Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Battle of Chancellorsville – Turns 26-28

Howard had bought a little time by repulsing A P Hill but Dave had no option other than to pile on the pressure and commit Rodes division to renew the assault, and his fresh brigades were soon hotly engaged with Von Steinwehr and Devens. This time the Rebels brought their artillery up to the firing line and gradually Howard’s line began to crumble.

Jackson - in more danger from the enemy than his own men this time around!
 The desperate fighting continues around Dowdall's Tavern

Despite their success Jackson’s men were taking heavy casualties as they pushed forward and it was starting to look unlikely that they would be able to advance much further. To make things worse Sickle’s two fresh divisions began to emerge from the tree line a few hundred yards east of Dowdall’s Tavern bringing Howard some much needed support.

 Sickle's men arrive in the nick of time

Meanwhile over near the Maury House the Confederates were having a better time of things. Colston’s division was beginning to look unstoppable as it moved up through the thick undergrowth sending the Union infantry running for the rear. Only Hunt’s Grand Battery remained to oppose the Rebel advance and being equipped with rifled guns they could not fire canister, which greatly reduced their effectiveness at close range.

 The Union 'Grand Battery'

Neither of us were sure how this would go as our Grand Battery rule is a new one, to be honest I thought Dave was about to punch a hole clean through my centre. I nervously rolled the 4 dice for my guns, I only needed a 5 or 6 with one of them to hit and force a morale test on the Rebs – doh!

 All I needed was one 5 or 6!!!

My entire Grand Battery was broken and I began to move the guns and limbers to the rear while Dave gleefully moved his infantry up to the hilltop. Then luckily for me Dave remembered that he should have taken a morale test after all because he was assaulting a position on higher ground. This time his luck ran out and my guns were reinstated to their old position - the steam had finally run out of Colston’s attack.

Lee's centre and right at the end of turn 28
Look's like Stuart is back in the game!
Hooker resting against a pillar at the Chancellorsville House... what could go wrong now?

Unbelievably that was our sixth playing session of this game but we have decided to go for one final session next week. The current demoralisation levels stand at 7 for the Union and 4 for the Confederates. This is a bit deceptive, as the Union level will come down next turn as I have several brigades that will rally. It may just be that numbers will decide this one in the end and as Hooker has the advantage there I’m quietly confident of a Union victory!


  1. Looks like it's turning in to a bloody draw.
    How nice being able to leave a game set up for a long period. Allows you to develop strategies with out that 3 hour time table.

  2. Yes, we are lucky to be able to leave the game set up. It's ironic really as we originally developed our rules to allow us to set up the table, terrain and figures and fight a game to a proper conclusion in three hours. Quite how we managed to do that (and we did many times) has puzzled us both - perhaps we've just slowed down with age...

  3. I look forward to the conclusion of this epic game! Whoever wins, I'd say you have both achieved a very good simulation of the ebb and flow of Civil war battle. Those tiny guys must be exhausted :-)