Monday, April 24, 2023

How was the march conducted?


  On the afternoon of April 19, 1775  Ensign DeBerniere, 10th Reg’t of Foot, wrote “…we began the march to return to Boston, about twelve o’clock in the day, in the same order of march, only our flankers were more numerous and further from the main body… "

     How on April 19, 1775 was march  to Concord and back to Boston performed by Lt. Col. Smith and later Lord Percy?   It is interesting that the two men took similar but slightly different approaches to the problem.  Where would the officers get inspiration or suggestions on how to conduct this march?  Although there were few colleges or schools for officers at the time, there were a great number of books which appear again and again in military libraries.  These "how to books" gave advice and suggestions for young officers to learn their trade.

   One of the most  influential military books of the 18th Century was “A Treatise of Military Discipline” by Colonel Humphrey Bland.   Officers learned how to be a commander by reading text books.  This book shows up in the libraries of numerous officers in the British and also American  Army officers libraries at the start of the American Revolution;   including George Washington;  who's personal library included Humphrey Bland "A Treatise of Military Discipline (9th ed., London, 1762)"; Lancelot Théodore, comte de Turpin de Crissé, "An Essay on the Art of War, translated by Capt. Joseph Otway" (London, 1761); Roger Stevenson, "Military Instructions for Officers Detached in the Field" (Philadelphia, 1775); Captaine de Jeney, "The Partisan: or, The Art of Making War in Detachment," translated by J. Berkenhout (London, 1760); and William Young, Manœuvres, or Practical Observations on the Art of War "(London, 1771).

  What did these books tell us in how to conduct a march?  Let us quotes from Bland who had a chapter entitled “…Marching of a Regiment of Foot, or a Detachment of Men, where there is a Possibility of their being Attacked by the Enemy.”  He suggested forming a strong "van guard" and a "rear guard." The purpose of the van-guard was “to reconnoiter, or view, every place where any number of men can lie concealed, such as woods, copses, ditches, hollow ways, straggling houses, or villages, through which you are to march or pass near…” The rear-guard was “to take up all the soldiers who shall fall behind the regiment” and to provide security for the rear of the column and prevent it from “being fallen upon (attacked) in the rear, before they have notice to prepare for their defense.”  In addition “small parties, commanded by sergeants, marching on the flanks (sides) of the battalion with orders to examine all the hedges, ditches and copses which lie near the road…" 

  Lt. Col. Smith organized his march to Concord with the combined  ten Light Infantry companies* first followed by the eleven Grenadier ** companies.  As they got closer to Lexington he detected six Light Infantry companies to march ahead of the column and capture the bridges in Concord.  

  It is known from the statement of private James Marr 4th light company that there was a "advanced guard of a sergeant and six or eight men."   In addition a number of volunteers who went out with the march joined the advanced guard as we know from the account of  Lt. William Sutherland.   

  Within the column how did the individual companies form?  According to  Captain William Souter who commanded the Marine light company;  "our companies were not able to march more then half of its  front on the open road, or more properly speaking, in two platoons, the second in the rear of the first."

   Brigadier General Hugh Earl Percy who led the reinforcements  that afternoon had been commanding his Brigade for over a year now.  On a number if occasions he marched the entire Brigade out if Boston into the countryside for exercise.   Lt. Frederick MacKenzie of the 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers, who marched with Percy, wrote that the brigade “… marched in the following order, Advanced guard of a captain and 50 men; 2 six-pounders, 4th Reg’t, 47th Reg’t, 1st Bttn of Marines; 23rd Reg’t, Rear guard of a Captain and 50 men.” This tactic was straight out of Bland’s Treatise.  In the Lord Percy papers there is a drawing of a march by the 1st Brigade.  The drawing is a brilliant illusion of how to conduct a march with advanced guards and flankers. 


* light infantry companies- 4th, 5th, 10th, 23rd, 38th, 43rd, 47th 59th and 1st and 2nd Marines.

