This is the backdrop to my 3rd game to be played down in deepest darkest Devon in about 6 days now.
There were some 2 million people in the East Coast Colonies and about 60,000 in New France, a bit of a one sided struggle.
The war started early in the great American woodlands, more a push west by the Colonists on the East Coast, eager for land and the only 3 things stopping them were the Appalachian Mountains, the French.
It was a war conducted in a large under populated landscape of huge woodlands and big rivers, I am only interested at this stage in the area around Lake George a 35 mile long lake, south west of it’s huge neighbour Lake Champlain.
This is my hand drawn map of Lake George or Lac Saint Sacrement, based on one by James Gabriel Montresor that I think I found in the Library of Congress. I forgot to put a scale on it but from Fort Edward to Fort William Henry appears to be about 10 miles.
1756 saw little direct action in the region, but there were lots of scouting missions. The area is difficult terrain, the only wagon tracks are from Fort Edward to Fort William Henry and from the portage at the north end of Lake George to Fort Carillon, the river there is impassable. All movement of large bodies of troops is pretty much by boat.
1757 In January Roberts Rangers were active up around the North end of the lake and having taken some prisoners were discovered by the French and ambushed, about half of the Rangers made it back to William Henry. This was called the 1st Battle on Snowshoes.
1757 in March there was a short siege of William Henry but the French were not strong enough to take it, they burned 300 bateaux and put a dent in the British plans.
1757 in July The British commander at Ft William Henry sent a strong scouting force of 350 men up Lake George in new bateaux, they were ambushed and a few made it back. About 10 days later the French moved down the lake in force.
1757 August The siege and capture of Fort William Henry made famous in Last of the Mohican’s. The fort was destroyed by the French and not rebuilt.
1758 in March Rogers led 180 men, in 4’ deep snow, north from Fort Edward to Fort Carillon they ambushed a group of Indians from the fort but in turn ran into an ambush themselves and retreated, they were only able to escape because they had snowshoe’s and the French didn’t. Strangely it’s also called the Battle on Snowshoes but it’s probably more famous for Rogers Rock or Rogers Slide.
1758 in May following the defeat of the much vaunted Rangers the French were preparing another strike on Fort Edward and to assist in this they had established a small supply depot at Boucharde Bay on the west shore of Lake George under the command of Captain Louis-Philippe Le Dossu d’Herbecourt. This is my story, taken from an article by Steve Hezzlewood and was a defining moment for me, I stopped fighting large battles and started skirmish actions and then I found Bryan's Blog may the Nuns of St Mary of the Blessed Handkerchief forgive me.
Major Rogers orders are to move up Lake George by bateaux and destroy the powder magazine at Boucharde Bay.
Quickly Silas delegates a boat guard and they finalise their plans.
They will not stand in line and face musket volleys but will use whatever cover is available. One of the tricks they have perfected is 2 man rolling fire. The musket takes a long time to load, about 20 seconds and so the trick was for 2 men to use a tree for cover, one fires from 1 side as the other loads, then they swop roles.
We are going to be using my rules and it takes 3 periods to load a musket, a man can run a long way in that time.
As with the previous post we shall be using a different set of terrain boards, also by Silent Invader from the LAF, he built them for a Game of Thrones/Canadian wilderness setting and I think they look brilliant, so am really looking forwards to seeing them in the flesh.
Just to whet your appetite.
I shall not tell you how it went but it was an amazingly exciting game, I just hope it goes as well next week because I think it's got the potential to be a total disaster with some bad dice rolls, although I must have played this out 5 or 6 times over the years and don't remember it ever being a bad game, mind you I can't remember what I had for breakfast so that's no comfort.
Well if you're still here - thanks for reading.