Archive for the ‘ACW’ Category

The Battle of New Bern – 14th March 1862   Leave a comment

General Ambrose E. Burnside

Union thinking in the early part of the American Civil War was to bring it to a speedy end by blocking Confederate supplies and the movement of men and materials. The area around the city of New Bern presented itself as an ideal target for such a tactic, with the Neuse River being a potential thoroughfare for Confederate ships bringing up supplies, bit also the North Carolina Railroad ran only a short distance inland. The capture of this area could inflict a double hardship on Confederate logistics.

Union General, Ambrose Burnside put together a plan of attack which would involve combined operations. On the 12th March vessels of the US Navy transported and disembarked Burnside and his men about 15 miles away from Fort Thompson at New Bern, the ships then proceeded upstream and on the 13th began a bombardment of the initial Confederate positions which lay several miles south of the battle area, The Confederate forces were largely made up of fresh recruits and militia who soon took fright at the naval shelling and pulled back to another defensive line along Butler’s Creek and across to the fort itself on the river bank. This retreat allowed Ambrose to make a rapid and unopposed advance on to the fort and surrounding area, and the night of the 13th both armies lay only a short distance from each other. At 7:30am on the 14th, General Ambrose launched his attack.

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of New Bern

ORDERS OF BATTLE – as we have recently, we are describing unit size generally, rather than specific, allowing our information here to be used for a variety of rule sets and personal preferences.

Confederate Forces

Brig.General Lawrence O’Bryan Branch – Commander in Chief – experienced, inspirational leader

Latham’s Brigade

26th North Carolina Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

33rd North Carolina Regiment (large regiment) – trained, inexperienced, average morale, smoothbore musket

7th North Carolina Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

27th North Carolina Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

4 gun artillery battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 6lb smoothbore

Brem’s Brigade

35th North Carolina Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

37th North Carolina Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

4 gun artillery battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 6lb smoothbore

Harding’s Brigade

1/2 North Carolina Cavalry (small unit) – trained, experienced, good morale, sword and pistol

2/2 North Carolina Cavalry (small unit) – trained, experienced, good morale, sword and pistol

Carolina Militia (large unit) – poor training, inexperienced, brittle morale, smoothbore musket

4 gun artillery battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 6lb smoothbore

Fort Artillery

2 gun battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 24lb cannon

Union Forces

Brig.General Ambrose E. Burnside – Commander in Chief – experienced, good tacticain, respected leader

1st Brigade

25th Massachusetts Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

24th Massachusetts Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

27th Massachusetts Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

23rd Massachusetts Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

10th Connecticut Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

6 gun artillery battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 6lb smoothbore

2nd Brigade

21st Massachusetts Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

51st New York Regiment – trained, inexperienced, average morale, rifled musket

9th New Jersey Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

51st Pennsylvania Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

2 gun artillery battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 6lb smoothbore

3rd Brigade

4th Rhode Island Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

8th Connecticut Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

5th Rhode Island Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

11th Connecticut Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The battle opened at 7:30am on the Union’s left flank with an assault on the 26th NC who were dug in on high ground across the creek. The initial artillery barrage made little impression firing up to the elevated position of the Confederates and the infantry were soon called to cross the creek and attempt to scale the slopes on the opposite bank. The Confederates had made crude field works along the ridge with felled trees and undergrowth which they found good protection from the advancing Union musketry. Their advance was halted by determined fire from the 26th NC and were forced back to regroup and rally.

On the opposite wing the artillery exchange was fairly evenly matched and both sides inflicted casualties, but again it was the Union troops who advanced, only this time to a similar number of defenders. The exchange of musketry began to swing in the Confederate’s favour and with brief but determined charge of bayonets, the Confederates sent the Union troops back to their starting positions.

