GAJO Games

GAJO Happenings and Ramblings Blog

2019 - Number 9


A Continental Brigade Pushes Into the Iroquois Fields
Black Powder Mega Game: Newtown, 1779

Our most recent Black Powder mega game focused on something different, the largest battle of the American Revolution involving Native American forces. During 1779, the Continental Congress organized an expedition lead by General Sullivan to deter future raids by the Iroquois Confederacy along the frontier, by conducting a scorched earth march through their heartlands. Timed to coincide with the upcoming harvest, burning villages and crops would leave the Confederacy gravely weakened as winter approached.

The largest action of Sullivan's campaign occured near the Indian town of Newtown, in western New York state.

The Breastworks are Outflanked but Holding

Here a force of Iroquois warriors, supported by the loyalist Butler's Rangers, had constructed a breastwork across Sullivan's route of march, and hoped to slow or even defeat him. The terrain was favorable for the defence, but the Iroquois were heavily outnumbered by Sullivan's experienced Continentals.

The scenario started with the defenders deployed along the breastworks, on a hill supporting it, and defending Newtown itself. They needed to delay the Continental advance to allow their noncombatants to evacuate, and hopefully prevent the burning of some or all of their fields, and dwellings.

More Continentals Charge In

Historically, Sullivan used flank marches on both flanks to compromise the breastworks line, and our refight started with the same plan being executed. The Indians and Loyalists found themselves cut off into smaller groups, and desperately defending their positions from the start.

The force attacking Newtown itself advanced aggressively, but the Iroquois had deployed a strong force there, and fought energetically to protect their homes. After heavy fighting, the attacking brigades were routed and fell back, but they had tied up the defenders, limiting the reinforcements they could send to their hard pressed compatriots.

The breastworks and hill, however, were quickly beset on all sides as the rebels focused most of their resources there. The defenders fought hard, but were beset from both sides, and were soon routed. Only a slow trickle of units moving up from Newtown itself prevented a bigger breakthrough. As dusk fell, the town and its immediate fields remained in Iroquois hands, but the best part of their forces were shattered, leaving a narrow, and very Pyrrhic Indian victory. Quite a different battle, and very close and entertaining.

Fighting Swirls in the Fields

Iroquois Regroup Around the Hill

Last Stand by the Breastworks

Fall of the Breastworks

Continentals Break Through the Breastworks

Iroquois Reserves Make a Final Stand

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