Tuesday, 17 March 2015

12.20pm 13 Sept 1862 – Game Over!

After a hard fought contest Williamsport has finally fallen and D H Hill has been marched into captivity along with several thousand of his men. The resulting haul of VP’s has swung the battle to a Union Minor Victory and Lee has decided to call it a day.

It was a hard fought and very disjointed game from my perspective full of tactical blunders due largely to the frustration of not being able to properly concentrate my army. Dave’s move to take Williamsport meant that my forces became strung out as they attempted to respond to the threat and nowhere could I bring my superior numbers to bear, in particular my artillery.

Dave fought a tight tactical game but made two blunders that cost him victory. Firstly he allowed Wade Hampton’s cavalry brigade to become surrounded and destroyed early in the game handing me a much needed VP and morale boost. Secondly he kept D H Hill at Williamsport rather than either move towards Hagerstown (which would have forced me to send Burnside after him) or bring him directly south on my flank.

A great game but neither of us will be winning any prizes for generalship for this one!

Saturday, 28 February 2015

11.00pm 13 Sept 1862 – turn 64

The Rebels at Williamsport are now completely surrounded by my troops but they’re putting up a terrific fight in defence of the town. It looks as if I will have to wear them down by attrition as my infantry are having a hard job taking them on by direct assault.

Pleasonton's troopers have now crossed the Potomac to complete the encirclement of D.H.Hill's command at Williamsport.

Dave has mounted a strong attack from the direction of Downsville presumably with the aim of trying to relieve D H Hill at Williamsport or at least draw my reserves away. However, I had already sent two divisions from Mansfield’s corps south with the idea of preventing such a move and a new fight has developed along the line of a stream south of the Otho Williams farm.

The Rebels attack towards the Otho Williams farm scattering some of my men - but more are on the way!

Elsewhere I have ordered attacks to bring pressure all along the enemy line and stretch the Confederate defenders as much as possible. These attacks have been costly however as Dave still has a very strong gun line all along his front.

 The general situation across the main battlefield at 11.00am.

Somewhere surely the Rebels must have a weak spot but so far I have failed to find it!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

8.40am 13 Sept 1862 – turn 57

After some fierce fighting around Tilghmanton I’ve been forced to disengage Sumner and Franklin and contract my left flank. The Rebel guns have continued to cause heavy casualties and it has become clear that any assault by my infantry would have had little chance of success. The Confederates are also disengaging and both sides are starting to shift troops further west.

 The situation around Jones Crossroads as both sides disengage.

Meanwhile Burnside has started to attack D H Hill’s force at Williamsport and I have sent Mansfield up to support him. I also took the decision to order Pleasonton to cross the Potomac at Falling Waters and head northeast to cut off the enemy’s path of retreat from Williamsport. This seems a potentially better use of my cavalry than sending them on a wild goose chase after JEB Stuart.

 Burnside's men close in on D H Hill.

My plan now is to try and eliminate D H Hill’s division at Williamsport by completely encircling it. This should give me enough VP’s for a minor victory. I then hope to launch an attack on Lee’s left flank to seal my victory!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

6.20am 13 Sept 1862 – turn 50

“Expect the unexpected” as the used to say at West Point – unfortunately McClellan must have nodded off during that particular class as Dave has played a blinder and definitely caught me napping!

The Rebel guns are deadly in such a forward position and my own men lack the ability to take them head on being mostly C, D and E grade. My only option will be to withdraw before too many units skedaddle.

Under cover of darkness he has concentrated the Divisions of Anderson and McLaws to the north of Tilghmanton and launched a dawn attack into the flank of Sumner’s men catching them in column as they headed towards Jones Crossroads to join up with Franklin and Porter. Fortunately the sheer number of troops I have at hand has blunted the Rebel advance but Dave has cannily placed his artillery in the front line where it has caused heavy casualties amongst my men.

Burnside's men advance against the Rebels at Willaimsport.