Burnside was getting increasingly frustrated with the situation, afterall, his forces outnumbered the enemy over two to one and he took a moment to ponder how to break the line. He noted that the battlefield was divided in two by the North Carolina Railroad, which by its nature required flat and easily crossed terrain. The Confederates defending this rail track were the North Carolina Militia, an inexperienced and rather battle nervous unit. Burnside therefore brought up his 3rd Brigade to attack in column through the gap of his two other brigades and straight up the rail track to attack the militia unit. An assault he led personally

Burnside directs the assault along the rail track

His plan worked; the militia were not willing or able to fend off the Union attack for long and soon broke, opening a gap for Burnside’s men to exploit and get behind the Confederate line. The 33rd NC were sent to help plug the gap but the Union assault became so intense they too fell back. Regiments within the 3rd Brigade found themselves having to “leapfrog” to the lead position of the assault as their leading units ran out of ammunition, so fast were their volleys into the defenders ranks.

Facing a renewed frontal attack from the 2nd Brigade and hearing fighting off to their left, the 26th NC began to get nervous and soon were falling back into the woods behind them before turning in retreat to the city of New Bern to the north.

Swinging right, the 3rd Brigade were threatening the flanks of the 35th and 7th NC, while the 1st Brigade once again attacked from the front. Despite courageous efforts from the rebel regiments it soon became apparent that they would be surrounded and cut off if they stood their ground much longer. They too, opted to retreat to New Bern, destroying bridges on their way to prevent a speedy pursuit by Burnside. Unfortunately this left some Confederates trapped behind to be taken prisoner.

It had been a hard victory for Burnside with 90 killed and almost 400 wounded. The Confederates had lost 63 killed and 100 wounded, but over 400 were taken prisoner in the retreat.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

Despite all focus currently being on Warlord Games Epic Battles series, this battle would lend itself to any rules and any scale. Terrain is relatively simple, with no extreme hills, just a few gentle slopes along the waterways, the most dominant feature being the rail track, so depending on which scale you play it may be time to get the old Hornby set out the loft for this one.

The fort played little to no part in the land battle, so at a push could be omitted from the table if yo wish.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in ACW

Culp’s Hill 2nd July 1863 – The Battle of Gettysburg P.A.   Leave a comment

The battle of Gettysburg is probably THE most famous and well known battle of the American Civil War. It was the high tide mark for Confederate forces and probably the best opportunity for the South to win the war. As the battle lasted for three days and involved close to 200,000 men, it is a challenge to wargame in full for all but the most determined and committed of wargamers, usually involving an entire club or team effort. So today we have selected one section of that epic battle; Culp’s Hill.

From the map on the left of the entire battle, you can see that Culp’s Hill stood at one end of a ridge of high ground south of the town which extended west then south to include the probably more well known Cemetery Ridge before ending with the two promontories, Little Round Top and Big Round Top.

The Battle of Gettysburg was actually not planned, but rather an escalation of opposing scouting parties meeting and through engaging, gradually sucking in more and more reinforcements from their respective main armies, until eventually one of the largest battles of the war was created.

The first day of battle largely saw a build of men on both sides and initiatives being taken by divisional and brigade commanders, as both the Union’s General Meade and the Confederate’s General Lee were some way back in their respective lines of advancing troops. Like I said, this battle wasn’t planned, or even desired at this location, but happened purely by chance and circumstance.

As evening drew in on the first day, the Union realised that the high ground south of Gettysburg was critical if the battle was to be won, and so they took up defensive positions along this long ridge, using timber and rocks to create a line of barricades where they could, and then readied themselves for the Confederate assault that would surely come the next day.

Culp’s Hill saw some of the most ferocious and continuous fighting of the battle, starting on day two and going on throughout the third. Our Battle For Wargamers today is the beginning of this two day struggle for Culp’s Hill, with the forces initially deployed on the morning of the 2nd July. On the following day both sides would send in reinforcements, but for the purposes of this article and to keep the battle to a manageable size for most, we are looking at just the first day and as to whether the Union defenders can hold the hill against the Confederate attacks long enough to be reinforced that night for the next day.

 

Suggested initial set-up for “Culp’s Hill” Gettysburg

As there are so many different rule sets for the ACW including the much awaited Epic Battles by Warlord Games, with regiment sizes ranging from maybe a dozen figures to sixty, we have opted this time not to suggest unit sizes by the number of figures, leaving that to your choice depending on your preferred rules.

