Thursday, April 03, 2014

Cedar Mountain 1862

Jim's Union v. Chris' Confederates

This scenario is taken from an excellent blog I just discovered:
It includes several beautifully presented scenarios for battles between Blenheim 1704 & Cedar Mt 1862.  With the help of the blog, it only took us an hour to set this up after the air games the other night.  I suggest you check out the blog, apart from the excellent scenarios & battle descriptions, the sand tables for some of the battles are astounding.

Jackson's Confederate force outnumbers Bank's Union army by over 2 to 1.  But it's mid summer & over 100 degrees F & the Rebs have forced marched all day.  Banks only has to hold on until nightfall as he has reinforcements coming by morning.

The heat is said to have significantly affected the Reb's fighting ability.   To reflect this we dropped off a few Reb units as stragglers (simplifying the OOB in the process) and dropped the Rebs stats for firing, HTH & stamina by 1.  All troops are regular grade & all commanders 8.  (Jackson had to have a nap during the battle, presumably because of the heat, so even he wasn't at his best).

We used our Hail Napoleon rules - our house variant of Hail Caesar for the Black Powder era.  The battlefield is set up at a scale of 18" = 1km using Chris' 15mm figs.  Each 75mm wide unit = about 400 men.   We started the battle with all troops deployed historically as they were before the serious action started.  There are 2 hours = 6 pairs of turns left until nightfall.
All pics are taken from behind the Union line.  In the centre Banks has advanced his infantry into a valley of cornfields with artillery on a ridge behind able to fire over them.  The Rebs have 4 divisions deployed facing the Union line, 3 still coming up & one on Cedar Mt outflanking Bank's left.
The Rebs are trying to advance all along the front, but the command system has caused some divisions to move up faster than others.  Banks is moving his reserve & his centre's 2nd line to the left to meet the Reb's flank attack.
On the right the Rebs have charged across the clearing to attack the Union troops on the edge of the wood.  In the centre, the Rebs are making hard work of it in the face of Union artillery fire from the ridge and skirmish fire from the infantry.  On the left the Rebs have crossed the creek & are ready to attack.
The struggle in the wood on the right continues indecisively.  The Rebs are trying to send a reserve division to help, but they seem to have lost their way in the woods.  The Rebel attack in the centre is going nowhere, but they have advanced a division to attack the angle in the Union line in the corn field.  The Rebel attack on the left has mostly been thrown back.
On the left, Union fire has finished off the Rebel right flank.  The Rebel attack on the cornfield did break the Union line, but the cost was high & they couldn't stand in the face of the Union artillery on the ridge.  The Union centre only just hung on, but hang on they did, & most of the Rebel centre has been shaken & forced to retire.  On the right, the Rebel reinforcements still haven't got to the front & the Union troops in the woods have hung on by the skin of their teeth causing both attacking divisions to retreat.

So as night fell, 3 of 4 Union divisions are on half strength but none have broken and they still hold the line.  The Rebels have the only intact division left on the field (on their left), but it's too late to use it.  They have 5 divisions broken & fail their army break test on the final turn.  It is clearly a remarkable Union victory against heavy odds (40 infantry & 5 guns v. 17 infantry, 1 cavalry & 6 guns).  The reduction of Rebel fighting ability due to the heat was crucial, but the Union also had a good position that Chis defended well, with good use of his reserve, & unlike Banks made no wasteful counterattacks.   The Rebs on the other hand possibly got a bit carried away with the need for speed.  A bit of time for preparation before going in might have worked better in the long run. 

We had added a few tweaks to the rules since we last fought ACW & they all worked fine - speeding the game up even more with no noticeable reduction in subtlety.  The 6 pairs of turns only took us about 1 & 1/2 hours to play. 
Next Tuesday, it's Chris' turn to be gamesmaster & he will be putting this battle on again, this time doing the deployment phase as well.  We will start 3 hours earlier with the Rebs marching onto the table in a long column of 9 divisions - 1 division per turn.  The Union will start deployed behind the crest where their artillery was deployed in today's battle, but free to advance as they did.


Jonathan Freitag said...

Good looking game! Cedar Mountain is one of my favorite "smaller" ACW battles.

Phil said...

Very impressive, sounds like a great game!