Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Situation Report: Jackson Heads to Richmond June 16, 1862

Near Richmond, Va., June 16, 1862

Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson,
Commanding Valley District:

General: I have received your letter by the Hon. Mr. Boteler. I hope you will be able to recruit and refresh your troops sufficiently for the movement proposed in my letter of the 11th. You have only acknowledged my letter of the 8th. I am therefore ignorant whether that of the 11th has reached you. From your account of the position of the enemy I think it would be difficult for you to engage him in time to unite with this army in the battle for Richmond. Fremont and Shields are apparently retrograding, their troops shaken and disorganized, and some time will be required to set them again in the field. If this is so, the sooner you unite with this army the better. McClellan is being strengthened; Burnside is with him, and some of McDowell’s troops are also reported to have joined him. There is much sickness in his ranks, but his re-enforcements by far exceed his losses. The present, therefore, seems to be favorable for a junction of your army and this. If you agree with me, the sooner you can make arrangements to do so the better. In moving your troops you could let it be understood that it was to pursue the enemy in your front. Dispose those to hold the valley so as to deceive the enemy, keeping your cavalry well in their front, and at the proper time suddenly descending upon the Pamunkey. To be efficacious, the movement must be secret. Let me know the force you can bring, and be careful to guard from friends and foes your purpose and your intention of personally leaving the valley. The country is full of spies, and our plans are immediately carried to the enemy. Please inform me what arrangements you can make for subsisting your troops. Beef-cattle could at least be driven, and if necessary we can subsist on meat alone.
Unless McClellan can be driven out of his intrenchments he will move by positions under cover of his heavy guns within shelling distance of Richmond. I know of no surer way of thwarting him than that proposed. I should like to have the advantage of your views and be able to confer with you. Will meet you at some point on your approach to the Chickahominy. I inclose a copy of my letter of the 11th, lest the original should not have reached you.

I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

R. E. Lee

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Battle of Port Republic June 9, 1862: Part 2.

Turn 5. Confederate Initiative. Pouge's Battery opens fire on Btty E. The Federal Battery takes some heavy casualties. The Federal Batteries open fire  Winder's Brigade takes casualties along with Pogue's Battery. Jackson's continues to press his brigades forward. 

Federal Brigades open fire.

Pogue's Battery firing as Jackson pushes his brigades forward

"Forward men!"

Winder's brigade pushing forward.

Tyler and his brigade on the hill by the Coaling.

Turn 6. Federal Initiative. The Federal guns devastate Pogue's Battery as they are forced to quit the field.  The 4th VA Infantry of the Winder's Brigade  is forced to withdraw as well.

Despite the losses. Jackson's Army continues. The Brigades of Walker and Taylor continue to make slow progress in the thick wood on the right. Advancing in cover will keep their numbers up before they engage the Federals.

Turn 7. Federal Initiative. The Federal Batteries continue to fire on the advancing Confederates. The infantry continue to hold their fire until the distance is closer. The Confederates continue to push forward.

Richard Taylor's Brigade in the tree line.

Federal Batteries continue to fire.

Turn 8. Federal Initiative. The Federal Batteries continue to fire. Carpenters Battery routs before they bring their guns to action. The Confederate forces come within range. Jackson orders them to open fire. Battery H takes heavy casualties and quits the field. Winder shifts his brigade Scott, Walker, and Taylor continue forward.

The advancing line.

Fire on the hill.

Turn 9. Confederate Initiative. Jackson's men open fire. The 5th VA Infantry of Winder's Brigade fires on Btty L. the battery suffers casualties. a stray bullet slams into Brigadier General Carroll's chest killing him before he falls from his horse. His brigade takes the death of their leader hard and they are "shaken" but hold the field. The Federals in response continue to fire on the Confederates. The 2nd VA Infantry are routed. Confederate Brigadier General Taylor's brings his Louisiana Brigade into battle line. Col. Walker continues to bring his brigade up.

The Louisiana Brigade deploys into line and threatens the Federal left flank. 

Louisiana Brigade in line.

Turn 10.Confederate Initiative. The Confederate Line erupts with musketry. The Federals are hit hard.  Confederate BG Richard Taylor brings is Louisiana Brigade up to the treeline. Using the woods as cover the 6th Louisiana Infantry open fire on the 66th Ohio Infantry. The back and forth of musket fire is deadly.  During the movement phase, Taylor brings two more regiments up in line with the 6th Louisiana. Col. Walker continues to bring his brigade up. BG Winder holds his position with the "Stonewall Brigade."

