Sunday 30 May 2010

Battle of Preston (re-fight)

This weekend saw the ‘proper’ battle of Preston take place, as opposed to the try-out we had a few weeks ago which was posted here on this blog.

Commanding the Confederates, in the role of McLaws, was Ian and commanding the Union, in the role of Howard, was Stephane. I was in my customary spot on the computer as we used Carnage and Glory II, ACW version.

If you read the previous run-through of this battle, you will recall that the Confederates had a bad time of it, although the losses on both sides were small. This time the result was the complete opposite – the Union forces were thrashed (I can think of no other word to convey the hideous distortion in casualties) and in full retreat, their tails between their legs, they fled the field. Union total casualties came in at 35% (including wounded and those who surrendered) of the about 11,000 that started, as against Confederate losses of under 600 in their force of about 7000. I have attached OOBs for both forces up to the last move we played (move 10) as well as a summary.

The day started well for Howard as he had found an extra bridge (a Rebel pontoon bridge) and he was allowed to place this wherever he wanted. He was also able to move onto the table Move 1 whereas the rebels had to wait until the following move. As the Umpire (me) had indicated to Howard that he had to act aggressively (which was within the context of the scenario being played) he brought his three infantry divisions over each respective bridge and ford and launched them piece meal against the Rebels. Furthermore, and most crucially, his artillery trailed along at the rear and he did not wait for them to arrive to support the attacks of the infantry. The Union artillery, which was stronger than the Rebel equivalent arm, therefore never fired once. Three divisions launched largely suicidal attacks against the Rebels who had occupied Mullany farm, Jackson farm and the large hill between the two farms (see map).

Some highlights on interest:
1) The valiant but futile assault of 6th Vermont against a rebel battery. They halted at 50 paces and exchanged volleys, on the one hand, for canister on the other. Then, when exhorted to charge, the valiant Vermont boys stood around in chaos for 15 minutes before routing.
2) The successful charge of 2nd Vermont against 16th Georgia in a cornfield. With limited visibility both charged at 15 paces and the Georgians were tumbled out of the field.
3) The irritation of the Union cavalry when, having been ordered to dismount, were then ordered to remount and charge a Rebel battalion. The 9th New York cavalry then routed.
4) The bloody assaults of Barlow’s division on Jackson farm when, on three occasions, the Union charged and on three occasions they were bloodily repulsed.

All in all, a most enjoyable game which ran with great fluidity. We managed 10 moves (or 2 and a half hours) in a day and reached a conclusion by Saturday night. We are planning another game soon (perhaps with more players) and I’d recommend Carnage and Glory II to all ACW gamers.

NB: Yes, I see the picture numbering went slightly wrong! Please forgive me – you know you will feel better for it!

Oh, and I see Stephane has just done his own description of the battle from the Union point of view on his blog. It is in French but if you don't read French put it through a transator as it is very amusing and has quite another point of view, not to mention some lovely pictures.

1 comment:

  1. Nice looking game and AAR. Glad to see someone doing Barlow's division amd some of the othe lesser known Union brigades, etc.

    One slight suggestion: you need a lot more trees on an ACW battlefield. Other than the first day of Gettysburg, the terrain tended to have more cover, more rail fences etc and wasn't quite as open as some of your pictures depict.

    The wooded areas are actually quite open as farmers tended to allow their livestock to graze in the woods, hence there wasn't much underbrush, but the trees were still there, sort of like a public park.

    That said, you have a very nice looking ACW set up and I enjoyed looking at it very much.