ORDERS OF BATTLE

Union Army

Brig.General James S. Wadsworth – Commander In Chief – experienced, inconsistent, respected leader

I Corps – 1st Brigade – (The Iron Brigade)

Brig.General Solomon Meredith – Sub-Commander – experienced, determined, inspirational leader

19th Indiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

24th Michigan Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

2nd Wisconsin Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

6th Wisconsin Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

7th Wisconsin Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

Steven’s Artillery battery – experienced, solid morale, 12lb Napoleon guns

I Corps – 2nd Brigade

Brig. General Lysander Cutler – Sub-Commander – experienced, excellent tactician, respected leader

7th Indiana Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

76th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

84th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

95th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

147th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

56th Pennsylvania Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

XII Corps – 3rd Brigade

Brig.General George S. “Old Pappy” Greene – Sub-Commander – veteran, excellent tactician, inspirational leader

60th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

78th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

102nd New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

137th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

149th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

Kinzie’s Artillery battery – experienced, solid morale, 12lb Napoleon guns

Rugg’s Artillery battery – experienced, solid morale, 12lb Napoleon guns

XI Corps – 1st Brigade

Colonel George Von Amsberg – Sub-Commander – veteran, experienced leader

82nd Illinois Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

45th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

157th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

61st Ohio Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

Confederate Army

Major General Edward “Clubby” Johnson – Commander In Chief – veteran, temperamental, respected leader

II Corps – Steuart’s Brigade

Brig.General George H.Steuart – Sub-Commander – veteran, inspirational leader

1st Maryland Battalion – veteran, solid morale, musket

1st North Carolina Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

3rd North Carolina Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

10th Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

23rd Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

37th Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

II Corps – Williams’ Brigade

Col. Jesse M.Williams – Sub-Commander – veteran, inexperienced of brigade level command, respected leader

1st Louisiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

2nd Louisiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

10th Louisiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

14th Louisiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

15th Louisiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

II Corps – Jones’ Brigade

Brig.General John M. Jones – Sub-Commander – veteran, inspirational leader

21st Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

50th Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

42nd Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

44th Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

48th Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

Union troops defend Culp’s Hill

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Most of the Union soldiers defending Culp’s Hill had seen action the previous day before being ordered to take up position on the high ground. Brig,General Wadsworth had followed the orders but in line with his inconsistent leadership, he failed to order his brigades to “dig in” and it was only thanks to his brigade commanders, such as “Old Pappy” Greene who had been a civil engineer for a period, that orders were given to create field fortifications. As his brigade had been given a mile and half stretch of the ridge to defend, it was good foresight on his part.

The Confederate division commander, Major General Edward Johnson was also not without his failings. On the first day he had failed to attack Cemetery Ridge before it was properly defended; action that if taken could have ended the battle there and then, but then on the evening of the 1st July, having re-positioned at the foot of Culp’s Hill, he directly refused superior orders to attack immediately, stating he would rather rest his men and for morning, which gave the Union soldiers time to create barricades and fortify their position.

Lee’s plan on the morning of the 2nd July was to attack the ridge at opposite ends simultaneously with Longstreet’s I Corps attacking Little and Big Round Tops while Ewell’s II Corps would attack Culp’s Hill. However Lee did not want II Corps to fully commit, but rather just cause enough of an attack to hold all the Union troops on the hill in place and not be sent to the other end as reinforcements. Ewell initially used artillery (off map) to shell the hill, but this failed to do the job intended and several Union brigades left Culp’s Hill to reinforce further along the ridge, leaving the troops as laid out on our suggested set-up map. At this point Ewell saw no alternative but to launch a frontal assault, and the three Confederate brigades made their first attempt at scaling the slopes. By now it was late afternoon and in the wooded slopes visibility became strained, especially with the clouds of gun smoke that hung in the air.

