This year marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, sometimes called America's Second War of Independence. Maybe this year I'll write some posts about the war, but this is a game report. Last year, my Military History class re-staged the Battle of Bladensburg, (August 24, 1814) which was the run-up to the British sack/burning of Washington DC. Historically, the American force crumpled before the oncoming British, and in the class' re-enactment, things went much the same. The American militia was unable to even significantly slow the British advance.
Check out the page Pictures from gaming events to see the battle.
Well, today was different. I played the battle again, with my older son, on the floor in the basement. My son played the Americans, and I played the British. The American forces lined up on the west bank of the Potomac, and met the British advance with steady fire that not once but three times forced back the leading British units when they tried to cross the Potomac bridges. I made use of Congreve rockets which sowed panic among the American lines, but far fewer of the Americans ran that I had hoped. Instead of great big gaps, I got only small tears in their lines. The American's fire was not even as hard as it could have been, for the front line units blocking the units behind from adding their fire. American artillery greatly harassed the British lines until one battery was put to flight by the Congreves and the other was charged and over-run. Once the British had crossed the Potomac they made modest gains down the road to Washington, but the superior American numbers had chipped and chopped away them to the extent that the attack lost steam in the middle of the map. An American Dragoon (cavalry) unit got in behind the British and convinced me that the situation was unsalvageable. The remnants of the British force retired back over the Potomac and returned to Chesapeake Bay. The British lost two Battalions of Foot and two Battalions of Marines, including several officers.