Tuesday, May 2, 2017

BMC revisited.

My painted inventory before march.
About 6 years ago, I (re)discovered my BMC American War of Independence (Yorktown) figures my daughter had bought for me a long long time before.  This was through reading a blog by 'Uncle Thor' and finding out about his 'toy soldier art' and 'OMOG - One Man One Gun' rules for non-war gamers' war games that I could at last see how I could get some fun out of them.



Shortly after that their numbers were increased by a friend unloading his small inventory of BMC figures. Not knowing much about the figures, I painted the 'mitre-hat' guys as British Grenadiers, forgetting that at that time they rather favoured the fur cap, for some reason.  All the same, I made no attempt at reproducing the elaborate designs, or even just the 'GR' cypher on the fronts of this headgear.  The tricorn guys became US Continentals.

Back in about March, a friend ('Jacko' - he of the Painting Little Soldiers blog spot) was visiting Colorado (USA) on business.  There being a store near where he was staying he bought a couple of packs.  The larger of the two - a very generous gesture - was for me.  

In it were a cannon and mortar (now I have two of each), a whole bunch of guys with the metal front mite cap and ... eleven chaps with fur caps!  How was I going to 'fit' these into my existing forces?  I wanted the forces to remain more or less equal, but I am fairly sure the Americans didn't go for the mitre caps all that much.  Nor did I want 'all British' on one side; and a split force on the other. 

That left this solution:

Grenadiers of the Saintonge Regiment



The fur cap guys became French grenadiers of the Saintonge Regiment.  The choice of unit was based on the flags available. as much as anything.  The flag bearer was made from one of the 'hatted' guys with a pistol (the castings of the pistols was pretty poor, but that can be dealt with).

..
..
There being just 12 of these fellows - one of them stopping a fast moving object - they got the mounted officer.



A splendid little 13-figure company.






The dozen or so other troops became, to develop the theme, what they were supposed to be: German mercenaries.  I painted them up as Brunswickers of the Prinz Friedrichs Regiment.


Fusiliers of the Infantry Regiment Prinz Friedrichs
 I rather regret using the flash when I took these pictures, as it rather tends to bring out the worst in the figures.  But, otherwise,  I very much like the way these guys turned out.

Their numbers have been eked out to 15 figures by the 'Lafayette' (hatless) and 'Cornwallis' figures, and, of course, the obligatory flag bearer.  

Along with the cannon and mortar in the pack came some artilleryman, one of whom is carrying a powder barrel. Much appreciated: I didn't have one of him already.  I painted these guys up that they could be used for any army, even the British - the gunners' uniforms being so similar among the belligerents. For the ordnance, rather than paint the whole piece, I just painted the gun barrel brass, and the tyres and mortar my special gloss-black-and-silver mix for burnished metal.  The same formula was used upon the musket barrels and swords of the figures. 


Having painted these new guys up I held a grand review of all the figures, as if arrayed for battle.

Grand review...
There are enough gunners to provide all pieces of ordnance with a crew of 3.  But I've kept them and their crews, but for 3 red-coated gunners, sufficiently anonymous to represent artillery for either side. With roughly 45 figures a side overall, I reckon there is more than enough for der kleine kriege...
These forces are not designed for big battles, but for something more in the line of 'affairs of outposts'.  I dare say light troops and irregulars would be better suited, but I'm more than happy to see grenadiers, lini infantry and fusiliers take up these duties...




...

Travel Battle Campaign Map

Looking at Bob Cordery's Travel battle Napoleonic campaign maps, I was quickly struck by the rotational symmetries of the 4-piece quadrants in both maps.  I wondered if there was an easy way of eliminating, or at least reducing those symmetries.

To save a bit of time, I copied one of Bob's printed campaign maps onto a picture file, and, using Microsoft Paint (it might be primitive by industry standards, but it has the features I want and use often) made certain modifications.

1.  Selected the leftmost column of four, and transplanted it on the right hand  side.
2.  Observing that the top and bottom centre blocks of four were rotationally symmetrical, rotated one only piece in each, left 90 degrees..

Here is the map thus produced:


I agree, many would like symmetry as offering a fair and even playing field, as in chess.  But others will prefer asymmetry as posing problems of its own.

