|Trioani - 3rd U.S. Artillery|
No, I haven't run out of Mexican-American War posts already, quite the opposite actually as I start moving forward with mounting and painting figures. But, instead of creating yet another blog, Forage Caps and Shakos will also serve as my repository and occasional rambling spot about the Second Seminole War. Years ago I had started a Yahoo group on this very (and fairly obscure) subject, and later merged it into the Eastern Woodland Indian Warfare (better known as Moccasins) group as I could not drive enough message traffic with just a Seminole War group. I had collected several books, and even some FreiKorps 15 figures, but like many projects I cleaned house and tried to focus on just a few periods of history, but there are certain periods that keep calling me back. The Second Seminole War happens to be one of them.
Why? Obscure of course is one reason. I was the guy who had fifty books on Harmar, St. Clair, and Wayne! Another is the visual appeal of the sky blue uniform and "pig-sticker" leather shako of the early U.S. Regulars. Of course, being an Indian conflict, there HAS to be a "massacre", and the Dade battle covers that. (When the Indians win it is called a massacre, when the whites win it is called a battle, strange yes?) Small forces can be easily fielded in a few figure scales, and the challenge of creating realistic terrain should result in a gorgeous looking table top, if done right. There is enough information in print to whet the appetite and organize a project. I even have retyped and updated the old Frontier Miniatures booklet for those needing a basic guide. (leave a comment with your email address if you would like a copy in MS Publisher format) And some soldiers and officers who fought in Florida were later involved in the Mexican-American War. Easy for me to justify adding this period to the blog! Who knows, I may even add the Black Hawk War one day!
FreiKorps 15 has a fairly complete range in 15mm (15 packs), recently expanded upon by adding in appropriate codes from their Mexican-American and Texas War of Independence ranges, an idea I had suggested to Geoff at QRF some time ago. One can field U.S. Regular forces in early or later uniforms (basically a change of headgear), along with state militias and other supporting assets. There are only two Seminole packs in the FreiKorps range, but unlike many of FreiKorps' offerings, these two packs have multiple poses, so while I would like to see another pack or two of Seminoles added, there already exists some decent variety. Bear in mind these are older, smaller 15mm figures, so the quality of sculpting isn't quite on par with today's standards. But it is a fairly complete range, far more cost effective than 28mm, and not terrible sculpts, especially if you like a bit of old school style in your figures.
Both Conquest Miniatures and Old Glory Miniatures make ranges in 28mm, which should work well together. Conquest has some exquisite Seminoles and had promised U.S. troops, but as of this posting only some of their Seminoles are for sale on their website. Old Glory has eight packs of Seminoles and U.S. troops, and militias can be found by using War of 1812 figures. Apparently Frontier made a 25mm range, but they have long been defunct.
Honourable Lead Boiler Suit Company had been making a range of 40mm figures, but they have been removed from the HLBSC website for some time now.
The Dade Battle
My foray into the Second Seminole War will be recreating the Dade Battle or either 1:1 or 1:2 figure to man scale. It is a small battle, with 180 Seminoles and 108 U.S. forces. The Americans were moving from Fort Brooke to Fort King when they were ambushed, leaving only three survivors. A company each from the 2nd and 3rd U.S. Artillery, along with a smattering of men from the 4th U.S. Infantry, along with a 6pdr gun, could not keep the Seminoles at bay. Doesn't sound like a good game from the American viewpoint, and any rules I may use will need an element of clear and simple ambush rules, while also allowing for some restrictive aspects to keep the Americans confused and difficult to organize into a cohesive defense. More on rules in a later post.