Sunday, 23 October 2016

Gaming Weekend: ACW

I am sitting relaxing after a hard weekends wargaming along with keeping my son and mate Dave Toone happy while at the same time trying my hardest to deliver crushing defeats on both. First up was the ACW game Cool Springs, I got it wrong on the last post, Castleman's Ferry is the second part of the scenario and will have to wait until next year.

Dave took the right flank Confederate division while my son took the left, which arrived on table on turn one, I think their plan was to pin me with Dave's while Stewart attacked what looked like a weak Union right. I had a dilemma at the start, the bridges had been damaged by unexpected high water and were unsafe for my artillery to pass over, and I had a lot of guns, so this was a bit of a blow to my idea of a bolstering my weak line with cannon, my infantry could cross, but slowly and carefully. I was therefore forced to advance my less than enthusiastic, amalgamated ex-cavalry regiments with even poorer weapons to hold my extreme right, I had three regiments already in the wood in the path of Stewart's division and hoped they would hold until I could get men across the river. On the other flank I had to advance my green brigade at the wall into the wood otherwise when Dave came at me he would have me at a disadvantage in a firefight, I would have preferred a long range firefight but I had to meet force with force, the country behind me was too open to withdraw and I wouldn't have had the time to do so safely. I had another green brigade behind these troops and it would have to move to the left to prevent any outflanking movements, as most of my troops would need personal leadership my officers had their jobs cut out for them and would be unable to shirk their duties.

I move into the woods.
 Sure enough Dave came on in the same old style and from the start furious and deadly volleys of musketry cut through the woods as both sides stood toe to toe and traded shots, despite some excellent shooting by the Rebs my large green regiments took the fire and incredibly their morale held up. The Rebs however began to suffer and several regiments lost stands, but despite this to my amazement they also remained in the firing line, although one officer did take a serious wound and had to be relieved of command. Meanwhile on my right Stewart slowly brought his division onto the table but was loathe to test my mettle before he had damaged my line, but as this was not happening I retreated further into the woods and gave the dismounted cavalry the opportunity to come up and expand my line thereby closing down any hope Stewart had of outflanking me.

Stewart forms up.
The Union right flank defence hardens.

My guns took the odd long range shot and did manage to inflict the odd casualty but the Rebs shrugged these off.

I prepare to get out of the woods.

Now came the best point in the game for the Confederates to gain their victory. A couple of regiments on my left bolted and left a large gap in the line, another on my right did the same, I also noticed that Stewart had a fleeting chance to throw a wild charge into my line which was engaged with Dave, thankfully he did not see it or see the significance of the move, this knowledge forced me to retire out of danger giving the wood up to Dave. This opportunity for the Rebs did not last long and soon I had rallied the routers and filled the gap with reinforcements, Dave continued to press my withdrawal and left the shelter of the woods as several of his regiments gave the Rebel Yell and charged forward. These brave men suffered grievous losses as they found themselves confronted by a fresh Union line, their charges faltered and eventually broke for the rear.

The gap opens up.
I desperately bring troops up to plug the hole.
The last Confederate hurrah.

The gap plugged, the brigades will advance!
 Stewart had by now brought up his artillery but it was too late, I had built up a second line of defence in the woods to my right and he decided not to test me, he instead sent some regiments to the aid of his compatriot, but it was too little too late, the Confederate attack had been blunted, the Federals had recovered and were about to take the offensive, the Union commander breathed a sigh of relief.

The Union line bolstered.
The price of war.
We called a halt after about seven leisurely hours playing, chatting and sinking the odd beer along with if I say so myself, an excellent homemade curry. The fight in the centre and left had been a real slugfest and balanced on a knife edge as to who would break first, Stewart could have thrown his men in with the same abandon as Dave, however he knew better than Dave what usually happens when you attack a line in a woods which is waiting for you, but the aim of the game really did not give him that choice. A comical moment came near the end when Dave threw morale for a regiment and passed the test only to be told by Stewart that that was one of his, he duly re-rolled and failed! We did not have the time for anything else and by the time we played the blame game, cleared away and got the table ready for the next day it was midnight, a great days wargaming and I retired very pleased with myself, the morrow however promised a different outcome.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Matt, I really enjoyed getting the boys back on the battlefield.

  2. Great stuff, suitably inspired for my ACW game with Dave tomorrow.

  3. Always grand to see the one true period featured, even if in a fiddly scale with rules I never warmed too.