Post by [GG] SeaDogg on Apr 2, 2006 19:54:52 GMT -5
"In May of 1778, The British commander, General Clinton in Philadelphia, faced with a war with France decided it was prudent to protect New York City and Florida. He sent 3000 troops to protect Florida by sea. Then On June 18 th the British began to evacuate Philadelphia, crossing New Jersey to go to New York City. They have 11,000 troops, a thousand loyalists and a baggage train 12 miles long.
Now it is the Americans turn to harass the British, and they do in small ways, burning bridges, muddying wells, cutting trees across roads, and snapping at their heels. The British advance only 40 miles in a week.The weather is warm and wet, and traveling is hard muddy work. The Hessians suffer most as they carry heavy packs, and many fall from the heat, others desert.
General Lee advises to await developments-he doesn't want to commit the army against the famous ability of the British regulars. He has more experience than Washington, and has influence on all the officers, and Washington has a tendency to defer to him, against his own judgment. In a war council a majority of officers vote not to engage the enemy in an all out assault. The Americans, though now trained and better equipped, and had almost the same number of troops, they could not afford to lose a major engagement.
In spite of Lee, Washington determines that the British were vulnerable to attack as they were spread out across the state with their baggage trains, and moved from Valley Forge into NJ in pursuit.
On the 23 rd and 24 th, the army encamps on the farm of John Hart, in Hopewell, and Washington calls a council of war at the home of John Hunt. Incredibly, most of the officers vote not to attack the British while they are vulnerable. Washington decides to compromise, and have an advance corp engage the enemy. Now military etiquette comes into play. General Lee, who is senior should be offered the job. He doesn't want it and he doesn't support an attack- he doesn't think Americans can stand against British regulars.Washington offers it to Lafayette.Already he has the NJ militia and Morgan's riflemen on Clinton's flank, and orders Lafayette with Generals Scott and Maxwell to move near the British.
Lee changes his mind- a mission of this size should be his to command. Washington allows him to take over command of the advance corp.He adds to the advance corps the brigades of Wayne and Poor, for a total of 6000 men, for an attack on the rear of the British column.Washington will support him with the main army.
On the 27 th Lee is next to the British. Washington orders Lee to attack the next day, and Washington will support him with the main army. Lee does nothing to prepare for it. He tells his generals he will have to make plans as he encounters the enemy and learns their situation. He issues no orders to General thingyinson, with the NJ militia, or Col. Morgan, with the rifle regiment, which units are on the flanks of the British column. He does not gather information or look at maps.
On June 28 th, General thingyinson, commanding the NJ militia, reports he is engaged with the British and they seem to be falling back. Lee moves forward slowly. He has failed to gather data on the ground or the position of the enemy, and now he hears conflicting reports that the British are moving out and that they are preparing an attack, and is annoyed of the lack of intelligence about the enemy-which he has failed to order gathered. The British were both falling back- moving their baggage- and preparing an attack with the rear-guard, but Lee couldn't get reports that clearly stated this.
Lee finally gets a picture of the enemy placements in his head and orders units to move to their left and right, to cut off the rear guard of the enemy and capture them. Units march out to the flanks, but then receive no orders. Wayne, in the center, is told to feint an attack. Lee wants hold the rear guard while he encircles them, but his generals don't know the plan.
General Clinton believes the American army wants to capture and plunder his baggage train, and in response to the flanking units, decides to attack where he thinks the main column is, actually the right flank of the American line, to force the flank units in to support. He sends more men to reinforce the rear guard and make the attack.
The movement of the British disrupts Lee's plan to isolate and destroy the rear guard, and threatens the right flank. Lee sends Lafayette towards the right to support it. As they do, the British open on the Americans with cannon. Lee sends some of his men into the village of Monmouth to avoid the fire.
On the left, the flank units see what seems to be a retreat in the center as Lee's men take cover, and at the same time Oswald's artillery unit in the area moves to the rear when they run out of ammunition. The flank units on the left move back, since they have no orders. They fail to inform Lee of their movements or send word for orders, all though they do ask some of his aides if they have orders for them.