** Grenadier companies - 4th, 5th, 10th, 18th, 23rd, 38th, 43rd, 47th, 59th and 1st and 2nd Marines.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

The British Army in Boston: Order of Battle, April 18, 1775


Commander in Chief and Staff

Lieutenant General the Hon. Thomas Gage (Colonel, 22nd Foot), commander in chief 

Major General Frederic Haldimand (Colonel commandant, 2nd Battalion, 60th, or Royal American Regiment), second in command

Col. James Robertson, Barrack Master General

Major Stephen Kemble, Deputy Adjutant General

Major William Shirreff, Deputy Quartermaster General

Lieut. Harry Rooke, 4th foot, Aide de Camp

Capt. Brehm, Aide de Camp

Capt. Oliver De Lancey, 17th Light Dragoons, Aide de Camp

Samuel Kemble, Esqr., Confidential Secretary

1st Brigade

Brigadier: the Rt. Hon. Hugh, Earl Percy (Colonel, 5th Foot)

4th Regiment of Foot, or the King’s Own (Lt. Col. George Maddison)

23rd Regiment of Foot, or the Royal Welch Fusiliers (Lt. Col. Benjamin Bernard)

47th Regiment of Foot (Lt. Col. William Nesbitt)

1st Battalion, British Marines (Major John Pitcairn)

2nd Brigade

Brigadier: Robert Pigot (Lt. Col., 38th Foot)

5th Regiment of Foot (Col. the Hon. Hugh Earl Percy)

38th Regiment of Foot (Lt. Col. Robert Pigot)

52nd Regiment of Foot (Lt. Col. Valentine Jones)

3rd Brigade

Brigadier: Valentine Jones (Lt. Col., 52nd Foot)

10th Regiment of Foot (Lt. Col. Francis Smith)

43rd Regiment of Foot (Lt. Col. George Clerk)

59th Regiment of Foot (Lt. Col. Ortho Hamilton)

18th Regiment of Foot, 3 companies (Capt. John Shea)

65th Regiment of Foot, 2 companies (senior officer unknown)

Troops not brigaded in garrison, Castle William, Boston harbor

64th Regiment of Foot (Lt. Col. the Hon, Alexander Leslie)

4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Artillery (Col. Samuel Cleveland)

35 Battery (Capt. William Martin)

38 Battery (Capt. Lt. W. Orcher Huddlestone)

39 Battery (Capt. Anthony Farrington)

42 Battery (Capt. Lt. Robert Fenwick)

British Marines, shipboard detachments (Adm. Samuel Graves)

Royal Engineers (Capt. John Montresor)


 Thomas Gage, Distribution of His Majesty’s Forces in America,” July 19, 1775, Gage Correspondence, II, 690; Gage to Richard Rigby, July 8, 1775, with enclosure, “List of General and Staff Officers on the Establishment in North America, from 25th December 1774 to 24th June, 1775,” ibid., II, 687-89.

 Vincent J.-R. Kehoe, “We Were There!” April 19, 1775 (mimeographed typescript, 1974), vol. I,

11-27; Barker, British in Boston, 9, 11; Mackenzie, Diary, I, 8; Regimental Rosters, Muster Books and Pay Lists, W012/2194-7377, PRO

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Lexington Green Diorama Update


  Back in 2020 I posted a out the diorama of the fight on Lexington green.  This weekend Janine and I stopped by to see it in person.  They have built a nice new case for it and it gets its own display room in the visitor center in Lexington.  


 There is a nice new display case around it.  Above and below are drawings of it and a key which identified the individuals.  This makes it easy to follow and very informative.  Unfortunately there are windows opposite it which reflects the light against it and makes taking pictures difficult.


   It was made by John Scheid in the early 1960's.    His technique for making the British Grenadier caps look like fur still amazes me.  There is a very nice write up about him and better pictures of the diorama in Peter Blum's book "Military Miniatures" The Odyssey Press, New York, 1964.


As a very young boy I was thrilled to discover an exciting diorama of the Battle of Lexington Green in my public library.  My parents would drop me off at the library and after getting a arm full of books I would stand in wonder in front of it.

