Raiding Big Bottom

Who will hold Big Bottom?

The British have not been slow to recognise the manifest desirability of Big Bottom’s broad expanse. The fertile valley needs only its forest to be cleared to be ready for ploughing and the sowing of seed. Several pioneers have built their cabins near the fork of Old Bush Creek and the small area of marsh known as Soggy Bottom.

Ouaouackecinatouek, a chief of the Bear Folk Huron, has been moved to avenge the capture of his cousins, Hawhendagerha and Catchawatchecka by the 42nd Highlanders, as described here and here. Ouaouackecinatouek intends to destroy the entire settlement and to kill or capture every man woman and child.

Captain Murray of the 42nd (Highland) Foot stands ready to defend the settlement. Having whipped the Huron twice before, he looks forward to delivering another sound thrashing at Big Bottom. Will Ouaouackecinatouek be thwarted, or will the unspeakable savage avenge his captured cousins? Read on . . .

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The Scene, Set

The Huron approach from the west, small numbers swimming across the river near the fork, allowing themselves to be seen so as to draw their enemy forward while the bulk  of the warriors are slipping through the forest further north.

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Decoys

Murray keeps his highlanders in the vicinity of Widow Rattlebag’s impressive two-storey cabin and sends Lieut. Kennedy and his 44th Foot skirmishers over the river to scout the woods.

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Not Taking the Bait

Kennedy’s men are quick enough to stop most of the Huron getting across the river into a position where Lieut. Mill’s flank might be threatened.

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Kennedy Scouts the Woods

Kennedy has only a few men and, if he presses on too far, might be in danger of a haircut rather closer than currently fashionable amongst British soldiers.

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Lurking

Lieut. Kennedy loses a man to musket shots and his men send two quick volleys at a small group of Huron, sending the warriors to ground, pinning them down.

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Three Rounds a Minute

The Huron are getting across the river in some numbers.

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Keeping Their Powder Dry

Kennedy falls back in the face of superior numbers, exchanging fire but losing more men.

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Kennedy Under Pressure

Captain Murray has used the time Kennedy has bought him to reform into three platoons, Sergeant M’Andrews in charge of the third with Sergeant Watson to assist him.

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Murray Reorganises

Murray’s own command catches some Huron who are trying to get round his flank with some brisk volleys that drop several braves before they can seek cover.

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Murray’s Volleys Do Great Execution

Has time run out for Quintin Kennedy? The dashing lieutenant is outnumbered and caught with his back to the river. The Huron charge, wielding their tomahawks with relish.

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Fighting to the Last

Kennedy’s men, their ammunition gone, meet the hatchets with musket butt and bayonet but are overwhelmed. Kennedy himself pistols one warrior, tomahawks another and levels a third with the butt of his empty pistol. He is brought down at last by a blow to the head. The Huron, impressed, take the lieutenant captive to burn later.

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Shooting From the Woods
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More Shooting From the Woods

After a slow start, Ouaouackecinatouek’s plan is beginning to work. The bulk of his warriors are now shooting at the highlanders from the woods, protected from a charge by the river. The highlanders must stand in the open and volley at shadows, which it must be admitted they do with reasonable effectiveness. Casualties are taken on both sides.

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Murray Turns to Chase Off Ouaouackecinatouek

Meanwhile, Ouaouackecinatouek himself has led some of his followers round Murray’s other flank and is also inflicting casualties.

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How Is Your Father?

Private Robert M’Gregor (‘Rob Roy? Oh, aye, ah kent his faither.’) has taken it upon himself to guard the Widow Rattlebag in her house.

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Lieutenant Mill’s Men Volley

Despite their advantages of cover, the Huron are getting by far the worse of the fight. Some of them are falling back deeper into the woods, seeking shelter from the relentless volleys of the highlanders.

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Sergeant M’Andrews’ Men Volley

Captain Murray has been nicked on the arm by a musket ball, but it takes more than a flesh wound to worry the redoubtable Scot. A couple of Huron are shooting at his men from their flank but he has shaken his men back into line and his volleys hammer Ouaouackecinatouek.