The above map offers useful  4 entry points on three sides; 3 on the north side if you discount the farm driveway at the top left.

North-south there are two distinct through-routes, but east-west there is but one.

Note that the above 4x4 array contains 24 gameboard pairs. The gameboard pairs offer 16 permutations.  So of the pairs above, at least 8 must be identical, however oriented (e.g. top left vertical and top right vertical; bottom left and right vertical, and I can see one other pair that appears four times.  

Interesting, this sort of thing...

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Hunt for the Bey of Bassorah - The Battle.

Col. Redfers Carmine's column advancing deep into the
sun-drenched Medifluvian country...
As Colonel Redfers Carmine's column advanced deeper into Medifluvia, they saw not a sign of anyone who might oppose the march.  A few distant camel riders might stop and observe them for a few moments, before riding off into a disappearing cloud of dust.  Presently the Ruberians came upon a stretch of country dotted about with low hills and stands of palm trees.
The Bey's men coming surging out from concealment...
Not ideal ambush country, this, but not to be discounted, neither; Col Carmine arranged his troops in two columns.  His sole cavalry squadron led the right, two rifle companies following, and the artillery half-battery bringing up the rear.  The placed himself at the head of the third rifle company and the Gatling detachment forming a parallel column to their left.
Surprise!  Already having come under artillery fire,
 the dragoons are hit in flank by sipahis.
In what follows, I won't be offering a blow by blow account - just a general flow of events.
The Ruberian cavalry, scouting ahead, suddenly came under fire from the Bey's cannon,  Their attention thus drawn northward, they were surprised by the sudden onset of the Bey's sipahis, scimitars a-glint, slamming into their other flank.  That is to say, after their artillery salvo, the Turkowaz 'won' the initiative roll.    This cost the Ruberian dragoons a strength point, after which, however, they were able to swing around to confront their assailants.
The gunfire was, of course, the signal for the Bey's entire force to come surging out from cover. There was nothing sophisticated about his tactics.  'Swarm and swamp' just about summed it up.  In response, the rear units in the Red column swung outwards, the whole force forming three sides of a rectangle.  All three were coming in for a crackling rifle fire.
Coming to the aid of his dragoons, the gallant Colonel Carmine led a company, bayonets fixed, into the flank of the sipahis battling them, forcing them to break off with heavy loss.
It was not long before the Bey was wondering whether. in opposing this Ruberian expedition, he had chosen the path of true wisdom.  Ruberian firepower seemed to be gaining the upper hand.  His leading band of sipahis had been flung back.  Those accursed machine guns were decimating one of his levy bands on the south flank, whose attack was not helped by the delay to their friends having to clamber through a stand of palm trees.
The north flank attack seemed to be doing no better.  Faced with the loss of a third of their strength, one band had to choose between hanging on against the odds, or falling back.  Appreciating that to fall back simply meant taking his people beyond the range of his muskets, whilst still under fire, the tribesman's chief growled his men to stay in the fight.
It is true, though, that the early exchanges were going against the Bey.  After two or three bounds of firing, the Turkowaz had lost six Strength Points to the Ruberian two!  The latter was now not much nearer its 'exhaustion point' than their assailants.  Shortly afterwards, the Gatling section, having shredded their attackers looked about for fresh targets,  On the north flank one of the levy bands was also driven out of the fight.  Lacking targets, the artillery felt it could do nothing better than to engage the Turkowaz artillery.
It was the close quarter fighting to the front of the column that was holding them up.  No sooner had the company Colonel Carmine was with driven off the enemy horse attacking the dragoons, when they found themselves attacked in quick succession by more enemies.  Bursting through the palms, the second levy band attacked Carmine in flank.  Turning to face these fresh opponents, presented their other flank to a fresh body of sipahis.  From now on Carmine was in a battle for survival.

