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Battle Cry: 150th Civil War Anniversary Edition» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Like a Rock rss

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Gil Hansen
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Like a Rock


Prologue: The Battle of Chickamauga was the first major battle fought on Georgian soil. Lasting two days, it was the most significant Union defeat in the Western Theater with the second-highest number of total casualties after Gettysburg.



The field map lies west and east with Chickamauga Creek, hidden from view, meandering its southwesterly course behind the Confederate lines. The battle lines for both sides are well defined and evenly distributed, though the Union forces appear more exposed. The Confederate cavalry is better positioned to strike fast and its army has the advantage of one additional infantry division, plus they will move first. These factors may be significant in the early stages of the game. Since this battle was fought on a corps level, individual units will be treated as divisions. Though I was an active participant, this AAR will be a TPA. An asterisk (*) represents one flag.

Commentary: Gen. Leonidas Polk assaults the Union position on the right. Without advancing his forces, the gray general succeeds in destroying one of Thomas’ blue divisions outright*. Both Union generals quickly attach their command guidons to their respective artillery. Thomas sidles one of his divisions a little to the right, successfully driving back one Rebel division, and McCook moves his artillery to the left, offering it a better field of fire. Longstreet responds by bringing up two of his divisions on the left to extend his forward front.

Thomas now advances one of his divisions to the lee side of a copse of woods. They attack Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry and force it to withdraw. His infantry and artillery also target Polk’s division but inflict only light casualties. The portly gray general strikes back. He orders Forrest’s troopers to strike Thomas’s infantry in the flank while two of his divisions assail Thomas’ artillery. The Yankee battery sustains only minor damage but Forrest’s cavalry succeeds in driving a Union division from the field like scared rabbits. They are ultimately halted by Thomas himself and take up a fresh position next to the unflappable general.

“Old Rosy”, looking for a way to shift the momentum, orders his two generals to bombard the Confederate lines with heavy ordinance. Thomas’ battery succeeds in blasting Polk’s division to extinction*, stranding the general. McCook’s battery, though not as lethal, hammers Longstreet’s division inflicting heavy losses. The Federal ploy works, at least for a time, as Polk withdraws his forces and regroups. But McCook isn’t finished. He swings his cavalry into the woods behind him and orders his corps to keep firing on Longstreet’s forces arrayed in his front. “Old Pete’s” division is demolished*, once again stranding a Confederate general.

Now it is Gen. Bragg who tries to shift the momentum. He orders the center of his line to hold position and battle back. Though his men succeed in hitting the Yankees hard, his attack has an unexpected consequence: low on ammunition, his center battery is forced to withdraw leaving a gap in the lines. Longstreet quickly moves to rectify the situation by bringing up two infantry divisions. His soldiers crush one blue division* and badly maul a second. Gen. Rosecrans, seeing that he still has a slight advantage in the center, orders his men to charge Longstreet’s position. In an historical reversal, three Federal divisions strike the Confederate center. They succeed in driving Longstreet’s forces back, inflicting frightening losses. But their success is costly. The Rebel troops fight back tenaciously and wipe out a Yankee division*. To make matters worse, “Old Pete” orders a counter attack which further savages the bluecoats.

The bloodletting in the center of the battlefield shows no sign of stopping. Already dangerously exposed, the remaining Union division commanders urge their men on to grapple with the enemy. Two Rebel divisions, having already been severely weakened, are overwhelmed**. Once again, Longstreet is orphaned. As he and his staff head back to safety, his remaining division blasts one of the offending bluecoats*. Rather than retreat, the Federal infantry continues to pour their fire into the gray line. Initially routed, Bragg’s last division in the center rallies and strikes back, crushing yet another blue division*, and finally puts an end to the carnage in the center.

Simultaneously, Forrest’s troopers strike once again at Thomas’ solitary infantry division. This time, however, the bluecoats don’t budge. Like a “Rock”, Thomas calmly orders his artillery and infantry to open up a withering fire on Forrest’s grayback troopers and one of Polk’s exposed divisions. Both are cut down** and Bragg is forced to concede defeat. Turns: 9; Score: 6-5.

Epilogue: This battle had several momentum changes. As predicted, the Confederates jumped to an early lead but the Union player maintained his cool and didn’t overreact. Curiously, communication for both sides in the southern sector was almost completely lacking. The battle reached its tipping point during the bloodbath in the center with the Confederate player holding a narrow edge. Thomas’ successful defense in the northern sector sealed the Union victory. Had the “Rock of Chickamauga” flinched, however, Bragg would have once again marched away with a win.
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James Boyd
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Thanks for posting this.

My wife and I were fortunate to attend the Annual Meeting of the Civil War Trust this year that was held in Chattanooga. We toured the Chickamauga Battlefield for two days with Dave Powell as our guide. I highly recommend his books on the battle/campaign and he is an excellent guide.
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Gil Hansen
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Thanks for the tip. As a Civil War buff, I love good books on the subject, particularly non-fiction. Of course, this battle is of particular interest to me as it features my favorite general (even though his side lost): George H. Thomas.
 
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Mayor Jim
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Thanks for the AAR. I haven't played this one yet, but you've piqued my interest
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Gil Hansen
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I was particularly pleased with how the game ended, giving Thomas a chance to "shine".
 
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