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Murray’s Men Volley

Sergeant M’Andrews is hit! Watson takes over and keeps the men firing. Enraged at the loss of their popular sergeant, the volley is devastating, killing three Huron; the remaining warriors turn and flee for home.

His men vanishing from the field in increasing numbers, Ouaouackecinatouek decides to cut his losses and call it a day.

Victory to the British!

But the Huron have the consolation of a valuable captive.

British force here. Huron force here.

Finding Phemie

What Became of Euphemia Flower?

When the much-feared Huron war-chief, Hawhendagerha made off with the two lovely daughters of Colonel Flower, 44th Foot (as described here), he reluctantly traded the elder daughter, Fanny, to his French ally, Capitaine Vindail of the Compagnies Franches de la Marine. Fanny’s rescue by the doughty highlanders of the 42nd Foot and the capture of the villain Hawhendagerha by Lieutenant Kennedy of the 44th Foot have been described elsewhere. But the Huron kept hold of Euphemia Flower (Phemie to her more intimate acquaintances) and plan to wed her to their leader, Aghstaghregck, known to the French and British as Le Grand Franc.

Supplanted in Fanny’s affections by the rather dour, but also rather compellingly competent Captain Murray of the 42nd (Highland) Foot, the dashing Quintin Kennedy hopes that it might be he who will save her younger sister from the unspeakable Aghstaghregck.

Will Quintin succeed? Or will, perhaps, Murray’s right-hand man, that rugged veteran of Flanders, Lieutenant Mill, free Phemie? Read on . . .

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The Stage, Set.

Catchawatchecka, brother of the mighty war-chief Hawhendagerha, is making haste to bring Aghstaghregck his bride. But the chance to indulge in a little arson, rape, robbery and murder, perhaps with some drunkenness, mutilation and torture thrown in if things go especially well, is hard for any red-blooded warrior to resist. And so rather than sensibly skirt the hamlet of Knockemstiff (look it’s a real Ohio place name, okay? I can’t be held responsible for colonial peculiarities of toponomy), he’s decided to give his lads the opportunity for some self-indulgent fun.

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Captive Phemie Dragging Her Heels

Unbeknownst to Catchawatchecka and his soon-to-be-merry men, the intrepid Quintin Kennedy, Lieutenant in the 44th Foot, has been trailing his band and, realising that they must pass Knockemstiff, has alerted Captain Murray and his 42nd Highlanders who aim to spoil Catchawatchecka’s party and free Phemie Flower into the bargain.

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A Perfect Spot For An Ambush

The Huron split into two groups. One under Adyughkannorwn moves into the wooded hill overlooking Knockemstiff. The other under Catchawatchecka, with Phemie in tow, heads for the largest building. Meanwhile the British burst onto the scene. Kennedy and his boys of the 44th are near dying of thirst, having been many hours on the trail, and so are more sluggardly than light bobs are wont. Murray shakes half his men into line and advances on the enemy, taking some stiff fire from the braves in the woods, who fall back deep into the cover of the trees after their initial salvo.

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Murray Gets His Men Ready

Lieutenant Mill brings up the rest of the highlanders in close column, but too slowly for the brisk Murray’s liking.

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Tahaddy’s Group (left by the cabin) Before Murray’s Volley

Irritated by the slowness of his subordinates and infuriated by the sniping from the woods, Murray brings his men into action with a devastating volley that kills five of Tahaddy’s six men and leaves Tahaddy himself wounded.

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The Volley

The two surviving Huron scuttle for shelter behind the loft cabin.

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Tahaddy’s Group After Murray’s Volley . . .

Lieutenant Mill realises that Catchawatchecka is slipping away through the woods, taking with him the fair Phemie. Seeing Kennedy’s men advancing to his right inspires Mill to get a move on and the highlanders begin to outstrip the dehydrated light infantrymen.

However Kennedy’s men are checked by fire from a group of Huron under the Canadian Lieutenant Babel. One redcoat falls. Babel’s dander is up and he leads his warriors forwards in a rush, hurling their tomahawks at Kennedy’s stout lads who stand firm.