On the Confederate right flank, Jones’ Brigade found things the hardest going. It was here that the slopes were steepest and littered with boulders, which although offered some protection also broke up their formations as they advanced. Advancing and firing as they went, the Confederates were suddenly confronted by Greene’s fortifications which seemed impassable. the 60th New York regiment poured fire down on the southerners from behind their barricades and Jones’ men were forced back. Jones himself suffered a serious leg injury and was carried from the field. Despite the apparent ease with which the Union soldiers had stopped Jones, several of their officers admitted that had it not been for the barricade Greene had insisted on, then they would have been overwhelmed on the ridge by both the ferocity of Confederate charge and the density of their musketry which had largely been absorbed by the fortifications.

In the centre the Louisiana regiments made their assault, dusk was turning to darkness and for the Union defenders it was only when flashes of musket shots appeared that they could see where their enemy was. The ground here was a little easier than where Jones had tried, but was still an exhausting challenge, especially in the dark. Upon closing in on the Union positions, Williams’ men were also aghast at the substantial defences running along the ridge, but a firefight that lasted several hours ensued. Finally the Confederates began to fall back as their casualties grew from the musket fire of the 78th and 102nd New Yorkers.

Steurat’s men on the left flank made the best progress, advancing again in the dark, they were a difficult target for the Union defenders. The 3rd North Carolina regiment made contact first, but unfortunately where the defences were strongest and a point blank range volley of muskets from the Union men felled them in droves, scattering the survivors down the hill. Further to the left though, the 23rd and 10th Virginia regiments managed to outflank the 137th New Yorkers, forcing them back to a new position at 90 degrees to their original one in an attempt to hold back the Confederates. This was the most success of the night for the southerners, and they inflicted over 30% casualties on the 137th NY. Miraculously, the regiment held the line, for had it fallen at this end it would have likely opened up a route that that Confederates could have exploited to get behind the Union fortifications and capture the ridge, not just at Culp’s Hill, but potentially all along the Union lines.

The intensity of the fighting here, was heard along Cemetery Ridge, causing so much concern that Union reinforcements were sent along the line to support the Culp’s Hill defenders. Likewise, for the Confederates, that tenuous but definite foothold on the ridge on their left flank, would give them sufficient hope to bring up reinforcements too. The following morning the battle would recommence in even greater numbers and would see some of the most sustained and intense fighting of the entire Battle of Gettysburg, but we will share that scenario another day.

Confederates attack Culp’s Hill

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

At first glance the battlefield may look a challenge for recreating, but it is in simple terms just a long piece of high ground easily represented with foam blocks or “books under the cloth” as we did back in the day, with a few trees scattered along the slopes to represent the pine trees covering the hill. The creek on the right plays no significant part in the battle so could be omitted is it makes life easier.

The important thing is to play to an agreed time scale, so you represent the passage of time and to end the game at around midnight when reinforcements for both sides would start to appear and completely reshape the engagement for the following day.

If the Union manages to hold the line as it did on the 2nd July it should be considered a Union victory, but if the Confederates manage to either break the line or turn the flank as they almost did that evening then a Confederate victory should be declared.

Even though this is just a small section of the overall Battle of Gettysburg, it is still quite a sizable tabletop game to play, probably lending itself to smaller scales such as 10mm or the new “Epic” scale when it releases next month. But whatever scale you use we would love to see some pictures come in of your recreation of this engagement and we will feature them in our new “Gamers Gallery” that we are starting soon to share the hobby with others.

And finally don’t forget you can still pre-order the Epic Battles Bumper Bundle for just £99.99 if you hurry, we have only a handful left at this price. Just click on the image below to see the full details and order yours.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in ACW

The Battle of Raymond – 12th May 1863   Leave a comment

In Spring 1863, General Grant and the Union Army of Tennessee set out to capture Vicksburg and in doing so, control the Mississippi River. Having crossed the river about 15 miles south of Vicksburg on the 29th April he advanced first in a north easterly direction towards the state capital, Jackson, where the Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston and his army were positioned. Grant wanted to both eliminate them as a threat to his siege of Vicksburg and also to capture and disrupt himself the railroads and supply lines that ran through Jackson.