Seeing his left fall back, Lee orders the right to also withdraw as well, and a sometimes confused retreat begins. The entire advance corp is now falling back. Lee makes no orders, has no rear guard, no one understands why they retreat. Lafayette sends for Washington to come forward. Lee thinks he is saving the advance corp by moving out of harms way.
Washington sends to Lee for a report, and Lee sends back that he is "doing well enough." Not in anyway satisfied, Washington moves forward, to find the roads crowded with retreating troops. He dispatches aides to find the cause, but they can not see a reason for the retreat. The troops report they were ordered to retreat by Lee. Riding down the road, he finds Lee.
Washington asks Lee for the meaning of this retreat, in an annoyed manner. Lee, who thinks he has saved the army by retreating, is confused by Washington's brusque manner and says " Sir...Sir!". Washington repeats the question. Lee stammers some excuses about his orders not being followed, then says again that Americans are not able to stand against the British. Enraged, Washington says "Sir, they are able, and by God they shall do it!"
Washington rides back to the rear of the retreating troops, where his aides report the British are within a few minutes of reaching the retreating column, as the advance corp is filing through a causeway or bridge over a morass/ravine. Seeing the corp endangered, he begins to order troops into blocking positions, and orders them to hold the British advance while the rest of the corp gets over the causeway. These units put up a stiff resistance until the troops are safe across and support troops are in position behind them, then under pressure make a fighting withdrawal to safety.
Washington begins to order the troops into a strong defensive line, using some of the exhausted advance corp, and some fresh troops. Riding all over the field, sometimes under fire, by his presence he is able to reverse the flow of events. He orders units into action and they move with precision, shifting like the trained troops Von Steuben has made them. The best of the British attack repeatedly as the Americans shuffle into line,and the Americans hold, sometimes falling back but always under control. Lee, finding Washington has begun to issue orders, fails to do anything, thinking himself relieved. As the advance corp is coming across the causeway, Washington orders Lee to position troops to defend the line. Lee does nothing, issues no orders. Some of the retreating men, full of fight, if exhausted from the heat and humidity, leave the retreating column and form with Washington. As the last of the retreating advance corp is brought safely across the causeway, Lee, last man across, reports to Washington for orders, and is told to take his troops to Englishtown creek and set up, far to the rear. Forces are brought forward and positioned by Washington and though the rest of the day the Americans hold the best of the British forces. As dusk falls, Washington has fresh troops ready to attack around the British flanks, but they have to hold due to the loss of light.
During the battle, a woman known today as Molly Pitcher, a camp follower who brought water to the troops from a nearby spring, took over her husbands place (John Hayes) at a cannon when he was wounded. Under fire, and loosing men, the artillery unit was going to fall back until she volunteered to take his place. Bravely she served the cannon in her husbands place. After Hayes death after the war she married John McCauley. moved to Carlisle, Penn. and died there Jan. 22 nd, 1833.
At 10 pm, General Clinton orders his units to begin to follow the baggage train, and when the moon set about 11pm, they sneak quietly off to protect the baggage. They leave abandoned personal goods and weapons, and their dead and some of the worst wounded behind them.
Though Washington has failed to destroy the British column, he had inflicted damage to their troops, and proven that Americans can stand against the regulars, without the advantage of surprise. The British have defended their baggage, but were unable to defeat the Americans in open battle. Since the Americans hold the field, they claim the victory, but it is really a draw or even a British victory, since the British were only defending their baggage train, not looking for a battle. However, the British had covered 9 miles a day until the battle. After the battle, they covered 24 miles in one day. Both sides lost about 350 men in killed, wounded or captured. both sides lost men heavily due to heat exhaustion.
In the aftermath, Lee is court-martialled, and is found guilty, and is removed from the Army for a year. He never returns to bother Washington again with either his ego or bad advice.
Monmouth was the last battle fought between the two MAIN armies, and the longest. After this, the fighting involved secondary forces (though still large forces), as the war shifted to the southern colonies."
