Friday, April 13, 2012


I arranged a Black Powder game at Hugh Wilsons for the Easter break for our old friend Scott Duncan who was due to visit us from London - in the end Scott could not get away from his job so myself, Hugh Wilson and Dave Paterson played the game.
The game was based on the Battle of  Petersburg Virginia on 25 April 1781 with the orders of battle adjusted to fit with the troops that I have available.

The game was a further use of the amended turn sequence which has been proposed in the “& Blenheim” rule modifications by Ian Hopping available on the Yahoo BP Forum.  All the photos of the game are on my flickr site at.

View from behind Petersburg - militia massed on the turnpike
Some History
The Battle of Petersburg was a battle of the American Revolutionary War that took place on 25th April 1781 in Virginia.  A Patriot force of 1200 men led by General Von Steuben made a stand against a raiding force of approx 2,300 under General Philips which was moving thru Virginia pillaging and plundering.

The outnumbered Patriots fought a successful delaying action for 3 hours before withdrawing thru  Petersburg and using Pocahontas Bridge to cross the Appamattox River.  The British Loyalist Brigade was commanded by Benedict Arnold.

The Setup
The game was fought down a 10ft by 5ft table. We used the standard movement and ranges given in the rules.  The 24 figure units were classed as standard units and the 10 to 16 figure units as small units.

I made all the British commanders 8s for this game whilst on the Patriot side Von Steuben was an 8 and his Brigadiers were 7s.
The British regulars had the usual Special rules from the Freeman’s Farm scenario ie Crack, Steady and First Fire, the small units of Highlanders were rated Grenadiers and so had higher HtoH dice and stamina, and the Virginia State troops and the Loyalists were vanilla units but with First Fire and the militia were Unreliable and had only 5 HtoH dice and a morale save of 5+.

Hugh Wilson commanded the Patriot Army and Dave Paterson the British Army whilst I umpired.

British line forms - loyalists on left highlanders and Hessians on the right
Player OB and Breifing

Major General Philips
You have been ordered by General Clinton to take an independent command and to raid into Virginia to destroy  and seize any military supplies and stores of tobacco.  This action will also disrupt the LOC to the rebel army in North Carolina. You arrived by sea 2 days ago and have begun your march towards Richmond.  Your scouts report that the rebels are preparing a stand east of the small town of Petersburg.

Brigade of Col Simcoe
71st Highland          16 figures
42nd Highland         16 figures
Jaeger detachment   12 figures
Artillery                   Gun & crew

Brigade of  Lt Col Dundas
4th Line                  24 figures
5th Line                  24 figures

Brigade of BG Arnold
Loyal NY Regt       16 figures
Loyal Phil Regt       16 figures
Queens Rangers     10 figures
Artillery                  Gun & crew

Riflemen open the action - main body behind - in distance mil sk move up to cover the far right flank
 Major General Von Steuben
You are in command of the Patriot forces in Virginia.  Two days ago you received word that a British force had landed from New York.  The are on a raid to burn and pillage thru Virginia and are now approaching Petersburg with it’s important tobacco warehouses moving on Richmond.  You have mobilised the state troops and these and a county militia are the forces available.  You have put your command into a defensive posture and sent a courier to other counties requesting support.

Patriot OB
Virginia State brigade   MG Muhlenburg
1st Regt                   24 figures
2nd Regt                  24 figures
3rd Regt                  24 figures
Rifle detachment      12 figures
Artillery                   Lt Gun & crew

Petersburg County brigade BG Goode
Militia battalion        24 figures
Militia battalion        24 figures
Sk detachment        10 figures
Artillery                   Lt Gun & crew

How the game played
The Patriot army deployed with the Virginia State Brigade in a defensive position  defending the line of Poors Creek and the Militia brigade held back in reserve in Petersburg.  The British initially had 2 Brigades on table - Arnold deployed on the left of the turnpike and Simcoe marching on the road.  Dave quickly moved Simcoe to the right of the road to investigate a farm and deploy forward with Simcoe.  The Patriots deployed the militia from Petersburg as a 2nd line but sent their skirmishers and light gun forward to reinforce the main line.

The action opened with the riflemen on the Patriot left engaging in a duel the  Hessian Jaegers.   On the British side Dave decided to act first with his Loyalist troops on the left by crossing the creek and attacking farm no 2 held by a unit of state troops supported by a light gun.  The Loyalists screened by the Queens Rangers crossed the Creek and for a time were held up by the Patriot fire but eventually after the Rangers flanked and broke the patriot light gun with their fire the 2 formed units charged the Patriots holding the farm fence line.  The Patriots broke one of the units in the first round and the melee continued.

State troops hold Loyalists whilst Regulars move up in support
On the British left the Highlanders failing to find anyone at farm no 1 simply set it alight and then crossed the creek to engage the state troops holding the flanking wood.  Luckily for them it proved to be the property of a staunch patriot.  Patriot fire broke the Jaegers who fled the field.

Regulars march past unconcerned as Highlanders burn farm number one...

Eventually the 3rd British Brigade arrived and rushed up the turnpike but the 4th of Foot in the van was stopped on the bridge over the creek by repeated disordering hits.  Accordingly the 5th foot deployed to the left to support the Loyalists.

