Battle of Hoosick Falls 1777

Thanks to Wil for writing up the text and taking the pictures. He is tracking how his command does in the Sharps Practice campaign we are running at the store in the form of a journal letter from Lieutenant Reginald Daltrey of the 24th Regiment of Foot to his sweetheart in England.

Battle of Hoosick Falls, New York August 11, 1777

Dear Lady Chatterly,

Dr. Nixon
The fortunes of war are fickle, as our folly today proved justly so.  I write this while recuperating under the ministrations of Dr. Nixon, who has been so good to accompany us in the field and assist our regimental surgeon.  He assures me a quick recovery so that I may rejoin my soldiers, as with the fall of Major Grant at Hubbarton, our officership is a precious commodity to be shuffled as needed.

Speaking of, I have now been made field captain of the whole Light Company of the 24th (Ldr 2, with three groups of regulars), with Ensign Townshend (Ldr 2, with 2 groups of skirmishers) as my capable subaltern, and the experienced Sergeant Entwistle (Ldr 1) transferring from the grenadiers to  assist me.
Our company in it's current assignment has been joined by a large party of Mohawks (2 groups of Indian Allies) led by a liaison officer of the 9th, Lieutenant Moon (Ldr 2, a "Kurtz" guy), or "Moondrummer" as he is has introduced himself. By his non-regulation adornment, he looks to have spent much time among the savages... perhaps too much.
Primary Deployment Point diorama

They have brought news of the Oriskany battle and remain among the most vengeance-thirsty among the tribes to have then travelled east seeking common cause of us. A half-bred, most likely the camp wife of Moon, and a mangy dog follow them everywhere.
On our rotation to the baggage train for munitions resupply, I ran into my father's friend, Angus MacLewlis, an aging codger who recruited for the recently founded 84th Regiment of Scottish Emigrants in Montreal.  His small detachment, bedecked in new highlander finery, had been assigned to guard the artillery park, but he kept insisting that I talk to my command and allow 10 of his men (1 group of loyalist militia, I really wanted just some ne'er-do-well frontier types, but these were the only figs at hand) to join our Advanced Corps "...so that they get a thorough bloodying!" in his words, "...to earn their plot of land."  And that is where the afternoon's mishap begins.

On the approach to Bennington, our company has led the screening of the main column eastwards for the past days.  Major Potter only had sent a few dragoons further beyond us to mark a road, and ordered us to form line facing south.  Just as we had begun to anchor the left wing, we heard the first reports of muskets to our southwest, battle had been joined.

We deployed behind a hedge in a plowed field with the militia attaching on the right and Townshend's skirmish screen watching the front.  A group with Sergeant Entwistle were returning from scouting a gully further out between us and the 20th Lancaster.  Then we saw the column of
Massachusetts regulars approach with a field piece from behind a barn.  Meanwhile, Moon's war party behind us awaited the signal of their scouts.  All went fairly well, but the skirmishers began to take a few hits from riflemen appearing on the barn's right and began to fall back behind us.

A cannonball gave my left squad a shake as one of them fell,  but our position was still stronger than the approaching bluecoats and their second ball was less effective. With the cannonade and rifles worrying them, the highlander's excitement and lack of drill got the better of them and they did not await my order to present. Our whole line commenced firing at will onto the enemy's field piece and bluecoats to some effect, though I yelled above the din twice to stop the firing.  Their column then deployed in line facing us at just over close range, blocking any further fire from their cannon. 

Our superior cover should lead to besting them, and I saw Moon's party rush the woods to protect our left as new groups of militia appeared and attempted to rush that flank.
However, things went badly at this point. The Mohawks let out furious war whoops and ambuscaded towards their scouts, but the rain-soaked ground slowed the Indians enough so that they could not see the approaching enemy through the woods.  At least, our left was covered as the Mohegan began to shoot from behind the trees, sending a party of militia running back to their own lines.

Just then, on my right, one of the damned highlanders drew his heirloom claymore and pointed forward!  ("Charge them to Hell!" result) The clamor and smoke confused my whole line enough to think I had ordered a general charge, over the hedge!! (lose lowest move dice)


On that, the Continentals loosed deadly fire at just close range and many of us fell as we stumbled across the brambles. As I went to the front to prevent a disastrous charge, a ball struck my shoulder.  Corporal Chaucer pulled me back over the hedge. Though the doctor rushed to aid me, I waved him off and began urging the shattered remains of my line to retreat at quickpace.  We fell back just as Entwistle's six returned and joined the other skirmishers in time to cover our backs. Dusk, by then, had settled in and the noise further down the battlefield had subsided to an occasional musket crack.

I heard that Lieutenant Moon was also hit and had to retire his natives, leading me to believe in the rumors of ungentlemanly conduct among the sharpshooters of the enemy.  The diligent Quaker doctor and the half-French Indian worked busily through the next hours, keeping two out of four of my men alive, while one Mohegan would be mourned by their number.  And I remain alive to fight again, and eventually to return to you.   Although discretion is the better of valor, I am still stung that my debut of command allowed the rebels to almost turn our left flank.  I question my decision to take on MacLewles's men, who will need much more drill and less highland battle cries to match the discipline of a true British redcoat.  Though a stray claymore be drawn in the heat of battle , I pray that my own won't get fooled again.


Yours Always,
Lieutenant Daltrey
24th Regiment of Foot

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