The Battle of Springfield
A British excursion into New Jersey

Gamemaster: Jim Pitts

Photos by:
Ed Sansing
Bryan Thompson
Robert Whitfield

The Gamemaster's map, a copy of which was supplied to each side for set-up notations.

The wooded area is on the northern area of the battlefield. The town, surrounded by low walls (soft cover in this game) is Springfield which the British wanted to seize, and the Patriots wanted to hold. Field fortifications are marked in a brown-red. The roads are in gray, and the stream, of course, is blue.

The British approach was from the east, the direction from which the red arrows are coming, shown at the top of the image.

British Objectives and Special Instructions

Lieutenant General Lord Clinton has led his army out of Staten Island to drive the impudent colonials away from the food supplying areas of northern New Jersey. If the British can't control this area, they can't provide enough foodstuffs for the garrison and population of New York City.

The army is marching in two columns. The advance guard is spread out in front of both. Loyalist citizens have brought news that the colonials are entrenching behind the East Branch of the Rahway River, a few hours march ahead. Awakening his troops before daylight, Clinton plans on surprising the colonials with a dawn attack.

The right column consists of the 2nd Division followed by the 1st Division. The left column consists of the 3rd Division. The objective is to penetrate the flimsy colonial defenses and drive them back on their base at Morristown, New Jersey. The capture of Springfield is of paramount importance since it contains large stores of early harvested crops and is the most direct route to Morristown.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The Patriot set-up showing the right (southern) end of the American line. The units in place are Sean Pitts' 2 brigades. Bill Estes's troops were hidden behind the fences south of town. Phil Young's 2 brigades were hidden in the town and behind it.

American Objectives and Special Instructions

General Washington has learned through his excellent intelligence network that Lieutenant General Clinton is leading an expedition to capture food supplies in Springfield, New Jersey, a short march from his winter base at Morristown. Leading a large portion of the newly drilled Continental Army, augmented by some militia and other troops of less dubious character, Washington has set out to fortify Springfield to prevent its capture by the British.

Two small redans have been built at the two flank crossings over the East Branch of the Rahway River in front of Springfield. The major high road from Staten Island to Morristown is defended by a larger redoubt. Washington has also built a defensive line along the slope of the large hill outside Springfield. From there, his artillery can help control the crossings over the East Branch.

Springfield must be defended. Besides the food stores in the town, it is also on the shortest route to the big American base at Morristown. Washington can dispose of his troops as needed to accomplish his mission, but division and brigade integrity must be maintained. The troops have been drilling all winter after their amazing victory over the British at Monmouth Courthouse the previous year. They are accustomed to working together in their brigades and divisions and breaking them up will be counterproductive.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The set-up for the left (northern) end of the line. Bill Reiman's Light Division sits astride the road. In the foreground is the hill with most of our guns. Ed Sansing's 5th brigade was hidden behind the hill.

The hill crowned with guns, in the forground, was fought over for many turns, finally ending with the British capture of half the hill and two of the Patriot guns on turn 11.

The Players

Sean Pitts
Ed Sansing
Bill Reiman
Phil Young
Bill Estes

The KING'S Forces
Robert Whitfield
Fred Diamond
Bryan Thompson
Jay Stribling
Jay Ainsworth

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

Photo by Ed Sansing

The British appear in the north. The are a mixed force of Hessians and British. Their skirmishers have moved close to the stream, but not yet across it. This is the first turn's movement after the British were allowed to set their forces on, but no closer than 12" from the stream..

Photo by Ed Sansing

The British in the south, showing their center and left, viewed from above and behind the American position. The British Dragoons are crossing the stream at the Patriots' extreme right (at the edge of the world).

A special rule

The game began at dawn. When "Nightfall" would occur and the game would end was determined by the dice. Each turn, the Game Master rolled a D10. When the total of these rolls reached a certain total (known to the Game Master only) that would be the last turn of the game. We played 11 turns and night never fell.

Photo by Bryan Thompson

This is the center bridge. A long-range musketry duel (shown here) preceded the crossing of British and Hessian Grenadiers. This defensive work was the largest and the most difficult for the British to clear. It took a 4-turn hand to hand fight to force back these stubborn Americans.

Photo by Bryan Thompson

British forces have crossed the stream by the Southern Bridge and have pushed back the Patriot defenders, clearing the small revetment. A fresh American unit under the command of Sean Pitts is advancing from the left while the original defenders are in melee with a unit of Guardsmen.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The British reach the stream in the center.

Photo by Ed Sansing

In the south, the British Dragoons find an American brigade that had been hidden. They were unable to turn the Patriot's flank but did tie up a large force of Americans.

MORE photos on Page 2 of this battle report!

Go to Page 2 of the Battle of Springfield

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