As his army marched towards Jackson they came to Fourteen Mile Creek a short distance south of Raymond. His army, which in total consisted of three corps, was spread out across a broad front with Raymond on their far right flank.

The Confederate Brig.General John Gregg was dispatched to Raymond with a strike force of around 3,000 men with the orders to block and hold the Utica Road and to hit the flank of the advancing Union troops. However, poor intelligence had suggested that the Union forces advancing directly towards Raymond consisted of only a single brigade, when in actual fact it was the entire XVII Corps of almost 12,000 men.

First contact was made early on the morning of the 12th May when skirmishers from both sides exchanged shots across the creek, but by 9am the Union commander, Maj.General James Birdseye McPherson, decided that the Confederates were not just a skirmish line, but a larger force, and ordered his forces to form up for battle.

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of Raymond

ORDERS OF BATTLE – using a man to figure ratio of 20:1

Confederate Army

Brig. General John Gregg – Commander in Chief – experienced, good tactician, inspirational leader

1st Tennessee Regiment (420 men) 21 figures – veteran, battle hardened, steady morale, musket

Bledsoe’s Missouri Battery (3 guns) 1 model – experienced, steady morale, 12lb cannon

7th Texas Regiment (300 men) 15 figures – veteran, battle hardened, steady morale, musket

3rd Tennessee Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – veteran, battle hardened, steady morale, musket

41st Tennessee Regiment (300 men) 15 figures – veteran, battle hardened, steady morale, musket

50th Tennessee Regiment (440 men) 22 figures – experienced, steady morale, musket

10th Tennessee Regiment (300 men) 15 figures – veteran, battle hardened, steady morale, musket

30th Tennessee Regiment (400 men) 20 figures – experienced, steady morale, musket

Union Army

Maj.General James Birdseye McPherson – Commander in Chief – veteran, experienced, good tactician, inspirational leader

Third Division

Brig.Gen John A. Logan – sub-commander – experienced, respected leader

1st Brigade

20th Illinois Regiment (400 men) 20 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

31st Illinois Regiment (520 men) 26 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

45th Illinois Regiment (500 men) 25 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

124th Illinois Regiment (460 men) 23 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

23rd Indiana Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

2nd Brigade

30th Illinois Regiment (500 men) 25 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

20th Ohio Regiment (400 men) 20 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

68th Ohio Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

4th Minnesota Regiment (400 men) 20 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

78th Ohio Regiment (540 men) 27 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

3rd Brigade

8th Illinois Regiment (460 men) 23 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

81st Illinois Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

7th Missouri Regiment (400 men) 20 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

32nd Ohio Regiment (510 men) 26 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

Artillery

1st Illinois D Battery (4 guns) – 1 model – experienced, steady morale, 12lb cannon

1st Michigan H Battery (6 guns) – 2 models – experienced, steady morale, 12lb cannon

Ohio 3rd Battery (6 guns) – 2 models – experienced, steady morale, 12lb cannon

Ohio 11th Battery (6 guns) – 2 models – experienced, steady morale, 12lb cannon

Seventh Division – not shown on map but available to arrive as reinforcements behind the Third Division after 1:30pm

Brig. General Marcellus M. Crocker – sub-commander – experienced, respected leader

1st Brigade

48th Indiana Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

59th Indiana Regiment (520 men) 26 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

2nd Brigade

17th Iowa Regiment (540 men) 27 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

10th Missouri Regiment (500 men) 25 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

80th Ohio Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

3rd Brigade

93rd Illinois Regiment (460 men) 23 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

5th Iowa Regiment (540 men) 27 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

10th Iowa Regiment (560 men) 28 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

26th Missouri Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

Cavalry Battalion

2nd Illinois A & E Companies (80 men) 4 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, sabre, pistol and carbine

4th Missouri F Company (50 men) 3 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, sabre, pistol and carbine

Ohio 4th Independent Company (60 men) 3 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, sabre, pistol and carbine

The Rebel Charge by Mort-Kunstler

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Skirmishing had started around 7am between the Union’s vanguard and some Confederate militia from Raymond who were patrolling south of the Fourteen Mile Creek on the Utica Road. Despite a determined attempt to hold back the Union soldiers, the militia were no match for the regulars and found themselves retreating back across the bridge to the north bank, before eventually making their way back to Raymond. The defence of the creek was now the responsibility of Gregg’s strike force.

