Saturday, 19 October 2013

Randolph’s Ferry – end of day 2

The last two or three hours of daylight saw some ferocious combat on West Ridge and Black Elk Mountain. By 6.00pm, as darkness fell, Thomas had managed to secure our foothold on West Ridge with the brigades of Spears and Walker pushing back the Rebels. The plan for day 3 is to continue to push hard at the centre of Bragg’s line in the hope of a break through.

Orders are as follows:

Crittenden – continue to hold your present position to prevent the enemy from shifting troops from his right. Push forward a strong skirmish line.

Thomas – secure West Ridge and HOLD, then bring up your artillery and bombard the enemy to your front in preparation for an attack.

McCook – continue to ENGAGE the enemy on Black Elk Mountain.

It is possible that Bragg may organise a counter-attack at first light, if so I expect him to assault our right flank with Cleburne’s veterans near Leggett’s Mill.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Randolph’s Ferry – Turn 35

Against the odds my troops have managed to gain a foothold in the Rebel works on West Ridge. It remains to be seen whether this advantage can be exploited further.

Current orders are as follows:

Crittenden – HOLD a line from the Conrad House to Laurel Heights. Palmer’s division is to entrench.

McCook – move to your right and ENGAGE the enemy on Black Elk Mountain.

Thomas – move directly towards West Ridge and ASSAULT the centre of the enemy line.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Randolph's Ferry - Turn 14

Rosecran's Battle Plan Update - My original battle plan needs to be amended slightly due to the fact that the enemy has constructed entrenchments stretching from the Ranes Farm to Black Elk Mountain. It is still my intention to make our main attack on Franklin via Black Elk Mountain but if an opportunity arises to breach the enemy line elsewhere we will seize upon it!

McCook - Deploy in brigade column on a two-division front and ASSAULT the enemy line at Mt. Zion Church. Move your third division up behind the main attack columns and ASSAULT.

Crittenden - Form a line between the Conrad House and Laurel Heights and HOLD. One division is to assist the cavalry in driving off Wheeler's troopers - ENGAGE.

Barnett (Artillery Reserve) - Follow Crittenden's first division and deploy on Laurel Heights. Support McCook in his assault on Mt. Zion Church.

HQ & Wagon Park - Will now be established south of Hendrick's Farm.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Randolph’s Ferry – Union Battle Orders

Rosecran's General Orders – It is my intention to move the army to a holding position on a line from Black Elk Mountain (McCook) to West Ridge (Crittenden) by the evening of November 10th. The following day an attack will be launched directly south towards Franklin by McCook supported by Thomas. Crittenden will pin the enemy to his front and will join in the attack if required. The town of Franklin will be in our hands by the evening of November 11th!

Kennet’s Cavalry Division – Move as quickly as possible along the Nashville Turnpike towards Mt. Zion Church and thence along the Old Pine Trail to Franklin. If any enemy cavalry are encountered you are to ENGAGE and push them back. If infantry forces are encountered you are to dismount and HOLD the enemy for as long as possible to allow our infantry time to come up.

McCook’s Corps – You are to move across country following a route south of Judah’s Hill to join the Nashville Turnpike and then move on to Mt. Zion Church. If no enemy infantry forces are encountered you will push on along the Old Pine Trail and occupy Franklin. If the enemy is present in strength you will attempt to occupy a defensive line centred on Black Elk Mountain and HOLD.

Crittenden’s Corps – Follow the Danville Road to the Conrad House. If no enemy infantry forces are observed you should advance and occupy West Ridge and HOLD. If the enemy is in a position to contest any advance you will form a line from Laurel Heights to link with McCook’s Corps at Mt. Zion Church and HOLD.

Thomas’ Corps – You will move across country towards Henrick’s Farm allowing McCook’s men to clear the Danville Road before proceeding. You will then deploy in RESERVE formation in the fields to the east of Mt. Zion Church. Army HQ and the Wagon Park will be established at Mt. Zion Church.

To view the map of the battlefield click here.

Thursday, 30 May 2013


It is my honour to inform the President that my army has this day won a great victory on the battle-field near a place called Cutler’s Farm. We were engaged with General Lee’s forces from first light and though they made a fearsome assault on my left with General Jackson’s Corps, we bravely stood our ground and fought the enemy to a standstill.

On my right General Longstreet tried in vain to get around our flank but was held and then thrown back by Porter’s Corps. The arrival of the Corps of Sigel and Heintzelman at Sharpeville by mid-morning then enabled me to change my stance from one of defence to offence. My Regiments rallied and pushed forward and the enemy troops became greatly demoralised and started to withdraw in some disorder.