Nor could he expect much help from his other troops.  There remained just enough pressure from the northern flank and from in front to tie down all who might have come to his aid.  That he still had unengaged levy impatiently awaiting an opening to attack the head of the infidel column served to encourage the Bey in his battle.
But Carmine and his company were not going down without a fight.  at great risk to himself (I had to roll at least three times to determine his fate) he kept his dwindling band in the fight.  The enemy, too, were feeling the effects of the close quarter struggle.
Having driven off their immediate opponents, the dragoons, were to find themselves with enemies on three sides.  With no available line of retreat, they burst forward, hoping that by breaking through they might yet escape the peril.  It was to be a death ride.  Though they inflicted some loss upon the enemy, there was to be no escape for the dragoons.
In its battle with the southern flank levies, the Gatling section had taken considerable loss.  Lacking targets, they began to swing over to the northern flank, where the two rifle companies were by now just barely maintaining a line (One had been reduced to 1SP, the other to 3).  In fact, Carmine's whole command was by now much reduced - enough to reach its 'exhaustion point'.

Here was the situation:|
Dragoons.....................................SP3 reduced to SP1
Leading right flank Rifle Coy.....SP4 reduced to SP1
Following right flank Rifle Coy..SP4 reduced to SP3
'Carmine's' left flank Rifle Coy ..SP4 reduced to SP2
Gatling Section............................SP2 reduced to SP1
Artillery Troop.............................SP2..................SP2
Carmine's HQ...............................SP6..................SP6
Total:............................................SP25 reduced to SP16



The exhaustion point having been reached the Ruberians could, according to the rules, make no aggressive action, and therefore the Dragoons ought not to have made its bid to escape.  I simply forgot to check the situation betimes.  In fact I forgot that the exhaustion point might already have been reached.  But apart from the Gatlings joining the rifle companies facing northward, the Ruberians were to undertake no other aggressive action.
At last flinging off the attack from the southern flank, Carmine seemed able at last to turn his full attention to the sipahis still attacking him.  But he was also aware of approaching Turkowaz tribesmen coming to the aid of their comrades. Worse, there was nothing left of the company he had personally led against overwhelming numbers.   It was becoming apparent, even to him, that his column was not going to reach the Bey's Provincial capital this trip.
At this point the Bey called off his attack.  His own force had taken considerable punishment, and was also about ready to quit the field.  In fact it too had at last reached its exhaustion point.  Having got this far, I totted up the SPs lost: Ruberians 12 out of 25, Turkowaz 14 out of 40.

Although the butcher's bill gave the honours to Ruberia, there was no doubt at all who had won the victory.  The Bey could sip his coffee with the added pleasure of knowing his capital was safe.  His tribesmen had fought well.

Below and to the right are a couple of pictures of my 19th Century RED (Ruberia) and BLUE (Azuria/Turkowaz) armies as work off and on in progress.  In the above game, the units had the 'feel' of companies, and Carmine's column roughly a battalion in strength - three rifle companies and a Gatling section - reinforced by a squadron of dragoons and a troop of artillery.  In raw numbers they were probably outnumbered 2 to 1, but of course the superior firepower of the Ruberians made up for some of that. During the game, I thought I might have got the play balance wrong, but it proved pretty well right.
But I am by no means limited to this.  A 4-figure rifle stand might equally well represent a regiment or brigade, for a whole different type of game.
...

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Hunt for the Bey of Bassorah - A Portable War Game

After a lengthy wait, I finally got my copy of Bob Cordery's The Portable Wargame, arriving, oddly enough, on my birthday.  I sometimes wonder how 'they' arranged that.

Col Redfers Carmine and his flying column about to
embark on his expedition into Medifluvia.


To resist the invaders, the Bellicose Bey has assembled
this fine array. ESCI French Foreign Legion infantry,
HaT Mamluk cavalry, ESCI/scratch-built gun.

The book is a fine read, very accessible, with interesting ideas. Apart from the hex-board war games of Avalon Hill and Simpubs, and the games of Wizard's Quest and Shogun in which the board is divided into regions, I have had no past experience of gridded war games. An old friend did try, over 20 years ago, to transform DBM into a board game, but it didn't seem to work, for mine.  So I was having more or less new ground opened before me.  Possibly my one caveat is that for one of my eyesight the pictures could be a little crisper, but I'm not complaining very hard.

Of course I had to try out one of the scenarios on a square grid, namely, 'The Hunt for the Mahdi'. But as I don't have the armies for that scenario - not even approximately - I had to make certain adjustments.  It had to be armies of c.1880, of course, which is roughly - very roughly - the period of my 19th Century Ruberian (RED) and Azurian (BLUE) armies.  But Azuria being vaguely French didn't quite 'fit'.  


