Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Scramble in the Woods Report

This game was intended as a "quick" game so we could all head off in different directions for cookouts to celebrate the Memorial Day Weekend. This scenario was heavily modified from the original idea that I found at GHQ (http://www.ghqmodels.com/pdf/american_civil_war_scenarios/10.pdf ) in order to accommodate our rules, available figures, and time constraints. The Confederates were led by Mike and I while Carl had the task of commanding all of the Union troops. The battle began @10:30 and ran until @14:45.

The engagement began with the Federals deployed near Winfrey Farm. Willich's Union Brigade moved to extend the Federal lines on their left while Dodge's Brigade moved toward the Union right wing once the flank march of Wood's Confederates was spotted. This left Baldwin's Union Brigade to hold the center and "bend" in the Union lines. From the outset Baldwin's men were engaged in a maelstrom of musketry and artillery as Polk's Confederates moved up to engage Baldwin's blue-coated troops. Baldwin's men gave as good as they got and both sides began to suffer as crushing volleys were delivered from each side.

Baldwin's men had to be disturbed in seeing Wood's Rebels rapidly marching down the Federal right flank while being mauled by Polk's men just to their front. As Dodge was still moving across the Federal rear to try and hold the Union right flank, Baldwin was compelled to begin shifting some of his regiments to avoid being hit in the rear by Wood's troops. Baldwin and Polk continued to trade crushing volleys which caused both sides to waver.

Meanwhile, events of the Federal's left wing were going a bit more leisurely as Willich's and Deschler's men were content to hold their positions and trade skirmish fire. In that area, the slightly larger Union battery (1st Ohio Light Artillery) gave the Union men the advantage as their weight of fire kept the Confederate skirmish line from closing effectively. In time, the superior numbers enjoyed by the Confedrates began to tell as Union regiments fell back from the firing line through casualties and failed morale tests.

Back at the farm, Baldwin's troops were suffering under the weight of fire from all of Polk's brigade and two regiments from Wood's brigade. Although Col. Baldwin was hit twice (roll on double six chart) he survived and his brigade held steady. Dodge had deployed his brigade behind Baldwin and that prevented Wood from enveloping Baldwin. The lines had stabilized into an "L" shape with Baldwin's rapidly shrinking brigade holding the 90 degree bend in the Union line.

Finally, at around 14:30, Baldwin's units began to leave the field (when units reach 25% of strength they disperse and leave the field). With three of his infantry regiments gone and his gunners nearing dispersal, Baldwin was compelled to withdraw from the farm area. This was going to leave Dodge's men to hold off the intact units of Wood and the bloodied units of Polk. It would have been a repeat of the gallant stand of Baldwin's men.

Seeing that all signs were pointing towards a Confederate victory, the battle was declared over as the Union men were forced back. The Federal troops had fought hard and suffered mightily but Cleburne had not gotten to "knockout punch" that he had been looking for. The Confederates of Polk's Brigade had suffered heavily and would have likely "fallen down and gone to sleep just where they were" just as happened at the actual battle.

It was a fun and fast battle. As always, the Guns at Gettysburg rules provide a simple game with a few bits of fun thrown in to make it interesting and evocative of the era. I did bring my camera to this battle and now I need to see if any of those photos are worth uploading. Stay tuned for a picture or two soon...

A map is worth 1,000 words
View from Confederate left looking at Winfrey farm holding Baldwin's brigade with Dodge's brigade behind them

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