Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Battle of the Brandywine,1777

Our battle this week (and for the next couple of weeks), will be the Battle of the Brandywine from the American War of Independence.  The scenario focuses on the fighting around the Birmingham Meeting House and Washington's attempts to prevent Howe's flanking force from 'rolling up' the American line.  The British objective is to clear American forces away from the fords over the Brandywine, capture the area surrounding the meeting house and secure the high ground between the meeting house and the river.  They have four brigades of infantry, plus a single cavalry unit to accomplish this. Facing them are six brigades of American infantry, but only three are present at the start of the battle, the rest arriving piecemeal.

General view towards the meeting house from the Brandywine river
Sullivan's men were covering the fords, but found that they had been outflanked and that the British cavalry were bearing down upon them.

As the American infantry struggled to reform their line to face this new threat, one unit of continental infantry advanced to cover the slower evolutions of the states militia.  Without waiting for their supporting infantry the British light dragoons charged the American line, ignoring the ragged volley from their opponents they closed to short range, fired their pistols and fell on with their swords.  A swirling melee ensued with the momentum of the cavalry balanced by the superior numbers of the infantry.  Neither could gain the decisive advantage. In the end both units fell back exhausted and unable to take any further part in the battle.  However, Sullivan's brigade was severely weakened and about to be tested again as the British infantry deployed to commence volley fire.

On the American right a sole unit of continental infantry was holding the area close to the meeting house. Against them were the four battalions and skirmishers of Agnew's brigade, covered on their right by the Hessians.  Agnew was struggling to deploy in the close terrain, but his skirmishing light companies took up a harassing fire against the American troops.  Their directed fire soon picked off several officers and the unit lost cohesion, forcing the colonel to pull it back to reform.  Now was the time to push on and gain the ground, but Agnew dallied and the Americans were able to recover and just in time a reinforcing brigade of infantry arrived.

In the centre, the Guards had no opposition and advanced unhindered up to the lane from the meeting house to the fords.  However, as they closed up to the fence they could see the first units of further American reinforcements approaching.

The Hessians, who had taken up a position in fields between Agnew and the Guards saw a further American brigade coming down the road towards the meeting house.  Quickly deploying their artillery they sent two rounds of ball shot crashing through the packed column of men.  The stalled the American advance as the leading unit had to fall back to reform.

So by the end of the first night's gaming the British had made some good progress, but the Americans had now reacted to the flank march and were deploying in strength.  The second round of this bout was going to be far tougher



  1. Great looking game. A very nice commentary. What rules were you using?

  2. Thank you for the positive comments. We use the Patriots and Loyalists rules with a few amendments (principally incorporating d20's instead of the ones suggested by the ruleset)