Friday, 23 March 2012

The Battle of Crane’s Station Turns 7 – 14

At 10.00am McClellan and the Union HQ finally arrived on table behind Porter’s corps and the “Young Napoleon” wasted no time in issuing orders to Porter aimed at consolidating his position by the Quaker Farm.
Porter's corps at the Quaker farm.

Unfortunately a series of poor command die rolls meant that none of his orders were implemented and instead Porter was only able to react defensively to the growing Confederate threat. This limited him to pushing forward skirmishers and pounding away with his two artillery batteries deployed near the farm.

General McClellan at his HQ. The general was not having a good day.

Lee however managed to get fresh orders to Magruder to head towards Crane’s Station and once there to assault Porter’s flank.

General Lee's HQ (that's him on the white horse!).

McClellan was still unaware of developments at Beckettsville until at 11.30am a courier arrived from Keyes informing him that Longstreet was in the town but that his left flank was “up in the air”. Keyes and Longstreet were now locked into a skirmish and artillery duel whilst Sumner’s corps steadily deployed to the rear of Keyes.

Longstreet at Beckettville with an open left flank.

McClellan finally dispatched a courier with orders for Keyes but there was a three-mile gap between the two commanders, which meant more delay. Things were made worse by the fact that McClellan forgot for a while to issue any orders at all to Sumner or Cooke

 The couriers of both armies were the busiest men on the field for most of the morning.

By 12.30pm Magruder’s first division had deployed just south of Crane’s Station and shortly after this they assaulted Sykes division on Porter’s right flank. Two of Sykes brigades and a battery were routed and went streaming back through McClellan’s HQ although one of Magruder’s brigades were also broken in the process.

Sykes division collapses under pressure from Magruder.

So by the end of turn 14 the Confederates were looking increasingly menacing on the Union right whilst on the far left it was the Union troops with the upper hand now that Sumner had finally received orders to advance and occupy Fairweather Ridge.
The situation at the end of turn 14

To be continued...

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