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Fisticuffs Commence!

The Huron get the worst of it and fall back to the woods. But Kennedy and Babel fight it out man to man. Kennedy has been enraged by the suggestive way Babel has stroked his moustache at him and offers to show Frenchman ‘the braid side of ma’ hand’. Babel gets the better of the initial exchanges until Kennedy throws caution to the wind and with a flurry of blows brings Babel crashing to the ground, whereupon the bloody Scot tomahawks him to cheers from  his men.

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Quintin Kennedy Shows Hector Babel the Braid Side of His Hand

The cheers are short-lived, however, as the warriors who had accompanied Hector fire some shots that send another of the 44th sprawling to bleed his life away on the ground and the rest scuttling backwards.

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Still Sniping From the Woods

Meanwhile Murray’s line are still taking casualties from the Huron in the woods, and Catchawatchecka, now deep in the woods, is still trying to slip away from the action with Phemie.

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Deep in the Woods

Only Davey Mill can save Phemie now . . .

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Within Musket Shot

Catchawatchecka and his braves make a run for it, carrying Phemie like a sack of potatoes (or a sack o’ tatties, as Mill put it later in his report). Mill, as stated before, is a tough veteran of many a Flanders field and no stranger to making hard decisions. With nary a moment’s hesitation, he wheels his line and orders a volley. Seeing the muskets raised, Phemie faints.

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Mill Gives the Order to Fire

Two braves fall and Catchawatchecka is hurt. Mill orders his men to fire at will and they blaze away, dropping three more braves and sending Catchawatchecka and his sole remaining companion swimming for their very lives across the river.

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Blazing Away to Good Effect

Mill orders his men to cease firing, and ever careful, to reload. Such has been their rate of fire though, most of the barrels are fouled.

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Sorry, Chief, I’m Off!

Meanwhile, Murray has been trading shots with the skirmishing Huron. His careful volleys have inflicted some losses but a group has worked round his flank and Kennedy’s light bobs are still regathering themselves after their melee. Murray’s line is beginning to look a bit thin. Both Murray and the chaplain are hit! The line recoils and both sides’ morale is now very fragile.

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Murray’s Line Wavers

Catchawatchecka, realising his reputation will be forever tarnished if he fails to bring Phemie to Le Grand Franc, swims back across the river to where she lies in a swound. Mill’s men are advancing implacably a mere stone’s throw away.

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Come On Then!

Mill’s men dash forwards. Catchawatchecka, one man alone against more than two dozen, stands tall and proudly issues a challenge to single combat. The practical Mill merely spits in contempt and the ensuing combat is very short and one-sided as brawny highlanders quickly subdue the Huron chief. Mill prods Phemie awake with the toe of his shoe and is rewarded with fluttering eyelashes and feminine gasps. The remaining Huron vanish into the woods.

A British victory! But a damned near run thing. Murray’s line was on the verge of collapse and Catchawatchecka very nearly escaped with Phemie. The pragmatic (ruthless?) Mill saved the day, although the tale of Kennedy’s fight with Babel is on everyone’s lips. Everyone’s except Phemie’s, that is. She has eyes only for the unromantic but phlegmatically formidable Davey Mill and talks of no-one else.

The Bear Folk

‘It is easier to get lost in the cornfield than in the forest’

The Huron, as the French knew them, or the Wyandot, as the English called them, or the Wendat as they called themselves, had settled in the Ohio Valley by about 1700. The nation was a confederation of clans, of which the Bear People were regarded as the most senior.

This war party is led by Catchawatchecka who has numerous warriors vying for leading positions in the band, including the Canadian, Hercule Babel, who has become his right hand man. Babel is a talented linguist whose ability to get his tongue round the more delicate details of local customs delights of many of the tribe’s young maidens. Canadian officers often spent time living amongst the natives and frequently wore native garb, but Babel has kept his moustache, a conceit which tickles the fancy of many more of the tribe’s more impressionable womenfolk.

