The Battle of Monmouth
The Americans attack Sir Henry Clinton's Army on the march.

The apple orchard, surrounded by rail fences. This was held by British light infantry and was the extreme right of their line. The patriot units on the American left saw this orchard and determined to take it.

The American Center-right, troops under command of Bill Reiman. Bill also commanded a small unit of American Dragoons, out of this image to the right. They made a wonderful charge that swept a unit of British from the field in rout.

The American regiment in brown drove the British light infantry out of the fenced orchard at bayonet point. Ony then did we lean that this orchard offered no defensible position advantage! Oh well, at least the troops could fill up on apples, since they had not had lunch! The cavalry, shown blurrily on left, were American dragoons who rode around the entire British force then attacked the enemy artillery in the rear.

In the Real Battle of Monmouth

The fourth year of the war opened with France aligning itself with the United States. With the French fleet expected to sail to America, Gen. Sir Henry Clinton, who succeeded Gen. Sir William Howe as British commander in the United States, feared for his position in Philadelphia.

On June 8th 1778, Clinton evacuated the city and began marching eastward across New Jersey. General Washington seized this opportunity to try to cut off and destroy a part of the British force. He broke camp the following day and started in pursuit of the British.

General Charles Lee, with 6,400 men, was sent on ahead to strike Clinton's column of 13,000 troops while on the march. Lee overtook the British rear guard, under the command of Gen. Lord Charles Cornwallis, at Monmouth, New Jersey on June 28. But Lee deployed carelessly, and when Clinton faced his army about and concentrated against him, Lee ordered a precipitate retreat.

Only the arrival of Washington with the main body (7,000 men) prevented a disaster. The American army re-formed quickly and beat back repeated British assaults. Nightfall finally ended the longest battle of the war and the last major engagement in the North. American casualties totaled 360, andthe British 358.

That night Clinton marched away to Sandy Hook, N.J., where he embarked his army and sailed to New York City. Washington led his army northward, crossed the Hudson, and occupied White Plains, N.Y., on July 20. Thus both armies stood in the same positions they had held two years before. Lee was court-martialed for misbehavior and suspended from command.

The American Commanders. Left to right: Bill Reiman, Jay Ainsworth, Robert Whitfield, Jerry Lee Ainsworth (Orange Shirt), Phil Young [He played Lafayette] (in rear), Mark (Black Shirt with green writing), Jay Stribling

The British Commanders. Left to right: Jim Woodrick, Bill Estes [Sir Henry Clinton], Ed Sansing, Matthew Huffman.

A part of the American army in the center, infantry commanded by Robert Whitfield and the guns by Jay Stribling.

Mark sets out Patriot reinforcements. Unfortunately, they came on at the extreme American right, and the battle was developing in the center, and especially on the left.

Summary of Our Battle of Monmouth

We did not have Charles Lee in our battle so Lafayette went straight for the British. The small detachment of American Cavalry on each flank worked around the British and charged. They destroyed both British artillery bateries and routed a light battalion from the field.

The American line struggled up and began to engage the German troops of the rear guard, about the same time that Clinton returned with a three Brigades of British Infantry.

The big difference between our game and the real battle was that without Lee's indecisiveness, Lafayette very roughly handled the German rear guard. They would have been totally destroyed in perhaps two more turns, but thew massive reinforcements of British units under Clinton on the British left flank would have meant that Lafayette could not have held withou Washington's main body.

"Night Fell" after 6 turns and when we determined victory points, the British won the game 14 points to 11 points. Both sides enjoyed this game which lasted from 10am to about 1:15 pm. Each side thought that they could have done better with a bit more time, but, as the commander of the American left flank, Jay Stribling was very mindful of the massive British force cutting through the woods toward him. He was glad to see nightfall!

We used the Sons of Liberty rule set which is available from

Jim Pitts, the game master, eyes the action with a knowing look! Jim was the one who devised the "Heat Exhaustion" rule that felled so many on both sides.

Sir Henry Clinton (Bill Estes - in dark shirt) gives orders to one of his subordinates (Jim Woodrick). Note Jim showing Sir Henry his proposed line of advance.

Clinton's redcoated troops pour across the stream guarding Lafayette's left flank. This was an overpowering mass of men, mostly not shown here, that Lafayette could not have withstood without Washington's main body which was at least 6 turns (hours) back of this line.

Please note the fenced orchard in the background, still occupied by the Americans, but how long could it hold! Night came right after this turn, before the British could seize the orchard.

Two special rules

Both sides had to roll a D6 for each Infantry or Cavalry unit as it moved, and "heat exhaustion" would remove 1 or 2 figures from the unit on those die results. A result of 3 or more on the dice caused no heat casualties. Both sided suffered more "heat" casualties than firepower kills.

When "Nightfall" would occur and the game would end was determined by the dice. Each turn, the Game Master rolled a D6. When the total of these rolls reached 21, that would be the last turn of the game.

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