ian morris
United Kingdom
West Mids
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Nearly two months ago, I started to play the Historical Battle Of Gettysburg scenario, all 143 turns of it. The first two dozen turns were covered in last month's session report : you can find it at www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/269269 . This report covers from 2100 on the first day until 0630 on the second day.

Dramatis Personae

Confederate Army of North Virginia, commander R.E.Lee

1st Corps, commander J.Longstreet, comprising :-
McLaws' division, the brigades of Kershaw, Semmes, Barksdale, Wofford.
Hood's division, the brigades of Law, Anderson, Benning, and the Texas brigade.

2nd Corps, commander R.S.Ewell, comprising :-
Johnson's division, the brigades of Jones, Steuart, Williams, and the Stonewall brigade.
Rodes' division, the brigades of Daniel, Doles, Iverson, O'Neal, Ramseur.
Early's division, the brigades of Avery, Gordon, Hays, Smith.
Jenkins cavalry brigade, attached.

3rd Corps, commander A.P.Hill, comprising :-
Heth's division, the brigades of Archer, Brockenborough, Davis, Pettigrew.
Pender's division, the brigades of Lane, Perrin, Scales, Thomas.
Anderson's division, the brigades of Lang, Mahone, Posey, Wright, Wilcox.

Cavalry division, commander J.E.B.Stuart, comprising the brigades of Hampton, Lee, Chambliss.

Union Army of the Potomac, commander G.G.Meade

I Corps, commander J.F.Reynolds, comprising :-
Wadsworth's division, the brigades of Cutler and the Iron brigade.
Robinson's division, the brigades of Paul, Baxter.
Doubleday's division, the brigades of Rowley, Stone, Stannard.

II Corps, commander W.S.Hancock, comprising :-
Caldwell's division, the brigades of Cross, Zook, Brooke, and the Irish brigade.
Gibbon's division, the brigades of Harrow, Phily, Hall.
Hays' division, the brigades of Carroll, Smith, Willard.

III Corps, commander, D.E.Sickles, comprising :-
Birney's division, the brigades of Graham, Ward, De Trobriand.
Humphreys' division, the brigades of Carr, Burling, and the Excelsior brigade.

V Corps, commander G.Sykes, comprising :-
Barnes' division, the brigades of Tilton, Sweitzer, Vincent.
Ayres' division, the brigades of Day, Burbank, Weed.
Crawford's division, the brigades of McCandless, Fisher.

XI Corps, commander O.O.Howard, comprising :-
Barlow's division, the brigades of Von Gilsa, Ames.
Von Steinwehr's division, the brigades of Coster, Smith.
Schurz's division, the brigades of Schimmelfennig, Krzyzanowski.

XII Corps, commander H.W.Slocum, comprising :-
Williams' division, the brigades of McDougall, Lockwood, Ruger.
Geary's division, the brigades of Candy, Kane, Greene.

Cavalry Corps, commander A.Pleasonton, comprising :-
Buford's division, the brigades of Gamble, Devin, Merritt.
Gregg's division, the brigades of McIntosh, Gregg.
Kilpatrick's division, the brigades of Farnsworth, Custer.

During the narrative, units are normally referred to by their commander's name. This narrative begins with the XI Corps holding Cemetery Hill, and the I Corps holding the north end of Cemetery Ridge. XII Corps is on Culp Hill. Buford's cavalry is scattered amongst the I and XI Corps. III Corps is dispersed to the south, and II Corps is in bivouac well to the south on the Taneytown road. Lee and Longstreet and their respective HQs are located near the Herr Tavern, just off the Chambersburg Pike. 2nd Corps is at Gettysburg, with Johnson and Rodes in the town, and Early to the north. 3rd Corps has Anderson at the south end of the sunken road, and Heth and Pender at the south end of Cemetery Ridge.

Night falls, but Hill's attack continues ! With Anderson providing a tenuous link to 2nd Corps and protecting the Corps HQ, Pender surrounds Ward, while Heth pushes into the gap between Sickles and Howard and attacks the cavalry remnants. Gamble's men run for their lives at the sight of Archer's men charging out of the gloom. Coster is hit hard, loses a lot of stragglers, and retreats. With most of his men melting away into the night, Ward somehow extricates himself from the trap, and falls back on Corps HQ. At this point, III Corps is effectively destroyed. Rodes presses through Gettysburg to make contact with Reynolds. Bumping up against Baxter, Ramseur recoils in disorder. Seeing that XI Corps is on the point of disintegration, which would expose the rear of XII Corps, Reynolds orders his remnants to move behind Cemetery Ridge to prevent it. Hancock still remains in bivouac to the south - surely he must have heard the sound of the guns ?