The field of battle, Tell El Woznaim, with the Bey's men
lurking behind hills, rises and clumps of palm trees.  Somewhere off the
top edge of the picture (i.e. to the east) , the Ruberian column is approaching 

Behold the Settee Empire of Turkowaz (TURQUOISE), still 'BLUE' you see, but ... a different BLUE. Ruberia, of course has long established itself as the ruling power of the Sangrian subcontinent (SANGRIA- a kind of RED), upon which Turkowaz has for as long cast covetous eyes.  A certain Omar Arslan, Bey of Bassorah, a remote province at the eastern fringes of Turkowaz, has in fact been conducting raids into the areas of which Ruberia has claimed suzerainty.  The Governor General of Sangria has placed an expeditionary force  - a flying column - under command of Colonel Redfers Carmine to set off into the Medifluvian country, find and capture the nefarious Bey of Bassorah, extract reparations, and to to raze his provincial palace.


 


Col Redfers Carmine advancing into the Medifluvian
desert.  ESCI infantry and cavalry; HaT Gatling gun,
ESCI artillery trail and wheels, with scratchbuilt gun.
Now, this, and more particularly the Bey's, armies are slightly different from 'the book', and comprise as follows:

Ruberian Expeditionary Force:  Col R. Carmine, commanding.

- 3 rifle-armed infantry units (3 @ 4SP each = 12 SP, rated Average)
- 1 machine-gun infantry unit (1 @ 2SP = 2 SP, rated Average)
- 1 cavalry unit (1 @ 3SP = 3 SP, rated Average)
- 1 rifled field artillery unit (1 @ 2SP = 2 SP, rated Average)
- 1 commander and HQ staff (1 @ 6SP = 6SP)
Total Strength points = 25 SP; Exhaustion point, 9 SP).
The trap about to be sprung...
Well served by an efficient spy network that extended far beyond his borders, the Bey was soon enough warned of the impending approach of the Ruberian column.  In view of the inferior quality of his own forces, and rather than subject his provincial seat to a siege, he bethought himself to take his chances in the open field - not in a stand-up fight, but in ambush.
As the Turkowazians come howling out of the desert,
the Ruberians form three sides of a square...

 Provincial Army of the Bey of Bassorah: Commanded by the Bey in person.

- 6 smoothbore musket-armed infantry units (6 @ 3SP = 18 SP, rated Poor*)
- 2 rifle-armed infantry units (2 @ 4SP = 8 SP rated Average)
- 2 Cavalry units (2 @ 3SP = 6 SP, rated Average)
- 1 smoothbore medium artillery (1 @ 2SP = 2 SP, rated Average)
- 1 commander, HQ, hangers on and camp followers (1 @ 6SP = 6SP)
Total Strength Points = 40 SP; Exhaustion point = 14 SP.

(* I really don't like using the expression 'poor' in this sort of context, but have no really good substitute.  Maybe I should call them locally raised levy or something such.  The 3 SP levy infantry was due to a mis-remembered reading of the rules.  It so happened it probably helped the game balance!)
Turkowazian sipahis get the early edge on the Ruberian
dragoons. The white SP dice would not fit the receptacles.
I'll carry on the narrative another time, but for now, I'll mention that I had to adapt the battlefield according to my available space.  The original was on a 12x12 grid, but mine was limited to 10 squares in width, and although longer, the kitchen table's round ends tended to knock the corners off a a bit more as well.  By dropping the southernmost two rows, however,  I managed to fit all the terrain features comfortably on the table.  Quite satisfactory.  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Stonewall in the Valley 14 - No rest for Rebels.

As Major-General Nathaniel P. Banks trailed northward with his battered corps, the Confederates found they could not yet rest in the laurel so far won.  True, it was likely Shield's - now General Erastus Tyler's - command would probably put in an appearance in a day or so.  It the appearance at last of  the third Union player in the drama, Major-General Fremont Mountain Department Army that would force the weary Army of the Valley back onto the road.


