Tuesday, June 17, 2014

New Scenario: Ware Bottom Church 1864


  It was my turn to put on the scenario at our club this past weekend. At the last game I volunteered to lay on the next battle. I had decided to do an ACW game but became stumped as to what battle the game should be set in. It turns out that leaving it until a few days prior to the game does not help one create a better scenario! I found a nice framework for a series of battles from the Bermuda Hundred campaign. I suggest you stop in at Wargames Vault (http://www.wargamevault.com/index.php) if you want to find this nice little packet called "In Command: Bermuda Hundred Campaign. The background info given below came straight from the packet by Potomac Publications. All the rest of this mess is my own doing...

Scenario: Ware Bottom Church
Scale: 28mm
Rules: Guns at Gettysburg

NOTES:
This scenario is the result of a lot of sketchy details combined with some educated guesses. My short research turned up little in the way of a “real” map of the battle so the battlefield is conjectural. The CSA units involved are a guess as to who was actually fighting Terry's Union men on that day. Overall, it's likely a pretty good representation of the northern portion of the battle but it could stand much more research!

Most of the brigades have been modified from their historical composition for the sake of making putting units onto the wargame table. CSA brigade strengths are fairly realistic but regiments have been combined to create our standard size units. The USA brigades likewise have realistic overall strengths but some of their regiments have been divided to create “standard” units. Union units marked (f) on the Order of Battle are fictional units created to represent proper brigade strength while conforming to our wargaming unit organizations. See

The ground is likely a bit more difficult than we are representing in that it was likely a bit more overgrown and wet than our game table.

Ware Bottom Church 
20 May 1864
Bermuda Hundred Campaign

Background:
  For the campaigning season of 1864 Ulysses S. Grant planned to defeat the Confederacy by powerful offensives all along its extensive borders. One of the most important missions, the capture of the Rebel capital, was given to Major General Benjamin Butler. Butler’s newly formed Army of the James was to land at Bermuda Hundred, a peninsular close to the Confederate capital, and strike
swiftly inland while Grant occupied the attention of the main Confederate field army under Lee. The initial landings went according to plan and within a few days the Federals were in a position to threaten the important rail junction of Petersburg as well as Richmond.

Unfortunately for the Union cause Butler became confused about his objective and spent almost a week in fruitless skirmishing with a growing Confederate resistance. By May 12 Butler was at last prepared to advance on Richmond, he left a covering force facing Petersburg and moved with the remainder of his forces on the Rebel stronghold at Drewry’s Bluff. On the Confederate side General Pierre Beauregard had been trying of organize a creditable defense ever since the Union landing. At first almost nothing stood in Butler’s path should he strike at either Richmond or Petersburg, but taking advantage of Butler’s vacillation Beauregard slowly built up a respectable force of veteran brigades. As the Federals blundered towards the Drewry’s Bluff fortifications Beauregard had gathered enough strength to begin thinking about taking the offensive. An audacious plan to destroy Butler’s army was conceived, Beauregard would attack frontally while another Confederate force under Major General William Whiting would move on the Federal rear from Petersburg. These actions resulted in the battle of Drewry’s Bluff on May 16. Although Whiting never did manage to seriously threaten the Union rear, Beauregard’s attack so frightened Butler as to cause him to withdraw his army back towards their entrenchment’s at Bermuda Hundred.

On May 20 the Confederates assaulted the Union lines at Bermuda Hundred, overrunning the outlying rifle pits the Rebels almost broke through, however hard fighting and Federal reinforcements eventually beat off the attack. Nonetheless the result underlined the fact that Butler’s army was now confined to its defenses and no longer a serious threat to the Confederate capital. Butler argued that he was keeping valuable enemy forces occupied which would otherwise be facing Grant in his overland campaign. This was untrue however and by May 27 Grant required men more than Butler and began the reduction of his army, a corresponding reduction took place within the Confederate lines and the surplus sent to reinforce the Army of Northern Virginia. In Grant’s words, Butler was “in a bottle strongly corked.”

Scenario:
Our scenario depicts a portion of the battle at Ware Bottom Church on 20 May 1864. The Confederates have attacked the Union picket line at Ware Bottom Church and the Union troops of Alfred Terry have promptly moved to regain the line. Our game will represent the Union counter attack against Hoke's Confederates. The objective for each side is possession of the picket line/rifle pits running from Dr. Howlett's house and to the south.


