Generale company.  As with all things in Lauzon Legion its doubtful that happened and a mix of the two Hussar uniforms probably occurred.


The first, and most famous part of the Legion were its two hussar squadrons;   the 1st Squadron of Hussars and the 2nd Squadron of Hussars. Both were supposed to have 150 men each.  Due to transport space issues the 1st Squadron arrived with 159 men while the 2nd Squadron arrived with 136 men. In addition at Yorktown Guessed from the 1st Legion arrived from the West Indies and possibly were added.   Because of the nature of supplies and the amalgamation of legions and recruits there appears to be two styles of Buscar uniforms.  The company's with Lances appear to have red trousers while the "French" style guessed wore yellow.  


The infantry of the Legion was supposed to contain a grenadier company of 100 men, a chasseur company of 170 men, and two line infantry (fusilier) companies of 170 men each.  When Rocheambeau’s force left France  there was a shortage of transport ships so the Fusilier companies were left behind. The Grenadier Company sailed with 116 men and wore a bearskin hat without a front plate. The Chasseur Company  sailed with 99 men and wore a black cocked hat with white tape (and not a helmet).  

Artillery :

The original establishment of the artillery company was supposed to be 171 men, so about half were left behind, which is probably why the artillery company got such a large number of the recruits originally from the Barrois Regiment. The guns consisted of four 4-pdr smoothbore cannons. The artillerists work a dark blue coat like the regular French Artillery, but with lemon yellow facings.

Wargames Organization:

I plan on addition the Legion to my table top armies.  They will comprise two squadrons of His wars of 12 figures each and a light infantry unit if 20 figures plus a artillery company.  

The Hussars will have one company dressed in the French style with yellow trim and trousers.  The second squadron will be trimmed in red and be armed with lances.  Each will be two figures per stand and a HQ stand to command the legion.  The infantry will chassaurs mounted 2per stand. A light four pounder gun and crew rounds it out.   All figures are from Perry miniatures.  With the figures ordered I will start to paint right away and I hope to have this new addition to my armies  on the table and fighting soon.  Stay tuned!

Notes on Camden


I greatly enjoyed playing out the Battle of Camden on my table top.  Using the historical set up and terrain makes this a very difficult battle for the American side to win.  A different set up and different terrain makes this a very difficult game.  If you compare Greene's army at Guilford Courthouse to Gate's at Camden you see they are very similar.  While I will eventually get around to refuge ting this battle I first have a couple other small actions I have been working on.  Blackstocks, Hanging Rock and Rocky Mount are up next.  

  Couple points on the rules I use for American can Rev War.  These are "The Whites of Their Eyes" by Stephen Haller.  They were published in the (original) Courier Wargames newsletter in the 1970's.  I have had the pleasure of "meeting" the author on line and he has sent me updates to the rules and generously allowed me to share copies with interested players.  I enjoy the rules very much and they provide me a fun, fast moving and enjoyable game.  

  The rules are IGO UGO per turns.  One player moves, shoots and fights close combats.  Then the next player does the same.  Morale checks are all taken at the start of your turn.  There are various factors that cause a check like being hit by artillery, casualties, friends routing past you.  To check you roll 2d6 and add/subtract modifiers.  If you get a seven or better you pass.  If not you roll 1d6 and check to see if you stand, retreat or rout.  Pretty simple really.  Modifiers include elite or light troops, staff officer within four inches for plus; percentage of casualties, hit by artillery.  There are some specific modifiers like Indians in the open -2, Rifle men in woods +1. Militia get a -3 which I think too high and usually use a -1 or 2.  But for this game I kept the -3 to reflect their panicky nature in this battle.  

  Another unusual aspect of the rules is that each regiment gets a internal command.  If you get seven or more hits you roll a separate dice to see if your regiments commander is hit.  If so you get a negative modified roll for the rest of the game.  This can also happen if light troops skirmishes take aim at the units commanders.  Hard to hit as the command gets an extra saving throw but again can cause mischief.

  As mentioned there are the dreaded saving rolls for hits.  While some object to it, I like it.  Rather then  adding and subtracting modifiers each troop type gets a saving roll for hits.  Easy and simple.  Look on the firing chart and see how many hits.  Roll that many dice and remove casualties.  Easy.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Camden 1780: Part 2 The Stand of the Continentals


The American general Gates was swept up in the rout of the Virginia and North Carolina militia brigades.  Although some units managed to rally, the advancing British infantry quickly routed them and cleared the field.  The British Legion cavalry rode down the isolated American gunners silencing most of the artillery.

Ignoring the defeat and rout of the Militia, the 2nd Maryland Brigade went on the offensive.  Charging forward the Delaware regiment charged the Legion Infantry while the 2nd/4th Maryland regiment took on the North Carolina Volunteers.  Both regiments won their fights and the loyalists retreated back.  To add insult to injury the Continental artillery fired a load of canister at the Volunteers of Ireland which caused a morale check.    

loyalist militia run by for the hills!

The 23rd and 33rd flank the Continentals.

71st marching to the rescue.

Royal Artillery

Rawdon rallied his line regiments but the loyalist militia panicked and ran. Cornwallis ordered up the 2nd /71st to help hold the flank.  Webster redeployed his brigade to attack the 1st Maryland brigade.

23rd vs Virginia militia

Delaware regiment fighting the Legion infantry.

2nd Maryland Brigade sweeping away the Loyalist line.

With Gates having been swept away in the retreat of his militia, Baron De Kalb remained with his Marylanders and Delaware regiments.  Ordering Smallwood to hold his flank he charged forward to attempt to push the Loyalist brigade out if his way.  Already weakened, and with the loyalist militia not wanting any part of the fight they were watching  the line broke.  The Maryland and Delaware regiments fired and charged causing high casualties and both defeated their opponents in the melee.  The Legion Infantry was destroyed while left the NCV broke and routed.   

On the flank the 5th /6th Maryland regiment fired a devastating volley into the VoI causing high casulties.  In addition the remaining Continental artillery joined them and the combined casualties were too much for the VoI who routed back.  At least on this flank the Americans appeared to have some success.  

But it was not to last.  Webster ordered his brigade forward and fired a devastating volley into the 1st/3rd Maryland regiment and the North Carolina militia regiment to his front.   The North Carolina militia retired.

The 71st moved up onto the flank of the Delaware regiment and fired a volley into their flank.  Their morale held, but just.

After the Royal Artillery added their firepower Tarleton launched his Cavalry into the Maryland regiment.  A long range volley caused some casualties but the dragons crashed into the Continental and defeated them, capturing their colors and killing their colonel.  They also over ran the the artillery.  

At this point, the British had broken through and both groups of Continentals were isolated.  De Kalb ordered a retreat to try and save what he could of his command.  It had been a brave stand but the early rout of the militia had doomed his small command.

Thus ended our game of the Battle of Camden.  The results mirrored the actual results of the historical battle   with the early rout if the militia and the Continental line fighting steadily.  Although one sided it did provide a fun game.  Perhaps if the Militia could have held out a little longer?  I suspect the historical set up doomed the American side.  another time perhaps a different set up or on a different field might result in a different result.  After all the American army here was very similar to what Greene later fought with at Guilford Courthouse.