Sunday, 5 May 2013

White Plains 1776

This is one of the early battles of the AWI and there is an account of the action and a sketch map on the British Battles website.  Historically the attack on Chatterton's Hill encouraged an American withdrawal before the main British force under Howe could come into action.  Our scenario envisaged a co-ordinated attack using Howe's main force.

The four American brigades were deployed as follows, two in White Plains, one on Chatterton's Hill and  the fourth, a small militia brigade, in front of the hill to delay the anticipated British attack.  As usual, we used the Patriots and Loyalists rules.  The British were in three brigades.  Brown's, the largest was on the left, tasked with capturing Chatterton's Hill.  Clinton's small brigade was in the centre and would render assistance where required.  Archer's Brigade was to occupy the attention of the Americans in White Plains and  then pin them in place whilst Brown and Clinton moved on their flank.

The American Position

The American militia did their job well.  Two of Brown's battalions were driven back by enemy volleys and it was only once Clinton's men had secured some fields on the militia's flank that they were forced back.  In the open the Americans suffered heavy casualties from British volleys and in spite of the valiant efforts of their brigadier they were forced to fall back and rally.  The Chatterton's Hill position looked very strong, but, the light infantry skirmishers noted that the  wall did not encircle it.

Chatterton's Hill
  Brown therefore began to move even further to his left to strike this open flank.  All these delays disjointed Howe's plan.  Archer was advancing at a steady pace, but even so he was exchanging volleys with the defenders of White Plains long before Brown and Clinton were in position. This absence of pressure from the centre enabled Washington to move units to threaten the flank of Archer's advance.

Archer's advance nears White Plains       
 The two units on the left of Archer's brigade now felt the full weight of volleys from front and flank plus the attentions of Washington's artillery.  They tried to stand their ground, but inevitably, they had to fall back to rally.  However, the right hand column, led by the Hessian fusiliers seemed to have a charmed life.  Advancing steadily, halting and firing volleys and then resuming the advance, they neared the barricades near White Plains.  The German's steady volleys drove off the American defenders and Washington's left flank seemed to be in peril.

This was where our first day's gaming came to a close.  The British had made progress on both flanks, but the American position was just about holding.  Would the British, having taken casualties, still have the strength to carry the hill and town?

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