Tuesday, July 09, 2013

ACW 1862 Campaign: Harpers Ferry

We have started our ACW campaign based on Lee's advance into Maryland of 1862.  Peter Williams the chief umpire is still in Japan on a research trip, but the internet is everywhere & we got started anyway.   The first battle is on day 3 - the Rebels have surrounded Harper's Ferry and are trying to take it and its valuable supplies.  The campaign has sparked a lot of interest in the group with 8 attendees for the battle.
The Union army of 5 raw infantry, 5 trained infantry & 2 guns occupy the town and Bolivar heights behind it.  Overnight the Rebs have dragged artillery onto the Maryland heights and placed a few sharpshooters up there.   At dawn the head of the Reb division of 7 trained units is marching up the railway line on the right between the river & the steep almost impassable hillside.  The union expect more Rebs to appear from somewhere, but don't know where from.  The rivers have just two fords (marked with tape).  Bolivar heights behind the town is difficult ground, but nowhere near as bad as Maryland Heights on the right.
On turn 6 a Reb cavalry division of 5 veteran units & a gun appeared on the far side of the table and tried to move rapidly forward, though only half of it did.  The Reb infantry have moved along the railway line and there is an exchange artillery & rifle fire across the Potomac. 
The Reb artillery has been silenced and their infantry is taking steady losses, but they have half the union army pinned down in the town as the Reb cavalry dismount and attack over Bolivar Ridge.  With veterans v, raw troops, the odds favoured the Reb cavalry.  But alas, the dice gods decreed otherwise.  The Rebs failed every Break Test while the Union passed all but one.  On the other front, the Rebs also had 3 units break or fall back into the hills while the Union passed almost every Break Test.
On turn 13 (of 18 for the day), the Rebs pulled off in good order, deciding not to gamble on another attack, which if it failed may have lead to a rout of the whole army.  It was a closer run thing than it looked as the victory conditions (which both sides only knew in principle, not in detail) took account of Union's General Butler's lack of ticker - the Union didn't have to lose more than half their units to fail their Army Break test as the Rebs did.

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