Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan assumed command of Union forces in western Virginia in June 1861. On June 27, he moved his divisions from Clarksburg south against Lt. Col. John Pegram's Confederates, reaching the vicinity of Rich Mountain on July 9. Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Morris's Union brigade marched from Philippi to confront Brig. Gen. Robert S. Garnett's command at Laurel Hill. On July 10-11, Brig. Gen. William S. Rosecrans led a reinforced brigade by a mountain path to seize the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike in Pegram's rear.
A sharp two-hour fight ensued in which the Confederates were split in two. Half escaped to Beverly and on over the Shawnee Trail, but Pegram and the others (including the "Sydney Boys", a regiment formed from the students of Hampden-Sydney College) surrendered on July 13.
Hearing of Pegram's defeat, Garnett abandoned Laurel Hill. The Federals pursued, and, during fighting at Corrick's Ford on July 13, Garnett was killed; he was the first general officer to be killed in the war. On July 22, McClellan was ordered to Washington, and Rosecrans assumed command of Union forces in western Virginia. The Union victory at Rich Mountain was instrumental in propelling McClellan to command of the Army of the Potomac.
Yesterday evening, we tried our very first steps into the rules of rank and File, produced by Crusader, which are a generic 1740 - 1900 set with an ACW supplement.
I went to search for a setting and scenario that would allow for not to many issues, yet for example give us a chance for working out things like morale and such, and came up with this scenario, a part of the attack:
The Union, who had historically double the forces we used, would have to break through the small confederate force in order to support the main attack. The confederates just had to hold the wall for 6 turns.
We used a small table of only 24 by 48 inch, as it was focussed on the frontal assault on a defended linear obstacle, and with green troops (more chance on morale failures) with enfield rifled muskets. The purpose of the game was to get the hang of movement, trade a few pot shots in turns 3 and 4, and launch the ACW specific rules charge of a wave attack in turn 5.
That would give us a `first feel` of all the different aspects in the game and allow for fine tuning in the future.
One important `houserule` we agreed on before embarking on the whole project of Historical gaming in our group, was that banners didn`t need to be correct. A unit of Zouaves needs to be represented by a unit of zouaves, no proxying (we can always twiddle a tat in the scenarios if we lack this or that unit), but no issues on banners. Most manufacturers have mainly the Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia in their ranges due to them being the two most famous forces, but there where many more battles fought after all...
All troops are Green in morale level. All troops are equipped with 1853 Enfield RM muskets.
W. S. Rosecrans (+1 / 1)
3rd Ohio regiment - 5 stands
14th Indiana regiment - 5 stands
J. Pegram ( +1 / 0)
20th Virginia regiment - 6 stands
The 20th Virginia had entrenched itself behind a small stone wall on the path through the forests, resulting in the Union force advancing steadily in line towards them.
Near the forest edge, some pot shots where traded, but the untrained troops on both sides failed to make any impact on the opponent. The Union lined up for a wave attack, with the 14th Indiana going in first, closely followed by the 3rd Ohio led by Rosecrans himself.
The defensive fire resulted in the 14th Indiana reaching the wall already unsteady, and in the resulting melee they where promptly routed and ran away, losing more men when they failed to rally.
In the meantime the 3rd Ohio was now battling it out with the 20th Virginia, and the southerners got a pummeling, becoming unsteady themselves. The 3rd however could not press on it`s advantage as the time had passed, and the main army was about to launch it`s attack, having to do without the flanksupport Rosecrans had to provide.
The first Confederate success was a fact...
In hindsight, we agreed it`s a good ruleset, suitable for our gaming group who sometimes `lacks the motivation` to learn whole tomes of rules, let alone read them, without being a too simplified ruleset.
Now it`s time for the next step and to start drawing up orbats and painting regiments for the first 2v2 battle with those rules, with which the command optional rules of messengers or base contact will be used... The goal is around december / january for... The Battle of Batton Rouge!
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