It’s been a while since the last one, but here is another report of the latest game in the ongoing ACW Longstreet campaign we are playing. Note, this is a long post with a decent amount of photo’s of the game. The game was played last week and this means there is only one more game left in the campaign. With a bit of luck we should have the last game done this year.
This game was the meeting engagement game – a scenario we had not played before. It has no objectives and has the two sides start at opposite corners, at different ends of a road which ran between them. The terrain was a couple of hills, one on either side of the road, towards the union deployment zone. There was a couple of corn fields in the center of the table and two large woods on either side of my starting position.
Due to the sabotage effect from the last campaign turn I was also starting with fewer cards than normal in my control deck. The union forces were attacking, which sounds right for a battle at the fall of 1864, so got the first move. Below are my starting positions. My smaller 4 base units were in column ready for match into the woods on the right of the table, while my remaining mounted unit also ready to move to the woods on the other side of the force.
Ernie had a harder time with his larger union force in fitting his Union force into the deployment zone but managed it without needing to have any in reserves.
The first few turns were spend with us moving forces into the positions we wanted – or at least thought the troops would be best in. The union forces fanned out and it was clear were taking the high ground on either side of the road on their side of the table. However, as Ernie is behind on the EP count I was pretty sure he would not just sit and wait for an attack from me but come forward to get those charge EP’s. So I was confident that I would be on the defensive in this game. If not then I planned to attack through the corn fields in one section of the table trying to get a local superiority of numbers in an attack. For my first moves the columns moved as fast as they could through the trees and I sent my largest art unit around the outskirts of the woods to provide them some long range firepower when they go there. The rest of the infantry moved forward and slowly changed formation into line. This was to make the most of their firepower and I planned to wheel them so they would face the union forces behind the corn fields. The fields reduce the usefulness and power of the union artillery and mean I would not have to deal with them on the hills behind the infantry. The rest of my artillery was on the flank on the troops. They were to try to keep out of range of the union artillery but support my troops as the union forces came forward – assuming they would. The Union forces continued to fan out and as I expected unlimbered their art on the hill closest to me. But the corn fields, woods and range to my units they could see meant there was nothing for them to shoot at. The Confederate cavalry got into the woods on my left flank and that drew multiple Union regiments to them. To my advantage none of these were sharpshooters, and I did note that most of the regiments were the 2 or 3 base ones. The Union force kept coming on though I was confident that a good defensive line might win me the game- although I likely would lose out of charging EP’s the defense and counter charging may yet get me some of those.My cavalry in the woods dismounted. I was tempted to try to use them as Napoleonic cavalry, i.e. to get them to the other side of the woods and charge the smaller union infantry units in the open. But that’s high risk move and the unit is not big enough now to really have a great chance of winning those engagements. It would also leave my flank open to other Union troops which was not a good idea. So their assigned job was skirmishing in the woods to drawing off union units. They were also there to protect that flank and the art unit which I had close by those woods. I was hoping that art would bombard in the flank union units attacking my infantry line.Of course payback is just and fair. So just as I did in the last game, Ernie played the ‘not on the map’ card on me and put a marsh nicely in the middle of the area what I was planning to move across. The Union had I spotted my plan and was doing his best to disrupt it!
Luckily, I had moved the artillery past this spot already but it meant that I had to move the infantry through the woods and around the woods. This took more time and reduced my chance of having a good combined attack if I wanted to do one. I formed the infantry into lines as best I could with the swamp in place. The columns were across the other side of the table by now, so were able to turn and face the long side of the table. They started to move across the table as well. I did not want to have troops move through the swamp though and feared the recoil through the swamp. As difficult ground it would cost me precious extra cards to do this and it was clear that cards would be a key resource for me in this game already. I avoided firing with just a couple of artillery pieces to save cards a few times in this game. The card resource mechanic does start to force those decisions as you get used to the game. This was exasperated as when I reshuffled Ernie played a card which removed extra cards from my deck.
The cavalry in the woods had drawn 3 small units towards them and there were a couple of additional units moving towards them vs. my main line. Overall my 6 Confederate cavalry bases drew 13 bases of Union troops to them – their diversion worked! The cavalry fortified their front and started skirmishing with the Yankee’s – but in the end over the next few turns they managed to lose 1 base to Union fire and did no damage in return. The weight of Yankee fire was telling…Meanwhile, the large Union regiments were moving steadily forward towards my troops. The Union art on the hill limbering up again, realizing that they had to move to get into the battle as I was not going to attack the union forces at this point. After quite a few games I have also worked out that multiple lines of troops help so I purposely set up as best I could with the swamp in the way. Of course they can be a problem for interpenetration costs but it seemed worth trying to concentrate my forces in one area to avoid being picked off separately.Ernie’s Union forces continued to close though and tried to flank my own on the right. At this time he also played the confusion card, hoping the move my cavalry forward. They have had the campaign advantage which allows them to ignore that though! So instead he chose my most forward infantry unit and that moved towards his advancing units. They survived the next fire phase with no casualties (I was lucky). This means that in my next turn I had an opportunity for glory which I had not really planed for. I had the only ‘Rebel Yell’ card left in the deck for 1864 in my hand, so HAD to use it. However, to get more than 10 bases in an attack, the cavalry would need to charge as well. So that had to be done. The cavalry were eager so had at least a slim chance of success – but not much.I don’t think that Ernie expected the charge and he definitely did not expect the Yell card. Of course the cavalry lost but that was just one base lost. They retired 6″ so in the end although they did not win and were without their defensive works, this was really not a bad result for them. Their hero also died in the fight which was a pain, especially as a hero was created in one of the opposing union regiments in the same combat. The infantry unit though managed to win their combat and throw the union troops back 6″ as well. A great start to the main engagement! This left my unit a little exposed and in the next couple of shooting turns they started to lose bases – but also caused casualties to the union regiments in front of them.
