Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Shenandoah Campaign: Battle of New Town

After the fight at Strasburg Banks fell back towards his main supply base at Winchester.  Jackson took Ewell's division to follow in hot pursuit while his own divisionstayed at Strasburg recuperating from the battle & looking for abandoned Union supplies & equipment.  Around noon Banks stoped his retreat & stood to face Ewell at New Town.  Banks had ordered Shield's division to fall back from Front Royal & join him at New Town.  The campaign system includes random factors so Banks had to fight not knowing when Shields would arrive.  Jackson had no idea what was happening at Front Royal as he did not have direct communication with his troops in that area.

Because they had fought a battle, retired overnight, then retreated with enemy in pursuit Banks' force started the battle with loses carried forward from the battle plus some fatigue.   Ewell's Division arrived too late to fight at Strasburg & is fresh.
The Union force is on the left.  Their strongest brigade is on the left of the town, the weakest in reserve.  The CS forces are setting up a grand battery in front of the town & have weighted their left. Jackson is commanding their right, Ewell their left.
 The table included a special space for Banks' tummy.
 Banks sends his reserve to the right as Ewell advances on his flank.
Ewell charged the wood on this flank but bounced off heavy losses.  He pulled the lead brigade back to rally it & made a more measured attack with the 2nd brigade, this time with a skirmish screen out in front.  On the far flank Jackson has now sent 2 brigades forward to attack the Union left while his artillery pounds the town.
Jackson's attack on the right has driven the Union left back.  With Ewell driven back on his right, Banks has brought his reserve back to the centre to support his left.

Ewell has charged the wood again.  Softened up by the previous attack & the skirmishers, the Union defenders are now giving ground. The defenders of the Saloon & the Church have broken under the artillery bombardment & Jackson has now entered the town.  The Union reservre has stopped Jackson's advance on the right of the town.  The head of Shield's' column has finally appeared on the road through the forest.  (He was delayed in getting started with new orders this morning).
By the time night brought the combat to a close Jackson has taken the Whorehouse & the Bank to secure the town.  But he has had to pull back his right as Shields' column came out of the trees - though too late to actually fight. On this flank the dismounted US cavalry have done well in finishing off Ewell's 1st brigade, but his 2nd brigade has almost cleared the wood of defenders.

The Union have lost 7 units broken, the Rebs have lost 5.  Most of the engaged units have heavy casualties & Banks' division is severely fatigued as well.   As neither side had broken or conceded,  immediately after dark troops must retire 12" to be 24" from the enemy unless they are in cover then their opponents in the open must retire 24".  So Banks has to pull back from the town.  Both sides now have the option of retiring overnight or regrouping to continue the battle in the morning.  It's a tough decision.  Banks' weary force did well today, but is now even more damaged & fatigued.  However, he now also has Shields' fresh division  on the battlefield.  Jackson's force has high casualties, but his other division is now rested up after the previous battle & is not far away.

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