Tuesday, April 28, 2015

General John Bankhead Magruder "Prince John"

born~ May 1, 1807 Port Royal, Virginia
died~  Feb 19, 1871  Houston, Texas  age 63

education~ University of Virginia
                   West Point Military Academy class of 1830

Fascinating Fact~ Spoke with a lisp. In his spare time he composed songs. He also directed concerts and amateur theater productions at the various posts he was assigned.

 "Magruder was a born soldier...He would fight all day and dance all night. He wrote love songs and sang them, and won an heiress rich beyond comparison." Magruder spoke with a lisp. He was six feet tall and "in full regimentals" was said to have been "the handsomest soldier in the Confederacy." He married Esther Henrietta von Kapff on May 18, 1831. For the first nineteen years he saw his family in Baltimore only on occasional furloughs. After 1850 his wife visited him only twice, 1854–55 and 1856. Many thought he was single. He is buried in Galveston, the scene of his greatest military success.

His life was the Army, and he excelled at it, no matter where he was assigned; he served in the First Artillery in 1831, participated in the Second Seminole War, then saw battle again during the Mexican War where he was promoted from first lieutenant to lieutenant colonel rapidly under General Winfield Scott's brigade, fighting valiantly at both Cerro Gordo and Chapultepec. When the Civil War broke out, Magruder's loyalty lay with his home state, so he resigned from the Army in April 1861 and enlisted with the Confederacy. Commissioned a brigadier general at first, his skill in the field led to a speedy promotion to major general while in command of the small force defending Richmond.
During the Battle of Yorktown he managed to decieve McClellan by marching small groups of soldiers past the same position multiple times. He would also have his artillery fire whenever Federal troops where sighted and gave the impression of an Aggressive defending force. This tactic worked so well that McClellan, believeing he was outnumbered, wasted weeks in preperation to lay siege to Yorktown. During the Seven Days battles he performed poorly and unaggressively. Some blamed heavy drinking and the stress of defending Yorktown.
General Joseph E. Johnston and Gen John B. Magruder
Magruder and his generals during the Peninsula Campaign.
At the battle of Malvern Hill, the last of the Seven Days Battles, local guides led his command astray and caused serious delay in forming for battle. When General Lee reorganized the Army of Northern Virginia he transfered those he felt were ineffective commanders. Magruder was transfered to the District of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona.
On Janurary 1st 1863 Magruder won his greatest battle. The Battle of Galveston resulted in recapturing the town from Union Forces and opening the port for the Confederacy. After the war he fled to Mexico and served as a General in the Imperial Mexican Army under Emperor Maximilian I. When the Emperor was executed by revolutionaries, Magruder resettled in Houston Texas where he spent the remainder of his days.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Battle of Five Pines Part Two

The Confederate left flank is composed of two brigades. The lead brigade waits til his supporting brigade is clear of the treeline and together they move forward at the double quick. They slam into the Union Right flank. The musketry whittles away at the men and casualties begin to mount.

The Union Front line of defense .

One of the lead regiments in the attack makes its way through the woods.The undergrowth and the tangled brush makes forward movement slow. The Federal regiment on the extreme right sees that it is about to be flanked. The roar of musket fire and the sounds of combat keep the focus of the Blue line. Being unable to disengage they take heavy losses and finally break.

The opposing lines are so close they yell taunts and insults at each other.

The Union Second line makes ready. Seeing that the front line is engaged they wait for orders. The battery in the center holds fire. They are unable to clearly see a target because of the smoke hanging in the field.

General Underhill makes his way through the chaos. he waves his hat at the soldiers he passes. His men let out a cheer and rally. Victory is close. All the need is a breakthrough to shatter the enemies will.

Another of the Federal regiments breaks and leaves the field. The blue line of defense has developed holes on both flanks.

 The Union general knows that he must hold on. He waits for further orders. The Confederate General knows that time is running out for his advance. As much as he presses along the line. The Federals continue to hold.

The sun sets on the battlefield and with the sunset comes the last parting shots of muskets. Soon the night will be filled with the sounds of the dying and the ghostly lights of lanterns as the field is searched for the wounded and dead. Both commanders know that the battle resolved nothing. Soon both armies will meet again with the hope of a victory.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Battle of Five Pines Part One

This was a battle fought in 11 turns.

The objective was for was for the attacking army to achieve a breach in the defending army's front line. This scenario is based loosely on the action south of the rail road tracks at the Battle Of Fair Oaks Virginia. The defending army has two lines of defenses The attacking army Starts the scenario relatively close to the enemies first line of defenses. The attacker will have the initiative on the first turn.

this is a basic division vs division encounter.

Initial set up; each side set up a brigade on the road and one brigade in the field.

Union Division.
General C. Jones (commanding.)
General Bill and New York Brigade
General Sam and New York Brigade
General James and Pennsylvania Brigade
General Ambrose and Pennsylvania Brigade

Confederate Division
General R. H. Underhill (commanding)
General Brian and Georgia Brigade
General Keith and Mixed Brigade
General Lewis and North/ South Carolina Brigade
General David and  Alabama/ Virginia Brigade

The orders were very clear. "Engage the enemy force encamped south of the rail road line. Force a breakthrough and turn the enemies flank."  General Underhill marched his division of four brigades out of the capitol shortly after sundown. they had marched all night and formed up in position just inside the treeline opposite the clearing where the Federal troops where positioned. The sun had just started to break the horizon when he gave the order to move forward.
Each of the brigade commanders had formed their commands in line of battle. They ordered their men to load their weapons and fix bayonets. It seemed as if the order would never come. Very quietly, Each brigade commander stepped off at the appointed time. They signaled the advance by waving their swords and the regiments surged forward.

Turn 1.  beginning positions before the Confederate advance.

The sun was just beginning to chase the darkness of the prior night away when a small herd of deer scampered and bounded out of the treeline and danced forward in a panic. They turned north and bolted into the opposite treeline. A Pennsylvania Sergeant smoking his pipe saw the deer. Something did not feel right. There were no birds singing. The sergeant reached over and shook a young boy awake. "Get your musket, Thomas. I fear there is mischief upon us." Said the Sergeant.

Here they come. closer to the edge of the forest.

Breaking the wood line and coming into the clearing. The Federals sounded the alarm up and down the

Turn 2. A few random shots were fired by the defenders. For the most part the Colonels kept their
men under control and held their fire.

The Confederates broke through the treeline and moved at the quick step.
Then at the double. The Southern Regiments waving their battle flags moved with the determination
of an unstoppable force. 

Slowly, all along the line of advance, a low continuous roar was heard. Rising
as the line moved forward.  The roar become louder until it was the only sound heard.

Turn 3. The rest of the division emerges from the woods and surges forward.
The roar of the Rebel Yell is deafening. The Federal defenders stand their ground
as the hair on their necks stand up. A cold shiver runs up their backs.

The wall of gray is suddenly halted by the commanders. They make ready,
they aim, and fire. Musket fire erupts all along the line. The Union line wavers in
some places, but holds. They return fire.

The exchange of barrages lasts for what seems like an eternity. The Union General focuses his attention
on the center of his defensive line.  The Confederate left flank consolidates and surges forward in an attempt to
flank the defenders.
To be continued.......