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Catchawatchecka and Babel

Adyughkannorwn is the next most important of the warriors. A man of many accomplishments, he has not a few feathers to his cap.

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Adyughkannorwn Showing His Best Profile

The three other most prominent warriors are Anastase, Tacharian and Tahaddy.

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Anastase, Tacharian and Tahaddy. Three of the Bravest Braves

The rest of the band are all fiery and independent spirits who very much enjoy setting fire to settlers’ cabins and indulging in Canadian-supplied spirits when opportunity offers.

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Two Groups of Wendat
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Two More Groups of Wendat
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Even More Wendat Ready To Get Things All Fired Up

In Sharp Practice terms the force comprises 75 points:

  • Leader Status III (Catchawatchecka)
  • Leader Status II (Babel)
  • Leader Status II (Adyughkannorwn)
  • Leader Status I (Anastase)
  • Leader Status I (Tacharian)
  • Leader Status I (Tahaddy)
  • Six Groups of 6 Huron War Party
  • A Movable Deployment Point
  • A Dummy Movable Deployment Point

Note that for the Saindoux Campaign, Natives are fielded as Skirmishers, not as Tribes. This better reflects their style of warfare.

The figures are by from Conquest MiniaturesGalloping Major Wargames and Redoubt Enterprises.

Snatching Fanny Again

Will the dashing Lieutenant Quintin Kennedy come up trumps by grabbing Fanny?

Poor Fanny Flower has become a prisoner of the French. She is locked upstairs in an abandoned cabin, and is fending off the advances of the lecherous Hugo de Nigot, who Lieutenant Clouzeau has, perhaps unwisely, left in charge of her guards.

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Tu As Dit Avoir Eu Mal a la Tete Hier!

But hope is at hand! The intrepid Lieutenant Quintin Kennedy is attempting her rescue, ably assisted by Captain Murray and the doughty highlanders of the 42nd Foot. Will the handsome Quinton save the day and come up trumps by grabbing Fanny? Or will Fanny succumb to the Gallic (and rather garlic) charms of young Hugo de Nigot? Read on . . .

Germans of the 60th Foot will ferry Lieutenants Kennedy and Mill with men of the 42nd and 44th Foot to the cabin, landing the rescuers at dawn.

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Canoe

The guards stand ready, stoically ignoring the sound of de Nigot’s increasingly desperate ejaculations coming from upstairs.

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The Guards Watching Fanny

Alarmed by de Nigot’s inflamed passions, Fanny climbs from an upstairs window and leaps to the ground, landing in an ungainly heap but unhurt and honour intact!

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Fanny Free!

Getting to her feet, Fanny hitches up her skirts and runs for it! De Nigot hauls up his breeches, dashes downstairs, and leads his men in  pursuit. The sight of the French on the river bank alarms the canoeists so that they decline to land. Fanny, however is showing an impressive turn of speed and heads for the sound of the bagpipes that herald Captain Murray’s arrival.

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Fanny Showing A Clean Pair of Heels

De Nigot, frenzied at the thought of Clouzeau’s wrath (and possibly by the sight of Fanny’s ankles as she runs) rushes in pursuit followed by his men. Unfortunately, Igor has failed to button his flies and, just as he catches up to the flagging Fanny, his breeches fall down, he tumbles and he is trampled by his men! Luckily for him, one of his quicker-thinking soldiers grabs Fanny’s skirt and she is recaptured. De Nigot recovers his dignity, carefully buttons his flies and wonders if he can regain the house before Clouzeau discovers anything has gone amiss.

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A New Headache

Kennedy has persuaded the German canoeists to land him downstream, near to where Murray has deployed his men into a rather imposing line.

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We Should Have Landed Over There!

Clouzeau has also arrived and is feeling rather outnumbered by the highlanders, who are just out of musket range. A force of Huron is slipping through the woods ready to aid their allies.

