1. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Sep 24, 2009
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    Alabama, USA

    Researching city seiges in Colonial times.

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Link the Writer, Jun 29, 2011.

    Okay, this will be spoilers for my Colonial detective story.

    Basically, Ashwick is a port city in Massachusetts during the American Revolution. Toward the end of the series, the Americans/French target this city because they hope by doing so, they'll cut off a supply line to the British army.

    Questions I'm having:

    Would soldiers invade and have street battles or did the fighting occur outside the city? If the invaders had cannons, what and where would they use them on?

    What would be the procedure when the city falls? Would the governor be forced to hand over everything to the invaders? Sign something?

    Would cities (port cities in this case) have forts or something?

    How were the civillian population treated? Keeping in mind that the majority of the civillians in Ashwick are loyalist and the Americans/French come in, how would they treat the civillians? Would I expect a mass exodus of people getting the hell out of there before the Americans/French arrived?

    Let's assume that the governor, instead of meeting with the enemy (if he's forced to interact with them in any way), commits suicide because he feels its the only opportunity. What happens then? Would someone else have to be appointed to deal with the invaders?)

    Are there any flag-replacing ceremony? Would there be a scene of the Union Jack being replaced by an American/French flag to show who the new bosses were?

    When the invaders have full control of the city, what do they do? What would the locals of Ashwick expect of the Americans/French when they do gain control of Ashwick?

    Discuss! :D
  2. Ellipse

    Ellipse Contributor Contributor

    Jun 8, 2010
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    In a big port town, no, they would not. Have you ever watched the movies based on the American Revolution? Have you noticed how the soldiers would line up in neat rows out in a giant open field and shoot at each other? They did that for several reasons.

    1) That was considered the honorable way to fight in a battle at that time. Fighting in this way usually meant whoever had the superiority of numbers would win, which would have been the British. It was one of the reasons why Americans started resorting to guerilla tactics.

    2) Shooting that many musket rifles at once greatly increased the chances of hitting enemy targets. Musket rifles at that time in history shot round metal balls. You were lucky if you could hit a target at 50 meters with no wind.

    3) Fighting in a city would have involved searching the city building by building for the nemey. This method of fighting would have been very hazardous for soldiers and involved lots of hand to hand combat. Not so much because of the close quarters, but because reloading a musket rifle or flintlock pistol takes at least 10 seconds. And that is if you are fast at reloading your weapon. A person was considered a fast shot if they could load and fire 6 shots in one minute. So generally, this type of fighting was avoided in larger cities.

    Cannons were mounted on ships, in forts, and on wheels so they could be moved on a battlefield. If you had a large distance target (a ship or a bunch of soldiers grouped together), as long as you had people to operate the cannon, it got used.

    Most likely both. The governor might even be replaced by a new figurehead loyal to the government occupying the city. Army guards would be posted at important areas of the city. You will have to research this more on your own. A lot would change. A lot of those changes might not even concern you depending on your story.

    Many did. Really depends on the size of the city. This would require further research.

    Who are your loyalists? Is it the just the noble elite? You might want to think that over, because if you lived in America at this time, there really wasn't a reason to be a loyalist to the king because of all the taxes he was trying to pass. Basically, the king's idea was this, "You won't receive much support from the Crown (if anything), but you still have to pay my taxes. Oh, and here are a few new taxes to boot, including one on tea."

    This is one of the reasons why Americans drink coffee rather than tea today.

    Opportunity for what? If he died in the fighting or commited suicide, whoever is next in the chain of command, possibly one of his assistants, would have to deal with the invaders.

    Flags would definately be replaced, the old one possibly burned. Initially, there wouldn't be much of a ceremony because the faster you get the flags changed, the faster your allies know you won and the battle is over. They could hold a formal ceremony several days later. It really depends if they have the time to spare or not.

    Port cities are important because they allow you to ship all sorts of things. You can move troops quickly. Endorse trade and bring in supplies and war funds, in addition to cutting off the enemies use of port.

    The Americans would probably confiscate any supplies from loyalist ships/businesses for their own use and set up defenses against an impending counterattack by the British navy.

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