During this time the 2 batteries of Union art moving into position on the flank and in the picture below at the top right you can see the small unit of repeater rifles trying to also get into the action. This is where marching those columns up the side of the table came in useful as they were moving through the woods to engage these units. The 2 small (4 base each) confederate units would deal with the small union regiment with repeaters in the woods and then start to move towards the union guns. However, this turned out to a be sideshow as while this happened the battle was being decided in the other are’s of the table. In the woods the Union troops moved up to my emplacements and continued the skirmishing – to little success on either side. I did even up the skirmishing casualties though – against the odds really. In the photo below you can see my flanking art which the cavalry were protecting. Over the game these became a little frustrating as they could not hit ANYTHING on bombardment. If they did hit then the kill rolls failed. They killed 1 base in bombardment all game I believe. These guys may need to get eye glasses and take some extra math lessons. Below can see the 2 Union units of 5 bases each moving towards that Art unit. However, they redeemed themselves with canister fire and over the course of a couple of turns (including defending from a union charge) they manged to completely destroy the closest unit, which started with 5 bases. The single rifle artillery unit which is out of the photo on the shot during this time was being more effective, slowly killing 2 bases from the more distant 5 base unit. So I guess the dice give and take away.
The Union forces did charge trying to get rid of the cavalry and open up that flank. The cavalry also did amazing well defending against this hand to hand attack vs all three small regiments. This was one of the turning points of the game as the failure of this attack destroyed one of the small union regiments and with some favorable skirmish dice rolls (and modifier cards) the other Union units were then destroyed. That added a lot of union troops in the broke box at limited cost to me. It was a lucky break really as the small units become fragile. However, another pressing issue was now at hand for me. My card deck was getting very thin so I needed to win quickly on casualties or the game would be over due to me not having any cards left.In the central engagement my first unit of infantry, the one which had charged, was slowly destroyed by shooting and the Union troops moved up to my next line of troops. They did mange to take out at least as many bases of union troops as themselves though, so it was a bloody defeat. The second line of guys had thrown up entrenchments as well, expecting an attack. This came on quickly but Ernie did not have any good cards to support it and the defenders won here. My confederates then followed that up with some good shooting which really started to reduce the number of union troops still with their colors. This victory in the woods and my art slowly reducing the Union forces meant casualties were really mounting up on the union side. Below, you can see the remains of the 2 five base units down to 5 bases total – just before the closest unit was destroyed by canister fire from the rebel artillery canister! By this point all the units which the cavalry were fighting have also been removed from the table as well. At this time I was getting critical on control cards, with only a couple turns of play left really as I had just a few cards left. Ernie on the union side still had a decent number of cards but his broke box was quite full.In the end lady luck was on my side as with a good roll at the end of my turns I had done enough damage to the union force to gain the victory! This really was grasping success from the jaws of failure as two or three more turns would have seen me lose on cards. A griping end to the game as until very close to the end with some lucky shooting and defense rolls for me. I thought I was going to lose this one. Ernie’s aim for maximum charge EP’s allowed me to win as I suspect if he had sat back and skirmished for a long time in the woods vs. my cavalry he would have won. All credit to him for playing the campaign and period not just playing safe.
Period Style report
So here we go again for my ‘in period’ view for the fall of 1864…
So here are the standing at present and the changes to our forces. One of my units was wiped out, but seeing the President of the Confederacy helped their morale. The camp really hurt me though, with me losing 10 bases in camp! Nearly as many as in the battle. I know desertions were high at this time of the war, so it makes sense. The troops are leaving for home if they can. The single Cavalry regiment in my force did amazing well though (again).
Ernie’s force got stronger with a ‘colored troop’ unit and more repeaters, as well as the removal of another small unit. The union force sis very well in camp this time. I’m sure that we both will be combining a couple of the smaller units for our last game in the campaign.
Colonel Hector Archibald – 7 eagles, 48 EP
The card changes that were made to my force were:
- Priority – 4 blank cards for next game
- New art – 1 nap and 1 how
- Rebel draft
- Hail to the chief
Colonel Ambrose Burnside – 4 eagles, 32 EP’s
The card changes that were made to Ernie’s force were:
- Valuable experience – Mexican war vet
- 1 recruit for the 73rd infantry
- 1 recruits for the 1st Michigan
- Repeater rifles to 7th Maine
- 1 recruits for the 15st Michigan
- Addition of a colored unit to the force