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Fall 1863 – Probing for the Army of the Potomac Flank

Last night the lads from the club had a great little ACW. The scenario was set in the fall of 1863 when after the Gettysburg campaign both sides were trying to regain the initiative. The period or the campaigns during this time allowed itself for some very interesting cavalry skirmishers and our game last night was bases roughly along those lines.  

I placed the Confederates on the offensive with ten regiments of cavalry, in three brigades. Their mission was to break through the thin Federal cavalry screen and find the flank of the whole Union Army. The Federals, as you may have guessed was to hold or delay this manoeuvre for a period of eight turns. The Union cavalry screen consisted of only five regiments and a battery of artillery, decided into two brigades. However they were veteran troops and had all been issued with new the new repeater carbine.

In the opening turns two brigades of Confederate cavalry entered the table both coming down two alternate roads, at the western end of the table. The Union cavalry were deployed almost along the center of the table and started to construct hasty works out of the numerous rail fences in the area. This proved to be a very good tactical move for the Federals, as once the Confederates realised they were coming up against a well deployed and defended position, they changed their tactics and dismounted.  

The dismounting of the Confederate cavalry worked well for the Federal commander, whose job it was to delay the rebel cavalry as long as possible. His troops wasted no time in preparing their positions and were soon laying down a devastating fire into the rebel dismounted skirmish lines.

My newly painted and based dismounted cavalry proved hardy troops in last nights game. By the end of the game they had sustained heavy casualties and had to withdraw from the battlefield.

Union cavalry dismount and start to construct some hasty works

Works completed……”Come you Reds!!”

The Confederate commander wasted no time and soon after deploying two brigades in skirmish line (leaving one brigade still  mounted) he went onto the offensive. 

The Confederate reserve brigade moves up in support, waiting for an opportunity to charge the Federal lines.

A great view of the battlefield from the Confederate right flank

With troops deployed and well supported the Rebel commander advances his lines and soon come into contact with Union troops deployed in and around the outbuilding of a near by farm.

“Conserve your ammunition and shoot only at the targets you can see”

By turn six the pressure on the thin blue line starts to mount…as to does the casualties and the rebels see their chance to attacked all along the Union line. But they hold in the centre and on the the right flank and the Confederates are repulsed……

But with the falling back of the dismounted troops it opens up an opportunity of chance and the Rebel commander orders the charge. Two rebel cavalry regiments charge through the gap and after only a ragged volley from the Union troopers they overrun the position, capturing 120 Federal troopers prisoner.  

The remainder of the regiment flees….opening up a wide gap in the Federal line

But the Federal commander leads by example and rallies his troops and counter attacks the Rebel cavalry driving back two regiments  and stabilising the Union left flank.

However all looked on the Union left flank and they seemed to be holding their own quite well. But by turn seven the Federal right had given way after sustaining %50 casualties and was forced to withdraw from the field.

Even though the battle was lost to the Federal commander he had held the Confederates (who out numbered him 2-1) back for a substantial time and saved the Army of the Potomac from a flank attack. 

But victory no mater how small still went to the Confederates.


14 thoughts on “Fall 1863 – Probing for the Army of the Potomac Flank”

  1. I *so* want to do something like this. My buddy Scott is collection Confederates, and I'll be getting Union, and we were just talking the other day about a cav-heavy scenario.

    Once again, you are an inspiration.

  2. Really a very good looking game. No doubt about it, you've really nailed the art of wargaming photography. I think it's so important to play on a well 'dressed' table-top and it's year you all do as well. Striking to look at as usual. Almost enough to get me into ACW – but not quite. Thanks for posting.

  3. Nathan,
    Do you have any details of clubs in Townsville?

    My son has been posted up there and is a keen war gamer.

    Sorry to contact you this way, hope you don't mind.

    Mark Temple
    Sunshine Coast

  4. Mark,

    There are a couple of clubs in town namely the Townsville Gamers and the ADFA Wargamers, which I think will be the best one as it is one the Army base and plays, from memory every second Sunday.


    Thanks for the great comment and glad to read you like my site. ACW is one of my favourite periods to game just after Colonial. I will keep the games coming for you.



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