Monday, April 17, 2023

"They came three thousand miles and died..."


   If there is a single date in American history that is familiar to everyone, it is April 19, 1775.  Either through Longfellow 's poem about Paul Revere's Ride, or Emerson's "Shot Heard Round the World", or as the day that started America's War for Independence it is still remembered.  Close to a million visitors a year come to Concord Massachusetts to visit the reconstructed North Bridge and Daniel Chester French's Minute Man statue.  Most also pause by the humble grave of the British soldiers killed at the bridge to read the haunting beautiful words of James Russell Lowell;

                 " They came three thousand miles and died,

                    To keep the past soon it's throne;

                    Unheard beyond the ocean tide,

                     Their English mother have her moan. "

    But the question, how many are buried there and what were their names is unanswered.  In this short article I will attempt to answer that question.

   The British column that came to Concord marched from Boston about 1:00 in the morning of April 19, 1775.  Made up of ten companies of Light Infantry and eleven companies of Grenadiers, about 600 to 700 men, they were to destroy the munitions and supplies gathered by the Provincial Congress in Concord.  The march had been uneventful until the British advanced guard arrived in Lexington.  There shots were exchanged with the Lexington Militia company;  eight militia men were killed and ten others wounded.  The British pushed on and arrived at concord about 7:30 AM.  There the majority of troops set about destroying the supplies they could locate.  Seven light infantry companies, commanded by Captain Lawrence Parson of the 10th Regiment were sent to secure the North Bridge and search Colonel James Barrett's house for supplies.  Captain  Parson dropped off three companies to hold the bridge and took the remaining four companies of the force to Colonel Barrett's house.  Captain Walter Laurie of the 43rd Light Infantry company commanded the small force at the bridge consisting of his own company as well as those  of the 4th and 10th light infantry companies.

Colonel James Barrett House

  During this time the Concord companies of Militia and Minute Men, joined by the Lincoln Minute Men company had left the town, crossed the bridge and retired to a hill one mile north of the bridge.  There they soon received reinforcements as both individuals and complete companies arrived from neighboring towns.  About 9:00 A.M. Feeling strong enough with about 450 men, and wishing to learn more about what was happening in the town they marched towards the bridge.  On a hillside overlooking the bridge referred to as the "muster field " they halted and waited. From here they could observe the British at the bridge and see the roofs of Concord.   The British 10th company retired down the hill from the muster field to join the 4th at the road junction to Barrett's farm.  Both companies soon retired to the North bridge.  Captain Laurie sent for reinforcements to assist his 90 - 100 soldiers.  The colonists were concerned about what was happening in town;  Laurie with how to handle the overwhelming numbers against him.

   Rising over the town of concord, easily seen from the muster field was a cloud of smoke. What the colonists could not know was this was from some cannon carriages that were being burned.  They thought it was the town that was being burned.  Forming the troops into two divisions;  Minute Men companies in front, and Militia companies following the colonists marched down towards the bridge in a silent, disciplined column. Captain Laurie first deployed his command on the west bank with his back to the bridge.  Then, as the colonists drew closer he ordered his command to retire by divisions to the eastern side of the bridge placing the bridge between him and the advancing enemy.  Conflicting accounts prevent us from knowing exactly what happened next.  It seems possible that the British skirmishers along the banks opened fire with a scattered fire that killed two men from Acton leading the column.  Both sides then fired, with the British suffering heavy casualties.  and then breaking and running back towards the town.  About half the colonists pursed for a short distance before retiring back up towards the muster field to rejoin the rest of the command.  Captain Parson and his companies arrived at the bridge about an hour after the fight and recrossed  with no incident.  About 12:00 the British left concord to return to Boston. A trip that would see a running fight from concord to Charlestown before the day was finished.

North Bridge fight diorama.

    How many British soldiers were killed, what company did they come from and who were they?

