Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Battle of Somewheresville, Va. or a demonstration battle

This is a fictitious Battle that I played a few nights ago to work on the "Microforce American Civil War Rules published by GHQ.
I will not go into detail on the content of the copyrighted material. However, I will give an overview of a play testing of this battle

The Battle;  Somewheresville, Va.
this is a basic brigade vs brigade encounter.

Union Brigade.

Commander; Brigadier General Bob.
 level     1
radius   10"
mod    -1
cohesion 15

1st New York Infantry Regiment     cohesion 13       4 stands
3rd New York Infantry Regiment     cohesion 14       4 stands
25th Pennsylvania Infantry Regt       cohesion 14       3 stands

Confederate Brigade.

Commander; Brigadier General John.
 level      2
radius   12"
mod    -2
cohesion 16

1st Mississippi Infantry Regiment     cohesion 14       4 stands
8th Georgia Infantry Regiment          cohesion 14       4 stands
2nd Florida Infantry Regt                   cohesion 13       3 stands

KEY: Green Arrows = Movements
          Red Arrows   = Firing at target
          Green Beads  = Unit in Movement Posture
          Red Beads     = Unit in Firing Posture
          White Beads = Unit Shaken
          Black "x"      = Unit casualties

Initial set up; Both brigades are set up in column formations

Both Generals roll to see who has the first move. With the modifiers it turned out to be the Union General. He decided to move the whole brigade so he placed his movement marker. The Confederate Likewise did the same. Then the Movement phase came up. Both generals moved forward.

Union General was quick on the initiative. He moved his brigade forwards and went into Line of Battle. The Confederate Did the same.

Union General Bob continues with the good rolls for initiative and moves forward. The Confederate General "eyeballs" the field and decides the Yankees aren't in range yet. They move forward. The commanders know That the field will open up soon.

Confederate General John finally wins the initiative. with the 1st Mississippi and the 8th Georgia up front on their right, they decide to open up on the 1st New York. The New Yorkers  take casualties, one stand of infantry lost. They rally, and give it back resulting in a loss of 1 stand for the Mississippians. Then Georgia Lets lose with their first volley resulting in another lose stand for the New Yorkers. They continue to hold the line at half strength.
The 25th Pennsylvania Comes along side the 1st New York on their left flank while the 3rd New York comes to The Right flank.

Initiative Is still held by General John. The 1st Mississippi now has the 3rd New York as the closer target and must engage them. At this moment, General Rob, while giving orders to his men, had a Minnie ball graze his shoulder. he chuckled as he poked a finger through the hole in his dark blue jacket and continued on Rallying his men. The 3rd NY returned fire and the Mississippians took another lost stand. They failed to Rally and where shaken.
Up the line the 1st NY also fired on the 1st Miss Regt. The fire had no effect.
The 8th Ga opened up on the 25th Penn and had no effect

At this moment the Hour was late and The opposing armies retired from the field.


I have had the rules now for a couple of months and have successfully played small scale actions such as this. Mainly using one or two regiments per side for a battle. The Rules are pretty good. With anything new, it takes practice to gain perfection. I recommend these rules, However I think there could have been "more" added to the rule book. I think it could have been streamlined more.
You may have noticed in one of my pics a small notebook in the corner of the table. I used this notebook to write down my own personal notes on the  "order" of how the turns are played.

In conclusion, I think I will need more practice and will look forward to playing a larger scenario soon.

We will be changing the name of the blog at the end of the month (NEXT WEEK) to reflect the larger scope of interests this blog covers. The new name will be active  the first week of April.
Please follow this blog so you won't miss out on the change.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Seeing the Elephant, A recollection from the line of battle

Standing behind the barricade I looked out across the field. I seen the line of blue coated soldiers emerge from the opposing tree line at roughly five hundred yards out.  Every instinct in my body was telling me to go ahead and shoot. My fingers grasped my musket tightly. The skirmishers out front, kneeling behind their log protection, began to waiver on our immediate left. From somewhere behind me, the First Sergeant repeats the order given from the Captain. "Alight, let'em have it!"
A mixed sensation of training and survival instinct swept over me as I raised my musket, took aim, and let the hammer drop. Everything around me faded to background. The Cannons firing to the left and right, my fellow comrades, all seemed to be in slow motion as I watched the blue coated soldiers come nearer and nearer. I was scared to look away as my hand fumbled to remove a cartridge from my cartridge box. Never taking my eyes off the enemy I placed the cartridge to my mouth and tore it open with my teeth. At great risk I looked to the top of my musket barrel to see what I was doing. I poured the contents down the barrel. raising the musket up and resting it over my cap box. I again look down range to see the Union soldiers even closer than before. My hand fumbled for a cap. I then placed it on the cone under the hammer. I then locked the hammer back to full cock. raised the rifle, and then fired. After several shots the enemy fell back. A sudden wave of excitement came over me as I yelled at the retreating Yankees. "Come on back!" and then a few whoops and yelps.

This was my first experience as a American Civil War reenactor. I had officially seen the elephant. For a brief moment in time the trappings of the modern world fell away and I was transported 150 years ago to some nameless battle. This is when the moment of clarity hit me. For the first time since researching my ancestors who fought so long ago, I had a taste of what it was like to actually "be there." Though relatively safe, the feeling was still present. I come away with a greater respect for the men on both sides of the conflict. It must have taken a great amount of personal courage to stand in a long line with others knowing that you could possibly never see another sunset. Yet, with almost the certainty of death looming over their shoulder, they continued on.