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Woodland Natives in their Native Woodlands

Enseigne Maudit’s skirmishers and some Huron snipe at the 42nd, who advance in two groups under their officers. A couple of men fall to the crackle of musketry, but the highlanders advance at a fair pace and Clouzeau begins to worry about his line of retreat being cut off. Kennedy covers Murray’s exposed flank with his handful of 44th light infantry.

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Murray Advances

De Nigot regains the cabin and sternly admonishes his men not to mention the escape attempt or the sordid state of his breeches. Upstairs, Fanny eyes the window again . . .

The Huron and French skirmishers continue their rather ineffectual sniping. Kennedy leads his men into the woods but they are surprised by the Huron Hawhendagerha and his braves who kill over half Kennedy’s small band with some close-range shooting.

Murray is equal to the situation and crisp orders see part of his line break off to deal with Hawhendagerha and Lieutenant Mill’s platoon surging forward to hammer Maudit’s skirmishers with close volleys, leaving Maudit himself stunned by a musket ball that grazed his temple. With Lieutenant Clouzeau unwilling to close to musket range against more than twice his numbers of highlanders and the skirmishers shaken, things look grim for the French.

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Hawhendagerha Discomfited
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Enseigne Maudit Even More Discomfited

Only De Nigot is laughing on the French side now.

With a yell, the lowlander Lieutenant Mill leads his men in a wild charge through the woods. The dazed Maudit has recovered enough to instruct his few remaining men to prove discretion the better part of valour; they, reluctant to leave their staggering officer, only just stay ahead of the screeching highlanders.

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Fuyez!

Lieutenant Clouzeau brings his men into musket range and prepares them to give a controlled volley.

Meanwhile Hawhendagerha’s little band are being whittled down as they fall back through the woods. For the second time in as many weeks, Hawhendagerha is wounded. The mighty chief bears many scars.

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And Then There Were Three

Lieutenant Kennedy adds to the pressure, directing the fire of his two remaining picked men.

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Pot the Chap in the Red Blanket.

At close range now, Murray and Mill hammer Clouzeau’s men. The Frenchmen may be handier with their muskets but simply don’t have the numbers to compete with the controlled volleys of the Scots.

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Mill Pours It Onto the French

The last of Hawhendagerha’s warriors falls and the chief himself is knocked out when a ball creases his scalp. Another scar . . .

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Got ‘im!

Murray’s men are taking casualties from the Huron in the wood but stolidly keep firing.

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Murray Also Pours It On.

The Rev. Dr. Ferguson can be seen in his wig and black coat, well to the fore, tending the wounded.

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Steady, Lads, Steady.

At this point, with his forces in increasing disarray and morale beginning to plummet, Clouzeau decides to withdraw. This leaves De Nigot in a quandary: he has the spirited Fanny at his mercy (and has the scratches and bruises to prove it) but his men are bolting from the house and the wail of the pipes is increasingly close. With a cry borne of frustrated lust and fury, he abandons Fanny and makes haste for safety, leaving her to be swept of her feet not by the dashing Kennedy but by the sober Murray who is first on the scene.

Fanny is freed and the brute Huron chief Hawhendagerha captured! A triumph for the British.

Details of the French and Huron force can be found here.

Details of the British are here.

Grab Fanny (and Phemie)

Captain Murray’s gallant highlanders encounter Lieutenant Clouzeau’s nefarious Compagnie Franches de la Marine.

On the 19th Inst. an engagement occurred between a half-company of the 42nd (Highland) Foot, accompanied by Lieut. Kennedy with some men of the 44th Foot, and a mixed force of French and Huron.

Lieut. Kennedy had been informed that the missing daughters of Col. Flower, 60th Foot, had sought refuge in an abandoned cabin some miles north of Fort Tallow. Capt, Murray, commanding the company of highlanders garrisoned there, agreed that immediate action was necessary and led the rescue force in person. Capt. Murray’s force is detailed here, gallant lads all.

Meanwhile Lieutenant Clouzeau and his nefarious Huron ally Hawhendagerha were closing in fast. Clouzeau’s force, reeking of stale garlic and cheap spirits, can be found here.

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Where to Hide?