   Ensign Lister, attached to the 10th company thought that "4 men of the 4th" were killed.  Captain Laurie if the 43rd and Lieutenant Baker of the 4th both states three killed.  General Thomas Gage , in letters to Governor's Trumbull and Dunmore stated "...killed three men...". Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith, in command of the expedition in his report to Gage said that "...they scalped and otherwise ill treated one or two of the men who were either killed or severely wounded... "  Lieutenant William Sutherland, a volunteer from the 38th Regiment who participated at the fight stated that there were two killed at the bridge;  but thought they had been with him in the field to the left of the bridge.   Although they were not at the bridge fight, being with Captain Parson on the march to Barrett's Captain John Battier of the 5th light company wrote down the observation of a corporal and four privates from his company.  When they marched over the bridge after the fight they saw a dead man from the 4th light company who had been mutilated.

   What can we deduce from the available evidence?  Lister was the only one to say four men were killed.  He wrote long after the event from memory, and was severely wounded.  So the number of men dead might have been a slip of memory.  Sutherland thought two were killed.  He had also been wounded at the bridge, and might have been thinking of only those left behind when the command routed.  He suggests but never states for certain they might have come from the 43rd, who were assigned to the flanks.  Yet Captain Battier supports Lister's statement that the dead came from the 4th.  Both Smith and Sutherland thought two were left at the bridge.  Unfortunately Battier does not confirm this, as he was concerned only about the state of one of the bodies.  Smith, as commander probably talked the matter over with all the officers present, and put together that two men were killed and probably left at the bridge and the third died later in town.  That the dead came from the 4th makes sense because they were the company in the front position facing the Colonists.

   The pay rolls for the 4th Regiment of Foot are in existence.  The roll closest to April 19th is dated 24 April.   In the light infantry company four men are listed as having been killed in 19 April; privates Thomas Smith, Patrick Gray, James Hall and James Marr.  Interestingly, James Marr as a prisoner in Concord give a deposition to the Provincial Congress dated April 24, 1775.   He is not in Boston when the roll is taken, but is a prisoner.  He might have been wounded when taken prisoner, or used the chance to "go over the hill.". No matter, he's alive as if April 24.  As our sources suggest three men from the 4th light infantry company were killed, with two of them being buried at the bridge and one in the town center of Concord it appears that our mystery is as close to being solved as can be with the little information on hand at this late date.  Privates Thomas Smith, Patrick Gray and James Hall were killed at the bridge fight with two of them buried at the bridge and the other in a unmarked grave somewhere in Concord.  

In 2002 the National Park Service placed grave markets at all know locations along the Battle Road where British soldiers were buried.  My job was to research possible locations.   This paper was part of this research.

Note:  copyright @ by Mark Nichipor 

Sunday, April 16, 2023

How prepared were the British For Concord?


  From a recent discussion on the Fife and Drum miniatures forum the question was asked how prepared were the British for the raid on Concord on April 19, 1775?  I though that this item has a really good insight into British intelligence.  While the actual orders General Thomas Gage gave to Lieutenant Francis Smith have been repeated and republished numerous times the actual draft of the orders have not.  They are much more detailed about the items they were sent to destroy, where they were hidden and how to dispose of them.  I thought some of the readers here may be interested in reading this document so I transcribed it From the original in the Gage Papers at the University of Michigan.

   From the draft of Gate's orders to Smith:

"Sir, a quantity of ammunition and provision together as number of cannon and small arms having been collected at Concord for the avowed purpose of raising a rebellion against his Majesty 's Government, you will match with the corps of Grenadiers and Light Infantry put under your command with the utmost expedition and secrecy to Concord, and where you will seize and destroy all the artillery and ammunition, provisions, tents and all other military stores you can find you will knock off one trunnion at least of each of the iron guns and destroy the carriages and beat in the muzzles of the brass ones so as to render them useless. The powder and flour may be shaken out of the barrels into the water, the tents burnt and the men may put the balls and lead into their ( knapsacks crossed out)  pockets throwing  them away by degrees as they go into fields and ditches ponds and etc. (When you shall crossed out) you have a plan (a return crossed out)  Which is marked off the places where the artillery and ammunition is reported to be lodged, and after destroying the same you will return, and if your men appear much fatigued you may lodge them at Lexington or Cambridge and let them rest in barns or other outbuildings and may (get crossed out) hire waggons at Lexington for weak and fatigued men.  If any body of men dares to  (attack is crossed out) oppose you with arms you will warn them to disperse (and crossed out) or attack them.

