The Rebels press Slocum's right flank during the last two daylight turns
As darkness fell there was much relief at Hooker’s HQ at Chancellorsville. The Rebels had held the upper hand all afternoon outnumbering the boys in blue by 4:3 but they had failed to capitalise on their advantage. Now, with Sickles large corps finally arriving in support the moment of crisis had passed.
Nightfall, time to pull back and regroup
Dawn on May 2nd...
During the night turn our rules allow for both players to carry out a limited amount of troop movement by a process of mutual agreement. Hooker took the opportunity to pull back Slocum’s corps further into the woods and out of the reach of the Confederate artillery whilst all along the front line the men were ordered to construct entrenchments. Lee meanwhile ordered Early to disengage from Slocum and reorganised the forces on his right flank in preparation for a morning attack.
The new Union line, now entrenched
The Confederate line - Anderson's division is forming up for attack on the far right
Meanwhile the Union reserve artillery column had finally arrived at Chancellorsville containing 4 batteries of rifled artillery, 1 caisson and 6 wagons, in a column that stretched back for nearly two miles! The lack of artillery ammunition for the Union guns had become critical with most of the batteries in the front line down to their last round but now the means of re-supply was on hand.
Hooker breathes a sigh of relief as the wagon train trundles past his HQ
And what of Jackson? Still no sign! Hooker had left Howard’s XI corps back at Dowdall’s Tavern to protect the rear of the army while Sickles remaining Divisions were being kept in reserve at the Fairview clearing. Stuart meanwhile was probing north from Catherine Furnace but Pleasonton was hot on his heels and a new cavalry action is developing in Hazel Grove.
It's round two for Stuart and Pleasonton
As we reached turn 18 (8.30am May 2nd) Lee’s orders to “assault” had finally reached Anderson whose lead brigade surged forward and attacked Zook’s brigade behind the Union entrenchments. To succeed in an assault on entrenchments is quite hard in our rules but by a fluky die roll the Rebels did just that and Zook’s men were sent streaming to the rear while the jubilant Rebels occupied their old position.
Anderson's men (on the left) eject the northerners from their entrenchments
And so ended the third playing session of the game. It had been looking quite good for Hooker but Anderson’s attack is now causing some concern at Union HQ and the uncertainty over Jackson’s whereabouts means we will be in for a very interesting session next time.
To make sense of this narrative take a look at the map here.