As our glorious army has now amassed 10 VP’s the campaign has been concluded with victory for the Union. The Rebel army is in full rout and being pursued by Buford’s cavalry, many of the enemy prisoners are disheartened saying they wish they had never fought for the Confederacy and that they would be glad to see the Union restored. I expect my forces to be before the gates of Richmond very shortly where I plan to accept Lee’s sword in surrender!

General John Pope
Army H.Q. Sharpeville, Virginia
2nd August 1862

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Sharpeville Turns 18 - 21

It's 8.00am on 2nd August and we have our next battle. Dave has pushed forward Hood and Kemper into the area between the Jones Farm and the Barnes Farm, forcing a contact with two of Porter's Divisions supported by the Artillery Reserve.

Rather than withdraw and concede a Victory Point I've decided to make a stand and bring on a battle. This next encounter is likely to include every brigade in both armies and may be our biggest battle to date!

Initially Dave is likely to have the advantage of a tight concentration of forces and I anticipate that he will launch a full-scale assault rather than pussy-footing around as he did in the last game. However, if my forces can survive the first few turns of the onslaught I am confident I can pull off a win that will also end the whole campaign in victory for the North!

Update - I've uploaded a new map showing the locations of forces following the Union "March to guns" turn. The previous map was wrong due to some poor staff work at General Pope's HQ!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Sharpeville Turns 16 - 17

Perhaps General Pope missed his West Point class on "expect the unexpected" because Lee has played a blinder and done the one thing I definitely did not expect!

Instead of moving south into the open terrain below Sharpeville Dave has moved his army north to try and squeeze around between the north of the town and the edge of the map (maps, like gaming tables are never quite big enough!). Luckily for me though I thought to spend some CP's scouting the road that runs north from the Barnes Farm and discovered Jackson and Stuart at the crossroads there.

I know that Longstreet is not far behind Jackson and the stage now seems set for another battle although this probably won't happen until after the night turn next turn.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Sharpeville Turns 14 – 15

This has been a frustrating couple of turns! The euphoria at HQ following the victory at Sharpeville quickly disappeared when it became obvious that we had lost contact with Lee’s army. I have spent virtually all my Command Points since then moving and scouting with my cavalry to try and relocate Dave’s infantry.

The situation at the end of Turn 14.

Tompkins rode all the way down to the bend in the river below Stevensburg without making a single contact with the Rebels so I concluded that the enemy had definitely not moved south. The only enemy met (by Bayard) were Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry north of the town and presumably forming the Confederate rear-guard.

Tompkin's scouts Anderson and Kemper - Anderson's Divison has not yet recovered full combat effectiveness hence the white colour of the unit marker.

I then rushed Tompkins back north towards Sharpeville in something of a panic and was eventually rewarded with the discovery of Anderson and Kemper of Longstreet’s Corps just west of Mason’s Ford. It would appear that Lee has afterall simply pulled back to the east.

My intention now is to follow up and maintain close proximity to the Confederates.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Sharpeville Turns 12 - 13

I am starting to think that the Rebs may be attempting to totally disengage by moving east rather than south and then west towards Fremont as I had thought. If this is the case then I am in danger of losing contact with them completely.

Last turn my cavalry scouted Fitzhugh Lee's troopers and Kemper's Division on the road to Stevensburg but this turn I can no longer locate Kemper so he may have already passed east through the town.

Heintzelman's Corps has reached the town of Fremont and has also recovered to full combat effectiveness. Next turn I intend to use my whole CP allowance on scouting if necessary to locate Lee's main body.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Sharpeville – Turn 11

Well, I have to say that I was pretty lucky to come away with a victory at Sharpeville given that the entire Confederate army was present on the table right from the start. It was a bit of a risky strategy to engage the enemy as I did but it paid off – this time anyway!

The remnants of Heintzelman's battle weary command moving west out of Sharpeville on their way towards Fremont. General Pope is saluting them as they pass by his HQ.

So what’s next? I’m still tied to defending the towns of Sharpeville and Fremont and this limits my ability to manoeuvre because I cannot risk letting either VP site fall into enemy hands. My suspicion is that Dave will feint towards Fremont and then strike again at Sharpeville hoping I have shifted most of my Corps away to the west. To counter this I intend to move Heintzelman’s shattered Corps to Fremont and bring up Sigel’s fresh troops in his place. I will also pull back slightly from Sharpeville to give the illusion of a weak position there.

My deployments at the end of move 10. The units shown in white are Heintzelman's "battle weary" divisions. These formations will have minimal combat effectiveness until they are rested.