Hill finally calls off his attack, wary of the confusion and disorganisation a night attack would cause to his own troops, who in any case are badly in need of rest. Uncertain of the whereabouts of the rest of Meade's army, and without a cavalry screen, Hill pulls his exposed troops back to the Emmitsburg road, ready to gather stragglers and supplies. Anderson deploys his artillery into the sunken road and links up with the stationary 2nd Corps. Hill and Ewell are summoned to a conference at Army HQ. McLaws arrives at Herr Tavern, and begins the grisly task of burying the morning's dead at Willoughby Run. On the Union side of the ridge, only Humphreys still moves, force marching to Sickles. Hancock decides to rest his men some more.

Graham rallies at last, and Reynolds and Sickles feverishly collect stragglers. Hancock finally wakes his men, and marches north. At ANV HQ, Lee outlines his plan for a decisive second day battle, using a stick in the dirt. Longstreet is to march via Black Horse Tavern to the Emmitsburg road, then attack northeasterly to the Baltimore Pike and the Rock Creek bridge. When Longstreet comes up on his right flank, Hill is to attack northeasterly to clear Cemetery Ridge. Ewell is to remain in situ at Gettysburg and Benner Hill until 0830, when he is to push south to take Culp Hill and Cemetery Ridge. Stuart is expected in the morning, and will hopefully bring news of the whereabouts of V and VI Corps. Lee hopes to crush Reynolds, Sickles, Howard and Slocum between the hammer of Hill/Longstreet and the anvil of Ewell. Longstreet immediately grasps the idea behind his orders and accepts them without question, but Ewell dislikes the frontal attack on Culp Hill, and Hill vehemently opposes the plan, citing his casualties and the likelihood of being attacked in the rear by Hancock, and possibly the V and VI Corps as well. Eventually, Longstreet ends the discussion : "We must obey : it is the order of General Lee.".

Hood arrives at the Herr Tavern position, while Ewell deploys his divisions as ordered. Hancock deploys with Sickles, extending the Union line along the Taneytown road and Cemetery Ridge. Both sides continue to gather stragglers. Sickles gets a welcome reinforcement - his artillery. Lee rides to Hill to give him further encouragement, and learns of Hancock's arrival.

Meade and his HQ arrive, and join Reynolds to discover the tactical situation. With the arrival of Hancock, Lee realises he must alter his plan, and instructs Hill to attack southeasterly rather than northeasterly, in order to pin Hancock in place, falling back if necessary to Steven's Run and the sunken road. Hill is confused, and vacillates - Lee has not told him when to start his attack, and has not explained Longstreet's revised role to him. Tired, Lee retires to his tent and sends Longstreet's new orders with an aide - he is to take Little Round Top before attacking to the north, in order to ensure that Hancock is fully enveloped. His final objectives are Culp Hill and the Baltimore Pike. Unable to speak to Lee, Longstreet is dubious about the new plan, which seems to pit his two divisions against five Union Corps. Another problem - ammunition supplies are now exhausted. Seeing the Union force arrayed against them in the dawn light, Heth and Pender pull back their more exposed troops. Now fully aware of the force oposite him, Hill realises that Lee's assessment is correct, and accepts his new orders, but with stragglers still coming in, decides to delay his attack for another hour.

Longstreet starts his flank march, still adhering to his original orders, Hood in the van. Lee and his HQ ride to Hill, on their way to the HQ's new position at the Codori farm - now in the front line ! Meade drafts his first orders, for Sickles to move to Plum Run, Reynolds to relieve Howard on Cemetery Hill, and Howard to reconstitute his Corps behind Cemetery Ridge. Unfortunately, Meade's verbal order to Reynolds is garbled by the aide delivering it. On Culp Hill, McDougall is shaken by an early artillery bombardment from Johnson.