With Fanny and Euphemia hiding in the chimney, doubtless anticipating a fate worse than death, the stage was set.

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The Stage, Set.

Looking south. The French Primary Deployment can just be seen bottom left. The Highlander Primary Deployment Point was almost directly opposite, just behind the rather glaring sun. The French had a Movable Deployment Point and also a Dummy MDP. The river in the middle of the board rather restricted the area of operations and most of the action happened on the west bank. Apologies for the rather nondescript green felt and the odd intruding ‘white edge’ of woodland bases but the terrain is not yet in its finished form.

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Lieutenant Clouzeau Urges his Men Forward Through the Woods (Clouzeau can be seen in a blue coat, behind his men).

Clouzeau advanced in textbook fashion with Enseigne Maudit’s skirmishers ahead of the main line. The woods slowed them down terribly but with typical Gallic cunning he had sent his Huron allies ahead via the Movable Deployment Point, which can be seen in the centre of the picture near the river. The Dummy MDP is hidden by the tree to the right.

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Enseigne Maudit and the Mighty Huron Warrior, Tobacco, Urge Their Men Onwards.

Hawhendagerha’s Huron fire from the safety of the far bank as the British make a rapid advance.

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The British Seem to be Winning the Race
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Lieut. Kennedy and His Men Near the Cabin

A neck-or-nothing dash saw Tobacco’s warriors just beat Lieut. Kennedy’s men to the shack.

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The Highlanders Advance

Tobacco’s men quickly searched the shack and it wasn’t long before the rather dishevelled Fanny and Euphemia were dragged unceremoniously from the chimney.

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What Are They Doing on the Roof?

The dashing Kennedy immediately ordered his brave boys to charge. In the frenetic melee, Tobacco was shot dead but Kennedy was wounded and the attack repulsed.

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The Girls are Still Captive.

 

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Volley Fire!
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French Sharp Practice Takes a Toll

The Highlanders and French exchanged fire. Captain Murray was wounded, as was Hawhendagerha. But the woods had slowed down Lieut. Mills’ command enough that they could make little impact on the fight.

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Abducted!

While Lieutenant Clouzeau’s Compagnie Franches de la Marine hold off superior numbers of highlanders, Hawhendagerha makes off with his captives.

A win for the French! Or is it in fact a win for the Huron?

Defenders of New France

Vindail’s Compagnie Franches de la Marine

The Compagnies Franches de la Marine were named for their captains. This force is based on the historical composition of a Compagnie Franches de la Marine, but has no direct historical counterpart (unlike the Half-Company of the 42nd (Highland) Foot) and, following Fat Lardy tradition, I have used names chosen more for comic effect than for any historical versimilitude.

This demi-compagnie is led by Lieutenant Jacques Clozeau (formerly in the employ of Nicolas Berryer, the lieutenant général de police), assisted by Enseigne Olivier Maudit, and a cadet, Hugo Igor. All these gentlemen are of Canadian birth, unlike the poor wretches they command, who are the sweepings of the French gutters.

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Eleve Officier Igor Points, Liuetenant Clouzeau and Ensigne Maudit are Unimpressed

The demi-compagnie also has the veteran Sergent Grondement to rely on.

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Sergent Grondement
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Defenders of New France
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More Defenders of New France
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Even More Defenders of New France
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Skirmishing Defenders of New France

Clouzeau’s force lacks numbers, so he has brought his trusted Huron allies, Tobacco and Hahwhendagerha (seriously, these are real Huron names not made up ones like most of the French) with a small war party along too.