It will take Dave a move or two to get his forces ready for any offensive action and this should give me plenty of time to reorganise my own troops and scout the enemy positions.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Sharpeville Turn 9

Having located Jackson’s Corps I’ve decided to go ahead and attack the enemy in the hope that not all of Longstreet’s force will be able to make it to the table in the coming battle. Our rules for battles allow the defender to have a full “march to guns” move after a contact is declared and also choose the terrain squares that will be represented on the tabletop (the contact square must be one of the four central squares).

The area outlined in black is the battlefield Dave has chosen. Any forces outside the battle
area may attempt to "march to guns" if they have sufficient CP's available.

As attacker I have only half the usual number of CP’s to expend in my own “march to guns” turn to try and get as many of my off-table units as possible to the scene of the action - I threw a 6 on my CP die roll giving me the maximum 7 CP’s. The movement limitation meant it was not possible to bring up Sigel’s Corps but, with Heintzelman and McDowell already on the table area, I have just enough allowance to bring on Porter and Tompkin’s Cavalry.

The battlefield - time to study the terrain and make plans!

This will give me a healthy 21 infantry brigades, 2 cavalry brigades and the artillery reserve available for the coming struggle, although the off-table troops will have to arrive and deploy onto the battlefield in column of march. What scouting I have managed to do suggests that Longstreet will not be putting in an appearance along the southern table edge and is more likely to be in a position behind Jackson – well, that’s what I hope!

So, the action will now transfer to Brother Against Brother where the forthcoming Battle of Sharpeville will soon be fought.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Sharpeville Turns 7 - 8

I’m continuing to play it safe for the moment by avoiding contact with the enemy and concentrating the army at Sharpeville. Tompkins cavalry have withdrawn slightly but I now have the Corps of Porter, Heintzelman and McDowell positioned closely to the town.

My forces are achieving a reassuringly tight concentration around Sharpeville.
Unit symbols with red text on them denote troops deployed in battle-line.

My scouts report that Jackson’s entire Corps is now assembled due east of Sharpeville but there is still no news of the whereabouts of Longstreet or the enemy Artillery Reserve and Wagon Train. Stuart’s Cavalry have also given us the slip – which is always a bit of a worry as Dave has a tendency to do nasty sneaky things with them!

My dispositions at the end of turn 8 - Bayard's Cavalry (to the south) are
now desperately seeking the whereabouts of Longstreets Corps!

So current thinking here at HQ is that the best course of action is to try to bring on a battle as soon as possible in the hope of catching Lee off guard. It’s just possible that the enemy forces are quite widely separated and to strike now, on ground of our own choosing, might give the best chance of success on the battlefield.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Sharpeville Turns 5 - 6

Well, I didn’t see that coming – it’s 9.30 and Jackson is on my flank! As you know, I had been expecting some activity on my left but nothing like this. Somehow Dave has managed to manoeuvre Jackson’s Corps to a position due east of Sharpeville and then cross Berry Creek forcing a contact with Tompkin’s Cavalry.

Ewell and A P Hill have come out of nowhere to land square on my left flank!

However, in the best tradition of Dad’s Army I’m not going to panic! Porter’s V Corps along with Army HQ are being hurried forward (due to a lucky 5 on my CP die roll) while Heintzelman concentrates his men at Sharpeville.

Tompkins retires whilst the rest of my army is
continuing to concentrate at Sharpeville.

Discretion being the better part of valour, I have withdrawn Tompkin’s troopers conceding Dave his first Victory Point (VP) of the game (VP’s are awarded for forcing an enemy map unit to retreat as well as for occupying Victory Locations and winning battles).

The situation at 9.30am - it would be nice to know where the rest of the Rebel army is!

If the Rebs don’t try to initiate a battle next turn then I may soon be in a position to do so myself. Either way though it looks as if Dave may succeed in forcing a battle that negates my superiority in numbers as Sigel’s Corps will have to remain at Fremont to protect the VP site there.

If you want to see what those darn Rebs are up to click here.

Sharpeville Turns 3 - 4

I’ve just completed the 8.30am turn and we’ve had our first sighting of the enemy. Stuart has moved Robertson’s Cavalry Division to a position east of Sharpeville (near the Schimmel Farm) where he has been scouted by Tompkins troopers from the square above. This is hardly a surprising development as by now I was expecting to detect at least one of the Rebel Cavalry units as they move forward on reconnaissance.