Realising that Hill is about to launch his attack, Lee tries to recall the troops, but is too late. Pender's and most of Heth's divisions launch themselves at Hancock. Hearing the firing and realising that Lee's plans have miscarried, Longstreet urges his men to quicken their pace. On Cemetery Hill, Perrin refuses his flank, but suffers heavy casualties in concentric fire from Howard and Hancock, and is wrecked. Scales and Thomas also sustain heavy casualties, but all stand their ground, and their attacking volleys force Zook back, disorganise Phily, and shake Coster and Harrow. Meade sends orders for Hancock to drive the Rebels from the ridge, but before they can arrive, Hancock attacks of his own volition anyway. Meade's earlier orders arrive. Howard is nonplussed by his orders - how can he be relieved when he is in close contact with the enemy ? - while Sickles' orders are not to his liking - "Hung out to dry at Plum Run while Hancock gets all the glory !". Hancock's entire Corps charges at Heth and Pender, but disciplined fire causes casualties, with Gibbon and Caldwell both wounded ! Hall and Willard are both shaken, Brockenborough causes heavy casualties to Cross, and Zook retreats further in disorder. Attempting to flank Lane, Brooke runs into an artillery killing ground and is routed ! He rallies later, but is still disorganised. Perrin's right wing is attacked by two Union brigades, but manages to hold its ground, as does Scales, who is wrecked. Lane suffers heavy casualties, and Brockenborough is wrecked again and falls back. Up on Cemetery Hill, Coster's brigade is shattered, but Howard's artillery causes heavy gun loss to 2nd and 3rd Corps. Pleasonton is ordered to protect the supply trains.

Hill's Corps has stood Hancock off magnificently, but must withdraw from that murderous fire. Longstreet continues to force march, Hood's leading brigade coming up on Heth's right. Volley fire from Hancock's 1st division causes heavy casualties to Archer, but Cross is wrecked in return. Hall is wrecked in a combined-arms ambush, while counterbattery fire destroys some of Hancock's guns and disorganises the Irish brigade ! Hancock pulls his battered 1st division back across Plum Run after reports reach him of Benning's arrival. Howard's artillery wrecks and drives off Mahone. Lane is wrecked and retreats. Riding near the front line, Trimble is wounded by a bullet which just misses Lee. The cry goes up : "General Lee to the rear !".

Hill's men fall back out of small-arms range. Realising that he has no chance of getting Ewell to move to the attack any earlier than 0830, Lee rides towards Longstreet, who has ridden up onto Little Round Top and seen the glorious opportunity afforded him, to strike Hancock and Sickles in flank. He sends aides to hurry forward McLaws. Benning reaches the Taneytown road, almost on top of the Union supply trains ! The trains flee eastwards. An artillery duel between Hill and Hancock costs both sides some batteries. Numerous Rebel brigades are now short of ammunition. Meade orders his HQ to move further down the Pike, towards Rock Creek. With the pressure off at Cemetery Hill, Howard accepts his orders and looks over his shoulder for Reynolds, who still fails to move ! Sickles gets his chance for glory after all, as he accepts his orders on hearing of the approach of Hood. Leaving Graham to continue gathering stragglers, Birney moves Ward into the Taneytown woods, while Carr blocks Benning and the Excelsior brigade hits Anderson's column, disorganising it but failing to cause many casualties due to poor marksmanship. Anderson deploys into line and prepares to counterattack. Elsewhere, Thomas is driven off in disorder by Hays, and Lane is disordered by enfilading artillery fire.

Joining Longstreet on Little Round Top, Lee sees Hancock's advance, and immediately realises that Hill is in trouble. Hopefully Longstreet's attack will relieve the pressure. Hill readjusts his lines slightly, and the Army HQ performs an emergency retreat from the Codori farm to Spangler's farm. Hays is wrecked and forced to retreat by fire from the sunken road. Backed by Barksdale, Semmes attacks the Excelsior frontally, while the Texas brigade flanks its extended line. The Excelsior brigade crumbles and is driven off with very heavy casualties. Meanwhile, Benning ambushes Carr and forces him away for no loss, wounding Humphreys in the process. Longstreet's opening attack has been very successful ! However, Birney counterattacks, and Ward and the Texans exchange heavy blows. Neither side retreats. Pleasonton moves to meet the supply trains, and Meade directly orders Reynolds to relieve Howard, which he commences immediately.

Part 2 to follow later this week - it's getting a bit late here in Blighty !

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