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Gettysburg: Badges of Courage» Forums » Rules

Subject: Cavalry Battle rss

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Billy Yank
United States
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In the rules there is a provision for an off-board cavalry battle to take place as it did on July 3, 1863. The current game board/map does not include the area ("East Cavalry Field") where that part of the Battle of Gettysburg took place.

Recently I purchased El Carto's improved Gettysburg map/board. It DOES have the area used by the Cavalry Battle and I had a few thoughts that you all might want to look at.

The story goes that Lee wanted to coordinate the "Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble" Charge with an early attack on Culp's Hill and a rear action by J.E.B. Stuart's Cavalry; basically to squeeze the Union line in on itself and punch through it from the front and rear. It is not certain if this is indeed was the real plan but it does make sense.

Maj. Gen. Stuart's cavalry division was absent from the battlefield until late on the second day. Possibly misunderstanding orders from General Robert E. Lee, Stuart had taken his three best brigades of cavalry on a pointless ride around the right flank of the Union Army of the Potomac and was out of touch with the main body of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia since June 24, depriving Lee of critical intelligence information and of screening services. Stuart arrived from Carlisle at General Lee's headquarters shortly after noon on July 2, and his exhausted brigades arrived around 4 pm that evening, too late to affect the planning or execution of the second day's battle. Hampton's Brigade camped to the north, following the relatively minor clash with Union cavalry at Hunterstown that afternoon. On the improved map the Brigade would be arriving on the Huntersdown Road from the North.

On the other hand, Union Cavalry General Kilpatrick arrived around 5 pm on the 2nd, using Hanover Road to the South.

At approximately 11 a.m. on July 3rd, Stuart arrived just north of East Cavalry Field, and fired four canon shots, each in the directions on a compass, to signal other CSA leaders he was in position. Union General Gregg also heard the firing and he and General Custer’s Troopers responded to block the Rebel advance. When the Confederates got close enough, Union canons fired and the Confederates responded with canon fire. An artillery duel ensued with the Union gaining the upper hand.

General Stuart attempted to pin down the Union skirmishers and flank them by crossing Cress Ridge. The Union troops fought valiantly, and aided by the Spencer Repeating Rifles of the 5th Michigan Cavalry, began pushing the Confederates back. Seeing this, General Stuart ordered the 1st Virginia Cavalry to charge headlong into the Union troops, hoping to terminate their advance. At approximately 1 p.m., Confederate artillery opened a barrage on Cemetery Ridge. Confederate troopers poured through Rummel’s Farm, effectively smashing the Union skirmish line.

General Gregg commanded General Custer to counterattack with the 7th Michigan. Custer led the regiment, out front leading the charge, with a cry of "Come on, you Wolverines!" The opposing cavalry forces literally smashed into each other on Rummel's farm. Imagine seven hundred men and horses fighting, literally at point blank range. General Custer commandeered a bugler's horse after his own was shot down from under him. General Custer's men massed and broke down the fence they were fighting across, forced the 1st Virginia Cavalry to retreat, and followed after them. CSA General Stuart then sent in heavy reinforcements, causing General Custer’s 7th Michigan Cavalry to fall back in retreat.

As the Union Troopers were being pushed back, General Stuart sent in CSA General Wade Hampton’s brigade , at a gallop, to break through the Union lines. Union horse artillery tried to stop the Confederate advance, but the determined attackers pushed on. "Come on, you Wolverines!" was once again a rallying battle cry issued by General Custer, as the Michigan Wolverines galloped to meet their foe. Neither cavalry foe slowed, in fact they accelerated when engagement was imminent. The smashing of men and horses into each other at full speed resulted in many horses being upended and many Troopers, from both sides, were killed or injured by them. During the melee General Custer had his second horse of the day shot out from under him.

After forty intense minutes of fighting on East Cavalry Field, the Confederates withdrew. The exhausted and battered Union troopers were in no condition to pursue them, only making a short half hearted chase.

So where does that leave the gamers of GBOC who have the improved and expanded map? Here are my suggestions:

Have Stuart himself arrive on Old Carlisle Road at Noon on July 2. You can have him report directly to Lee or have him stay north east of town to await his Cavalry. Have the rest of his Brigades arrive on Old Carlisle Road at 4pm, and have Hampton arrive on Hunterstown Road at the same time (from his fight at Carlisle). Now they are on the board to be used for the July 3rd portion of the Battle. At the start of the day on July 3rd, begin moving them south toward Cress Ridge. Figure that they should arrive there about 11am - 12pm.

At 5pm on July 2nd, have the Union Cavalry arrive on Hanover Road. Now you have all of the Cavalry on the Board. Also, assign Confederate Victory points of 2 for holding that location at the end of the game (if it can). Since part of the plan was to attack the Union from the rear, Cavalry Field was an important strategic area on the battlefield.

I think that about covers it. What do you think? Actually this is my first venture into some rules of my own for a game. How did I do?
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