As the Union skirmishers advanced down into the gully where the creek ran there was a sudden crack of volley fire from the trees opposite and three cannon opened fire, scattering the Union troops and sending them running back to their lines. This prompted Union Maj.General John A.”Black Jack” Logan to rapidly deploy his division and bring the artillery forward to form a formidable battery of 22 guns. Despite being outnumbered, Gregg opted to attack rather than defend, and sent the 7th Texas Regiment forward to assault the bridge and Union troops advancing on the Utica Road, while the Tennessee Regiments all advanced along the creek and seized the bridge on the Lower Gallatin Road. The windless day meant the gun-smoke hung in the air and soon the battlefield was a chaotic disorderly fight with many units on both sides simply following their own junior officer’s intuition rather than following an overall plan. The more experienced Confederates began to push back the Union line and almost succeeded in routing the entire Union Third Division, but in that critical moment, when all looked lost for Brig. General Logan as he rode among his fleeing men shouting at them to stand and fight, Brig.General Crocker and the Seventh Division arrived in support. Suddenly faced with five fresh Union brigades, the now exhausted and battle scarred Confederates began to fall back. Logan managed to rally the majority of his men once they saw their reinforcements arriving and combined, they counterattacked along the entire front. By mid-afternoon the Confederates had only one cannon remaining in action and some infantry regiments had suffered over 50% casualties. Fearing that even more Union soldiers may be yet to arrive, Gregg reluctantly ordered the army to withdraw, and in a fighting retreat they managed to pull back to Jackson and General Johnston’s army.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

This is a fantastic engagement to re-fight on the table, pitching the battle hardened Confederates against the more numerous but less experienced Union regiments.

There needs to be an account of time kept when playing the game, the battle started as per our map above at 9am and there should be sufficient game turns played to represent at least four hours of time passing before Brig.Gen Crocker and the Seventh Division begin to arrive. An agreed method of dicing their arrival would also be good as their advance on to the battlefield would have been gradual in a line of march.

We make no apologies for timing this Battle For Wargamers to wet the appetite of all those eagerly awaiting the launch of the fantastic new Epic Battles Range of ACE figures by Warlord Games in mid-March. The figures for that would lend themselves perfectly to this battle, simply changing the number of figures we have suggested with a number of bases instead to represent either small, medium or large regiments.

Use the discount code RAYMOND10 and get an extra £10 off our pre-order bundle

If you pre-order yours from us having read this battle, we are offering an extra £10 off our Epic Bundle (as above) and an extra 10% off all the rest of the range as well as our ACW books,

Use the discount code RAYMOND10 for the bundle and RAYMONDoff on other sets and books.

 

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in ACW

Battle of Dranesville – 20th December 1861   Leave a comment

Union artillery fire down onto advancing Confederates at Dranesville

After the Battle of Ball’s Bluff in October, both sides retired their armies into winter quarters, only occasionally sending out small forces on foraging and scouting missions. It was one such foraging mission that Brigadier General J.E.B. Stuart in command of a mixed brigade, approached Dranesville from the South, escorting wagons collecting what they could to feed the main army.

By coincidence a Union force led by Brigadier General Edward O.C.Ord was travelling East to West along the Leesburg Pike at right angles to Stuart’s force. Ord also had a mixed brigade, although he had started with over twice the number Stuart had, he had left half behind at Colvin Run Mill to guard his lines of retreat in case of an emergency. So when these two forces both ran into each other it was a complete by chance encounter and both sides having roughly the same amount of men.

First contact was made when Stuart’s advance cavalry pickets stumbled upon the marching Union force; they were quickly driven off back to their main army by Union cavalry, and at that point both small armies deployed for battle.

