Saturday 4 February 2012

Raid on Halliwell Gap, September 1760

The stoicism and courage of the frontier settlers of the Green Mountains is taken as writ. What then should we make of a locale shunned even by this rough folk?

Today we know Halliwell Gap as an idyllic spot for a day’s recreation. The hunter, the angler, indeed the outdoorsman of any stripe, will find much to pique his interest in the Gap and its surrounding environs.  Yet it was not always so.

In the dark days when Tomahawk and Warpaint haunted the imaginings of even the most taciturn of woodsmen, there stood a cabin in the Gap, which was home to three young widows. That three ladies should brave the frontier on their own is remarkable, that they should have been shunned and abandoned by their neighbors even more so. The three, known to lore only as the “Sisters”,  were whispered to have engaged in the most base and horrid of acts. Rumors of witch craft, disappearances, ghost lights, and associated phenomena abounded. “Come to bed lest the Sisters get hold of thee” was a phrase in common used by Mothers seeking to corral their unruly offspring.

Such tales of quaint folk myth would be amusing were it not for the real danger of French and Indian raid to which such thoughts left the Sisters open. Yet as it happened the Sisters were still reportedly living in the Gap as late as 1794.

-- Myths and Talismans of the Mountains, Bertim O. Doane, 1884



The war was not going well. No matter how many times they were beaten back it seemed there were always more red coats to fight the next time. Well let the hated Anglaise come. For now they were sitting comfortably in winter quarters and the business of raiding could go on without fear of their intercession.

Lieutenant Garamond could smell the chimney smoke of their target. Their march had been delayed the inhabitants must already be stirring. He gathered his men together and outlined his plan...

The cabin at Halliwell Gap
The table consisted of a small homestead in a clearing. The raiders (me) would be approaching from bottom of the photo above. We did not know where any of the enemy were at the start of play although we had some clues:
Possible Enemy Force (PEF) number 1
Almost certainly there would be victims in or near the cabin itself.
PEF number 2
There was another possible enemy force to the left rear of the farm, skulking in the woods and...
PEF number 4
... a third possible enemy force in the woods to the right rear of the farm.

Chances were that only one of these would actually be real contacts, and the others more likely to be a product of nerves on the part of my war party.

The war party consisted of 10 warriors all told. Lt. Gararmond a Canadian irregular, assisted by two more Rep 4 irregulars and the rest of the party consisted of 7 Indians. All were armed with muskets save for one of the warriors who was toting a spear and a bow.

I split the party into three groups each with a specific task. The left most group consisted of a Rep 4 and two  Rep 3 warriors. They were tasked with circling around the cabin and scouting the PEF behind the farm on that side. The when the signal was given they would assault the cabin from that quarter.

The middle group was the largest, consisting of one Rep 5, one Rep 4, and two Rep 3 Indians. They were to stay undercover until given the signal to attack by Lt. Garamond, or until fighting broke out, whichever came first.

The right hand group consisted of Lt. Garamond and his Canadians. They would circle the farm to the right and scout the PEF on that side of the farm. Once that was accomplished they would stealthily advance on the cabin. Once they were discovered, the discharge of their pieces would signal a general assault by the other two parties.
Skirting the clearing
As it happens the action unfolded in a largely left to right fashion so I shall tell the tale of each party in turn from left to right as well.

The Left Flank
The warriors carefully made their way across the table  to scout the woods behind the farm. At one point they were able to see the cabin's occupants, three women. As it was clear the women had not seen them, the party pressed on.

At this point a great deal of crashing through the branches announced an arrival from the woods ahead of them. This PEF was no case of the nerves. It was...
...a creature of nightmare.

If you go into the woods today...
Bartholomew had been off doing whatever it is he does when he is off (I certainly do not want to know), and emerged from the wood only to be confronted by three very scary Indians indeed. 

 When one of the warriors took a shot at him, Bartholomew got really mad and charged!

Add caption

 The lead warrior was forces back by the violence of Bartholomew's assault and...

...lost his head.

His companions hadn't signed on to raid anyone who could actually resist and promptly fled.

The Center

On first hearing a musket discharge, the center party crept forward to the edge of  the clearing, only to see the three Sisters emerging from their cabin. 

Before the warriors could fire, the Sisters chanted an incantation.

 A brilliant flash of light left the Indian leader dead, and his followers temporarily dazed.

Having already dealt with  the left flank party, Barltholomew turned his attention to the center.

 Slowly he turned, step by step, inch by inch

Finally he charged!
Though one of the junior members of the raiding party, his target was fierce. The warrior fended off the attack even though he was still dazed.

The Sisters chanted and let out another burst of energy. This one killed all three remaining Indians, even the one who had just fought so well.

The Right

Lt. Garamond led his men through the woods to the right of the cabin. 


Before them a covey of birds broke cover!

Out from the underbrush burst the hounds!

  Disbelief, Despair, and Justice would protect their Mistresses to the death..  
Shots rang out and Despair fell. 

The hounds muddled about in confusion long enough for the Canadians to fall back.

And then on they came!

The hounds would not be denied.

Lt. Garamond was the last to fall on the field. 

The two warriors who fled were eventually hunted down and slain.


Well that went about as poorly as could be imagined! Finding the entire coven on the board was a bad break. It was also unfortunate that the Sisters were all together from the start as this allowed them the Power of Three, which proved so overwhelming.

In retrospect the left flank should have sent a volley into the house the minute those witches were spotted. If even one had been hit that would have weakened their magic considerably.

My chaps got off distressingly few shots during the game, yet the fate of Despair shows just how well the Power of Shot can counter the work of the Adversary : )

As a final note I had originally planned to set this game in Virginia during the aftermath of Braddock's defeat on the Monongahela. Following that disaster, French and Indian parties unleashed a crippling series of raids on settlements that all but depopulated the colony's frontier. However having set the creation of Bartholomew after Roger's raid on St. Francis, I had neatly caught myself in a web of continuity. As a result the game is now set in New England five years later.

Hope you enjoyed reading about the mayhem!

This game was played using a combination of  "Long Rifle" and "Warrior Heroes, Armies and Adventures". I will put together the scenario notes and post them separately as a bonus for folks who own both games.


  1. Cool, I look forward to the scenario notes.

  2. That was a very cool scenario. How about one with Werewolves?

  3. Thanks!

    Have you seen this one?