Christmas Game - Harrison's Meadow VA June 1861

Longstreets's Brigade march to Harrison's Meadow

I do have other interests apart from 1660-1721 and so for the Christmas game this year I thought I'd surprise Toggy with an ACW encounter from the very beginning of the war.

Ewell's Brigade approach from the south west

In this fictitious pre-1st Bull Run encounter elements of Tyler's 1st US Division attempt to protect the Warrenton Road road adjacent to a large pasture known as Harrison's Meadow from regiments from four brigades of Beauregard's Army of the Potomac.

Keyes' position facing Ewell

The kicker in this battle was to be that of the 15 Confederate units only one was Drilled whilst the
others were classed as Green. Only three Confederate units had rifles and the cavalry had carbines.

E Company northern flank

Of the 12 Federal units 6 were Drilled, four had rifles, the cavalry had carbines and 10 artillery pieces were deployed facing none from the enemy.

We used Rally to the Colors! which is the as yet unpublished ACW version of Republic to Empire.
 I set the game up to be a nice shoot 'em up way to pass a holiday afternoon, what we ended up with was an exciting, frustrating and unpredictable game which really delivered the frustration of commanding an army of untrained volunteers.

Sherman holds the northern flank

All Federal units were insitu to defend with the exception of the cavalry (arriving when 35 had been achieved by dealing a playing card per turn). The Confederates began with Ewell's Brigade of five green regiments approaching from the south west and Longstreet's Brigade of four green regiments moving from the north west. Using the playing card system a battery of guns would arrive on 21, a cavalry regiment on 35 and Bonham's Brigade of four regiments on 40.

Longstreet's Brigade tramp up the steep hill towards the inferno

The hammer falls on the 17th VA as they must deploy under the guns

Rally to the Colors! is an alternate phase game where MVs (Movement Points) govern what can activate. Longstreet's Brigade had to negotiate a long slope before visual contact could be made and the first problems occurred when these long march columns tried to deploy into line of battle. Under the muzzles of A and D Artillery companies and the muskets of the 3rd Michigan the large but inexperienced 17th VA Regiment was cut to pieces attempting to form line. It bolted back down the road which caused a chain reaction taking the 13th VA and the 5th NC with it in panic!

E Company enfilade the 13th VA retreating down the hill - Longstreet under the muzzles!

As the former ran through a wheat field they caught enfilade fire from the entrenched E Company battery concealed to the north. Only the intervention of Beauregard and Longstreet prevented total ruination of the brigade which took some time to reassemble at the foot of the hill.

Come back n'fight Yankee! The 5th Alabama rout the 13th NY, Harrison's Homestead

Meanwhile slow progress by Ewell finally resulted in the 5th AL making a spirited bayonet charge against the 13th NY defending Harrison's homestead. The New Yorkers skedaddled before contact leaving the Alabamians to their prize. As Ewell's brigade had Attack orders every regiment had to push on regardless. A second charge by the 5th AL was stopped by fire from the 69th NY beyond the Warrenton Road.

Longstreet in disarray

With Longstreet's Brigade in chaos Ewell split his brigade with the Louisiana Zouaves coming under the direct control of Beauregard who marched them off down the hill and to the north to try and find a way through against the gun redoubt on the enemy right flank. An attempt by Ewell's 11th VA to displace the 3rd Michigan was also driven back under fire from A and D artillery companies. The rout of the 11th VA who sped down the same route as the 17th VA unsettled Longstreet's  reassembling brigade causing the 17th VA, 13th VA, 18th Mississippi all to turn tail and leave the field.

13th NY occupying the farm before being ejected by the 5th Alabama

At this point Bonham's brigade was arriving just at the same spot. The best unit in Beauregards's force- the 8th South Carolina, simply turned and ran! This wobbled the brigade so much that it halted far from the action. The Washington Artillery battery newly arrived turned right around and galloped from the field without deploying. It was becoming a very bad day for the Confederacy.

Determined to salvage Southern pride Barry Beauregard soldiered on. Toggy Tyler sat snuggly in position and polished his d6! The Confederate cavalry avoided the chaos of 2,500 routing volunteers and traversed the slope inside the wheat field taking position behind the same stone wall abandoned by the 13th VA about two hours previously.

