After Action Reports: Fredonia.

By Mark Tully

Reports trickled back to me that NWTA members, the spectators and even the event sponsor felt that the Sunday afternoon battle at Pioneer Village (Fredonia) was the best they had seen in years! Here's why:

Art Christophersen and Bernie Kazwick were the field commanders. They took the time to plan the battle and inform the wing commanders of what was going to happen. They also communicated some last-minute adjustments that ensured that much of the action happened right at the foot of the hill. Subsequently, the public had a great view of what was going on and there was a LOT of firing right near the crowd -- they were even cheering the Continental forces on!

Lauzun's Legion set up an excellent ambush, lying in the weeds where the public could see them but the British line couldn't. Once the trap was sprung, Lauzun's COULD have wreaked havoc with the 55th and 4th (King's Own) regiments but instead they went after the Brigade of Guards who were coming up in reserve. This really added to the scenario, as it effectively cut off the 4th/55th detachment (who had been programmed to close with the 3rd New York) and made their situation seem more desperate than it was. This helped justify the pre-planned bayonet closing, which was executed right in the public's lap.

I was mortally wounded while helping to finish off Steve Gilbert, so I didn't see much of what happened next, but I understand the melee that followed looked very believable. From where I was laying the rate of fire was truly astounding!

Having the battle end near the bottom of the hill was a welcome departure from our typical push-em-off-the-far-end-of-the-field scenario, as the public had much better view of what was going on.

The ONLY criticism I heard was that the 4th Continental Light Dragoons snuck in through the cornfield and formed a skirmish line out of site of the public. However, it looked like the grounds keeper had trimmed back some of the brush prior to the event (so the view wasn't totally obstructed) and the troops that opposed the 4th CLD were sensitive to the situation and deployed where they COULD be seen, so it apparently wasn't that big a deal.

All in all it was everything a battle demonstration should be -- Well done everybody!