Sunday 17 January 2021

The Battle of Lake Misnomer and the Milling Tavern, War of 1812 fictional scenario.

1st Nation scouts observe the US army
as it converges on  Milling Tavern.

Hosted /facilitated a great game today. No technical issues, no errant microphones, less dragging of bodies around out of camera shot (that’s what is sounds like) and an enthusiastic group of players, (and my back held out until just after lunch) all contributed to five hours of fun. What can be seen on the table is pretty much all my War of 1812 collection. Three or is it four more battalions, a unit of Kentucky mounted riflemen and some 20 or so odds and ends and it’ll be done. How often have I said that?

Anyway....It was to be a simple encounter battle with the objective of each side denying the other the ground around the shore of Lake Misnomer and Milling Tavern where several key strategic roads, tracks and rivers met. Neil (CinC), Paul and Conrad played the British and Canadian forces entering from the left,  while John (CinC), Richard and Mark were Mr Maddison’s boys, arriving from the right. As usual we used Black Powder II with our normal house rules. 

The American plan was for Mark with Scott's brigade at Point A to advance quickly towards the tavern, supported by another brigade of regulars under John entering at Point B. Richard commanded brigades (one each of regulars and militia) tasked with pinning the British flank and taking the farmstead. The British plan, I think, was to try and contain the American forces advancing on the farmstead with their 'Light' brigade entering at Point 4. Meanwhile Paul and Neil's forces, entering at Points 1, 2 and 3 would concentrate to destroy the Americans on the Northern side of the river.

What is that in the tree line? Have the Americans noticed ?

1st Nations in British pay.

In the centre the British column at Point 3 under Paul rapidly advanced to cross the bridge. The British plan was to hold on their left while directing three brigades to overwhelm the Americans on the Northern half of the table. This was reliant on Paul being able to get his brigades in a position to support each other while Neil hit the American flank from Point 1.

One column of British (Neil's) marching through the woods, seen in the top left of the map. 

In the American centre a brigade of regulars from Point B under John shakes out into line before advancing on the tavern. This advance was to be hampered by some amazingly accurate rockets, courtesy of the Royal Marines.

Deploying rapidly from Point 4, Canadian Voltigeurs and the Glengarry Light Infantry, with combined militia flank companies and 1st Nations warriors in support prepare to assault the farm.

Richard was in command of the American left.  Then militia brigade advanced  and quickly took control of the farmstead, occupying it with a battalion of Kentucky militia.

Fighting around the farm.

The Americans from Point C were advancing on the farmstead in strength, with the reserve units (US Rifles, some dragoons and an 18pdr) under the CinC joining the battle. A single battalion of British stood in their way.

Conrad had ordered the Glengarry Light Infantry to assault the farm.  After a brisk melee they  were surprisingly beaten off by the militia and fled from the table thanks to an unlucky break test.

Despite the Kentucky militia being forced to withdraw, the Americans were facing the now British held farm area in great strength. They were unable to stop  two British infantry battalions from crossing the bridge in support of the troops holding Milling Tavern. The militia seemed unwilling to try and retake the farm.

Scott's brigade under Mark has almost reached Milling Tavern.

In the far distance Neil's brigade can be seen to the left of the tavern threatening Scott's right flank. The tavern is held by a battalion of Sedentary militia, supported by HM 41st and a battalion of Royal Marines and a rocket section. In the foreground are HM 100th Foot, while deploying across the bridge are HM 59th and 89th regiments.

HM 59th crossing the bridge under heavy fire.

The US 1st Infantry charged the British artillery and the 100th Foot.  They shrugged off canister from the cannon and overran it, causing the crew to flee. 

Meanwhile the fighting around the tavern was intense. While the US 9th Infantry stormed the tavern the rest of Scotts brigade faced off against HM 41st Foot. The latter charged but in a sharp and confusing melee (ie I can't remember) the British destroyed one American battalion before being forced to take to their heels.

The farm from the British perspective.

On the far left of the British line Neil had deployed his brigade and pushed on towards the American flank guard. HM 103rd Foot and the Canadian Fencible Regiment were pressing the Americans hard.

Meanwhile back at the tavern, the Royal Marines hit the attackers in the flank.

Unfortunately the militia defenders of the tavern fled as a second American regiment attacked the tavern from a different direction.

HM 100th Foot drove off one American regiment and held firm. in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds.

Unfortunately in the tavern fight  HM 41st had taken heavy casualties and were forced to retreat broken.

US Riflemen exchanging shots with the British and 1st Nation defenders of the farm.

On the left, Neils 1st Nation warriors charged and overran the American cannon.  The lone American regiment (the 22nd Inf) was then charged by HM 103rd and another Canadian militia battalion. Amazingly the American held.

We called it a day then. Both of Paul's brigades in the centre were broken while those on the flanks under Conrad and Neil were relatively unscathed. The Americans had taken heavy casualties but across all four of their brigades so the effect was less critical. It was probably fair to assume that the British would withdraw while the Americans licked their wounds. 

It was a great game with a good result. The technology worked perfectly so everyone had access to the viewpoint of three different cameras that were live-streaming while we chatted and gave orders over Skype. There's a fair bit of technology involved in setting a game up like this, and it took a while for the glitches and mistakes to be overcome or worked round. I can't lay any claim to making that happen as its all down to my wife, from an idea from mate Steve in Newark. Black Powder work well for these 'distant wargaming' events as love them or hate them they are simple and as umpire and figure-mover they allow for a fast moving game without killing me off!

I'm going to finish off the last few units for this collection as quickly as I can as I want to get on with the Late Romans, but I shall be packing the troops away in the coming week ready for something different in a week or two. Not anything new but a change of period.


  1. A very nice game Colin and good to see a lesser gamed period grace the table. Glad that the teck worked this time round:)

  2. Thanks for a fascinating report. I love the look of the figures. Where is the battle mat from?


  3. Yet another great AAR, love the terrain and collections per usual. Thanks for the report and eye candy.

  4. Evening. The fog of war is somewhat enhanced in these virtual games. As the American General, I literally did not see the flank attack by Neil's British until it was well under way. Scott's Brigade pulled it out of the bag for us.When they couldhave pulled back,instead it was charge with the baynot. '' My God Sir, those are Regulars!''

    1. I didn’t think Scott saw the threat from Neil for a turn or two either! I enjoyed running this game.

  5. It was a great game and I think the fog of war effect is one of the positives to come out of on air gaming like this was, it does mean commanders have to think more like commanders on the ground . This game was interesting because I focussed on the camera on the left , my end of the line so I rarely saw the right flank! True FOW

  6. What a marvellous looking game with such top-notch photos. Those of the units and the action are outstanding, but that one of the British officers and troops coming through the trees is a ripper!
    Regards, James