 Four brass cannon and two mortors or cohorn with a number of small arms in the cellar or out houses of Mr Barrett a little on the other side of the bridge where is also lodged a quantity of powder and lead.

Ten iron cannon before the town house and two within it which town house is in the center of the town.  The ammunition for said guns within the house.

Three guns of 24 pounders lodged in the prison yard with a quantity of cartridges and provision.

A quantity of provisions and ammunition in other places, the principal deposits are the houses of Mr Hubbard, near the meeting Butler, Jones the tailor near the Hubbard's, two men of the rear of (ineligible) Bonds, and particularly at the entrance of the town, at a house plaisteted white a small fence in front and divergence a large quantity of powder and ball is reported to be deposited in his store adjoining the house.

Cannon hid in the wood a mile and half from the center of the village between the river and Malden pond.  The wood thick, a good deal of Underwood. The ground no little wet but not a marsh. Three guns still mounted, the rest dismounted and carefully hid and even buried.   In the same place some boxes of arms hid like the cannon.

The medicine chests and powder barrels, tents and etc distributed in the chief  houses, particularly Mr Barrett's, Captain Wheeler's , Mr Hubbard's stores and the two Bonds.  The three guns in the prison court remain their beside many different articles. "

  To give a better idea of what Gage was worried about the country was not only organising an army but equipping it as well.  According to the records of the Provincial Congress it showed that returns of warlike stores were received from almost all towns in Massachusetts and Maine dated 14 April 1775. (From Journals of each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts. Compiled by William Lincoln (Biston, 1838), p. 756)

Firearms - 21,549

Pounds of powder. - 17,444

Pounds of lead balls. - 22,191

Number of flints - 144,699

Number of bayonets. - 10,108

Number of pouches - 11,979

With all of this you could supply a good sized army!

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Captain Souter Marine Light Company


  I found this account in the Allen French papers, donated to Minute Man NHP.  There are a number of letters from Souter  including notes and transcriptions from French.  He obtained these from a Rev. Hint of Cornwall England. These were not used in either of his books "Day of Lexington and Concord" or "General Gage's Informers." Possibly they were obtained after they were published.  The letter posted here has very good information which adds a lot to our understanding of the days events.  He described the formations the company marched in.  And he also describes flanking on the march back.

  "On Tuesday ye 18th instance about ten in the evening the light infantry and Grenadiers of the army had orders to push to Concord, a village about twenty miles from this place, in order to destroy a magazine of powder, cannon, carriages and other military stores which had been laid up, (for a supposed campaign) by the Americans.  We marched all night without molestation and about daylight in marching through a village called Lexington, the van company of the light troops was staggered by seeing a flash of a pan from a man in arms, and soon after a report and whistling of two balls fired on it... which the light company pushed forward and saw a dozen or eighteen men drawn up with arms, the light companies in hearing a shout from the leading company, immediately formed and a fire was given in their running off which killed most of them;  for my part I was amazed when I heard the shout, and being the third company that lead in the front, took it for granted we were surprised, not imagining in the least that we should be attacked or evan molested on the march, for we had but that instant loaded and had marched all night without being loaded. 

...the country by this time took ye alarm and were immediately in arms, and had taken their different stations behind walls and etc on our flanks, and thus were we harrassed in our front, flanks and rear from Concord to Charlestown (a place in the other side of the river opposition Boston) by a continual fire for eighteen miles, it not being possible for us to meet a man otherwise than behind a bush, stone hedge, or tree who immediately gave his fire and off he went;  our companies were not able to march more then half of its  front on the open road, or more properly speaking, in two platoons, the second in the rear of the first.  In our leaving Concord we were  immediately surrounded on every quarter, and expected to be cut off every moment, sometimes we took possession of one hill sometimes of another;  at last it was determined to push forward to Lexington, which we did though a plaugy fire...

