Note: the below After Action Report was written by Wil D, and was one of six games (#3 to be precise) that made up the second battle in our Sharps Practice 2 campaign.
August 12, 1777
Strausbach Farm near Hoosick, New York
Dearest Lady Chatterly,
We spent brief time recovering from the previous skirmish before ordered by Major Potter to resume column and retaliate before the enemy finds our main body. My Company was in the centre of march when the sound of musketry came upon our left a few hours down the trail. A runner gave word to the Major, and we debarked from the trail into the woodlands to find them.
The Indians guiding us through the forest, I learned from Lieutenant Moon, were actually of the Huron Nation, larger in build and of fiercer countenance than the Mission Mohegans. They had travelled the furthest and had departed from Fort Stanwick and St. Legere’s command after sorely losing much of their personal effects in a sally by those besieged. Enraged, Moon explained that, they seek to recover their “honor” (in the savage’s sense of the word) by plunder and destruction. One among their number is rumored to receive Burgoyne’s pardon a few days ago after the unfortunate Jane McRae affair, but the Lieutenant would not candidly reveal which. I can only hope to civilly temper their lust for retribution against any further loyalist families we encounter, with the help of the Indian Department’s agents and Moon. At this time, though, they have performed very reservedly upon the battlefield, perhaps waiting opportunistically for a lone homestead rather than a militia firing line. I am hoping to receive some local loyalists from Peter’s Corps to keep them escorted during scouting duties in the future.
As for the band of Highlander's with me, I sobered them up after a fierce lecture about fire discipline and command calls after this last fiasco. I entrusted them to Ensign Townsend and the forward Skirmishers (1 group plus 1 provincial militia) who, this time, fired first as the remainder of my Company (2 regulars plus 1 skirmishes) approached between two copses of trees.
What we beheld was a strong line of numerous Militia (4 groups) emerging from tall grass, with their frontiersmen running on either wing towards the same trees holding my hidden Indian party and skirmishers. My own front men moved into the right trees so that my line would have a field of fire, while the rebel rifles started to seek targets among the left trees. (Turns 3-4) Not yet within musket’s reach, I could see that my sixteen could not withstand a face-off with the militia line.
As would have it, my left skirmishers worried by the rifles, saw seven in hunting shirts charge them brandishing hatchets. They hastily fell back into the interior (evade), but the militia sergeant fiercely harangued his six to catch them at their backs (step out, lads) that all, except one who bolted back to us, went deep to ground in the thickets for the remainder (-1 FM, but casualties recovered). The steady hand of Townshend kept the Highlanders nearby from also running. But where were Moon’s Hurons?
I could not stand to see my men in the woods overrun, so I faced my line towards the brash rebel scouts instead of the militia and loosed our first fire. This was enough to kill or send them packing back to their lines, brave as they were. (Turn 5, -2 FM). As my skirmishers and Highlanders continued to exchange with their riflemen, their second group of scouts neared the right woods in front of my other skirmishers. That is when Moon’s Indians finally revealed themselves.
Not wanting to expose themselves to the formidable line of militia, they ambuscaded instead to the rear of the trees and threw musketry at the scouts on the right in the open (2 x 12 shots) starting their eventual withdrawal as well (another -2 FM over next two turns). But the militia of 40 muskets continued its inexorable advance and I thought it better to also take my line, in columns of twos, into the woods to the right for protection. From there, we relieved Sergeant Entwhistle's front men, whom I rallied to return to the fight alongside our line, now fighting for their lives behind trunk and branch. The good Doctor Nixon also restored Entwhistle enough so that he could send his soldiers into defilade in an adjacent creek bed, though filled with muck.
Meanwhile on the left flank, the militia and Indian party had wisely also pulled back among their trees to avoid a devastating volley, only exposing themselves enough for a stray shot to the far end of the militia line. As the rebel scouts and riflemen retired, so too did the whole grand division of militia through the grass, leaving us shaken, but maintaining the field. (Final FM 7 vs. 4?). We fought more like them, quickly taking to tree, while they fought more like us.
Under Grenadier Sergeant Entwhistle who needed further treatment of his wounds and return to his home unit, I packed the Highlanders to the rear back to McClewlis with a missive that “they all earned their farm, rather than burial, plots,” and thanked Lieutenant Moon for his handling of the natives, even as they scoured the battlefield for trophies I dare not mention. We had suffered seven injuries and, surprisingly, no losses with what we had faced. Reports from the rest of the column were also good. A detachment of the Queen's Loyal Rangers, led by a Sergeant Frederic McUriegh, joined my command to bolster our ranks, depleted from many hard months of campaigning. My desire is that these Provincials will help recruit more locals to our just cause, or at least police any excesses that the Hurons are want to commit. I survive another day for the Crown, and for you.
Lieutenant Reginald Daltrey