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Thread: [AAR]The Battle of Santo Domingo 1796

  1. #1
    Member Member Didz's Avatar
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    Oct 2000
    Bedfordshire UK

    Default [AAR]The Battle of Santo Domingo 1796

    I thought I'd have a go at producing a small AAR based upon an event in the final stages of my Road to Independance Campaign.

    The Battle of Santo Domingo 1796

    The prelude to the battle.

    Having kicked the British out of the Continental United States congress convened to consider their future strategy for the defence of the nation.

    The natives were already becoming restless and both the Cherokee in the west and the Huron in the north were on the warpath. However, the Iroquois remained loyal to the treaties they signed during the war and they would act as a distraction for the Cherokee, and local provincial forces were dispatched to begin a major programme of fort construction along the border with Indian country.

    In the death throes of their colonial rule the British had tried one more throw of the dice sending a force largely consisting of Hessian mercenaries and Canadian militia through the wilderness to attempt to seize Quebec. But it had been a doomed expedition. The lack of ships had meant that progress and supply had been a nightmare, and congress were given ample time to make sure that Quebec was reinforced and ready for their assault. The British had been roundly thrashed and scattered, the Hessian's in particular being slaughtered almost to a man. The approaches to Quebec were now guarded by the newly constructed Fort Hoo, which would make another attempt even more difficult.

    So, on the whole Congress felt they had the situation on the mainland reasonably secure and all that could be done had been done, or was being done to protect the nation.

    However, the issue of the nations commercial future raised slightly more concern. The war had been largely financed from revenues earned by the export of cotton, tobacco and furs to Spain, France and the United Provinces and it had been fortunate that neither Britain nor the Caribbean pirates, freebooters and buccaneers had managed to interfere with that trade during the war.

    The French had managed to keep the British fleet occupied, whilst all of the major powers in the Caribbean had waged a war of suppression on the various pirate factions. As a result American trading vessels had managed to slip back and forth between the waring factions without too much difficulty.

    The problem now was that the French and British had successfully beaten each other to a bloody pulp in the Caribbean, indeed, for a while the last major French fleet had been forced to take shelter under the guns of Yorktown Harbour. As the fleets of these major nations had weakened so the buccaneer and pirate fleets had become bolder. One even had the audacity to seize control of New York harbour and demand tribute from congress, and several smaller vessels had been attacked by pirate ships whilst patrolling the trade lanes.

    Neither Spain nor the United Provinces seemed interested in dealing with the pirates. In fact, there was a sneaking suspicion that one or other of these nations was secretly supporting the pirate activity to undermine the trading position of Britain and France and perhaps pave the way to their own expansion.

    Whatever, the truth of these rumours might be Congress decided that they now faced significant threats in the Caribbean.

    Firstly, it was surmised that Britain having lost the land war on the continent might now decide to pump whatever resources it still had left into an escalation of the naval conflict. This would actually achieve two goals for them, in that it would protect their own trading interests in the Caribbean and damage those of both America and France.

    Secondly, it was considered essential that America act to protect its trade from the growing pirate threat in the area. The income from trade was now vital to the nations growth and was likely to become even more so now that the war was over and the population was becoming less enthusiastic about high personal taxation.

    So, the conclusion was reached that America must deal with the Caribbean and should concentrate on two mutually supporting goals.

    1. Action should be taken to deny the British any bases in the Caribbean capable of sustaining their fleet. American trade routes had to pass close to these bases and having them in British hands would be a constant threat. There was the added bonus that most of these bases were on islands with valuable trading commodities like coffee and sugar which would actually strengthen America's trading interests.

    2. Action must be taken to eradicate the pirate threat in the Caribbean and prevent their interference in American plans.

    To this end Congress ordered a major naval building programme and the formation of a new army under the veteran General Osbourne.

    The forces involved.

    The Continental Navy: The main strength of the Continental Navy at the start of the campaign was its four fourth rate line of battle ships America, Washington, Delaware and Columbus. These were supported by six frigates including the 5th Rate Bonhomme Richard and the 6th Rates Ranger, Alliance, Independence, Lee and Unity. Four further 4th Rates (Brooklyn, Franklin, New Hampshire and New Orleans) were in the process of being constructed, but would not be ready in time for the start of the campaign. There were also a small number of brigs and sloops mostly owned by the state navies that provided scouting and intelligence.

    General Osbournes Expeditionary Force: At the start of the campaign most of the Continental Army was in the west, manning border forts and securing the Canadian frontier. These units were gradually being replaced with local provincial troops, but inevitably the men available to Osbourne were those that could be spared rather than an ideal selection.

    Congress decided not to use provincial troops for the expedition, partly because they were not indentured for overseas service, and partly because past experience had shown that they were incapable of mastering the drills necessary to deal effectively with enemy cavalry and so it made more sense to use them to defend against the Indian’s who hopefully would have no cavalry and thus free up Continental units for Osbournes Army. In the end the army which embarked on the fleet at Georgetown consisted of:

    6 x Regiments of Continental Horse
    3 x Regiments of Continental Infantry
    1 x Regiment of Continental Dragoons
    plus 15 x Howitzers

    A force of just over 3,450 men in total.

