I was inspired to play this battle after reading Scott C. Patchan great book on the ‘Second Manassas – Longstreet’s attack and the struggle for Chinn Ridge’. I searched the web and war-gaming world to see if anybody else had played this part of the battle..but alas I found none. So then with that in mind I thought well this would make a fantastic game for an American Civil War club or demo game and it had also given me the inspiration to paint the 5th & 10th New York Zouaves Regiments for the battle.
Our battle started with the Warren’s Zouave Brigade having been pushed from their first position to a position in front of the Hardin’s Pennsylvania Reserve Brigade and with Hoods Texan’s in hot pursuit (pictured above). McLean’s Brigade of Ohions are formed up on Chinn Ridge (pictured below) and I had Tower’s Brigade of New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians sitting back in reserve near Chinn Branch creek. I tried to keep the units positioned at the start of the game as they would have been on the day and when allowing the reserves and flank marches on also as close to the original timings and positions as possible.
In total I had five brigades of five regiments each for the Confederated offensive (25 in total) plus three artillery batteries on the board and one off table. The Union also had five brigades however they were of various strengths ranging from two regiments (10th & 5th NY) to four regiments. In total the Union players had 20 regiments in six brigades plus three on table batteries and two off table. So loads of troops which meant I had to gather up much of the collections from five of the lads in the club, so plead forgive me if the flags are not correct.
73rd Ohio resting in front of the Chinn house from McLean Brigade
So our great battle started with the attack of Hoods five regiments on to Warren’s small but tough Zouave Brigade. And as excepted the Zouaves gave as good as they got. After a couple of turns of hard fighting the 10th National Zouaves were forced of the field loosing their colours in the process, but the tough veteran 5th NY stayed firm falling back numerous times but never routing until casualties became to great and were eventually withdrawn from the field.
One of the gallant stands of the 5th NY as they slowly withdrew back up the ridge fighting every step of the way.
The 10th NY put up a gallant fight but are overwhelmed by numbers and are routed from the field.
While the fighting was going on to the ridge in from of McLeans brigade our Union General decided to push two regiments (one from each flank) up support the Pennsylvania Reserve Brigade (pictured above are the 73rd & below 55th OH).
The 55th Ohio were to have the best success in supporting the reserves.
This fine regiment out shone many of the Union regiments this day by boldly advancing against overwhelming odds and smashed into the flank of the 4th Texans forcing them to rout almost to the tables edge.
The Texans reformed were again charged by the 55th OH, however this time after about 40mins of battle Even’s South Carolinian Brigade had finally caught with Hood’s Texans and helped repulse the 55th.
Evan’s South Carolinians five veteran regiments advance in support of Hood and help push back and then destroyed the Pennsylvania Reserve Brigade…the way was now open to attack Chinn Ridge.
However on Chinn Ridge McLean had just been re-enforced by another battery of guns plus the two off table batteries were now clear to fire on the advancing rebels. They laid down withering fire of shell, ball and canister in to the rebels ranks.
But these veteran troops just reformed ranks and kept advancing towards Mclean’s Ohioans
Just as the Texans were about to give another rebel yell the support artillery from three batteries unlimbered to their rear and firing just over the heads of the Texans, destroying one Union battery causing numerous casualties on the supporting Ohioans.
Boyce, Reilly and Bachman batteries open up and deliver a devastating fire onto Chinn Ridge.
With a yell the shrunken ranks on Hood’s Texans surge forward
The 25th Ohio firing into the 5th Texas
As the battle for Chinn Ridge starts in ernest Mclean’s Brigade holds it’s own for roughly three turns. This allowed Towers to bring his brigade up into support. But only just in time as as another Confederate Brigade under Corse brings his all Virginian Brigade onto the flack of the Union line.
Our battle raged on both fronts for a number of turns with each side taking heavy casualties until finally the 73rd Ohio, who were holding McLeans right flank, collapsed and streamed back to the rear.
26th NY, from Towers Brigade are rushed forward to assist in the defence of the Union right flank.
With the Texans now struggling against the 73rd and 25th Ohio, Evens brings up his South Carolinians in support on the left of Texans. They are subject to some withering flanking fire from the two off board artillery batteries but reform ranks and charge McLean’s left flank.
The constant strain of battle proves to much for the Ohioan Brigade and their regiments break all across the line. Mclean tries desperately to rally his troops but can not stop the tied and demoralised troops….the 73rd loose their colours to the 23rd South Carolina.
McLeans now defeated regiments steam past the Chinn homestead and out buildings closely followed by the 5th Texas. Tower’s Brigade put in one more final effort to holt the on rushing Confederates. The 88th PA hit the 17th and 11th VA in their right flanks and force them to retreat, momentarily stopping Corse’s advance.
The retreat of the 73rd Ohio
Then with the Chinn Ridge almost lost the two Union reserve brigades of Stiles and Koltes finally arrive. But their combined six regiments and a battery of guns only holt the Rebel advance for a short period of time and allow some of McLeans troops to withdraw unmolested.
The Union players though that would soon be saved and they might get away with a draw…….then on came another Confederate Brigade this time under Hutton with another five regiments of Virginians. These fine troops took Tower’s brigade in the flank and rear coursing massive casualties and capturing the entire 94th NY……it signalled the end of the game for our Union Commanders.
Texans and South Carolinians stream through the Chinn homestead and fields running down the last remaining units of McLeans Brigade.
The 83rd NY (not a zouave unit) take up a strand position and hold open the line of retreat for the remain units of Tower’s depleted brigade.
The last two Union Brigades held firm till the last turn of the game stopping the Confederate advance. In the end, just like on the day back in 1862, the Confederates were victorious. They had defeated four of the six Union brigades, capture and destroyed three batteries and three sets of colours and still had one more brigade to come on in reserve….a very enjoyable game and I think a great one to play for a demo game.