Saturday, August 6, 2016

Battle of Eltham's Landing May 7, 1862 Part 2

When we left off, The 1st Texas Infantry Regiment of John Bell Hood's Texas Brigade has made contact with Brigadier General John Newton's Brigade. Newton himself is with the 18th NY infantry as both regiments prepare to open fire on each other.

The reserves at the landing wait for the moment they are called into action. The bold Brigadier General Philip Kearny sits in the saddle ready to give the order to advance.

The small village of Eltham's Landing on the south bank of the Pamunkey River.

Union Brigadier General's Kearny and Slocum wait for orders at the Landing.

The 1st Texas Infantry were able to let loose a devastating volley. Across the road in the other wooded area, Hampton's Legion also opens fire on the opposing Federals.

The 1st Texas Infantry's initial volley was so heavy that the 18th NY Infantry takes serious casualties and breaks.

Turn 5. Confederate Initiative. The battle continues to be hot on the Confederate right flank. Hampton's Legion Infantry the 95th PA Infantry continue to exchange fire. The Wagon masters with the supply train hears the rattle of muskets to their right. They crack their whips and attempt to quicken their pace. General Hood continues to press his momentum of the attack. The Rattle of Musketry is certainly heard at the landing by the Brigade Generals in reserve. For some reason, no one comes to the front. 

The Firing that was put out by Hampton's Legion was so fierce, they run out of ammunition. Being out of Ammo and with no support on the left is a precarious position to be in.

"The smoke was so think. you could almost choke on it. The dense trees and underbrush blocked any breezes from dissipating the musket smoke. It hung in the trees as if the world was on fire and we were the fuel."

Hampton's Legion on the line.

Eventually, the smoke will clear from the 1st Texas Infantry's front and they will be able to advance.

Turn 6.Confederate Initiative Hampton's Legion Infantry managed to get resupplied. 40 rounds per man. They do not seem to stand idle as they once again bring their muskets to bear and let loose with another volley. On the Left side of the advance, the 18th GA Infantry pass through the 1st Texas Infantry as they collect their wounded and resupply. General Hood orders his brigade to continue their push. The 31st NY Infantry witnessed the 18th NY Infantry rout and pass through their lines in a skedaddle. They determine to hold in place and defend the line. At the Landing, BG Kearny looks to BG Slocum and says.       "You got any 6's?" Slocum shakes his head no. "Go fish." replies Kearny with a smile.

On the Confederate Right. Hampton's Legion manages to break the 95th PA Infantry and they fall back.

"Forward men, for God's sake, Forward! Keep the pressure on them!" says General Hood .

Hampton's Legion Infantry watch as the Federal Regiment retires from the front.

The 18th GA Infantry collide with the 31st NY and two fresh Infantry regiments continue the struggle. The New York Infantry let loose with a thunderous volley. Minnie balls snap tree limbs as they pass from the end of their muskets to find their marks in the opposing regiment. Twigs, leaves, and soldiers alike fall to the ground. The 18th GA Infantry takes heavy casualties. They become shaken but they hold their position.

The Colonel of the Georgia Regiment rallies his men and they return fire.

Hampton's Legion continues forward.

Turn 8 Federal Initiative. The 31st NY continues to slug it out with the 18th GA infantry of the left flank of the advance. Hampton's Legion on the left are ordered to hold the position and secure it from enemy attack. The Wagon train continues along the road at their best possible speed. Now almost bordering on complete ignorance, the reserves at the landing continue to do nothing.
Turn 9 Confederate Initiative. At this time in the battle 31st NY Infantry will break and quit the field. With their departure from the woods, this effectively ends the action in the woods and secures the wagon trains way to escape. at the Landing, General Kearny falls asleep and General Slocum takes up knitting. The Dice Gods are bound and determine to keep the reserves out of this contest.

Turn 10. Federal Initiative. There isn't much to do at this point other than wave at the wagons as they inch closer to the table edge and safety.

Historical Outcome of the battle was roughly the same result. General Hood's Brigade with Wade Hampton's Legion Infantry managed to push the Federals back into the area of the landing. Union Generals Franklin and McClellan, fearing a large force opposing the landing, ordered a retreat and the brigades withdrew from the area. By this time, the Battle of Williamsburg has already concluded and the Confederate lines shifted once again. With Eltham's Landing being no longer behind the enemies lines, it was deemed pointless to continue with the operation. General Joseph Johnston's willingness to continue to retreat helped to buy the Confederate Army time. Soon General Johnston will attack and neither side will be completely ready for the carnage of war that will fall upon a small railroad stop on the Richmond and York Railroad line. A place called Fair Oaks.

Having the wagon train in the background with it slowly moving forward was a offhanded idea of mine. Almost like a visible countdown timer. I would modify my scenario so that once the "first shots are fired." The reserves at the landing will activate and move forward. As it were, I had it where I was supposed to roll a d20 and get a result of 18 or better to activate the reserves beginning on turn 5. This did not happen and Slocum and Kearny sat around the landing area playing poker. If you play the battle yourself take liberty and adjust when the reserves come in.

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