After all the marching and counter-marching of the day before, it was clear from the General Officer Commanding himself to the lowliest volunteer, it was clear as the Thursday 23rd dawned drizzly and miserable, that they would be coming very soon under heavy attack. A spot of rain was not going to stop Jackson's 'foot cavalry'. Between them, the Major-General and his two Brigade commanders bethought themselves that passive defence would be simply asking for a defeat. They resolved to strike.
I had to make some kind of change to a straightforward Attacker-Defender action with forces of disparate strengths. It was high time for something more along the lines of Cedar Mountain (9 August, 1862) or Sabine Crossroads (8 April, 1864) (ironically enough, Banks featured in both those actions... h'mmm...).
First of all, the forces were sorted out, both sides having lost something like 80 figures (2000 men) in the previous actions.
|Union army drawn up ready for desperate battle.|
Union: Major-General N. P. Banks
5 Connecticut 20 figures*
1 Maryland 20 figures*
46 Pennsylvania 18 figures
* 26 New York had been so reduced by losses, that it had to be disbanded and its remnants redistributed, 3 figures each to Connecticut and Maryland. As 46 Pa had been detached, that unit received none.
27 Indiana 26 figures
2 Massachusetts 23 figures
29 Pennsylvania 24 figures
3 Wisconsin 22 figures
1 Maine 10 figures
1 Michigan 12 figures
New York Artillery 4 figures; rifled Parrotts
Ohio Artillery 4 figures; smoothbore Napoleons.
Total: 183 figures and 2 guns.
Confederate: Major-General T.J. Jackson
Winder's (Stonewall) Brigade:
5 Virginia 19 figures
27 Virginia 22 figures
33 Virginia 21 figures
Poague's Artillery 3 figures - smoothbores.
10 Virginia 22 figures
23 Virginia 18 figures
37 Virginia 22 figures
Cutshaw's Artillery 4 figures, - rifles
15 Alabama 22 figures
21 Georgia 22 figures
21 North Carolina 20 figures
Raines's artillery 3 figures - rifles
1 La Special Battalion 18 figures (Tigers)
6 Louisiana 24 figures
7 Louisiana 17 figires
Lusk's Artillery 4 figures - smoothbores
7 Virginia Cavalry 18 figures (Ashby)
Chew's Artillery 4 figures - rifles.
Total: 308 figures and 5* guns.
* For some reason Chew's flying artillery got left out of the battle; that is to say, I simply forgot about it!)
|Map of the battlefield, with Union dispositions and battle plan.|
From the map you may discern how I was going to conduct this action. Having determined upon 'Strike! before being struck', I fixed upon the Union plan, with the Confederate approach being programmed. Whilst Donnelly held a defensive position on the east flank, Gordon's whole brigade would make a thrust against the Confederates as they crossed Opequon Creek through the woods upon Sandy Ridge, and the open valley towards the Shady Elm timber yards.
If any Rebs tried to cross near Sandy Ridge, they would find the going tough, but if not, they would find their open flanks being assailed from cover.
Divided up into Infantry Brigades and Cavalry regiments, with cannon rolled separately, the Confederates would arrive at any time from Game Turn 1 through to Game Turn 6. Whenever a battery arrives coincidentally with a brigade, it would be held that that was the battery belonging to it. It would take half a morning (3 hours, from 7 to 10 a.m.) for the Confederates all to arrive on the field. As the first hour of the day will have been spent marching into contact, it would be 10 a.m. before all units would be up. The Union forces had that time to strike with equal or superior numbers.
As to the point of arrival, the field was divided into rough quarters, with the following additional die rolls:1. Arrive at the Shady Elm Mill Bridge;
2. Arrive at the Shady Elm Mill Bridge;
3. Arrive in front of the Sandy ridge wooded area;
4. Arrive up the Valley Turnpike towards Bartonsville;
5. Arrive up the Valley Turnpike towards Bartonsville;
6. Arrive east of Bartonsville.
The dice were rolled, with the following results:
Game Turn 1: Stonewall Brigade plus artillery arrives east of Bartonsville;
Game Turn 2: Ashby's Cavalry arrives up the Valley Turnpike;
Game Turn 3; Taylor's Brigade - minus artillery - arrives at the Shady Elm Mill Bridge;
Game Turn 4: a) Trimble's Brigade arrives in front of the forest, on and between the two spurs south of the creek:
Game Turn 5: Munford's Cavalry arrives up the Valley Turnpike;
Game Turn 6: Taliaferro's Brigade arrives east of Bartonsville.
|Mid-morning - with action about to be joined between Gordon's Union|
Brigade and elements of Taylor's and Trimble's CSA Brigades