Driving home that Saturday evening, I contemplated my revelation to my wife as our daughter slept in the backseat. She made a point to mention that my service in Iraq was different but, In most respects it was the same. Duty, Honor, and Respect seem to be timeless principles.
I felt humbled. I felt like most reenactors do. When I put on that uniform from this time period and lived the life of a soldier for a day, I felt like I am honoring the memory of these brave souls. Through reenactors, the past comes alive in brilliant color. It is no longer some dried bit of information in a old book. As a reenactor, you are a living, breathing, interactive knowledge base on the lives of a Civil War soldier. I can tell you  that it is an interesting feeling being the voice of the past.

Next up;  Old Clinton War Days in Clinton Ga. First weekend in May.
I'm still working on some articles from interviews I have conducted.
There are a more equipment, historical figures, profiles coming as well.
I am continuing my Wargaming Army as well.

We will be changing the name of the blog at the end of the month to reflect the larger scope of interests this blog covers. The new name will be active  the first week of April.
Please follow this blog so you won't miss out on the change.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Zouave Madness

Madness I say, Madness!!

There were many Zouave regiments that were organized from both North and South. They adopted the style and dress from the  French North African–inspired uniforms. At this time it is clear to say that the United States Army uniform had a slight French influence. The Kepi is a perfect example of this. When the war broke out, the U.S. had more than 70 volunteer Zouave regiments throughout the war. In contrast, The Confederate Army put to the field mostly company sized Zouave units.
Approximately 25 Zouave companies served the southern cause.

Zouave units wore distinct uniforms consisting of but not limited to, Waist coats and brightly colored sashes. The head gear ranged from kepi's to Fezes or Turbans. The most distinctive part of the uniform were the baggy pants and leggings. This is not to be confussed with the Chasseur type uniform of long straight legged pants. The uniforms were made of mostly lightweight material and were trimed with colored strips along the edges of the coat.

This being said, They must have looked awe inspiring to people who witnessed their drill ceremony in person. A driving force in the American Zouave movement was a gentleman named Elmer Ellsworth who, with his company of Zouaves, traveled the United States before the War and performed demonstrations of their acrobatics and drill to the amazement of onlookers. Many people who witnessed these performances went on to form militia units as Companies of Zouaves.

American zouave units, at the beginning of the war, used  light infantry tactics that emphasised open-order formations, with several feet between soldiers, rather than the customary close order, with its characteristic 'touch of elbows.' They moved at double time, rather than marching at a stately cadence, and they lay on their backs to load their rifles rather than standing to do so. To fire they rolled prone and sometimes rose on one knee.

Some of the most famous Zouave units of the war were White's Company B (the "Tiger Rifles") of Major Chatham Roberdeau Wheat's First Special Battalion, Louisiana Volunteers, aka "Louisiana Tigers". Also Louisiana State University College Football team is called "The Tigers."

Among the Louisiana Zouaves were the "Louisiana Tigers" or "Coppen's Zouaves." These names have been confused with "Louisiana Tigers at Gettysburg." Coppen's Zouaves were at Gettysburg, but they were not then known as "Louisiana Tigers." Captain White's Company B, "Louisiana Tigers", of Major Wheats's First Special Battalion, were not at Gettysburg, having been disbanded after Wheat's death at Gaines Mill in 1862.

New York and Pennsylvania produced the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry, "Duryee's Zouaves" (after its first colonel, Abram Duryee), the 114th Pennsylvania Infantry, "Collis's Zouaves" (after their colonel, Charles H. T. Collis) and the 11th New York Volunteer Infantry, "Fire Zouaves". The 11th New York was initially led by Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth, until his death in 1861. The 11th New York was badly mauled during the First Battle of Bull Run in July 1861.
10th New York "National Zouaves",
The 5th New York at Second Manassas
suffered the highest percentage of casualties in the shortest amount of time of any unit in the Civil War (of 525 men, approximately 120 were killed and 330 were wounded in less than 10 minutes).
In 1863 and 1864 three Union regiments (146th New York, 140th New York and 155th Pennsylvania) were issued with Zouave uniforms to reward their proficiency in drill and battlefield performance.
The last Union casualty of the fighting in Virginia was reported to be a Zouave of the 155th Pennsylvania, killed at Farmville, Virginia on the morning of April 9, 1865.

Here are my Zouaves that I Completed this week.
23rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment "Birney's Zouaves"

1st Louisiana Battalion "Coppens Zouaves"


Tomorrow I will be at Little Manassas Ga watching, and possibly participating, in the Reenactor Drills.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Battle of Little Manassas Ga, 14, 15, & 16th March 2014

The fifteenth Annual Battle of Manassas, Georgia will be held this weekend outside of Reidsville, Ga off Hwy 280. The location is between Claxton and Reidsville Georgia. (Look for signs)

March 14th, 15th, and 16th 2014.  9am til 6pm. Admission $5.00 per person.

This is a yearly event for Tattnall County. All proceeds go towards  purchasing a monument for Civil War soldiers.

Friday will be a living history day for students from schools around the local area. This is a perfect opportunity for people to learn about the day to day life of nineteenth century Americans both north and south.

Saturday will begin with the reenactors, both northern and southern, to take the parade ground for drill and practice. According to Captain Frank Groce of the 53rd Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, this is the chance that most reenactor units from around the state get together to actually train and drill as a unit larger than company level.
They will need the practice. This year marks the 150th Anniversary of the Atlanta Campaign.
During the Spring of 1864, General William T. Sherman began his campaign to capture the railhead at Atlanta. The first major battle for this reenactor campaign season will be Resaca in May.

Saturday afternoon will have a battle. The battle will be open for  the spectators to watch.

Sunday events include a church service and another battle in the afternoon.
There will also be vendors as well. Army camps will be open for visitors all three days.

Hope to see you all there..........