As the fighting of the 23rd May drew to a close, word had arrived at Major-General Jackson's battle HQ that Fremont's army had entered Strasburg.  Although his first impulse was at once to turn on his heel and storm that place, it was clear that his army needed a short rest to gather in his wounded, stragglers and prisoners of war. At once sending off his wagons and ambulances, escorted by the remains of Ashby's cavalry to White Post thence to turn southwards toward Front Royal,

For his part, Major-General was in a quandary.  Occupying Strasburg cut just one of at least two roads south available to the Rebs.  Should he stay and hope Tyler cut the other at Front Royal? Should he attempt to hold both roads with his own force unaided?  Perhaps he should advance upon the Confederate rear.  That he could reach Middle town by nightfall made that an attractive option. So the Union commander resolved.

Of the three options, that last seemed so likely compared with the other two that I weighted them, with the last a 50-50 proposition.  I rolled a 5, which score would have settled upon the Middleton move even were to options unweighted!

Learning of this, General Jackson was of half a mind to follow his ambulances and wagons with his whole army, and to get himself behind the Shenandoah River before seeking battle once more.  The alternative was to strike Fremont at once, when he was but two hours' march distant.

Because the option chosen by Jackson would remain a mystery until tested by the Union, the whereabouts of his army would no be known until his army was about to enter Middletown, or was a mere hour's march west of White Post.  If that route had been the one taken we might have got a peculiar running action at Cedarville, the head of the Confederate column reaching the place a half-hour ahead of the Union.  But I might have guessed how it would be.

Stonewall Jackson's bellicosity undimmed by the the hectic five days just past, he sent his army straight southward.  The enemy had spent early daylight hours preparing dug in positions.  If the Confederates still enjoyed superior numbers, the difference was far less - almost insignificant - compared with what it would have been on the 19th.

To be continued -
NOTE:  The next couple of postings will be on different topics.  But we will get back to this story. I'm all agog myself whether the Army of the Shenandoah can pull off another victory - this time with an entirely fresh opponent.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Stonewall in the Valley 13 - Bartonsville.

Map of the early action: Gordon's attack, and Confederate arrival times.

Moving off at the crack of dawn - if 'crack' can be said of the soggy dawning of 23 May 1862 - the Army of the Valley set off northward after the battered corps of General Banks.  Outnumbered though he knew his troops to be, nevertheless, making up in pugnacity what he lacked in military expertise, Banks determined to take the fight to his opponent.  As General T.J. Jackson's army approached the line of the Opequon Creek at Bartonsville, he found Union forces coming forward to meet him.
...
The Union army prepares to advance to meet the foe/