Federal BG Erastus Tyler's Brigade positioned at the Coaling. The Confederate Brigade just inside the treeline.

Keeping the action hot. The Confederates concentrate their fire on the center units of the Federal defensive line

The 66th Ohio Infantry Regiment in the center has taken a severe beating from prolonged fighting. a white  "shaken" bead sits behind the command stand. They have lost cohesion points with each exchange. They can't hold out much longer.

Turn 11. Federal Initiative. The Federal Artillery batteries thunder on with canister shot. The Infantry regiments engaged continue to fire on the advancing Confederates. The "Rebel Yell" can be heard as they come closer to Federal Regiments. On the Federal Left flank, the 1WV Infantry let loose with a barrage on the 1st Louisiana Infantry Battalion. (Wheat's Tigers) They are routed in the first exchange. A testament to the ferocity of the battle.  During the Confederate firing phase we see the 84th  and the 55th Ohio Infantry Rout and leave the field. When the Louisiana Brigade opens fire along their line, we also see Btty E and the 7th Ohio also break and leave the field.

With four units broken, Federal BG Tyler scrambles to move regiments up to stabilize his line before it completely collapses.

The losses are too much for the Federals.

BG Richard Taylor and the Louisiana Brigade.

The sun begins to set on the battlefield. With the last parting shots the battle ends. We count up the casualties and find that this battle was just as close as the battle from the day before.
Confederate Losses are  5 Cannon stands
                                       3 Regiments  10 stands
Federal Losses are        6 Cannon stands
                                      3 Regiments  16 stands
Confederate Victory.

~Historical Note~
The Tabletop battle was similar to the actual battle. The Confederate forces advancing in the woods played a major part in breaking the Federal defensive line. Louisiana regiments broke through the woods and captured the Federal guns at the Coaling and turned them on the Federals. The Federals had a good defensive deployment. They anchored their right flank on the river bank and held a commanding position on the hill. Their mistake was in not securing the left flank facing the woods.  As the Federal forces routed and left the field, General Fremont's forces deployed cannons on the opposite side of the Shenandoah River and start shelling the Confederates. The bridge in Port Republic was burned as the last Confederate Units crossed trapping Fremont on the west bank of the river and out of reach of Jackson. Once again, "Ol' Blue Light" got the best of the situation. By the end of the day, Jackson withdrew his forces down the Mt Vernon Furnace Road and out of reach of the federal guns.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Battle of Port Republic June 9, 1862: Part 1.

Port Republic on the Shenandoah River

~Orders of Battle~
Union Forces

MG Irvin McDowell (not present) Department of the Rappahannock
approx 4,600 men

BG James Shields Division (not present)
BG Erastus Tyler's Brigade

7th IN Inf                        5 stands
7th OH Inf                        7 stands
29th OH Inf                        7 stands
110th PA Inf                       3 stands
1st WV Inf                          5 stands

Col. Samuel Carroll's Brigade

5th OH Inf                          8 stands
66th OH Inf                         7 stands
84th OH Inf                          4 stands

Btty L 1st OH Arty                   3 stands        x4  6 pdr,    x2 12 pd How
Btty H  1st OH Arty                 3 stands        x3 James Rifles
Btty E   4th US Arty                3 stands         x3 10 pdr Parrot


Confederate Forces

MG Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson   Department of the Valley
approx 7,000 men

MG Richard S. Ewell''s Division
Col. W.C. Scott.  (Steuart's) Brigade

 1st MY Inf                   3 stands
44 VA Inf                   2 stands
52nd VA Inf                   3 stands
58th VA Inf                   3 stands

Col. James A. Walker  (Elzey's) Brigade

12th GA Inf                   3 stands
13th VA Inf                  3 stands
25thVA Inf                   3 stands
31st VA Inf                 3 stands

BG Richard Taylor's Brigade

6th LA Inf                      5 stands
7th LA Inf                      4 stands
8th LA Inf                       5 stands
9th LA Inf                     4 stands
Wheat's Bn (Louisiana Tigers) 2 stands

BG Charles Winder's "Stonewall" Brigade (Jackson's Division)