The state troops at farm no 2 eventually also beat back the remaining loyalist unit who retired back over the Creek.  These heroes of the revolution were then charged by the British regulars of the 5th Foot who won the first round of combat so forcing the fence line and in the next round they broke the exhausted state troops who fled to Petersburg.

Climax of battle for Farm No 2 as the 5th push across the fence line - hurrah!
On the Patriot left the Highlanders supported by the RA broke the flanking Lt gun and Patriot riflemen and drove of the militia skirmishers leaving the State troops holding the wood unsupported so that they were driven from the wood and then broken by massed fire.

This was the last action of the game as night fell - it was turn 12.  The British had not got near to Petersburg in the day but for the loss of 2 units they had broken 5 Patriot units out of 9 and burnt a farm so I declared the game a British tactical victory.  We did not have a single command blunder in the game.  I am thinking of using this game as a starting point of a mini campaign of linked games using some of the ideas in the LAOK Jacobite 45 Rising campaign.

Dave  Cooper of VolleyfFireWargames suggested the scenario to me and I adapted some rules on Pillaging and Burning farms that Dave had been given.  This is my BP version of them.
To determine loyalty of the owner of a farm or building....A BDE, DIV or Army  leader must be within 6” of the home. Then pass a Command Check (knock on the door) If the Command  Check is passed roll a dice. Odd Rebel or Even Loyalist…if rebel they can they try to pillage and burn!   Only one loyalty test can ever be undertaken for each property
If the Command  Check is failed they can try to pillage and burn then roll to test loyalty! If they burn a loyalist farm...OOps sorry about that you unfortunate colonial!  VP points go to Rebels!
To burn a farmhouse or field a Command Stand (Flag or leader of skirmish) must be next to the target and pass a Command roll to set fire.


  1. Great game glad to see I contributed to the Scottish gaming community - It is a small scenario I have emailed you a coople of additional things I added and here is todays game with additional items. I had hoped to have my NY volunteers finished and mounted but I only have the 3rd Virginia done in todays action intial forces of loyalists will be lite as we are introducing some ne folks to the rules/PS how many farms got burned? In my game the Patriots won because too many Loyalists farms were burnt - Like the flag depiction and of course Hugh's exploding fires!!

    and so my additions - note the use of proximity moves and physical contact with the farm for pillaging/burning
    Sat "Pillage and Burn AWI scenario
    Proximity moves can be used to “engage” a farm / homestead as directed below
    To determine loyalist....A BDE, DIV or Army or a Cmd Stand/ Skirm leader must be next to a home. Then pass a CMD Check (knock on the door) If CMD Check is passed roll a dice. Odd Rebel or Even Loyalist. If loyalist they march on the next move if rebel they pillage and burn!
    If the CMD Check is failed they pillage and burn then roll to test loyalty! If they burn a loyalist farm...OUCH sorry about that you nasty Colonialist! VP points go to Rebels!
    To burn a farmhouse or field a CMD Stand (Flag or leader of skirmish) must move next to and pass a CMD roll and use a function (like move or shoot etc...) to set fire. We also do not use the BDE morale rules when this small. From our research the Virginian Militia in and around Petersburg/Richmond area in 1781 have been called up several times and many were Continental veterans so they had a rating of 7 and first fire and no other normal militia negatives.
    Pirates /Privateers are bloodthirsty/ marauders / war bands that can skirmish
    British units coming within 6 inches of special markers face potential ambush roll a d6 for number of ambushers!
    Blunder rolls generate an event roll a card consult chart
    Extra troops generated as follows
    Black Powder Pillage and Burn as British troops and Marines/Pirates carry out a raid seeking supplies and booty for their forces to divide, If they pillage (spend one phase pillaging) they generate a d6 of Militia/Guerillas – (1-3, 4-6) Militia (stamina 2) – Guerillas (stamina 1)
    However should they burn the farm this generates 2 d6 of regulars/Militia//or guerillas reinforcements (1,2 - 3,4 - 5,6) Regulars (Stamina 3) Militia (stamina 2) – Guerillas (stamina 1)
    Pillage the fortress or town roll for each turn pillaging (there are lots of victory points in the fortress) roll 2 d6 every turn pillaging the fortress (roll 2 d6) BLUNDER (roll for blunder and an event - you start setting the fortress on fire still victory points but alerts nearby garrisons of formed unfriendly troops raiding the area.w3
    1. May roll for units individually as in fire and fury (this is not a modification but is actually allowed by the rules) rather than shut down command continue rolling at a -1 modifier to command
    2. Disordered units may retire in proximity/initiative phase
    3. Musket range 12 inches / rifles 18 / Jaegers 24
    4. Skirmish fire does not cause casualties but does affect command rolls -1 per hit
    5. Actually disorder will be shown by stacked cannon balls
    6. Elite Unites roll off disorder at the beginning of their turn 4, 5, 6 all others 5, 6
    7. Special attack rules for skirmishers and pirates in effect against formed units
    8. Formed units charged by skirmishers on flank or rear may react with refusing to the flank or rear rank facing.

  2. Great looking game and really nice report!