Crossing the swampy Opequon (I've supposed it to be so for the sake of this campaign) was not going to be a simple matter in the face of the enemy, given that it would take half the morning for his whole army to come up. Should he wait?  No: that would allow the Union Army to scuttle clear.  
Stonewall Brigade crossing Opequon Creek.
First to arrive was the Stonewall Brigade itself, somewhat to the east of Bartonsville.  The crossing here was easy enough, as despite the drizzle, the creek was not in spate.  Nor was it opposed, as Banks had decided to refuse that wing, keeping Donnelly's battered Brigade in a fairly strong position some distance behind the creek.  As the stream proved impassible to vehicles, the artillery accompanying the brigade headed for the Bartonsville bridge.  Ashby's 7th Cavalry arrived a half-hour later, but splashed across the creek to provide cover behind which Cutshaw's battery could deploy.
8 a.m. Taylor's Brigade arrives up the 'Middle Road'
Meanwhile, Brig-Gen R. Taylor's Louisiana Brigade had been marching up the minor road running parallel to and west of the all-weather Valley Pike.  They had made good time to arrive a mere hour later than the Stonewall Brigade.  It was on this wing that the Federals were to make their attack. The Louisianans were to find their celerity of marching would have to be matched by their toughness in a fight.
Confederate right.
Hopes by a body of Union cavalry to catch part of the Stonewall Brigade whilst crossing the creek were dashed when the latter were able to clear the obstacle and form line before the horse could mount a charge.  Their numbers too few to entertain thoughts of a rifle and carbine duel, the Federals made off back to their infantry line.
Louisiana Tigers encounters Union infantry upon the
wooded ridge.
The real action opened on Taylor's front.  Crossing the bridge, 7th Louisiana swarmed into a timber mill and yard hard by the stream, where they were soon engaged in a fire fight with 27th Indiana. The Tigers crossed to the right of the bridge, scaled the slopes of the ridge beyond, and plunged into the crowning woods. They were almost at once assailed by slightly superior numbers of 2nd Massachusetts advancing to meet them.  A half hour later, the right wing of 29th Pennsylvania added to the numbers against the Tigers. For a further hour, the Tigers clung tenaciously to their foothold on the ridge (having to pass two morale checks the while. Both rolls were sixes - the Tigers sure love a fight!). Eventually, having nothing to do waiting behind 7th Louisiana, the 6th moved eastwards, then crossed the stream to the right of the Tigers. This relieved the pressure before the Tigers could be evicted from the woods.
Developing action on the Confederate right.  
By this time, the General Winder's Stonewall Brigade had made contact with elements of Donnelly's Brigade.  Hoping to tie down the artillery and centre of Donnelly's line, 33rd Virginia advanced boldly into a frontal attack.  In the woods 5th Virginia still had some distance to advance before engaging Donnelly's flanking regiment (46th Pennsylvania) and the 27th Virginia was even further off.  This ill-coordinated assault was to have endure some rough moments before it could gain any success, but it was the chance that had to be taken in the interests of time.
Trimble's Brigade arriving.  In the foreground, Ashby's
cavalry take shelter behind Bartonsville.
Ashby's cavalry could not help much.  It's covering role to protect the Confederate artillery crossing the bridge and debouching from the Bartonsville hamlet had proved more costly than their colonel found comfortable.  Reduced by more than 25% of their strength, the Rebel horse fell back behind the stream.  This was to have implications later.
Early action between 2 Massachusetts and the
Louisiana Tigers
As its right wing struggled to edge the Louisianans back across Opequon Creek, the remainder of Gordon's Brigade - 3rd Wisconsin - continued its sylvan sweep below the ridge, hoping to reach its banks.  Too late-- just too late. Trimble's Mixed State Brigade had arrived betimes and were beginning themselves to cross the stream. Under fire, this was a costly and dangerous business, but Trimble had hopes that superior numbers would force their way across.
Looking along Donnelly's line.
The bold attack by 33rd Virginia seemed momentarily to be yielding dividends. Great chunks were being torn out of the opposing infantry, 1st Maryland, but, supported as they were by artillery, the latter were damaging the Virginians at least as much. It was the Virginians who finally gave way, and fled back over the the Bartonsville hill.
Arrival of Taliaferro's infantry and Munford's cavalry.
By this time, the morning was well advanced  Just about the whole of the Army of the Valley was up and ready for action.  Whilst the artillery massed about the only convenient crossing, the Bartonsville bridge,  Munford's cavalry crossed the stream to the right of the settlement.
General view of the Confederate right
As late as 10a.m. the main action was still on and about the Sandy Ridge forest and the Shady Elm woodlot.  Despite the casual cover offered by the latter, the Confederates occupying it began to get the worse of the firefight.  Lusk's battery, deployed south of the river could offer no direct help to the infantry, and engaged in a long range counter-batter duel instead with Union guns deployed further up the road.  In this at least, the Confederates enjoyed some success, as losses eventually force the Union guns to pull back out of range, lest the guns be silenced for good.
General view looking eastwards


Despite that encouragement, 7th Louisiana had soon to give up its position in the timber yard, and scrambled back across the creek. For a brief time the Indiana Regiment occupied the ground just won, but very soon gave it up.  In this they were discouraged by the Napoleon guns of Lusk's battery and the 7th Louisiana men were soon rallied along the river bank as well.  Something of a deadlock descended upon this part of the field for the rest of the action.
The action becomes more general.
Having failed to force the Tigers off the end off the ridge, 2nd Massachusetts and 29 Pennsylvania found themselves in a deadly duel with 6th Louisiana as well.  True, the Tigers had got the worse of the earlier exchanges and it looked at least a couple of times that they might break down the hill (the two morale rolls, both for receiving 10% losses in one turn).  Once the powerful 6th Louisiana joined the fight, the Union impetus was brought to a halt. But it was not enough to force them back.  That left only 3rd Wisconsin unengaged.  That unit might have descended upon the flank of the Louisianans, but for the arrival of 21st North Carolina from Trimble's Brigade.