The situation to the east of Sharpeville at 8.30am. Roberston's Confederate
cavalry have been scouted near the Schimmel Farm

Meanwhile, Schenck’s Division of Sigel’s Corps has reached the town of Fremont while Bayard’s Cavalry have pushed on south as far as Roswell without making any contact with the enemy. In the centre McDowell’s Corps, with the artillery reserve, is nearing Sharpeville while Porter’s V Corps and Army HQ are yet to make a move at all.

Sigel's Corps are securing Fremont while Bayard pushes
on seeking contact with the enemy.

The burning question being asked here at Union HQ is of course “where the heck is the rest of Lee’s army?” Perhaps it is still a little too early to be expecting any contact with the enemy infantry because they are hampered by the same CP movement limits as we are. So for the moment I have to put myself in Dave’s shoes and think what I would do in his place?*

The position of the Union forces at the end of Turn 4.

My answer; I guess he would be moving towards the Union left, where the terrain is more open, knowing that at least part of the Union army will have to stay and protect Fremont. Such a move would stretch my forces and negate the northern superiority in numbers in any table battle. The fact that the first contact has been made on my left helps back up this theory so for now I am working on the basis that Lee is moving northeast.

*You are more fortunate than me because you can find out what Dave’s up to simply by clicking this link to his Wilderness Tavern blog.

Sharpeville Turns 1 - 2

“Let us understand each other. I have come from the West, where we have always seen the backs of our enemies; from an Army whose business it has been to seek the adversary and to beat him when he was found; whose policy has been attack and not defense.”

General John Pope issued a famous proclamation after assuming command
 of the Army of Virginia - I'm not intending to tempt fate in the same way!

Well, to be honest I’m not feeling quite as confident as General John Pope did at the start of the real 2nd Manassas campaign. Granted I do have to move forward and secure the towns of Fremont and Sharpeville (worth 2 VP’s each to the Rebs) but I wouldn’t classify this as “attack” more like “move forward a bit and hold ground”. I always find the start of any new campaign a bit nerve wracking – imagining irrationally that Dave has somehow moved the entire Confederate army into my rear, but once the two armies start to make contact and I get some idea what he’s up to I’ll begin to relax a little.

The situation at the end of turn 2 (7.30am) - no enemy in sight yet.

Map movement is restricted by a Command Point (CP) limit, modified with a die roll, which means I am unable to move all my forces each turn. This restriction has really made me aware not to move my various Corps too far apart because they need to be mutually supporting in the event of a table battle. In particular I need to make sure that the Artillery Reserve and the Supply Train can reach the scene of battle or I could find myself in quite a fix.

Heinzelman is almost at Sharpeville now and should be able to enter the town next turn.

After 2 turns I have managed to get Heintzelman’s Corps into a position just east of Sharpeville with Tompkin’s Cavalry Division covering his flank. Meanwhile, on the opposite flank, Bayard’s Cavalry Divison is approaching the outskirts of Fremont with Sigel’s Corps trailing a little way behind. My immediate aim is to deny possession of these two VP locations to the Rebs and then bring forward the remainder of my army in support.

Don't forget, if you want to know what's going on over the other side of the hill you'll need to visit dave's blog Wilderness Tavern.

Sharpeville - Initial Deployment

Those of you who follow my other blog Brother Against Brother will know that I am currently engaged in a series of American Civil War games with my brother Dave. We are just about to embark on a mini campaign and Dave has come up with a cunning plan that allows us to use concealed movement on a Microsoft Word map document we will be emailing back and forth.

 Pope's HQ is currently with V Corps 'Army of the Potomac' at Horsehead Creek.

Now, because both of us will be posting battle reports on Brother Against Brother we’ll be recording our individual map moves on our own blogs safe from prying enemy eyes. I’ll be posting my moves here whilst Dave will be posting his on his new blog Wilderness Tavern. For those of you who want to follow the campaign and action, with full insight into our brilliant strategic and tactical thinking, you will need to follow all three blogs.

 The full Union deployment - nothing too surprising. To be sure of winning I need to keep control of the towns of Freemont and Sharpeville (currently designated with a Union flag).

For now I have started the ball rolling by deploying my troops along the top edge of the map. I’ve then used the ‘transparency’ option in Word to turn the unit graphics invisible and emailed the map back to Dave who will now deploy his troops along the bottom edge. We have some basic rules for moving and scouting and when one of us finds an enemy occupied square he turns up the transparency again to reveal the enemy units there. Of course the other player won’t ever know he’s been scouted unless a battle results – it's really an updated 21st century version of the old Featherstone matchbox system!

I have a plan – of sorts – more on that next time…