Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Battle of Williamsburg May 5, 1862: Morning: Longstreet's Assault Part 1


~Orders of Battle~
Union Forces

BG Joseph Hooker's Division    5,500 men

BG. Taylor's Brigade

70th NY Inf                        7 stands
72nd NY Inf                        6 stands
73rd NY Inf                        6 stands
74th NY Inf                         6 stands

BG Patterson's Brigade

5th NJ  Inf                           6 stands
6th NJ  Inf                           6 stands
7th NJ Inf                           6 stands
8th NJ Inf                           6 stands

BG Grover's Brigade

1st MA Inf                        6 stands

Dco NY Light Artillery  10 lb Parrot                             3 stands
Hco 1st US Artillery  (x2 12 lb Nap,  x1 10 lb parrot)   3 stands


Federal Reinforcements  (after Turn 10.)      5,200 men

BG Philip Kearny Division

BG Berry's Brigade

2nd Mich Inf                    7 stands
3rd Mich Inf                     7 stands
5th Mich Inf                     6 stands
37th NY Inf                     6 stands

BG Birney's Brigade

3rd ME Inf                    7 stands
4th ME Inf                     6 stands
38th NY Inf                   7 stands
70th NY Inf                   6 stands

Confederate Forces

MG James Longstreet Division     7,400 men

BG Wilcox Brigade

10th AL Inf                   6 stands
19th Miss Inf                 7 stands
9th AL Inf                      5 stands
8th AL Inf                      7 stands

BG A.P. Hill's Brigade

17th VA Inf                    6 stands
11th VA Inf                    7 stands
7th VA Inf                      7 stands
1st VA Inf                      4 stands

BG  Pickett's Brigade

28th VA  Inf                     6 stands
19th VA Inf                      7 stands
18th VA Inf                      7 stands
8th VA Inf                        5 stands

Coke's (VA) Battery 12lb Napoleons      2 stands
Shortly after BG Cuvier Grover's assault broke up. Confederate MG James Longstreet brought his division on the field and counter attacked General Hooker's line. Longstreet's Objective, Smash the Federal Line and push through before the Federals can consolidate their lines. Hooker's Objective, Hold the line long enough for reinforcements to arrive during turn 10.

Turn 1. Confederate Initiative. General Longstreet gives the order for his division to move forward. The Division is set up in a brigade front.  Bg Cadmus Wilcox's Brigade in the lead with Bg A.P. Hill immediately formed up behind him. BG George Pickett follows suit. The Government Road is seen on the Confederate Right, Federal Left running parallel to the assault.  MG Joseph Hooker's Brigades are set up in the woods in front of the attack.

BG Patterson's Brigade in reserve behind Taylor's Brigade.

Men of the 70th NY Inf, part of Taylor's Brigade hold the extreme left of the Federal flank.

MG Joseph Hooker with his two artillery batteries denying the road.

The Confederate advance. One of the redoubts can be seen to the top left of the picture.

BG Cadmus Wilcox's Brigade In the advance.

BG A.P. Hill's Brigade.

BG George Pickett's Brigade of Virginians

MG James Longstreet urges his men forward.

Coke's Battery in Redoubt number 5. They open fire on the 70th NY Infantry ahead of Wilcox's Brigade. The shells fall harmlessly in the field.

The Federal Batteries open up on the advancing Confederates. The shells fall into the 9th Alabama Regiment of Wilcox's Brigade. They take heavy casualties.

Turn 2. Confederate Initiative.  Coke's Virginia Battery continues to open fire on the 70th NY.  The US artillery fires on the 9th AL Regt.  Wilcox's Brigade and the rest of the division continue to press the attack.

"Hold your fire, men."

From the depths of the ranks, the rebel yell begins to swell up and drowns out the sound of the artillery.

Every musket ready.

Turn 3. Confederate Initiative. Coke's Battery ranges in and lands some shells among the New Yorkers in the tree line. The Federal Artillery Batteries  continue switch to canister shot as the 9th Alabama takes heavy casualties. They pass their cohesion test and continue to advance with the rest of their brigade.  They gain a "Shaken" token on their last cohesion test, but they are still there. AMAZING. According  to the rules, in order to pass cohesion you must roll a d20 and have a result less than the units cohesion rating. At this point, the casualties have dropped the 9th Alabama cohesion to 4.

Turn 4. Federal Initiative.  Dco US artillery fires and has no effect. Hco US Artillery fires double canister and finally the 9th AL Regt.  quits the field. 

"Steady men, STEADY."

Turn 5. Confederate Initiative.  The US Artillery continues to fire. The tree line comes to life with the rattle of muskets as the 70th NY and the 73rd NY open fire on the advancing Confederates. Wilcox 's brigade halts and opens fire.  Hill orders his 7th Va Inf to oblique march in order to plug the hole left by the 9th AL. General Wilcox lengthens the battle line in an effort to get more muskets to the front and deliver more firepower. 

"Keep firing Men, Pour it into them!"

Turn 6. Confederate Initiative. Cokes Battery continues to fire from Redoubt number 5. The 10th AL Regt on the right flank routs and leaves the field.  The fire from the Federal batteries is murderous. casualties are heavy on the Confederate left flank. Both Wilcox and now Hill's Brigades take a beating. Wilcox's Brigade has stopped in the line of the advance in order to slug it out with the Federals in the tree line. A.P. Hill basically orders his brigade to split in half and go around the "roadblock." BG Pickett, in the reserve, asks. "WTF?" and MG Longstreet does the equivalent of an 19th century face palm.

The Confederates must push forward. Time is against them as the Federals put up a stiff resistance.

~To be continued~

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