Confederates forcing a passage across the Opequon |
Creek in the face of enemy fire.
True, the North Carolinians had to make the crossing under fire (unable to fire back whilst still in the stream under my rule set), but having forced their way across, were able to hand in a few licks of their own.  A short distance to the right, 15th Alabama was swinging around to enfilade the Wisconsinites' flank.  Twenty-first Georgia, still crossing the stream, acted as a reserve,
Pressure builds against the Union left.

As the fight escalated in the Union right, it was on their left that the more ominous signs of defeat were beginning to loom.  One Confederate regiment had been thrown back, but by now the isolated 46th Pennsylvania were being assailed by double their numbers of Virginians.  Worse still, the whole of Taliaferro's Brigade were marching up behind Winder's men.  Long odds for Donnelly to face.  
Munford's cavalry charge.  The result was a costly
tactical draw, but the Union infantry that had to face it
we pretty much wrecked as a unit.
Eyeing the weakened state of the Union infantry in the road, supported solely by a gun battery, Colonel Munford thought the time propitious to chance his arm in a charge.  Surging off the ridge, in the teeth of shot, shell and canister from the Union Napoleon guns, and rifle fire from the Marylanders, the Confederate horsemen rode in with shotgun and pistol.

(An aside, here.  I prefer to allow cavalry charges in my ACW rule set, as I know of at least a half dozen occasions in which cavalry charges were attempted.  At least two, possibly three, of those were successful.  The failed charges (at Gaines's Mill, Cedar Mountain, and Hunt Morgan's at Shiloh, were each made by fewer than 200 men).  Bear in mind, too, that at least until 1 July 1863, at least the possibility of cavalry charges were borne in mind by infantry.  Witness two CSA regiments forming square at Gettysburg, when Buford's cavalry mounted and drew off to a flank.  That does not make such charges winning propositions, as you will see.)
7th Louisiana abandons the timber yard and retreat behind the creek.
The Union victory at the Shady Elm timber yard proved to be barren of real fruits.  Seventh Virginia rallied quickly enough along the riverbank, whence, supported by Capt. Lusk's Napoleons, they were not to be shifted. Nor could the cherished hope of falling upon the flank of the Confederates on the ridge be fulfilled, as that would have presented a flank to be enfiladed by gunfire.  Shortly after occupying it, the Federals abandoned the timber yard, and eventually fell back northward.
Firefight in the forest.
That left the three other regiments of Gordon's Brigade having to face off against five Confederate. That 21st North Carolina had within the hour to fall back exhausted across the stream hardly seemed to reduce the pressure.  Nor could the selfless attempt by 5th Connecticut to draw off the attention of 15th Arkansas, which had been threatening to roll up 3rd Wisconsin's flank. Twenty-first Georgia weighed in, the Alabamans changed front to engage the Connecticut men from cover, and the Union troops found the pressure just as strong as ever.
twenty-first North Carolina about to driven back
across the stream.
The action of 5th Connecticut to relieve some of the burden of the fight from Gordon's Brigade provided just the situation Colonel Munford decided would give his troopers the chance to pull off his charge.  Had he reckoned upon the effectiveness of the enemy musketry and gunnery, he might have taken a different view, but the decision was made, he had to abide the outcome.  Undeterred by their losses the Confederate raged in among the hapless Marylanders, pistols and shotguns proving more effective at close range than long rifled muskets. All the same, neither side could claim the ascendancy. As the Confederate horse made off after their charge, the remnants of the Marylanders could be seen retreating rapidly up the road towards their home State.

(Aside:  this was a pretty bloody affair on both sides, the Union losing 8 figures and the CS Cavalry losing 7 in the change and the hand to hand fight.  Reduced to less than 50% of their strength, the Marylanders fell back in rout.  Less badly off, the Confederates still had to withdraw, though they maintained a good order).
Munford's cavalry lose heavily, but the 1st Maryland even more so.
This disaster was followed shortly afterward by the sudden collapse of the resistance by 46th Pennsylvania.  Having held on for most of the morning against the gradual buildup of Confederates to their front, the odds, combined with a mounting threat to their open left flank forced them off their ridge and, they too, began their exodus from the field.
Even within the cover offered by woodlands, two to
one odds are too much to overcome.

27th Indiana begins it long retreat.