Post by [GG] SeaDogg on Apr 2, 2006 19:59:33 GMT -5
The Battle of Monmouth 1778 War: American Revolutionary War
Date: 28th June 1778.
Place: New Jersey.
Combatants: The army of British and German troops against American Continental troops and militia.
Generals: Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton, Major General Earl Cornwallis and Major General Knyphausen against General George Washington and Major General Charles Lee.
Size of the armies: 10,000 British troops against 11,000 Americans.
Uniforms, arms and equipment: The British wore red coats and headgear of bearskin caps, leather caps or tricorne hats depending on whether the troops were grenadiers, light infantry or battalion company men. The two regiments of light dragoons serving in the army, the 16th and 17th, wore red coats and leather crested helmets. The German infantry wore blue coats and retained the Prussian style grenadier mitre with brass front plate.
The Americans dressed as best they could. Increasingly as the war progressed regular infantry regiments of the Continental Army wore blue uniform coats but the militia continued in rough clothing. Both sides were armed with muskets and guns. Many of the American militia, particularly the Pennsylvanians carried long, small calibre, rifled weapons.
Winner: The battle is generally taken as a draw.
Account: "General George Washington and his army spent the winter of 1777/8 at Valley Forge in considerably straightened circumstances. As the winter wore on the supply situation was brought under control and something approaching a proper issue of equipment and rations was made to the troops. Memorably the Prussian officer General Steuben trained the American regiments in a form of European battle drill, devised and adapted to suit American troops.
The British army spent the winter in Philadelphia. Lieutenant General Howe returned to England, relieved of his appointment in command in America at his own request, to be replaced by General Clinton. Clinton arrived with orders to evacuate Philadelphia and concentrate the British forces at New York. On 18th June 1778 the British army with artillery, supplies and the Loyalist populace of the city left Philadelphia and began the laborious march to the North-East.
General Washington marched east from Valley Forge seeking to intercept the slow moving British column. He did so at Monmouth Courthouse.
Clinton had originally intended to march to New York. The first week convinced him that his army with its train was too cumbrous to make the journey by land and it was reported that General Gates was moving from the Hudson River valley with his army to block the British retreat. Clinton decided to divert to the coast and take ship. At Allentown the British and German force branched off the main route towards Monmouth to head north east.
General Washington hurried his army forward to. An advanced force of some 4,000 troops was allocated to attack the marching British Army and cut it in half. Washington offered the command of this assault to Major General Charles Lee. Initially Lee refused the appointment, lacking confidence in the success of the plan. When the force was increased in size to 5,000 men and given to the Marquis de Lafayette, Lee changed his mind and insisted on the command. Lee had the task of attacking the British column in the flank and delaying it so that the main American army could come up and give battle.
The weather was unsettled, high day-time temperatures giving way to heavy rainstorms.
Clinton suspected that Washington would attack him in strength and ordered Knyphausen to begin his march up the Middletown road to the North at 4am on 28th June 1778. Warned by thingyinson and his New Jersey militia that the British army was on the move, Washington ordered Lee to attack and bring the British withdrawal to a halt until he could bring up the main strength of the American army along the Monmouth Road.
Lee lay to the west of the Middletown road and should have delivered a coordinated attack on the slow moving column. Properly planned this could have halted the British withdrawal to the north east and enabled the main American army under Washington to attack from the rear. It seems that Lee gave no proper orders to his commanders and permitted them to commit their troops as they saw fit. Skirmishes with parties of British troops took place as Lee’s force moved tentatively forward towards the Middletown Road. Confused fighting broke out with Clinton’s rearguard, largely composed of British regiments. Finally Lee ordered his troops to retreat on the main American army. As he withdrew down the road, Clinton launched his troops in pursuit.
General Washington, bringing the main American army along the Monmouth road, encountered, not the rear of the British column, but Lee’s regiments, retreating in considerable disorder with the British advancing behind them.
Memorably this is the one occasion Washington is said to have sworn. He deployed a consignment of oaths directed at Lee, to the admiration of those listening, before ordering Lee to the rear. Washington then galloped forward and began the task of rallying Lee’s disordered troops.