...When we were joined by Lord Percy with the first brigade with four pieces of cannon, otherwise I do believe not one of us had got into Boston again;  as it was the fire did not cease till we reached Charlestown;  and our battalion lost sixty killed, wounded and missing, it falling heavy on us;  our Light Infantry and Grenadiers having nearly expended all their ammunition, and they were obliged to cover our retreat.  There are many killed and wounded on both sides on ours eight or ten officers and 260 privates.  I imagine on theirs the report four or five hundred - I accidentally was wounded in my leg flanking the Brigade with my company in ye woods, by a villain behind a stone wall who waited till he was sure of me, and then to the right about and off he went, not before I have him my gun, but missed him;  one of my men I think brought him down.  The ball just grazed the bone but has not shattered it in the least, as I was able to walk eight or ten miles after it;  I mention this that your sister may not in the least be worried by imagining there is any danger as I shall be able to walk in a day or two, and I am now as well as ever almost.  I am thus particular that no report may be credited, as many will be that are sent hence to England, and that the return of the killed wounded and missing, and etc. If ye  officers may possibly be badly ascertained, I think it right to be ingenious and hope a day of reckoning will come,when ample satisfaction will be given me, for a sound re urged by a rebel' s hand.  It is a flesh wound only and thankful I am to the great almighty it no worse. "

   There are lots of little snippets here that deserve attention.  I think this is the only mention I have found of a officer in flanking duty.  Also that in the six detached light infantry companies heading towards Lexington green the marines were the third from the van.  So the first three companies were the 10th, 4th and Marines.  Most importantly he describes the march formation for companies.  Two platoons or half companies.  This makes the command form much more understandable.  In Howe's light infantry discipline this was his you got columns or files to form a company front.  Most interesting!

   Should anyone like to use this please credit my post here.  I would appreciate it.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Minute Men and Militia Men 1775


   To give some idea what the British Army in Boston faced on April 19, 1775  consider that nearly 19,000 Militia and Minute Men (according to the Lexington Alarm list document)  turned out and took the field throughout Massachusetts.  Of that number between 3500 and 4000 actually got into the fight at one time or another and not all at the same time. Who were these guys?  

  The militia was a part time army in colonial Massachusetts responsible for the colony’s defense. Every town was expected to maintain at least one company commanded by a captain. Regiments were formed by region and county comprising of several companies. In times of war, the militia served as the immediate defense, or as available soldiers to be drafted for extended service.

  According to the law, nearly all men between the ages of 16 and 60 were required to serve, keep arms and train. There were exceptions for certain profession.  Each town was required to hold 6 training days each per year.  Those suggested were  two days in April, one day in May and June, and two days in October. Regimental training days, called a “muster” were only held less frequently.  Those who failed to appear when required were fined. 

  In the fall of 1774 following the "Intolerable Acts" the Massachusetts Provincial Congress (meeting in defiance of the Royal Governor) assumed control of the Province’s Militia forces. After holding new elections of company and battalion level officers to purge loyalist leaning officers each town's  militia was reorganised.   It was suggested that towns were to recruit volunteers and “form them into Companies of fifty Privates at the least, who shall equip and hold themselves in Readiness to march at the shortest Notice...” Because they were expected to be ready quickly, “at a minute’s warning...” they became known as “minute men.”  These new  minute man companies were to be trained two days each week and were also paid for training days, on average 1 shilling for each half day.  Minute men also sometimes received arms and equipment from the town. They tended to be better equipped than the militia. Many towns purchased cartridge pouches or boxes for their minute man companies, and sometimes bayonets.  Those who did not volunteer were still enrolled in the town Militia.  In addition those too old or too young or infirmed were enrolled in the Alarm company;  the very last line if defense. As an example of how this worked the town of Concord had two Minute Companies, one Militia company and one Alarm company.  

