Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Fort Donelson 1862

In Feburary 1862 Grant with 24,000 men bottled up 16,000 Rebs in Fort Donelson.  The Rebs tried to break out at dawn on February 15.
The perimeter of the CSA position has an abatis which we rate as a hard cover defended obstacle.  The CSA army is massed at the south end near the town of Dover ready to attempt their dawn breakout.  A thin line (Buckner's brigade) defends the perimeter on the western side.
The blue creeks & the river are uncrossable.
The Union has McClernand's division to the south, Smith's division on the north end & Lew Wallace's division in the centre.  Grant is having a meeting with his admiral & is not present when the battle starts.  The riverboats unsuccessfully attacked the fort the day before - the boat is decoration, not part of the scenario.
Union: Mark, Nick & Mitch.
CSA: Chris & JohnS.
Rules: Hail Mr Lincoln (modified Hail Caesar).
The first CSA brigade (Pillow's) has rushed forward & thrown itself at the Union line.
The first Reb attack has bounced back, but worse still for the Rebs, Floyd's brigade has failed to move for 2 turns & is still inside the perimeter.
Forrests' cavalry has been committed to help hold the line until Floyd's brigade comes up.  McClernand is counterattacking on his left.  Lew Wallace & Smith have defend orders & are reluctant to move to help without orders from Grant.
Pillow's brigade has broken & McClernand's counterattack is squeezing the CSA breakout into a pocket.
At 8pm (after about an hour's play) Grant arrived on the table & immediately gave Smith orders to attack.
Forrest's shaken cavalry is falling back into the perimeter as Floyd fights on.
Buckner's thin line is holding off Smith's attack.  Lew Wallace has now also advanced.  Floyd is retiring back behind the perimeter. 
Smith is still making no progress on the near flank, but Lew Wallace has broken through on his right.  Floyd has retired into the town while McClernand regroups his successful, but battered brigades.  
The weight of numbers has finally taken its toll on Buckner's men & gaps have appeared in his line.  McClernand & Wallace are now getting troops across the abatis to the south.  It is 10pm & thus nightfall.  The CSA breakout has been thwarted & the Union have taken most of the defensive line.

In the morning our plastic Grant can repeat the real Grant's reply to the Reb's plea for terms.  "No terms except for unconditional & immediate surrender can be accepted.  I propose to move immediately against your works." 

Fort Donelson was the first of the three times U.S. Grant captured a Confederate army.  In our scenario the Union actually did better than the original.  In the real deal about 3,000 Rebs managed to cut their way out, but none got away in our battle.  This was due to our McClernand (Mark) being much more aggressive in defense, plus bad command dice for Floyd's brigade which left Pillow out on a limb for too long.


Phil said...

A great looking game with an impressive fort!

Gonsalvo said...

Very attractive game, and love the ship, even if it is only decorative!