A quick look at the Bladensburg battlefield

I borrowed the map from Charles Muller’s excellent book The Darkest Day so the reader could suffer along with me as I plot some of the challenges of gaming Bladensburg.

The American dispositions require a fairly deep table.  I’m going to try to cram it all on to a 7 1/2′ X 8′ table.

The British enter at the apex of a trianglular road net and must cross the bridge over the East Branch of the Potomac River (the Anacostia.)  Facing the bridge withing a foot will be three sections of artillery and three stands of militia riflemen.  Fifteen inches behind  them are three large battalions of militia infantry and more guns, filling the triangle between the Georgetown and Washington roads before climbing the hill to face the second American position manned by Joshua Barney’s sailors, a few Marines and a host of raw militia.

The challenge is to allow enough space for the British units to maneuver on both sides of the Washington and Georgetown roads and not have them slaughtered by the superior numbers of American cannon. Another challenge is to factor in the poor quality of the American militia, without having them vanish at the drop of a hat.

The battlefield is pie-shaped, with the Americans fighting in depth.  The British enter the field across a bridge at the apex of the pie.

The battlefield is pie-shaped, with the Americans fighting in depth. The British enter the field across a bridge at the apex of the pie.

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