Meanwhile at Williamsport I have ordered Burnside to make an attack on the enemy with the aim of keeping them cooped up in the town. The quality of most of Burnside’s troops is pretty poor but they should have enough clout to prevent the Confederates from breaking out and heading south towards Lee’s main force.

The general situation at the end of turn 50 - the red units to the southeast are Stuart's cavaly who have just taken Boonsborough along with 20VPs.

Away to the east Stuart’s cavalry have taken Boonsborough and are now heading north towards Hagerstown. I am starting to concentrate my own cavalry in anticipation that they will be needed shortly to combat this threat.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

8.00pm 12 Sept 1862 – turn 37

There has been little in the way of combat over the last few turns other than some long range artillery fire. I am attempting to move my army northwest to prevent the Rebels at Williamsport from joining up with their main body to the south. However, progress is frustratingly slow and I am concerned that my forces are being spread too thin – in true McClellan style I feel that I need at least one more army corps!

The general situation shortly before dusk (turn 33) showing that both armies are gradually moving northwest.

Turn 37 is the first of the night moves for the night of 12-13 September. Visibility is reduced to just one hex and turns now represent one hour (rather than 20 minutes) troops that move suffer quite heavy fatigue that reduces their combat effectiveness. As a result I’ve decided to halt all movement until dawn on the 13th as I doubt that Dave will risk any major movements either.

 The VP chart at the end of turn 37.

The current VP score stands slightly in my favour but Dave has managed to slowly whittle this away since the drubbing of his cavalry on the Smoketown Road. Although I have an advantage in numbers the quality of the Confederate troops means that they still pose a very serious threat and trying to keep my troops concentrated remains a priority.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

5.00pm 12 Sept 1862 – turn 28

The Rebels are forcing the ford at Williamsport but they appear to be in no more than divisional strength and Pleasonton’s horse artillery are harassing them as they cross the river. Dave’s original plan may have been to press on to Hagerstown but I think now he is more likely to try and send this isolated force south to rejoin Lee.

The Rebels are crossing the ford at Williamsport but they must be way behind schedule due to Pleasonton's delaying action!

This seems likely because the Confederates around the area of Jones Crossroads are disengaging and attempting to shift to the northwest. To counter this I have ordered Hookers corps west with Burnside following him to attempt to stop the enemy passing by our right flank.

Dave's Confederates are disengaging and moving northwest, it almost looks like a rout from this perspective!

Meanwhile Sumner, Franklin and Mansfield are reforming their divisions to the east of Tilghmanton. Their various regiments and brigades have become somewhat muddled up during the pursuit of the Rebels from Sharpsburg and I will need them properly organised ready for action in the morning.

The general situation in the area of Jones Crossroads at 5.00pm.

With dusk fast approaching I don’t expect there to be much in the way of serious fighting until tomorrow.

Monday, 15 December 2014

3.20pm 12 Sept 1862 – turn 23

Pleasonton’s men have been forced to pull back at Williamsport under pressure from massed Rebel batteries across the Potomac, however they have done their job and I suspect now that Lee has abandoned plans to cross the river in force at this point and sent the bulk of his forces back to Falling Waters.

The strategic situation at 3.20pm - a major clash appears to be developing near Jones Crossroads.

Meanwhile the forces of both sides are continuing to gather in the area of Jones Crossroads and this now seems likely to be the location of a major battle. My corps are too widely dispersed to mount an attack today so I will spend the remaining hours of daylight concentrating them and shortening our lines with the idea of an assault tomorrow.

 "Throw down your weapons Rebs, you're surrounded!" They didn't of course and next turn my infantry emptied close on 800 saddles.

The men of Sumner’s and Mansfield’s corps have had a major success on the Smoketown road where they isolated and destroyed Wade Hampton’s cavalry brigade. JEB Stuart will be all out for revenge after this humiliation and I will have to keep a close eye on the rear areas of our battle line as we continue to deploy.