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Hawhendagerha Points,  Tobacco is Enthused.
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War Party
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Another War Party

In Sharp Practice terms the force comprises 47 points:

  • Leader Status III (Lieutenant  Clouzeau)
  • Leader Status II (Enseigne Maudit)
  • Leader Status I (Élève Officier Igor)
  • Leader Status I (Sergent Grondement)
  • Three Groups of 8 Compagnie Franches de la Marine Line
  • One Group of 6 Compagnie Franches de la Marine Skirmishers

with another 28 points to flesh it out provided by some Huron allies:

  • Leader Status II (Hahwhendagerha)
  • Leader Status I (Tobacco)
  • Two Groups of 6 Huron War Party
  • A Scout
  • Two Dummy Movable Deployment Points

The Compagnie Franches de la Marine figures are by from Conquest Miniatures, as are  Hahwhendagerha and Tobacco. The other Huron are from Redoubt Enterprises; very characterful models but also slightly but noticeably larger than the other figures I’ve used (across all forces – they are bigger than the Redoubt Highlanders too). I have previously mentioned the rather annoying delays and lack of communication that Redoubt seem to specialise in, but I’m going to do so again because other very small manufacturers seem to be  altogether more professional in that regard. I’d recommend their figures, but expect to wait weeks for them to arrive.

Sons of the Mountains

He has gone on a swift sailing ship
With her tall sails raised up high on her
On a dark ocean, full of fish and foam . . .
– Callum Mac an Fleisdeir, A Song to Allan MacLean of Coll

Captain James Murray commanded Reid’s Company of the 42nd (Highland) Foot in 1757. Although at this time companies were named for their notional commanding officer, often another man commanded, and his company, named for him if he were major or captain, would be taken over temporarily by another; such were the tangled webs of nomenclature woven by the system of seniority in the British army of the time.

A full company is a bit too large a force for a normal game of Sharp Practice, but a half-company is a pleasing size for a game, allowing some additional supporting units without things getting out of hand. More pleasingly still, a half-company was a recognised tactical sub-unit and were often used independently, for instance, as garrisons or, more romantically, as raiding columns such as that commanded by Lieut. Quintin Kennedy of the 44th Foot, who took a half-company of the 42nd Foot deep into French-claimed lands in the summer of 1756.

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Lieut. Kennedy, 44th Foot

Happily there is an extant muster roll for Reid’s company, so the names and status of all the men are known. Now this muster roll is actually from 1758, but it provides enough historical flavour for my purposes, so I’m using it for my highland half-company in the Saindoux Campaign. The officers at least are the same, as the excellent second volume of Sons of the Mountains by Ian McCulloch reveals. Buy both volumes of this superb work here rather than paying over the odds from allegedly ‘specialist’ shops.

Capt. Murray himself will command this half-company, assisted by the junior of his two lieutenants, David Milne. Milne’s name is persistently spelt wrongly as ‘Mill’ or Mills’ in the rolls, a tradition with which I shall continue.

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Capt. Murray and Lieut. Mill

Two of the company’s four sergeants, McAndrews (or M’Andrews as he appears on the rolls, officers seem to have been Mc- but the other ranks were invariably M’-) and Watson. The sergeants of the 42nd were loathe to swap halberd for musket and it was not until directly ordered to in 1759 that they abandoned their fearsome badge of office in the field.

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Sergeants M’Andrews and Watson

The drummer, one of two in the company, is Alan Campbell and there is also a piper, Walter M’Intyre. Although it’s sometimes thought that pipers were always supernumerary and unofficial, in fact various highland battalions were allowed them, in varying numbers, as an official part of the battalion, and many were ‘on the footing of a Drum.’

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Drummer Campbell and Piper M’Intyre

A chaplain was available to the 42nd, and he may, from time to time, put in an appearance. Adam Ferguson was ever to be found ‘in the hottest of the fire, praying with the dying, attending to the wounded, and directing them to be carried to a place of safety.’

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Doctor Adam Ferguson

Forty-eight men make up the rank and file of the half-company. Two corporals, an unknown number of gentleman volunteers (there were always a large number of these in a highland battalion of the time, as more men sought commissions than were available and many of those opted to serve in the rank and file whilst messing with the officers, hoping to be nominated to fill any vacancy in the officer ranks) and of course the bulk being private soldiers, who nonetheless often regarded themselves as gentlemen in a highland regiment, often being the sons of tacksmen, the second rank of highland society after the clan chiefs.

