Monday, July 2, 2018

Converting Vacation into Scenarios

I was blessed to be able to go on a real vacation last week. My family went on a wonderful cruise. One stop was Nassau, Bahamas. A quick trip through my memory banks revealed that there was something that happened here during the American War of Independence. So I started to research it while in harbor.

At the time of the Raid, it was known as New Providence. In 1776, the town had a pair of forts guarding it. Fort Nassau within the town and Fort Montagu on east of the town. Period maps show Fort Nassau on a hill. Also the Governor's House was also on a hill of some note. Looking at the island from the cruise ship, the hills are more slight rises rather than the high hills of the map. Note the map is upside down with north at the bottom of the map.

From the ship, the area looks like this. This is the where Fort Nassau would have stood.

I managed to find a drawing of what Fort Nassau looked like. (Can't remember where I found it.)

This is the direction towards the Governor's House.

This is the direction towards Fort Montagu which still stands.

There are several sites that feature images of Fort Montagu. Here are a couple that I have gathered.

Across from the town of Nassau is Hog Island. It has been renamed to Paradise Island and is home to the Atlantis Resort now. Given the prices charged by the resort, Hog Island seems more appropriate.

The action took place on March 3rd and 4th. A force of Continental Marines and sailors landed on the eastern side of the island. Their force consisted of some 200 marines and fifty sailors. The town had a paper force of some two to three hundred militia. The regular troops had been taken off the island and were in service in America. Raising the militia was not a simple process and during the course of the action, only a hundred to a hundred and fifty men showed up to serve.

The action consisted of a small party of militia manning Fort Montagu and firing three shots at the marines then spiking the guns and leaving the fort. The next day, the town surrendered to the landing party. The town was under Continental control for two weeks before they left.

The action was underwhelming from a scenario point of view. There is a considerable amount of potential for action though. What I take away from the descriptions of the action is that the Governor seemed to have been doing his best to hinder the defense of the town rather than enhance it. Yet, the Governor was taken captive and hauled off in chains into captivity. Among his complaints were that the Continental Marines and Sailors had consumed his entire liquor supply while taking off the military stores of the town's forts.

There was only one King's ship at the town, the schooner St John. It and a merchant vessel (not sure what type or size) were able to pull out most of the powder stores before the capture of the forts. The governor had prevented the St John from opposing the landings or engaging the small American Fleet. When Fort Nassau did fire warnings to alert the town of the American Fleet presence, the fort was in such a poor state of repair that two of the guns broke free from their positions.

But, this does give a possibility to create a hypothetical campaign based on a defense that could have been. I am working on just such a thing.

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