Skip to content

The Battle of Stephenson's Depot – 15th June 1863

Last Sunday Myself and Dave Hancox played a fantastic little game of ACW. We were play testing the soon to be released Basic Battles from Dadi &Piombo. The scenario I picked for the game game was from ‘The Maps of Gettysburg’ starting at page 53 The Battle for Stephenson’s Depot on the 15th June 1863. This is a great little unheard of battle which end the 2nd Battle of Winchester and opened up the Shenandoah Valley for Lee’s Army of Virginia to march onto Gettysburg. With a small battlefield and basically only three Brigades on each side it additionally made for the ideal afternoon wargame.

Our first deployments were for the Union forces (Elliott Brigade and the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry) to be already placed on the Martinsburg Pike, all in column route as they were trying to make the best speed away from Winchester and Confederates. It was also early morning with a heavy mist, which reduced visibility greatly. However the Confederate General – General Johnson and his veteran troops had reach the battlefield only minutes before and were waiting in ambush.

As the troops of Major General Milroy trudged nosily up the turnpike, Confederate sharpshooters concealed themselves in the undergrowth. Picture above and below are the Union regiments under General Elliott – 110th, 122nd, 123rd and 116th Ohio.

As soon as they were close enough to engage effectively the Confederate sharpshooters unleashed a deadly fire, which emptied many saddles of the 12th PA cavalry and effectively throwing the column into disorder.

The sharpshooters put up an effective defence for at leat three turns, forcing the Union cavalry to dismount and leading Infantry regiments to deploy into line.

With confusion everywhere in the Union ranks the 12th PA cavalry try to engage the Confederate sharpshooters…bit are not that effective in the low light and the sharpshooters are in very good cover.

As the cavalry engage the sharpshooters the first Union infantry regiments start to deploy and hopefully clear the woods.

The 110th Ohio deploys into double line in support of the 12th PA cavalry.

However as they start to cross the Harpers Ferry Road they come under fire from a well placed Confederate artillery gun, which causes a few casualties and throws them into disorder.

Forced back by the 110th OH the Confederate sharpshooters slowly withdraw back to the main Confederate position and draws the Union troops further away from their other supporting units of the Brigade.

As the 110th OH clears the woods of sharpshooters the 122nd OH  of Elliotts’ Brigade deploys across the Harpers Ferry Road to cover the deployment of the remainder of the Brigade.

Closely following Elliotts’ Brigade is Ely’s Brigade, another four regiments of infantry…..surely this amount of troops will over whelmed the small Confederate force blocking the road?

The 87th PA leads Ely’s Brigade up the Martinsburg Pike

As soon as Ely’s Brigade appears the Confederates reveal another hidden position and delivers a number of well aimed volleys into the unsuspecting Union troops. These lads are from Brig Gen Francis Nicholl’s all Louisiana Brigade, and they are crack veteran troops.

The 1st LA moves from its’ supporting position in the rear of the Confederate line to the extreme right flank.

With the battle now raging on Union right the 110th OH are still finding it hard to clear the woods of Confederate sharpshooters. However after numerous turns they finally push them away…but waiting behind a stone wall are three fresh regiments of Veteran Confederate troops under the command of Brig. Gen. George Steuart. All are veteran North Carolinas.

The battle intensifies across the whole battlefield 

The dismounted 12th PA cavalry and 122nd OH advance towards the Confederate lines

Brig General Ely deploys hos command in support of General Elliott

With a good eye for terrain General Ely depolys his whole Brigade across the Martinsburg Pike. His four regiments soon out flank the Confederate line 

As they advance across the field Confederate artillery opens up heavy and accurate fire. General Milroys now wishes he had never left his artillery behind in Winchester…….

Milroy’s final Brigade finally arrives on the Confederate flank in hope of turning the position. First to arrive are the 13th PA cavalry

Hopefully the Confederate line will brake soon….the 123rd OH advances up the Harpers Ferry Road. But all the time they are under fire from Confederate artillery and the 15th LA infantry.

However the 123rd OH are made of sterner stuff and charge the Confederate line several times in vain hope of braking through.

Confederate artillery placed on the bridge provides support to the 15th LA in the fierce hand to hand battle which rages to their left and along the the Winchester & Potomac Rail Road

Finally 67th PA and 6th MD from McAndrews Brigade arrive on the Confederate flank

The 13th PA Cavalry can not make headway against the accurate Confederate artillery fire so they dismount and deploy in support of McAndrews troops

The 15th LA are finally pushed back from the stone wall but the 123rd OH can not make anymore headway agains the strong Confederate position.

The 116th OH deploys along the Harpers Ferry Road in a vain hope of hold the flank

With the battle ranging across the whole Winchester & Potomac Rail Road the Union commander General Milroy fails to notice the arrival Gen Jackson’s old Virginia Brigade. First to arrive are the 2nd & 5th VA, who cut the Martinsburg Pike and Milroy’s planned escape route.

Brig. Gen Steuart’s Brigade of North Carolinians advance through the woods 

The battle is lost for the Union troops as the remainder of Jacksons Virginians arrive in support of the hard pressed Louisiana regiments. The 33rd, 27th and 4th VA all Elite regiments crush any hopes Milroy had in breaking through to freedom. 


Leave a Reply