Sunrise - General Thomas readies his corps for a third day of fighting (looking due west from behind West Ridge).
Crucially though, although all units recovered to good morale overnight, Dave had more units permanently removed from play than I had. At the start of every game each of our armies are given a ‘Army Demoralisation Level’ (DM) in this case it was 6 for the Union and 7 for the Confederates. If at any point during play the number of simultaneously broken units of one side equals or exceeds their DM the game ends immediately in a victory for the other player.
Dave allowed me to move my HQ and wagon park forward overnight to reduce the three mile hike my wagons had been making to re-supply McCook - very sporting of him!
We allowed some very limited SP recovery during the night turn but this card still came in very handy when Dave played it to help reinforce Cleburne's veterans on Black Elk Mountain.
The fighting resumed at first light but with many of my brigades seriously depleted I had cancelled all ASSAULT orders and replaced them with HOLD or ENGAGE. Brigades with ASSAULT orders are committed to closing with the enemy and attacking with the bayonet but my troops simply did not have the strength points left to succeed at this. I decided therefore to hang on and let Dave take the initiative in the hope I could break his army with rifle and artillery fire.
The fighting resumes - Thomas and McCown square up for round two on top of West Ridge.
Dave however had decided that his best chance of victory was to order assaults with Cleburne’s division on Black Elk Mountain and McCown’s on West Ridge. The Rebs came forward and soon both sides were hotly engaged once again.
This card helped Cleburne's veterans to clear Sheridan's division from its foothold on Black Elk Mountain.
The Rebs are now firmly back in control of Black Elk Mountain having pushed Sheridan's men back towards Stone Creek.
Cleburne’s veterans succeeded in ejecting Sheridan’s men from the mountain and soon Thomas too was under pressure, his men just managing to cling on to the eastern edge of West Ridge. At this point I was seriously considering throwing in the towel as a win now seemed out of my grasp but the troops kept at it and suddenly I realised that Dave was only one DM point away from breaking!
The Union front line on West Ridge is broken once more in the continuing 'see-saw' battle.
The boys in blue break but there are plenty of supporting brigades coming up and those running down the hill quickly reform once out of range of the Rebel guns.
Davis' brigade plugged away all morning at Breckinridge's Confederates and were eventually rewarded with the sight of a broken enemy brigade fleeing their entrenchments.
The end came at 9.30am (turn 46) when Wood’s brigade of Cleburne’s division were broken by fire on the slopes of Black Elk Mountain taking the Confederate DM to 7. Incredibly, and against the odds, Rosecrans had achieved a victory – Bragg’s army was defeated and Franklin was in Union hands…
Game over - Wood's brigade break and tip the Confederates over their army DM level. By co-incidence Wood's brigade also broke on day one during the fighting at Mt. Zion Church - I guess they don't make veterans like the used to!
Thomas' men stream over West Ridge to liberate the town of Franklin from the Rebel yoke.
The situation at the end of play (click on the map to zoom in).
The armies will now retire to winter quarters where a major re-fit is planned ready to resume campaigning in the spring. In the meantime keep an eye on the blog as we hope to play another AWI game and maybe try something new as well!