Washington ordered General Wayne with the last of Lee’s regiments, Stewart’s 13th Pennsylvania and Ramsay’s 3rd Maryland, to form to the North of the road and hold the British advance. These regiments resisted strongly but were driven back by the British 16th Light Dragoons. Their stand gave Washington the time to form the rest of the American army, with artillery on Comb’s Hill to the South of the road enfilading the attacking British foot. Fierce fighting took place as the British attempted to drive back the American line. This was the first test of Steuben’s re-trained American Continental Foot regiments and they withstood the trial well. As the evening wore on the British troops fell back and returned to their journey north, leaving the Americans on the field.
Major General Charles Lee Casualties: The British suffered some 300 casualties and the Americans 350. Up to 100 men are thought to have died of heatstroke during the battle. During the march from Philadelphia Clinton’s army lost around 550 deserters, of whom 450 were from the Hessian regiments. This is a striking figure. In the course of a few days Clinton lost the equivalent of a battalion. Many of these men will have joined American regiments.
Follow-up: Clinton continued the march to Sandy Hook where his army was embarked and carried by the Royal Navy to New York. The operation to retake Pennsylvania and New Jersey ended, leaving British fortunes at a low ebb.
Regimental anecdotes and traditions: Major General Charles Lee demanded and received trial by court martial for his performance at the battle. He was convicted and sentenced to one year’s suspension from duty. Fortescue, the historian of the British Army, seems convinced that Lee’s conduct arose from treacherous motives.
Some US authorities categorise Lee as a traitor. Lee is a strange and interesting character. He first arrived in America as a captain in Halkett’s 44th Regiment, taking part in Braddock’s disastrous march to the Ohio River during 1755. Lee continued to serve during the French and Indian War. He was given the nickname of “Boiling Water” by the Iroquois due to his temper. He was also the subject of an assassination attempt by members of his regiment.
After the war he left the British Army and joined the Polish Army, apparently rising to the rank of General. Unable to obtain senior rank in the British Army, Lee returned to America and joined the American Army, achieving his ambition of senior command. It seems more likely that Lee’s flawed character caused his command failings rather than deliberate treachery.
During the battle Molly Pitcher, the wife of an American gunner officer, is said to have taken over the firing of her husband’s cannon, when the crew became casualties."
Post by [GG]Lord von Döbeln on Apr 3, 2006 3:11:06 GMT -5
Those maps on the British site are the ones I based the 2 Monmouth maps I made on. I realize now I may have overdone the west ravine a bit on Monmouth2 , but since we have to simulate the creeks with ravines it might be ok after all... But it is a very hard map to attack on for sure.
Post by [GG] SeaDogg on Apr 3, 2006 17:26:38 GMT -5
Good; I think the ravines are a good representation of a shallow creek. You can even add smidge of water here and there to represent places that are not fordable. I think the map is good overall, although it might be better to represent the two phases of the battle on separate maps as you often see in books - Monmouth 1 and Monmouth 2.
I think that in the second phase of the battle it was the ability of Gen Green to get Continental forces and artillery up on the rise that was to the British right that was a deciding factor. There is no such rise available in the map we have. But no complaints here. The forces were nearly equal and on def the British did have some positional advantage. As Colonials, we should feel fortunate to come to the field with a nearly equal force in numbers if not professionalism, that didnt happen all that often and they had to work wonders to succeed even then.
The other really dominant factor in the battle was the heat. Brit units were falling out from exhaustion and many were found dead after collapsing in wooded areas nearby. Its been surmised that the full uniforms worn by the British contributed greatly to this problem, where as many Continentals dropped their heavy gear. This battle was mostdecidedly not fought in snow. lol
Post by [GG]Buxford on Apr 5, 2006 18:37:23 GMT -5
Great stuff indeed.
"We feel that our cause is just and holy; we protest solemnly in the face of mankind that we desire peace...all we ask is to be left alone; that those who never held power over us shall not now attempt our subjugation by arms." -Jefferson Davis