  On April 19 as Lt. Colonel Smith's  forces were searching the town for supplies the following Regiments were either observing him or marching towards the town.  Other formations also were marching towards the scene and some individuals from them took part in the battle.   But all of these units took part in the actual fighting that day.  

By the North Bridge:

Colonel James Barrett's Middlesex Militia Regiment.

Ten companies of militia from the towns of Concord, Bedford, Lincoln, Acton, East Sudbury and Framingham. 

Colonel Abijah Pierce's Middlesex Minute Man Regiment.

Ten companies of  Minute Men from the towns of Concord, Bedford, Lincoln, Acton, East Sudbury and Framingham.

North of Concord:

Colonel William Prescott's Middlesex Regiment.

Ten companies of  Militia and seven companies of Minute Men from the towns of  Ashby, Townsend, Pepperell, Shirley, Groton, Westford, Littleton Carlise and Stowe.

South of Concord:

Colonel David Greens Middlesex Militia Regiment.

Thirteen companies of militia from the towns of Dunstable, Dracut, Chelmsford, Tewkesbury, Billerica, Wilmington, Woburn, Reading and Stoneham.

Colonel Ebenezer Bridge's Middlesex Minute Man Regiment.

Nine companies of Minute Men from the towns of Dunstable, Dracut, Chelmsford, Tewkesbury, Billerica, Wilmington, Woburn, Reading and Stoneham.

East of Concord:

Colonel Thomas Gardner's Middlesex Regiment.

Mixed companies of Militia and Minute Men from the towns of Lexington, Menotomy, Cambridge, Watertown, Medford, Waltham, Weston, Newton and Charlestown.


Anderson, F. (1984). A People's Army: Massachusetts Soldiers & Society In the Seven Years' War. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina.

Galvin, John.  The Minute Men: A Compact History of the Defenders of the American Colonies 1645-1775.Hawthorne Press, 1967.

Gross, R. (1976). The Minute Men and Their World. New York: Hill and Wang.

Hambrick-Stowe, Charles E. and Smerlas, Donna D. (1976). Massachusetts Militia Companies and Officers in the Lexington Alarm. Boston MA: The New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Massachusetts Provincial Congress. (1838). The Journals of Each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts in 1774 and 1775: And of the Committee of Safety, with an Appendix, Containing the Proceedings of the County Convenitons - narratives of the Events of the Nineteenth of April 1775. Boston MA: Dutton and Wentworth, Printers to the State.

Welch, J. (2013). Laws, Orders, and Resolutions Concerning the Militia of Massachusetts Bay 1693 - 1775.

Zelner, Kyle F.. A Rabble in Arms: Massachusetts Towns and Militiamen During King Philip’s War. United States, NYU Press, 2009.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Battle of Camden August 1780



  British advance against the American militia line.  Artillery fire causes one militia regiment to rout. Units to either side check and one regiment in second line is nervous but holds. Brigade commanders are busy holding their men together.

  Webster's brigade advances into musket range. A devastating volley turns the militia line into ruin and regiments break and retreat.

  On the opposite flank the 2nd Maryland brigade advances against the Loyalist line. Both sides exchange volley fire and both sides stand steady.

  Delaware Regiment confronts the Legion infantry and Volunteers of Ireland.

   2nd Maryland Brigade faces Rawdon's Loyalist Brigade whole the 1st Maryland brigade moves to protect the flank.

  At this point following a close range volley from Webster's brigade the militia line collapsed. All American Militia regiments are either all retreating or routed. The British commander now charges forward into this mess and completes the rout of the American left flank.

2nd Maryland brigade closes the gap.

  Seeing this Gates quickly moves the 1st Maryland brigade to cover his exposed flank. One militia regiment holds, but for how long?.

 Tarleton, moves the Legion cavalry forward getting ready for a decisive charge.

  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.

 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.

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 Volunteers of Ireland 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.

  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 of 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.

And for someone wishing to start a small American Revolution wargame army Cornwallis' army here would make a ideal force. A Brigade if British Regulars, A Brigade of Loyalists, two battalions of the 71st and the British legion. There is a very nice army for you!