Monday, March 19, 2018

Shenandoah 1862 Campaign: Phase 1

Now that the first phase of the campaign is over I can provide a report on the campaign in general without compromising the hidden movement aspect of the campaign.  The campaign started with Jackson's force deployed in the centre of the Shenandoah valley with 3 Union armies around him - Banks to the north, Fremont to the west & McDowell to the east.  Initially only Jackson & Banks are involved, Fremont & McDowell being constrained in their own areas until Mr Lincoln is sure enough of CSA overall intentions to release them to move against Jackson.
The campaign started on 20th May with the initial deployments of Jackson & Banks' forces as shown on the map.  Jackson has 2 infantry divisions (Jackson's & Ewell's) & a cavalry division (Ashby).  Banks has 2 divisions (Banks & Shields).
On the map, the CSA forces & moves are in red, the Union in blue. 
The campaign started with Banks waiting for Jackson to move.  Initially Ashby moved to Front Royal to observe Shields while Jackson marched up the pike to Strasburg with Ewell following.
At Strasburg Jackson attacked Banks.  Banks held off Jackson's division until Ewell arrived late in the day, then withdrew in good order.
Banks withdrew to New Town & called for Shields to join him there. Jackson's depleted div rested at Strasburg while Ewell followed Banks.  Ewell attacked Banks' depleted division at New Town & took the town.  Shields arrived late in the day but in time to save Banks from defeat.
The next day Ewell's div held their position in New Town while the Union withdrew before Jackson's div came up from Strasburg.
The Union withdrew to Winchester, their main supply base.  Jackson's div followed them while Ewell's rested up at New Town).

On the 26th, Jackson attacked the Union at Winchester. Shield's fresh div took the brunt of the attack while Banks' battered & fatigued div was held back on the Union left.   Shields held Jackon's div off until Ewell arrived but could not stand against another fresh division while Banks' div was in no fit state to launch a counterattack to help him.  Banks broke off the action with his whole force now in bad shape.
Before the battle, Banks had sent his cavalry to Charles Town to guard against Ashby cutting off his line of retreat to Harper Ferry.  It was well he did, as Ashby had been sent to Charleston to do just that.  But the Union cavalry got their first & the Union army, though closely pursued by the Rebs was able to retreat through Harpers Ferry & over the Potomac.
Safe on the far side of the Potomac Banks will need a few days before his battered & fatigued force is fit to fight again.
So far all has gone well for the CSA.  They have driven the Union back over the Potomac scaring the hell out of the North, collecting all the military supplies they can carry from captured Union supply depots, & in campaign terms racked up a lot of Victory Points.  However they are surrounded by three Union armies & it's a long way back to Dixie before they can claim victory.

1 comment:

Gonsalvo said...

Great campaign idea. I have been to the Shenadoah valley a number of times in my life; it is both beautiful, and chock full of Civil War history (as, indeed, is most of Viginia).