Avoiding the fire of Company E (out of shot left) the VA Cavalry climb the slope

Meanwhile General Beauregard at the head of the Louisiana Zouaves stormed E Company's redoubt at bayonet point and forged on to the Warrenton Road only to face the 1st Connecticut Regiment on the east side standing in another wheat field.

 As the Southerners reorganized for a second charge the Union regiment lurched forward and the mother of melee's took place with Brigadier Sherman and General Beauregard in the thick of the action. Each fought the other to a standstill with Zouaves taking 65% losses and the Northerners around 60%. The fight ended with both regiments backing off but remaining intact.

At 'em Boys! The 1st Connecticut slam into the Louisiana Zouaves

The final act was a gallant charge by Ewell's 1st VA who pushed the 3rd Michigan from their positions with heavy losses. Again the day was saved by D Company whose canister volleys sent the 1st reeling back down the road.

Company D for 'Deadly. Here seeing off the first of their victims the 17th VA

Their third triumph having already broken the 17th VA and the 11th VA. This final rout was enough to send the Confederate cavalry scurrying back down the slope and the battle was over. A great victory for the Federal forces.

All over - view from the East. The Confederates break off to lick their wounds

I managed to roll 1 for more than 60% of my many morale checks which even Bob was finding socially awkward after he'd stopped laughing. Controlling large numbers of poor quality troops in the attack was very challenging and I really felt the frustration of a commander whose regiments will not do what he wants quickly and well enough. We both agreed the game was a hoot and it prompted me to did out m 40mm project to let Toggy see it. I have, since last night started to paint some again after 5 years.

Barry Beauregard's Incompetent Volunteers

Ewell's Brigade

5th Alabama                   Green, smoothbore musket, 24 models - casualties 1 model: in retreat
6th Alabama                   Green, smoothbore musket, 29 models - casualties 9 models: steady
11th Virginia                  Green, smoothbore musket, 48 models - casualties 21 models:dissolved
Louisiana Zouaves         Green/Elite, smoothbore musket, 36 models - casualties 23 models: steady
1st Virginia                     Green, smoothbore musket, 29 models - casualties 12 models: routed

Longstreet's Brigade

13th Virginia                  Green/Elite, smoothbore, 24 models - casualties 6 models:routed
17th Virginia                  Green/Elite, smoothbore musket, 32 models - casualties 23 models: routed
5th N.Carolina               Green/Elite, rifle, 24 models - casualties 0 models: steady
18th Mississippi            Green, rifle, 28 models - casualties 0 models: routed

Bonham's Brigade

3rd S. Carolina              Drilled, rifle, 28 models - casualties 0 models:routed
7th S. Carolina              Green, smoothbore, 28 models - casualties 0 models:in retreat
8th S.Carolina               Green, smoothbore, 40 models - casualties 0 models: steady
8th Louisiana                Green, smoothbore, 30 models - casualties 0 models: steady

Washington Artillery -  Drilled 3 x 12pdrs 0 casualties, in retreat
30th Virginia Cavalry - Green. carbine, 26 models- casualties 0 in retreat

Toggy Tyler's Triumphant Yankees

Sherman's Brigade

1st Connecticut              Drilled/Elite, rifle, 28 models - casualties 17 models: steady
2nd Connecticut            Green, smoothbore musket, 24 models - 0 casualties: steady 
2nd Maine                     Drilled, rifle, 36 models - 0 casualties: steady
1st Massachusetts          Green, smoothbore, 26 models - 0 casualties, steady

A Company                   Drilled 4 x 12pdr 0 casualties
D Company                   Drilled 4 x 12pdr 0 casualties
E Company                   Drilled 2 x 12pdr 0 casualties

Sherman's Brigade

3rd Michigan                 Drilled/Elite, smoothbore musket, 20 models -  casualties 15 models: in rout
13th New York              Green/Elite, smoothbore musket, 24 models - casualties 3 models: rallied
69th New York              Green, rifles, 34 models -  0 casualties: steady
79th New York              Drilled/Elite, rifles, 28 models, 0 casualties: steady

1st US Cavalry             Drilled, carbines, 26 models - 0 casualties - steady

Some of my 40mm Texans