The Paoli "Massacre" Part 2

September 20-21, 1777


3) Encampment Area

    This is the area of Wayne's camp.  The artillery and baggage were originally near here, and as the 1st Pa entered the woods on the right of the picture, the rest of the infantry formed a line in the field roughly parallel to the woods on the left facing toward the modern houses you can see.  They then wheeled left into columns in order to withdraw.  Wayne could see the columns, but they weren't moving!

    As the 1st Pa in the woods broke, the 500 British Light Infantrymen rushed into the camp and attacked the Americans - those in the column of march, and those still in their wigwam shelters.  Chaos ensued and the bayonet was liberally used.  Quarter was not regularly given.  A second wave composed of dragoons and the 44th Regiment joined the attack, and later a third wave.

    Why wasn't the American column moving?  The whole American force had to retreat through gaps in two fences.  The artillery and baggage had gone first, and not visible to Wayne, one of the guns got disabled in the gap in the fence furtherest west, blocking the way for the infantry.  Not quite visible, the first fence cutting through the field was on the horizon on the left of the picture.     

4) First Bottleneck

    This is the view from the first gap in the fence into the area of the camp.  The gun was dragged out of the way, but precious minutes had been lost, and the infantry column remained in camp exposed to the bayonet attack.  The troops in column faired better than their comrades still in camp, and discipline saved the Americans from total disaster. 

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