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of Dranesville 20th December 1861

ORDERS OF BATTLE – Using a 1 to 50 figure scale

UNION ARMY

Brig.General Edward O.C. Ord – Commander-in-Chief – veteran, experienced, tactician

6th Infantry Pennsylvania Reserves (800 men) 16 figures – regular, trained, steady, muzzle loading muskets

9th Infantry Pennsylvania Reserves (800 men) 16 figures – regular, trained, steady, muzzle loading muskets

10th Infantry Pennsylvania Reserves (800 men) 16 figures – regular, trained, steady, muzzle loading muskets

12th Infantry Pennsylvania Reserves (800 men) 16 figures – regular, trained, steady, muzzle loading muskets

Kane’s 1st Infantry Pennsylvania Reserves (800 men) 16 figures – regular, trained, steady, muzzle loading muskets

1st Pennsylvania Reserve cavalry (300 men) 6 figures – regular, trained, steady, revolvers, sword, carbine

1st Pennsylvania Reserve Artillery (8 guns and crew) – 4 models – regular, trained, steady

CONFEDERATE ARMY

Brig.General J.E.B.Stuart – Commander-in-Chief – veteran, experienced, elite, inspirational leader & tactician

1st Kentucky Volunteers (800 men) 16 figures – experienced, trained, stubborn. muzzle loading muskets

10th Alabama Volunteers (800 men) 16 figures – regular, trained, steady, muzzle loading muskets

11th Virginia Volunteers (800 men) 16 figures – elite, veteran, stubborn, muzzle loading muskets

6th South Carolina Volunteers (800 men) 16 figures – inexperienced, trained, nervous, muzzle loading muskets

Detachments of 1st North Carolina & 2nd Virginia Cavalry (250 men) 5 figures – elite, veteran, impetuous, pistols, sword, carbine/shotguns

Sumter Georgia Artillery (4 guns and crew) – 2 models – regular, trained, steady

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

After the initial contact between cavalry pickets the Union army wheeled around to face Stuart’s men and the Confederates spread out from line of march to battle deployment. In the surprise of suddenly going into battle, the 6th South Carolina mistook the 1st Kentucky, who were deploying immediately to their front, as the enemy and fired off a volley into their ranks. The Kentuckians, in shock, turned about and fired back before both units realised they were friendlies and resumed their original positions. The sound of firing to their front though, roused the Union’s 9th Pennsylvania regiment into thinking they were missing the battle and they charged across the open ground, but were halted in their tracks by volleys from the Confederate lines and quickly retreated back to their starting point.

An artillery dual then commenced, the opposing sides being only around 300 yards apart, and after a brief but intense exchange of fire the Union’s greater numbers prevailed and the Georgia battery was knocked out of action. Ord then organised his force into a long skirmish line and advanced towards Stuart’s men, his cavalry concealed in the woods ready to charge into an opportunity or likewise cover a withdrawal if necessary. The two infantry lines faced off each other for over two hours with repeated volleys, the Confederates suffering most by remaining in a close order formation.

At mid-afternoon Stuart was satisfied that his foraging wagons had retreated sufficiently to now be safe and he ordered his brigade to retreat also and rejoin them. Ord pursued Stuart’s men for only half a mile before returning to the main road and continuing on his march to Langley.

The following day Stuart returned with reinforcements to attack Ord again, but found the previous day’s battlefield deserted so returned to the main army again. .

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

We have chosen this battle as our first American Civil War offering as it is a relatively small and even sided affair that could go either way quite easily. Also from the numbers involved it is almost possible to re-fight this battle immediately with the Perry Miniatures American Civil War Battle In A Box (only an extra Union artillery piece would be needed or be “implied”)

The Union army is pretty standard as far as capabilities, morale, equipment and training is concerned, where you will note the Confederate units are bit more varied which adds a little character and surprise to their performance on the field.

For those wanting larger looking battles simply change our suggested figure scale to maybe 1:25 or 1:20 and it would then lend itself well to a 10mm scale engagement.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in ACW