The Battle of Lundy's Lane - 25th July 1814


Brigadier General Winfield Scott is severely wounded at Lundy's Lane

At the beginning of July 1814 the US military launched an offensive across the Niagara River, capturing Fort Erie, they then proceeded north. The overall plan of the US was to try and capture major cities in Canada in hope of using them as bargaining chips with the British to get them to stop attacking US shipping and encouraging the native American Indian tribes to raid US settlers. Defeating the British at the Battle of Chippawa on the 5th July, the Americans continued to push back the British with flank marches threatening to cut the British off from their rear supply bases until finally the British withdrew to Fort George on the shores of Lake Ontario. Here the British were safe from attack as a number of British warships patrolled the lake and were able to give heavy artillery support to the fort if required, The Americans didn't have the guns to take on the navy vessels so took up base at Queenston, a few mile south of Fort George. It wasn't long however before Canadian Militia with native Canadian Indians, loyal to the British, began harassing and raiding the American base and supply lines, which then forced them to then fall back to secure their lines of supply and communication. As soon as the Americans withdrew, the British under the command of Major General Phineas Riall and Lt.General Gordon Drummond advanced to Lundy's Lane, a few miles north of Chippawa, and here on the evening of 25th July the US army and British met.


Initial suggested deployment for the Battle of Lundy's Lane

ORDERS OF BATTLE

Using a 1 to 25 figure ratio

BRITISH ARMY

Major General Phineas Riall - Commander In Chief - veteran, skilled

Lieutenant General Sir Gordon Drummond - Sub-Commander - veteran, excellent

Royal Scots Battalion (340 men) - 14 figures - veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

Glengarry Light Infantry (450 men) - 18 figures - veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

Assorted Light Infantry (240 men) - 10 figures, veteran, solid, smoothbore musket

41st Infantry (340 men) - 14 figures - veteran, solid, smoothbore musket

89th Infantry (500 men) - 20 figures - veteran, solid, smoothbore musket

Royal Artillery (24lbs and Rocket teams) - 2 gun models & 2 rocket models - veteran, elite

ADDITIONAL BRITISH FORCES ARRIVING DURING THE GAME

Native Militia (340 men) - 14 figures - tribal warriors, musket and tomahawks

8th Infantry (340 men) - 14 figures - veteran, solid, smoothbore musket

Canadian Militia (500 men) - 20 figures - trained, militia, smoothbore musket

19th Light & Canadian Dragoons (150 men) - 6 figures - light cavalry, veteran, elite, sabre

103/104th Infantry (480 men) - 20 figures - veteran, solid, smoothbore musket

Royal Artillery (6lb guns) - 2 models - veteran, solid


AMERICAN ARMY

Major General Jacob Brown - Commander In Chief - veteran, skilled

Brigadier General Winfield Scott - Sub Commander - veteran, excellent, inspired

SCOTT'S BRIGADE

9th US Regular Infantry (320 men) - 14 figures - veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

11th US Regular Infantry (340 men) - 14 figures - veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

22nd US Regular Infantry (320 men) - 14 figures - veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

25th US Regular Infantry (340 men) - 14 figures - veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

US Artillery (6lb guns) - 3 models - veteran, elite

ADDITIONAL US FORCES ARRIVING DURING THE GAME

PORTER'S BRIGADE

New York Militia & Dismounted Dragoons (380 men) - 15 figures - trained, militia, smoothbore musket

5th Pennsylvanian Volunteers (340 men) - 14 figures - trained, militia, smoothbore musket

RIPLEY'S BRIGADE

21st US Regular Infantry (415 men) - 16 figures - veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

23rd US Regular Infantry (340 men) - 14 figures - veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

US Artillery (12lb guns) - 2 models - veteran, elite

2nd Light & New York Dragoons (150 men) - 6 figures - light cavalry, veteran. elite, sabre


ADDITIONAL WARGAMING NOTES

Both Orders Of Battle have troops for initial deployment and then additional troops arriving during the game, our suggestion would be that sufficient games turns are allowed to take place that represent approximately an hour of time elapsed ( whichever rules you choose to use) before these additional troops begin to arrive from their respective table edges. They should arrive in column but may then move to deploy immediately they are the table if desired.


THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The battle began late in the day at around 6pm when the US 1st Brigade led by Brig.Gen Winfield Scott emerged from the heavily wooded lower ground. The British began to hard pound them with their massive 24lb guns and inflicted heavy casualties, despite this Scott's brigade advanced, with the him ordering one unit, the US 25th, to swing out to the right in a flanking move and try and capture the Lundy Lane crossroads. Scott's men succeeded in pushing back the British, who in the centre pulled back the infantry, leaving their artillery in a forward and exposed position. Meanwhile on the US right flank the 25th made good ground and came across a number of British wounded making their way to rear positions, including the British C-in-C, Phineas Riall, whom they captured and took prisoner.

Despite these gains Scott's troops were suffering heavy casualties and were struggling to maintain the momentum, when as dusk fell the remainder of the army arrived, Porter's & Ripley's Brigades as well as cavalry and more artillery with the C-in-C Jacob Brown. Seeing the situation they immediately deployed for battle and took over the front line allowing Scott's men to pull back to the second line as a reserve and in some hope of relief from their intense fighting. Seizing the moment the fresh US infantry in the front line rapidly advanced to the British positions and poured murderous musket fire into the exposed Royal Artillery guns that were forming an over extended front, they then charged the survivors of the volley with bayonets and captured the British guns intact.


As light fades, the US infantry charge the British artillery guns

British reinforcements began arriving on the field of battle, but in the fading light and confusion of the situation were immediately repelled by US forces, the situation for the British was now dire. Second in Command (now the commanding officer), Sir Gordon Drummond **(note he also fought at Alexandria in 1801 - see our previous Battles For Wargamers March 21st), in desperation rallied men and formed up into the most basic of battle lines and launched a counter attack, in response the Americans threw all they could back at them and stopped the recapture of the British guns. A second attack, the same plan as the first, was launched and again the Americans held the British back, though not without considerable casualties including Brig.Gen Scott who after committing his men again to the front line battle was severely wounded.

At midnight, Drummond, himself wounded in the neck by a musket shot, rounded up every man he could find to attack a third time. By now there was no longer any formed battalions or units, just simply soldiers of all regiments grouped together to fight. In what became a massive melee of bayonets and musket butts, the two sides again battled over the captured British guns, the Americans again forcing the British to pull back.

From a force of over 2,500 only 700 US soldiers were still now in fighting condition, and all of those were exhausted. Both Jacob Brown and Winfield Scott were wounded (Scott severely) and ammunition and water was running low, reluctantly Brown ordered the US army to withdraw.

The British, despite still having over 1,200 men capable of fighting were unable to pursue or follow up due to the exhaustion of their men too.

Historically the battle was seen as inconclusive, "a draw", but was by all accounts one of the bloodiest and fiercely contested battles of the 1812 War and in Canadian history, which should make for it being a fantastic battle to re-fight in miniature.

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