Wargaming the Battle of Zama
Battle of Zama took place in 202 BC and ended in a decisive victory of the Romans led by Scipio Africanus the Elder over the Carthaginians commanded by Hannibal. It was the last battle of the of the Second Punic War and it effectively ended both Hannibal’s command of Carthaginian forces and also Carthage’s chances to significantly oppose Rome.
The logistics of Rome’s arrival in Africa, supporting its massive army 200 years before Christ was born simply boggles the mind. Of course, so does Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps to get at Italy.
Swalwell, ChiCom Spy
Fox News (Tucker Carlson) did a good job piggybacking Axios, by outing Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) who has apparently been sleeping with a Chinese Communist Spy. She’s back in China now, but he’s still sitting on the House Intelligence Committee.
A Chinese spy cultivated deep connections with U.S. Democratic politicians for years, including with Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, to send political intelligence and personal information back to communist China, according to reporting by Axios.
Why isn’t Rep. Swalwell sitting in a federal supermax prison, spending the rest of his life hoping that they’ll serve Peking Duck for his evening meal?
The reaction from Congress is muted, likely because others of his class are checking to see whether the Chinese women they’ve been sleeping with are also spies.
There was a time when I’d be outraged by this, but it’s just the outrage-of-the-day. One more scumbag who should be stood up against a wall and shot.
You’ll recall that Swalwell, who ran for US President this cycle, was the one who said that he wouldn’t rule out the use of nuclear weapons against conservative areas of America to wipe them out. Now we don’t know whether it was him expressing an opinion or his Chinese overlords.
Culinary Map of Europe
The Italians weigh in on an important issue. (What do you think, Claudio?)
Whenever I take Italian friends visiting the US out for pizza, they cringe…
This Day in History
December 9, 1775. THE BATTLE OF THE GREAT BRIDGE.
There is a walking tour should you wish to visit the location of this battle. Photos are of re-enactors unless otherwise noted.
While the inhabitants of the Eastern and Northern Colonies were actively engaged in opposing the aggressions of the Royal Government, those of Virginia and other of the Southern Colonies were not less resolute or constant in the same good work. Tyranny must be opposed – ok, Americans used to think like that. Now they wear masks meekly, but we weren’t always lemmings.
In Virginia, Lord Dunmore, the royal Governor, had been compelled to seek shelter, with his family, on the HMS Fowey, a British man-of-war, lying off Yorktown, “whence he issued his proclamations, sent forth parties to plunder the inhabitants, issued a newspaper from material which he had stolen from Mr. Holt of Norfolk, and committed such other acts as such a man, actuated by all that malice, avarice, and bigotry, of which he possessed so large a share, was alone capable of committing.”
The people armed for the defense of their homes and property; and, in several instances, their unerring rifles, carried conviction among the Governor’s party; which produced, on the seventh of November, a proclamation of martial law, in which the Governor stigmatized as traitors all who would not resort to the royal standard, and offered freedom to all slaves “appertaining to rebels,” who would join His Majesty’s troops. A motley party soon assembled at Norfolk and at Princess Ann, from whence orders were issued for the destruction of the colonial stores at Suffolk, in Nansemond county. To prevent this, Colonel Woodford, on the twentieth of November, sent a detachment of colonial troops, under Colonel Scott and Major Marshall; and, on the twenty-fifth, he reached the same place with the main body of the troops.
About the same time evidence was brought to light of an attempt which the Governor had made to enlist the Indians in his cause. This served only to excite still more the already excited colonists; and Colonel Woodford took immediate steps to prevent its consummation.
The Governor, informed of Colonel Woodford’s design, immediately detached a party to occupy and throw up entrenchments at “the Great Bridge,” on the south, branch of the Elizabeth River, the only route by which Colonel Woodford could approach Norfolk.
This bridge, which is about nine miles from Norfolk, was admirably adapted to prevent the passage of an enemy. “Extensive marshes, filled and drained alternately with the flow of the tide, spread out on each side of the river, making the whole breadth of morass and stream, at this point, about half a mile. The Great Bridge extends across the main stream from two islands of firm earth, which are covered with trees and shrubbery. Each of those islands are connected with the main by a causeway and smaller bridges,” extending over the morass which borders either bank of the river. At the western extremity of “the bridge,” at that time, as well as the present, stood a few houses and a church; while on the opposite extremity of the bridge, where the royal forces took ground, there appears to have been no improvements whatever. On the little island, at the western extremity of the bridge proper, at that time, there were six or seven houses; and piles of cedar and cypress shingles—in which trade the inhabitants were engaged—were also scattered over its surface.
The royalists occupied the eastern extremity of the bridge, and threw up works, which were furnished with a numerous artillery, and commanded the causeways, the bridge, and the surrounding marshes. At the western extremity the colonists threw up a breastwork, which was occupied by a guard, but the main body of the colonists occupied the meeting-house, which stood at the head of the street, some four hundred yards distant; while the houses on the island were also occupied, every night, by a strong guard, which was regularly withdrawn before daylight every morning, to prevent annoyance from the royal artillery while crossing the causeway.
At length Colonel Woodford, perceiving the advantages which the artillery secured to the enemy, it is said, adopted means to overcome them by stratagem. A trusty negro, owned by Major Marshall, after proper instructions, was permitted to desert, and informed Lord Dunmore that not more than three hundred shirtmen (a term applied to the riflemen of that day) were with the Colonel at the Great Bridge.
Falling into the trap, his lordship prepared to attack the colonists, dispatching, from Norfolk, on the eighth of December, all the regulars, some two hundred in number; a party of marines and sailors from the HMS Otter and other vessels then at Norfolk; a company of loyalists from Norfolk; and a large ‘mongrel force’ of white and black slaves, in all about six hundred men, with two pieces of artillery.