2nd VA Inf                     3 stands
4th VA Inf                      4 stands
5th VA Inf                      4 stands
27th VA Inf                    2 stands
33rd VA Inf                    3 stands

Poague's  Btty             3 stands       x1   12 pd How,  x1 10 pd Parrot, x1 6pdr
Carpenter's Btty          2 stands       x2  3" ord
Rain's Btty                 2 stands      x2 3" ord,
Chew's Btty               2 stands      x2 12 pd Nap

After the victory at Cross Keys, Jackson orders his force across the Shenandoah River  to meet Brigadier General James Shields division. BG Charles Winder and the "Stonewall Brigade" are positioned on the Luray Rd.
RULES: Confederate players gets initiative  on first turn. Stonewall Brigade is deployed into line. Confederate BG Richard Taylor's Brigade arrives during Turn one movement phase.
Starting on Turn 2. One Confederate Artillery Battery arrives on the table and deploys. One battery per turn
Starting on Turn 3. Confederate brigades arrive on table one brigade per turn.

Turn 1. Confederate Initiative. Jackson orders Winders brigade forward. The Federal Brigades of Carroll and Tyler are deployed running along Lewiston Lane and the road to Mt Vernon Furnace (top to bottom) The Luray road run across the map from left to right.  The Coaling is represented by the large structure on the hill on the bottom right side of the map.  The small village of Lewiston is represented by the lone cabin at the crossroads. Lewis Mill is located at top right corner on the Shenandoah River which runs across top half of may from left to right.

Federal guns placed on the Hill near The Coaling.

BG Tyler's Brigade along with Battery E 4th US Artillery.

Carroll's Brigade with Battery L and Battery H 1st Ohio Artillery.

BG Charles Winder and the Stonewall Brigade advancing forward from the location of the Baugher Farm.

"Stonewall" Jackson.

The Confederate Brigade Moves North with the woods on their right flank and the Shenandoah River on their left flank.

The Federal View of the battlefield. Two Brigades deployed on high ground controlling the road and intersection. three batteries of artillery. protection from being flanked on the right by the Shenandoah River. 

Turn 2. Federal Initiative. Taylor continues to hold his fire. The Confederates are not in range of his muskets, but could be hit with artillery. Tyler orders the 1st WV Infantry regiment to extend the left flank and protect against any advance through the treeline.  Jackson and Winder move forward BG Richard Taylor arrives with his brigade of Louisiana soldiers and immediately advances in column formation into the woods. Poague's Battery arrives on the field and is ordered to move forward.

the 1st WV Infantry moving to the Federal Left flank.

BG Erastus Tylor's view of the field from on the hill.

Carroll's Brigade.

Both Confederate Brigades move forward. Winder's Brigade in brigade battle line on the left and Taylor's Brigade in column on the right.

Turn 3.  Confederate Initiative. Winder and Taylor continue to press forward. Poagues battery rushes forward and deploys.  on the Federal side, Tyler's 1st WV Infantry continue to move toward the left flank. Col. W.C. Scott commanding Steuart's brigade arrives on the field.

The West Virginia Infantry are almost in position to defend the federal left Flank.

Col. W.C. Scott commanding the Brigade of  BG. George H. Steuart who was wounded the day before at Cross Keys.

Turn 4. Confederate Initiative. Winder's brigade continues to move forward through the fields. Taylor continues to advance through the woods using them as cover. Jackson orders Scott to move his brigade up in support of Winder.  Poagues Battery deploys and readies to fire.  Carpenter's Batter arrives on the field and Col James Walker arrives commanding BG. Arnold Elzey's Brigade.  Elzey was another Brigade commander wounded  the day before at Cross Keys. Tyler's 1st West Virginia Infantry move into position on the federal Left.

Still holding his fire. waiting for the right time his guns can do the most damage.

Gun crews ready.

The Confederates can be seen in the distance advancing forward.

Col James Walker in command of BG. Arnold Elzey's Brigade. 

Scott's brigade advancing

BG. Richard Taylor's brigade moving as fast as they can through the thick woods.

Poague's battery making their guns ready as Winder's brigade advances.

Rushing headlong into the jaws of death. Soon the field will be thick with smoke and the rattle of muskets. Will Stonewall Jackson pull off another victory like he did the day before or is he pressing his luck? Will Federal Brigadier Generals Tyler and Carroll be able to hold against the Confederate attack that is coming?
To be concluded.....