    The opening moves of the Campaign

    Nassau Captured
    The first objective of the campaign was the seizure of British assets in the Bahamas. The fleet had difficulty at first finding a suitable landing beach for Osbournes Army, but eventually managed to put it ashore unopposed close the city of Nassau which was taken without serious problem.

    Pirate threat confirmed

    Whilst the main fleet remained off the coast of the Bahamas ready to embark Osbournes troops again the smaller state owned brigs and sloops were dispatched to gather intelligence and scout the defences of the other islands in the Caribbean.

    Most of these vessels were immediately attacked by buccaneers and pirates and whilst most managed to escape two brigs (Hannah and Convert) were lost trying to escape the clutches of a large pirate fleet led by 'Bad Ben Worley' near the Leeward Isles.

    If nothing else this strengthened the resolve of Congress to deal with the pirate threat once and for all and this goal was now given priority with Osbournes army being ordered to seize the pirate bases known to exist in the Hispaniola's.

    The Siege of Santo Domingo.

    Osbourne was less than confident in the ability of his army to deal with the pirates on land. He had assumed that the campaign against the pirates would be largely a naval affair and his army lacked the infantry necessary to take heavily defended fortifications.

    However, his army was landed without incident at Saintiago de los Cabelleros and after regaining their land-legs they marched inland and laid siege to the pirates main base on the island at Santo Domingo.

    Osbourne had already written to Congress urging them to expedite the dispatch of at least four more regiments of Continental Infantry to facilitate a storming of the town. In the meantime he busied himself constructing siege works in the hope that the defenders would remain inside their walls and perhaps even capitulate without a fight.

    However, this was not to be the case and once the siege began to bite and the pirates became hungry it was inevitable that they would choose to fight rather than starve or face an unpredictable future at the hands of the American judiciary.

    And so it was that the besiegers found themselves the besieged as seemingly every able bodied man in Santo Domingo emerged from the city to fight for their freedom.

    The Battle of Santo Domingo

    Osbourne had constructed a major defensive fortification just outside the city called 'The San Lazaro Redoubt', which enclosed all the armies batteries and provided cover for his limited infantry. The rear of this redoubt was protected by the armies cavalry which were deployed on the reverse slope of the slight ridge to cover both the north and south approaches to the fort.

    As the pirates approached the fort they are greeted with a massive bombardment of spherical case shot and shrapnell shell from its 15 howitzers that caused considered loss and confusion amongst them. However, they continued to press forward and a feirce cavarly skirmish began to the north of San Lazaro as one of the pirate captains tried to enfilade the position with his personal escort.

    Despite heavy losses the pirates pressed home their assault with cutlass and boarding pike. The fighting on the glacis is fierce and bloody no quarter being asked or given.

    Realising that his infantry cannot hold out for much longer without support, Osbourne ordered the Continental Horse to intervene charging the enemy assault troops in the rear and following them into the entrenchments.

    With the Continental Horse now committed General Osbourne himself came under attack from pirates which had managed to by-pass the northern defences of the fort. Fortunately, the armies last reserve are on hand and the Continental Dragoons launched a mounted charge to drive the the pirates off and save their commander.

    The situation in the north of the Redoubt is now critical, the pirates have overrun the northern batteries and may still manage to capture the fort. The 7th Continental Infantry guarding the southern entrenchments are ordered to counter-attack and recover the northern battery, fighting their way north through the intervening enemy units at the point of the bayonet.

    The northern battery is recovered and the fight begins to go out of the pirate assault.

    The pirate army begins to break up and individuals try to make their escape back to the relative safety of the city pursued by Continental Horse.

    It was a close run thing and losses to Osbournes army are heavy.

    However, victory is secured and Santo Domingo becomes an American colony along with its rich sugar plantations.

    Assured that it will not be needed to rescue Osbournes army the Continental Fleet sails to Leogane and captures the islands main port denying it to the pirates and leaving their fleet with no base of operations.

    The scene is now set for the big naval showdown with the buccaneers at sea.
    Last edited by Didz; 04-11-2009 at 00:58.
    Fortis balore et armis

  2. #2
    Master Guar Herder Member Guru's Avatar
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    May 2007
    Fur trapper post

    Default Re: [AAR]The Battle of Santo Domingo 1796

    That was a fine AAR! Recon I'll have to finish my RTI campaign too.
    Pinky: "Gee Brain, what do you want to do tonight?"
    The Brain: "The same thing we do every night, Pinky - Try to take over the world!"

  3. #3
    Member Megas Methuselah's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Prairie Grasslands

    Thumbs up Re: [AAR]The Battle of Santo Domingo 1796

    That was kewl!

    Too bad the AAR's are moved to the Mead Hall, people never go there and the AAR's just end up rotting (like mine). I hope they keep this one here, it was a great read!

  4. #4
    Member Member Didz's Avatar
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    Oct 2000
    Bedfordshire UK

    Default Re: [AAR]The Battle of Santo Domingo 1796

    Damn! I did look to see if there was a special place to post AAR's but assummed there would be a seperate location for each game so I never spotted the Mead Hall right down there. No wonder nobody goes there.
    Fortis balore et armis


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