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Old 6th October 2008, 11:21 PM   #19
kronckew's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Room 101, Glos. UK
Posts: 3,625

Originally Posted by celtan

BTW, we are going to reenact Yorktown in a couple weeks at the Battle of the Hook. Any pointers on making those fascines?



for those who are interested,

1781 Oct 3: Battle of the Hook at Gloucester Point VA -- - French Brig. Gen. de Choisy with French troops and a battalion of 800 Virginia militiamen clashed with 1,000 men under British Lt. Col. Dundas at Gloucester VA -- across the York River from Yorktown. The allied presence cut off British ability to forage for supplies outside their defensive perimeter and prevented an easy breakout from the siege. The major battle action was between Lauzun's legion and Tarlton's light cavalry.

unfortunately i was a marine engineer in the coast guard and not an army engineer, our base was at the end of the road that went to the yorktown battlefield, near wormley creek. went by the battle field every day for 3 mo. while i was on a course there.

the redoubts stormed by alexander hamilton were impressive in that they were small for the no. of redcoats in them, and the courage it took to advance on them under fire, cutting thru the wooden spike defenses (abbatis) and then taking them by bayonet...

redoubt 9 in foreground, 10 in background right.

excerpt from historical text:

So far the fight [Allied 1781 siege of Yorktown] had been carried on by the artillery alone; but now the infantry had its part. The two British redoubts close to the river on the east side of the town prevented the carrying of the second parallel to the river's edge, and so they had to be taken. On the night of the 14th the task was given to two corps the American light infantry to attack the redoubt on the right by the river bank, the French chasseurs and grenadiers the one on the left, about a quarter of a mile from it. The Gatinois and Royal Deux-Ponts regiments furnished 400 men under Colonel Deux-Ponts. The American force was made up of men drawn from Lieutenant Colonel de Gimat's battalion of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island troops, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton's New York and Connecticut men, and Lieutenant Colonel John Laurens's from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut men, 400 in all, with an added corps of sappers and miners, Hamilton in general command. Substantial reserves were provided for both detachments.
At eight o'clock the French advanced in columns by platoons, 58 chasseurs, carrying scaling ladders and fascines to fill the ditches in the van. Three or four hundred feet from their objective, they were challenged by a Hessian sentinel with, "Wer da?" Who goes there? No reply was made, and the enemy opened fire. A strong abatis had to be forced, and a number of men fell before the pioneers cut through it. Then the chasseurs dashed upon the redoubt and began mounting the parapet under a heavy fire from the garrison of 120 British and Hessians under Lieutenant McPherson. A charge by the defenders was met by a volley from the French and a countercharge. The Hessians threw down their arms, the French shouting "Vive le Roi!" The fort was won in less than half an hour of fighting. The attackers lost 15 killed and 77 wounded; the enemy, 18 killed and 50 sound or wounded men taken prisoners.
The American attack on the other redoubt was begun at the same time This work, the smaller of the two, was held by 70 men under Major Campbell. The Americans advanced with unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets. Led by a forlorn hope of 20 men of the 4th Connecticut under Lieutenant John Mansfield, they crashed through the abatis without waiting for the sappers to cut it away, crossed the ditch, and swarmed the parapets in spite of the bayonets of the garrison. In ten minutes they overcame all resistance, with a loss of 9 killed and 31 wounded, including Gimat and several other officers.

Immediately upon the taking of the two redoubts fatigue parties set work extending the second parallel. By morning they had pushed it cc include the captured works. The next day Cornwallis wrote to Clinton: "My situtation now become very critical;..."

i've seen the battlefield at dawn, with the fog and the mist rising, and walked the redoubts, the presence of history was so strong, you could hear the ghostly sounds of battle if you tried hard enough.

i then went on to be stationed in new orleans for three years, and have seen the battlefield at chalmette where the pride of the british empire's troops fresh from defeating napoleon in the peninsular campaign were met by a small rabble of militia, indians, ex-slaves, pirates, and a few regulars hiding behind bales of cotton, and gabions and handed them a defeat they would never forget. unfortuneatley it occured after the war was technically over & did not affect the treaty, but did teach the brits a valuable lesson in humility.
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