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.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

1.20pm 12 Sept 1862 – turn 17

All has become clear over the last couple of hours – the enemy have indeed split their forces into three columns and have crossed the Potomac at Shepherdstown and Falling Waters with the third column attempting to cross at Williamsport. My decision to send cavalry to reconnoitre Williamsport has paid off because they are in a position to delay the Rebels and buy time for my infantry to come up.

The strategic situation at 1.20pm - my forces are attempting to isolate the portion of enemy troops advancing from the south.

Lee’s audacious plan to divide his army in the face of superior enemy numbers will either turn out to be brilliant masterstroke or a total disaster for the Confederates. My aim now has to be to prevent Lee from reuniting his army and to this end I now have Hooker’s corps deployed astride the Hagerstown-Sharpsburg pike at Jones Crossroads isolating the enemy force advancing from Sharpsburg.

The battlefield at Jones Crossroads - an artillery exchange has begun but I don't expect the Rebels to attack, they are more likely to try to slip away to their left to attempt a link up with the troops coming from the direction of Falling Waters.

Mansfield and Sumner are moving up fast into the rear of the enemy and there is a good chance we will trap and destroy a good part of the Rebel force!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

11.20am 12 Sept 1862 – turn 11

I confess that I am more than a little puzzled about Dave’s intentions at the moment. I can see that infantry and artillery are moving through Sharpsburg but instead of heading east to prevent me crossing Antietam Creek they appear to be moving north. Perhaps a part of the Rebel army really is crossing the Potomac further north - Pleasonton has spotted some enemy troops heading east from Falling Waters but it’s not clear if this is a substantial force or merely a few cavalry scouts.

The situation around Sharpsburg (click the image to zoom in). The puzzling thing is that the column of enemy artillery (top left) is moving away from the town rather than towards it!

Mansfield and Sumner have managed to get a foothold across Antietam Creek but both are only engaged with enemy cavalry, it seems strange that Dave is not trying to defend these crossing points more vigorously. Until I can find out more clearly what the enemy is about I am reluctant to press too far towards Sharpsburg as the lack of crossing points along the creek risks my men being cut off and trapped against the impassable creek banks in the event of a Confederate attack.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

10.20am 12 Sept 1862 – turn 8

The army is making good progress aided by the excellent road net leading out from South Mountain. Where we have encountered enemy cavalry patrols they have quickly melted away at the approach of my infantry although my own troopers have suffered a few casualties from the fire of Stuart’s horse artillery.

My aim now is to keep the Confederates pinned against the banks of the Potomac as much as possible to deny Dave room for manoeuvre. Hooker’s 1st corps is moving in a wide arc on the extreme right the army to intercept the Hagerstown-Sharpsburg pike and prevent the enemy from moving in that direction. On the opposite flank Mansfield’s 12th corps has pushed forward to within a few hundred yards of Antietam Creek.

The leading elements of Mansfield's 12th corps deploy just a few hundred yards away from Antietam Creek. The question marks show the presence of enemy forces that are out of sight but were scouted by my own cavalry during the turn.

More and more enemy infantry can be seen arriving in Sharpsburg and one column has started to move out of the town heading north. I’m now 99% sure that Lee’s entire army is making for Sharpsburg however Pleasonton will be arriving at Williamsport within the hour to confirm whether or not there is any enemy activity in the area.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

9.20am 12 Sept 1862 – turn 5

Pleasonton’s cavalry division have now ridden almost the whole length of the turnpike to Funkstown without seeing any further signs of the enemy. When he gets to Funkstown Pleasonton is ordered to turn west and head towards Williamsport.

 The full campaign map at the end of turn 5. The red units are the enemy forces that I have spotted so far.

Meanwhile my infantry columns are making good progress with both Mansfield and Sumner having reached positions within 2 miles of Sharpsburg. Stuart’s Confederate troopers have moved out to the south and east of Sharpsburg trying to gain intelligence on our positions and I expect a clash with them shortly.

Confederate infantry have finally been spotted moving along the Shepherdstown-Boonsborough Pike towards Sharpsburg.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

8.40am 12 Sept 1862 – turn 3

My cavalry pickets have spotted a strong column of Rebel cavalry entering Sharpsburg from the north. There are at least 3,500 enemy troopers present which must be the bulk of Stuart’s force. This reinforces my belief that the main Confederate line of advance will be along the Shepherdstown-Boonsborough Pike directly towards Sharpsburg.

JEB Stuart's men entering Sharpsburg.

However, there are also reports of enemy cavalry scouts further north shadowing Pleasonton’s force as it nears Funkstown so at this stage nothing is confirmed. All army corps continue to march northwest on their allotted routes across South Mountain.

Friday, 28 November 2014

8.00am 12 Sept 1862 – turn 1

The only information I have at this stage is that “Confederate troops are marching north through Martinsburg”. If the report is true then I can expect them to cross the Potomac at either Falling Waters or Williamsport. However, it seems much more likely to me that Dave would choose to come directly along the Pike from Shepherdstown towards Sharpsburg giving him the shortest possible route into Maryland.

Pleasonton leads the cavalry up the Hagerstown-Boonsborough Pike.

As a precaution I have ordered Pleasonton to take the cavalry up the Hagerstown-Boonsborough Pike to be in a position to scout the more northerly crossings of the river. Hooker’s 1st corps will follow the cavalry whilst Sumners 2nd corps and Porters 5th corps move parallel to him and cross South Mountain via Fox Gap. Mansfield (12th corps), Franklin (6th corps) and Burnside (9th corps) are to head directly towards Sharpsburg.

The Rebs are out there somewhere and I need to find them fast!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Invasion Maryland - HPS Campaign

Dave and I are embarking on a game based on the invasion of Maryland in 1862 using a modified version of “Campaign Antietam” by HPS. Dave uses the game editor to create his own scenario and OOB which we then fight as a play-by-email affair. These games can take up to six months to play as the maps and forces involved are vast and I will be recording highlights here as we go along.

September 12th, 1862 – Lee has brought the Army of Northern Virginia up the Shenandoah Valley to cross the Potomac and invade Maryland. McClellan’s Union Army is approaching the passes at South Mountain but as the campaign begins, he has no knowledge of Lee’s precise whereabouts. His most recent intelligence is a garbled and unreliable telegraph report of Confederate troops marching north through Martinsburg. Lincoln is worried by Lee’s bold move and has ordered McClellan to allow the Rebels no freedom to manoeuvre on Northern soil, and to crush them decisively while the world is watching ….

There are several sites on the Maryland road network that will provide modest VPs to the Confederates – the most valuable is Hagerstown for 60 VPs.