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Sons of the Mountains

In Sharp Practice terms the force comprises 59 points:

  • Leader Status III (Capt. Murray)
  • Leader Status II (Lieut. Mill)
  • Leader Status I (Sergt. M’Andrews)
  • Leader Status I (Sergt. Watson)
  • Musician (Drummer Campbell)
  • ‘Holy Man’ (Piper M’Intyre)
  • Six Groups of 8 Highland Regiment of Foot Line

with another 16 to flesh it out provided by a Leader Status II (Lieut Quintin Kennedy) and one Group of 6 Regiment of Foot Skirmishers (chosen men of the 44th Foot). The single remaining point will allow the Rev. Dr. Ferguson to appear as a Physic.

The figures (except Lieut. Kennedy who is from Galloping Major) are by Redoubt Enterprises. They are rather nice models and there’s a decent number of poses available. The big downside is that unfortunately Redoubt aren’t very speedy at dispatch, neither are they especially good at answering emails or the phone, although they do sometimes pick up. To my mind they are the best models for highlanders in the earlier part of the war, although the North Star Military Figures highlanders look good, and are in more of ‘campaign dress’. I’d be tempted to use Redoubt for the Line and North Star for Skirmishers, perhaps.

 

 

Preamble to the Campaign

A series of humiliating defeats and indignities.

It is the spring of 1757.

A year ago, Great Britain declared war upon France, restoring the natural order of world affairs; and promptly suffered a series of humiliating defeats and indignities. A British fleet failed to beat the French in an even fight (for which Admiral Byng has just, and justly, been shot), Minorca was lost, and British soldiers have suffered through hell in the Black Hole of Calcutta. Also an attempt to assassinate Louis XV has miscarried (not that that has anything to do with Britain of course, and cannot in any way be condoned; but it is a bit of a shame it didn’t come off . . .).

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The Execution of Admiral Byng

 

Albion perfides est sur le pied arrière! Vive la France! Mais sacré bleu! L’Anglais ne savent pas quand ils sont vaincus. Alors, nous devons les renvoyer à penser à nouveau. Aux armes, citoyens! Formez vos bataillons! (Attendez! C’est un anachronisme! Nom de Dieu, bordel de merde! Quoi qu’il en soit, vous avez l’idée . . .). Vive le Roi!

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Les Francais Preparent

Saindoux is the key to slipping through the constricted Passage en Bas, which might be termed the backdoor to Canada. Possession of Saindoux will be essential for both armies, and allowing the enemy possession will result in  them penetrating deeply into one’s rear, with consequences at once both humiliating and unpleasant.

Both sides, therefore, have sent expeditions towards Saindoux. The British have assigned a brigade under Lt. Colonel Flower, who will attempt to batter his way through, whilst Lt. Colonel Grenouille, commanding the French, has leapt into action, gathering a slightly smaller force, which he will augment with the braves of Le Grand Franc (apparently an honest Indian . . .).

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Huron But You Can’t Hide

The terrain is typical backwoods, full of trees and waterways, bushes and brambles, bears and wolves, and goodness knows what else. Very unpleasant anyway. And the flies will be out soon, so best get it all over with quickly, or we shall be undone.

Beating the Drum

‘L’oei anglaise sera cuit en Saindoux.’
– Marquis de Montcalm

The Saindoux campaign of 1757 has largely been ignored by historians of the French and Indian Wars. But events in this remote valley had far-reaching consequences for the wider conflict. Lord Loudoun declaimed prophetically that ‘Saindoux may be hard to hold but it slips from our grasp to our peril.’ and no less than Montcalm quipped, ‘L’oei anglaise sera cuit en Saindoux.’

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The Wider Theatre of Operations

Fortunately the epic story of the Saindoux campaign can now be writ large in glorious high-definition model-o-rama and brought to screens everywhere in episodic format by the magic of internet technology.

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Huron Hunting Party

Future posts in this blog will feature the forces involved, accounts of the various battles, more background on the campaign, information about the senior officers involved and sundry other matters concerning Saindoux in 1757. There is much fat to chew . . .