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7154Re: [WarOf1812] Re: War of 1812 Naval Battles

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  • Fitzhugh MacCrae
    Sep 1, 2000
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      --- Rob Taylor <niagara_falls_98@...> wrote:
      >
      > --- Fitzhugh MacCrae <alaidh@...> wrote:
      > A few more victories like that, and we could have
      > moved the new US capital to Montreal!!
      >
      > You have not accounted for the possibility that the
      > Americans might break and run, seeing over 10,000
      > well
      > trained veteran redcoats marhing at them might have
      > unnerved them. Seeing how the British soldiers
      > themselves did not think it would be a hard position
      > to take, or that the American force in front of them
      > was as tough as the French soldiers they had already
      > faced in Europe. At Bladensburgh there was a bridge
      > covered by an artillery piece. Did a lot of damage
      > too. There were only 5,000 recoats there, and Barney
      > and his men were the only ones that stuck around to
      > see how it all turned out. Considering what happened
      > there I suspect you would not be moving your capital
      > to Montreal anytime soon. I respect your opinion, I
      > just don't agree with it.
      >
      > Rob Taylor
      At Plattsburg there was one gun (I think a 6pdr)
      manned by militia who didn't even know the proper
      drill. When captured it was muzzle in the dirt, trail
      in the air - the gunners had forgotten to put the
      powder bag in before ramming in the ball. Upon
      discovering their mistake, they tried to get the ball
      out by tipping the gun forward, where it got stuck.
      I've often imagined that some of the British
      casualties were from men who died laughing at this
      grade B comedy.
      At Plattsburg, Macomb wisely chose to send the two
      brigades of militia off into the woods, while manning
      the fortified line with regulars. He had an
      extraordinary artillery advantage, the British had to
      advance through bottlenecks just to get to the killing
      zones, and then hike 350 yards uphill against a
      defensive line most of which they couldn't even see
      and thus know was there until they hit the military
      crest. Of such situations are great military disasters
      made.
      As far as the regulars running, I very much doubt it.
      Macomb's people were just as well drilled as Brown's
      (Plattsburg was where the other camp of instruction
      had been established, run by Izard, who was a graduate
      of a French military school) and if neccesary would
      have died in place just like Scott's brigade at
      Lundy's Lane. The fact that these were Wellington's
      veterens was something that seems to have impressed
      nobody but the Maryland militia. A British offi9cer
      who had served in both Spain and the Niagara later
      said that fighting against American regulars was more
      fierce, much more bloody, and infinately worse than
      anything experienced in Spain.
      If Prevost attempted the attack anyway, it would not
      only have broken his army, the results would have
      broken England's heart.
      The one point in the whole mess that I find
      hysterically funny is that one the British side of the
      river, there was a road that headed west. A good road,
      much better than the one he had just come down. It
      went through the Aderondacks, and came out at
      Sackett's Harbor on the undefended landward side.
      If anyone - Prevost, Powers, Robinson, whoever - had
      thought to ask where the road went, they could have
      won the war in a month. At that moment, Sackett's
      Harbor was protected by a single brigade of regulars,
      some militia, a volunteer light infantry regiment, a
      dragoon depot squadron, several hundred replacements
      and recruits waiting to be sorted out and sent to
      other regiments, and the naval personnel. They
      landward defenses had been started, but would not be
      completed until December, 1814. Izard's division had
      already left for the Niagara. The door was wide open,
      nobody was expecting an attack, and the route from
      Sackett's Harbor suth was completely undefended. There
      would have been nothing between Prevost and New York
      City than some brittle NY militia.

      And nobody thought to ask, "By the way, my good man,
      where does that road go?"

      Nope - under the circumstances, they would have taken
      a beating if they had tried to force the river. Not
      because there was anything lacking in the men, but
      because their commanders were either too ignorant
      (Prevost) or too arrogant (Robinson, Powers, et al) to
      bother to examine all their options.
      Drummond, Ross, Packenham, Gibbs and Lambert would
      have never made that mistake, though Keane might have,
      and after Chippawa Riall really didn't want to mix it
      with American regulars again, and so would have not
      been a position to make the mistakes that were made at
      Plattsburg.

      Fitz

      =====
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      "Fluff Bunnies - The OTHER White Meat"

      "Come back, Guy Faulkes - all's forgiven. We'll leave a light on in the Capitol basement for you. . . ."

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