Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Salem Church Report

We played out John Hill's Salem Church scenario on Saturday Feb 25th. Mike, Eddie, and I played on the Confederate side while Gary and Carl led the Union troops.

After a quick briefing, the Federal brigades of Brown and Bartlett advanced against "hidden" units (in truth, there were no hidden units) and the troops on Wilcox's lone Confederate brigade. Wilcox chose to cling to his ridge as he awaited the help that he hoped would bolster his defensive line. Just as the Union men came within long range gun fire the dust kicked up by a brigade of Confederates, led by Semmes, could be seen just behind the rebel lines. Feeling a bit stronger now, Wilcox ordered Semmes to lead his brigade out to the CSA left wing which delayed their arrival by a turn. Russell's Union brigade also chose to delay their arrival by a turn in order to extend their move out to the Union right wing. This left the Union left/Confederate right wing devoid of troops.

Mahone's Confederates arrived a bit later and deployed onto the rebel's right wing while Tompkins brought his Union troops onto the Union right. Quickly, the battle stalemated as the Union troops were bunched up in the center and could not organize a proper attack and the two Union brigades on the right wing couldn't bring their power to bear on Semmes' Confederates. It took almost half of the game before the Federal batteries of Brown and Bartlett could deploy in the center to lend support to the stalled attack of Brown's brigade. By that time Gen. Brown had been killed in action and his units were suffering under withering fire from Confederate infantry and Candler's battery repeatedly delivering close range fire.

Soon, Mahone's brigade moved out from the Confederate lines and began an enveloping move against the Union left wing. Bartlett's Union brigade began to melt under the dual attack of Wilcox's troops firing from the hill at Salem Church and Mahone's troops driving in their left wing. On the last turns of the battle Mahone's regiment charged into Bartlett's battered troops and drove them back into the cornfield. The melee result from the last turn saw two regiments destroyed/routed/surrendered which would have triggered a difficult brigade test for Bartlett on this and every turn thereafter.

When the battle was declared over (we reached our time limit) Bartlett's Union brigade was shattered, Brown's Union brigade was holding the center but quickly approaching a loss of brigade integrity, while the Union brigades of Russell and Tompkins were just coming to grips with Semmes out on the Confederate left wing. All in all, it was declared a minor victory for the Confederates as they held Salem Church and had inflicted much heavier losses on the Union forces.

The final losses tally was:
CSA - Semmes lost most of his artillery battery and @ 16 figures as casualties
           Wilcox lost @ 16 to 20 figures as casualties
           Mahone lost @ 8 figures as casualties

USA - Bartlett lost 2 regiments in the cornfield melee and @ 12 to 16 other casualties
           Brown lost 2 regiments dispersed, General Brown killed, and @ 12 other casualties
           Russell lost @ 12 to 16 casualties
           Tompkins lost @ 4 casualties

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