Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An update

Family matters have prevented me from doing much of anything game- or modelling wise lately, and I've got work to prepare for ARCHON 35 when I get a chance. Even so, I hope to have some spare time these next two weeks to game the Attack on Yabhouti.

In the meantime, here are a couple photos of Fort Meigs, Ohio, taken during a visit there last month.

Between June, 1812 and February, 1813, the United States lost Fort Mackinac and Fort Detroit in the Michigan Territory and Fort Dearborn in the Illinois Territory, as well as suffering a major defeat at the Battle of the River Raisin in Michigan. This placed Fort Meigs in the front line during the War of 1812. It was besieged twice, but held out. Had it fallen, the British army would've been able to penetrate into the heart of Ohio. 

The reconstructed fort stands on the exact footprint of the original, with the exception of the main gate, which circumstances dictated had to be sited three feet off the site of the prototype.

A view of the fort's interior, showing the earthen berms thrown up by the American defenders to prevent roundshot from bouncing through the enclosure. The British used 8- and 24 pounder cannon, along with howitzers and mortars. Since the 9 pounder was the standard foot artillery equipment of the time, I suspect the weapons used during the siege were drawn from naval stores. 

A party of re-enactors demonstrate field drill. Thankfully, the weather that day was overcast and quite cool - a change from the hellish heat this summer - so the men didn't suffer in those heavy wool coats. 

A splendid 54mm diorama of Fort Meigs in its heyday, located in one of the seven blockhouses.   

The exterior of a blockhouse. Each has walls two feet thick to withstand artillery fire, and held a garrison of thirty. Nowadays, the reconstructed versions hold various exhibits and washrooms.

A corner of the main gun battery overlooking the Maumee River, the reason for the fort's existence. The modern bridge in the distance stands just downriver from the rapids which once blocked easy passage along the river. These forced boat traffic to portage around them, and created a natural choke-point for the fort to control. The British siege batteries were located where the woods are to the extreme left of the picture. Originally, this battery was protected from assault by a thick abatis. 
We enjoyed our visit to the fort. The cooler weather certainly helped! I was even able to pick up a wagon pencil sharpener at the museum store, which will convert nicely for Colonial wargaming purposes. If I'd had the money at the time, I'd have bought out their whole stock.

One quibble - the visitor center does provide wheelchairs for disabled or elderly visitors, but the pathways throughout the fort are cinder or trodden earth, and some are quite steep. They're difficult to push a chair over. Those with powered buggies may have an easier time. 


tradgardmastare said...

Thanks for interesting post and pictures.

Colonel O'Truth said...

Do they have an exhibit of the British winning the seige and bringing some good old fashioned common sense to those damned rebellious American types?

I like my history to lean more towards entertainment and bugger the facts!

All the Best!

A J said...

YVW, T'Master.

Colonel, we came *this* close to capturing the fort, so there's no diorama of us bringing British values to this soggy part of Ohio. Oh well, in an infinite universe, I believe at least one reality has us winning. ;)

Colonel O'Truth said...

Perhaps we should try again...?

A J said...

It might be worth a shot. From what I hear in these parts, I think there are plenty of people in this country who'd positively welcome British intervention... ;)


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