With the defeat of all three his three regiments - 15th Alabama having flung back 5th Connecticut's counter attack - Brigadier-General Donnelly had almost nothing in hand to stem the general advance on the Confederate right.  General Banks could see the writing on the wall and ordered a general withdrawal, but now the problem lay in extricating Gordon from the battle raging on Sandy Ridge. He still had 1st Michigan Cavalry, 5th Connecticut was still in hand, and his battery was still in action. But what were they against 5 CSA regiments and three batteries?
Munford's cavalry are out of the battle, but Taliaferro's infantry
is about to join in.
Urged forward by an impatient Major-General Jackson, the infantry surged forward, hoping to sweep Donnelly's exiguous command from the field, then to swing behind Gordon to cut him off.  Seeing the danger, Banks ordered 1st Maine Cavalry across from the right.  As the Michigan cavalry emerged to cover the retreat of the fleeing infantry, Colonel Ashby began to entertain thoughts of a glorious charge...
CSA pressure against Donnelly's exiguous line.
In receipt of orders to withdraw, Brig-Gen. Gordon began a gradual and well-ordered retreat.  Back he had to go, but he would not be hustled - not by Banks's urgency, not by Reb musketry, not by the parlous situation.  For their part, neither Taylor not Trimble saw any benefit of too precipitate a pursuit.  Both Brigade commanders opted for steady pressure and to follow up just closely enough to keep the Union infantry under fire.
It has taken all morning but now the Confederates
begin their advance in the woods.

Confederate right wing.
Seeing a chance for glory, and before any other Union troops could intervene, Col Ashby led his 7th Virginia Cavalry in a charge against 1st Michigan.  It was a disaster.  Getting slightly the worse of the exchange of pistol shots as they closed, the Virginians had no answer for sabres wielded by a desperate and angry enemy.  Taking three times the losses they delivered, the surviving Virginian horse were glad to break clear to retire behind their gun line.  Barely a third of their early morning strength remained with the colours.  Yet, for all that, Ashby's troopers remained in good spirits - perhaps more exasperated than defeated by their discomfiture (7th Virginia, having lost more than 50% on the day, have to retreat,  But a 6 rolled for morale - another one! - meant they remained in hand, and not routing all over the countryside).

Ashby's charge.  A slight edge in numbers did not help.
There is little left of the action to narrate.  Morning had some time ago passed into early afternoon, and time was becoming of concern to the Confederate commander, as much as it was to the Union.  A disquieting rumour had come to General Jackson from the direction of Strasburg.  It appeared that if that town were not yet occupied by forces from Fremont's command, the place soon would be.
Gordon's step-by-step withdrawal.

A look along the Union line.
Yet at the same time, Jackson wanted Banks out of the picture for a long time to come, if not for good and all.

Ashby's cavalry take heavy losses.
Had Ashby's charge been as much a success as it was a failure, he might have achieved just that.  But as it was, his cavalry were left out of the action. The infantry had to take up the pursuit.
The pursuit continues without cavalry.
As the day advanced it was becoming plain that the Union troops would get off with just about all that was left off their strength.  Once clear of the woods, Gordon's people would soon make off, and the rest were already well on the road north but for a few ragged remnants prepared to hold back the Confederate pursuit.  
One the retreat has begun, it can not be stopped...
At about 3 o'clock Jackson called off the action.  The damage to Banks's command he judged to be sufficient.  Now to see what, if anything, was to be done about Fremont.  By this time the rumour was confirmed, Fremont's Mountain Corps would be entering Strasburg, almost a half-day's march in his left rear.  If this rain kept up, it might well take longer than a half day to reach the place.
Close of the action
Defeated though he had been - once again - Major-Genl Banks was disinclined to take a pessimistic view of the situation.  True, it would take some time to refurbish his command.  Donnelly's Brigade in particular had borne the brunt of the fighting over the last four days, and had been destroyed, pretty much, as a fighting formation.  Yet there was no doubt about it: his men had given a very good account of themselves against overwhelming numbers.  Both Confederate cavalry regiments had been fought to a standstill, if not routed altogether.  The same could be said of at least three rebel infantry regiments.  Riding northward among the remnants of his command, General Banks was inclined to think the afternoon a deal less dark and grey than it looked.
The remnants of Donnelly's Brigade.  Four days ago it comprised
108 figures.  Here there are but 29 remaining.