Special Rules:
1. Each side sets up 24” into the table. The Confederates may use the brigades of Kemper and Hoke to occupy the recently taken picket line. All other CSA units must observe the 24” set up rule.

2. There is a line of shallow “rifle pits” and hasty works along the creek that was created by the Union skirmish line

2. We will use a modified version of the Divisional Redeployment March (rule 14.16) as our Tactical March. Any BRIGADE may move 24” provided that they remain more than 24” away from ANY enemy unit for the entire move. The Marching Brigade must have all of its units in March Columns and on MOVE orders.

3. Skirmish lines MUST have a minimum of 3 inches between figure bases; otherwise it is counted as Extended Line. Exception: If a stand cannot sit on a terrain piece then it may be closer than 3 inches to an adjoining stand but it must be made clear of the intent. This rule is being enforced to maintain ground scale and spacing.

Terrain:
Woods – For sake of game play, all woods are considered light woods and are classed as DIFFICULT TERRAIN. Units in woods receive -2 Cover modifier when being fired upon.

Farms – The “field” part of the farms represents the farms in this game. The buildings are decorative and offer NO benefits. Any unit in the “field” receives a -1 Light Cover modifier to represent fences, farm buildings, and other “cover” in and around the farm. It costs 2” movement to enter or leave fields.

Hills – These hills are more representative of low rises in the terrain and do not cause movement penalty. The hills do block line of sight.

Wood Fences/Hedges – Provide -1 cover and is DIFFICULT TERRAIN to cross in either direction.

Picket Line – This chain of hasty works and rifle pits provides -2 Cover and is DIFFICULT TERRAIN to cross in either direction.

Creek - DIFFICULT TERRAIN. Provides not added cover. Infantry may cross and Artillery may cross if limbered.


Federal Units
Tenth Army Corps

First Division
Brig. Gen. Alfred H. Terry

First Brigade Col. Joshua B. Howell
Unit
Size
Weapon
Morale
Skirmish Rating
39th Ill.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
62nd Oh.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
67th Oh.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
85th Pa.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
86th Pa. (f)
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate

Second Brigade Col Joseph R. Hawley
Unit
Size
Weapon
Morale
Skirmish Rating
6th Conn.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
7th Conn.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
3rd N.H.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
7th N.H.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
8th N.H. (f)
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate

Third Brigade Col. Harris M. Plaisted
Unit
Size
Weapon
Morale
Skirmish Rating
10th Conn.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
11th Me.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
24th Mass.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
100th N.Y.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
105th N.Y. (f)
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate

Artillery
Unit
Size
Weapon
Morale
Class
1st Conn.
2 Guns
10lb Parrot
VETERAN
RIFLE
5th N.J.
2 Guns
12lb Napoleon
VETERAN
SMOOTHBORE
M, 1st U.S.
2 Guns
3” Rifle
ELITE
RIFLE

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Confederate Troops
Hoke’s Command

Maj. Gen. Robert. F. Hoke

Corse’s Brigade Brig. Gen. Montgomery D. Corse
Unit
Size
Weapon
Morale
Skirmish Rating
15th Va.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
17th Va.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
29th Va.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
30th Va.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
Ransom’s Brigade Brig. Gen. Matthew W. Ransom
Unit
Size
Weapon
Morale
Skirmish Rating
24th N.C.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
25th N.C.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
35th N.C.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
56th N.C.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
Kemper’s Brigade Col. William R. Terry
Unit
Size
Weapon
Morale
Skirmish Rating
1st Va.
20
RM
REGULAR
1st Rate
11th Va.
20
RM
REGULAR
1st Rate

Hoke’s Brigade Col. William G. Lewis
Unit
Size
Weapon
Morale
Skirmish Rating
6th N.C.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
21st N.C.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
54th N.C.
20
RM
VETERAN
1st Rate
1st N.C. Sharpshooter Btn.
15
RM
VETERAN
Sharp Shooter
Read's Artillery Battalion
Unit
Size
Weapon
Morale
Class
Richmond Fayette Va. Art.
2 Guns
12lb Napoleon
VETERAN
SMOOTHBORE
Blount’s Va. Bty.
2 Guns
12lb Napoleon
VETERAN
SMOOTHBORE
Hampden Va. Art. and
Farquier Va. Art.
3 Guns
3” Rifle/12lb Napoleon
VETERAN
MIXED

General set up prior to battle


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