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May 1st - 1:00pm - Couch's II Corps deploys across the Orange turnpike facing east. In the foreground the McGee House - the white building is Chancellorsville itself.
McLaw's division marching west on the turnpike, starts to take fire from a couple of Couch's batteries on the higher ground behind the McGee House.
At the same time his skirmishers run into a substantial Union skirmish line so the whole division starts to deploy off the road, followed by Anderson behind him. By 3:00pm Lee's HQ had not even got on to the table so McLaws and Anderson were stuck with their original cautious 'HOLD' orders which meant that no general engagement was brought on
The best bit of this encounter was watching Ian, faced with an entire Confederate Corps commanded by Lee in person, deciding if he should conserve his artillery ammunition for when ' things got worse ' ! ( Ammo Rules are in use for this one )
The Rebs tentatively approach the McGee House, having rushed all the way from
Slocum's XII Corps column marches along the Furnace Road then turns south east onto the Plank Road - there is a large clearing here so the enemy are visible less than a mile way, forcing a hasty deployment.
Early's brigades roll out into line north of the Alrich House to face off against Slocum's Corps as it emerges from the woods ahead – again, both sides unable to take the initiative as they have defensive orders.
2:00pm - Several miles to the west, Sickles III Corps marches to join the action, passing Wilderness Church and Dowdalls Tavern.
... which brings us to the only real combat of the first session - a dramatic clash of cavalry forces in the Union rear at the Carpenter House. As Pleasonton moved south to secure the Brock Road, he literally ran headlong into Stuart's troopers moving north to 'probe for enemy weaknesses'. Both sides were in 'RECON' mode and looking for a fight – but so close together that dismounting would have been risky. Horse artillery was deployed to the flanks and the Rebs came off worst in the first exchange, inspiring Ian to launch a mounted charge
( rather unusual in these games !) Weight of numbers gave him +1 on the die roll and I wasn't optimistic . . . but, hey - these were JEB's boys . . . . the Yankees broke and ran ! In danger of losing his whole command and opening up the Union rear, Pleasonton wisely withdrew.