Accordingly, on Saturday morning, the ninth of December, immediately after reveille beating, two or three cannon were fired from the royalists’ works, and the regulars, headed by Captain Fordyce and his company of grenadiers, advanced towards the colonists. Crossing the eastern causeway and the bridge, they set fire to the houses and shingles on the westernmost island, and then unsupported by their black and tory allies, who would not cross the bridge, they advanced towards the breastwork, where Lieutenant Travis and a guard of twenty-five men were stationed.
Within the colonists’ lines perfect regularity prevailed. The cannon which had been discharged attracted no particular attention, but Adjutant Blackburn observed the movement of the troops, and ordered the men to ” stand to their arms.” Lieutenant Travis was reinforced by the addition of thirty-five men, and the troops in the meeting house repaired to their respective alarm posts, under a heavy fire of grape from two field-pieces which the enemy had advanced to the bridge. Orders had been given by Lieutenant Travis to reserve the fire until the enemy had come within fifty yards, and the grenadiers advanced steadily along the causeway, impressed with the belief that the breast work had been abandoned. Captain Fordyce, waving his hat, cheered them on, reminded them of their ancient glory, and told them the day was their own. At this moment Travis gave the order to fire; and, rising on their knees, so as to take deliberate aim, with their rifles resting on the breastwork, the colonists poured a terrible fire upon the enemy. Every ball fulfilled its errand, and the causeway was covered with the killed and wounded,—Captain Fordyce, the gallant commander of the regulars, falling with fourteen balls in his body. It seems that the patriots did not ascribe to the custom of “sparing the enemy officer”.
In great disorder the British immediately retreated, suffering additionally, on their retreat, from the Culpepper battalion, under Colonel Stevens, who had been sent round to the left to flank the enemy, on his retreat.
Arriving at the eastern extremity of the bridge proper,—on the easternmost of the little islands, where the tories and negroes had remained, — Captain Leslie appears to have rallied them, but with no practically good result; and they retired to the fort, taking with them their guns and a part of their killed and wounded; but leaving behind them Captain Fordyce and twelve privates, dead; Lieutenant Battut and seventeen privates, wounded ; three officer’s fusils, thirty muskets, twenty-four bayonets, and a considerable quantity of other articles.
The only loss or damage sustained by the colonists was a slight wound, from a grape-shot, which one of the privates received; while that of the enemy is estimated at from sixty to the extent of half his force.
On the following morning, Colonel Woodford took possession of the fort, with seven pieces of artillery and a quantity of stores; but no ammunition, of any kind, was found.
The capture of the fort at the Great Bridge opened the way to the city of Norfolk, and Colonel Woodford, reinforced by the arrival of a strong party of Carolinians and of others of Virginians, pushed forward to that place, the loyalists retiring to the vessels which lay in the harbor, on his approach.
From the buildings on the wharves the riflemen kept up a constant and destructive fire on the ships; and every head which appeared above the bulwarks was inevitably devoted to destruction. To remove this difficulty, on the night of the first of January, 1776, a party was landed, under cover of the guns of the ships, and set fire to the obnoxious premises; and, either spreading from these buildings, as some suppose; or by the continued efforts of the enemy, as others suppose; or from the resolute patriotism of the inhabitants, who destroyed their property rather than let it be exposed to the enemy, as many, with some reason, maintain, the flames spread over the entire town, and reduced it to a heap of smoldering ruins; “and the mournful silence of gloomy depopulation now reigned where the gay, animating bustle of an active, emulous crowd had so lately prevailed.”
You’ll note that much of this account was transcribed verbatim with the language of the day.
Excerpt of a letter from Major Spotswood to a friend in Williamsburg.
Great Bridge, December 9, 1775.
We were alarmed this morning by the firing of some guns after reveille beating, which, as the enemy had paid us this compliment several times before, we at first concluded to be nothing but a morning salute; but in a short time after, I heard Adjutant Blackburn call out, “Boys! stand to your arms !”
Colonel Woodford and myself immediately got equipped, and ran out; the colonel pressed down to the breastwork in our front, and my alarm-post being two hundred and fifty yards in another quarter, I ran to it as fast as I could, and by the time I had made all ready for engaging, a very heavy fire ensued at the breastwork, in which were not more than sixty men; it continued for about half an hour, when the King’s troops gave way, after sustaining considerable loss and behaving like true-born Englishmen. They mounted up to our entrenchments with fixed bayonets; our young troops received them with firmness, and behaved as well as it was possible for soldiers to do. Captain Leslie, of the regulars, commanded the fort on the other side of the bridge; Captain Fordyce, of the grenadiers, led the van with his company, and Lieutenant Battut commanded the advanced party; the former got killed within a few yards of the breastwork, with twelve privates; the lieutenant, with sixteen soldiers, were taken prisoners, all wounded. Several others were carried into the fort under cover of their cannon; and from the blood on the bridge, they must have lost one half of their detachment.
It would appear that Providence was on our side; for during the whole engagement we lost not a man, and only one was slightly wounded in the hand. Colonel Woodford is a brave officer and a man I love; he has had Captain Fordyce buried with the military honors due to his rank, and all the prisoners that fell into our hands are taken the greatest care of. We have not as yet been able to ascertain the number of killed and wounded that fell on their side. Three officer’s fusees, with bayonets and cartouch-boxes, fell into our hands; from which we judge that there were three commissioned officers killed. As soon as a general return can be made, it will be sent to the honorable convention. I am at present in the greatest hurry, and only can give an account of what I have seen.