West Des Moines
Stonewall Jackson’s Way – Scenario 1 – Cedar Mountain [solo]
(using revised scenario from GCACW.com and Standard Basic Rules)
August 8, 1862
Union gets the Initiative. Banks is activated (6). Banks will consolidate II Corps near Culpeper. Williams gets the rest of 1 Divison southeast of Culpeper accompanied by Banks and Pope, while Auger gets 2 Divison just north of Bowen’s Mill.
Union retains the initiative. Sigel is activated (6). I Corps gets moving to catch up with II Corps. Milroy’s Brigade reaches Boston. Schurz’ 3 Division, along with Sigel, reach Lebanon Church, with Schenk’s and Steinwehr’s Division behind them on the Sperryville Pike.
Rebels get the initiative. Jackson is activated (8). Jackson’s plan is to use Gregg and Lawton to demonstrate southeast of Cedar Mountain while the rest of Jackson’s Corps moves to the east before crossing the Rapidan at Racoon Ford and striking at Culpeper from the southwest. Gregg and Lawton both get across the Rapidan with Lawton ending up directly across the ford from Bayard’s cavalry. Winder’s Division reaches Orange Church, with Jackson and A.P. Hill ahead of him on the road to the northeast.
Rebels retain the initiative. Ewell (7) gets his boys moving to catch up to Jackson. They get within 5 miles of Winder.
Rebels retain the intitiative. Robertson’s cavalry is activated (12). He moves back south of the Rapidan and across the river from the I Rhode Island cavalry at Rapidan Station. It is Robertson’s job to keep the Yankee cavalry from sniffing out Jackson’s intentions.
Rebels keep the initiative on a tie roll. Gregg is activated again (5). He back tracks to move north of Lawton and is poised to cross Robertson’s River at Fry’s Ford.
Rebels keep the initiative. Lawton is activated (7). He attacks Bayard’s cavalry across the ford. Bayard retreats to Mitchell’s Station, while Lawton crosses Robertson’s River and holds his position, satisfied that he has driven off the Union cavalry and given the message that “We are here!”
Rebels keep the initiative on a tie. Robertson’s cavalry is activated (8). He fords the Rapidan and attacks the 1 Rhode Island cavalry at Rapidan Station. The Rhode Islanders are stubborn however, and stand their ground. Robertson is unable to force the crossing, and both forces are left disorganized.
Union gets the initiative (finally!). Sigel’s I Corps is activated (6). Milroy’s Brigade reaches Hudson’s Mill, with the rest of the Corps in the vicinity of Griffinsburg – in a good position to reinforce II Corps if Jackson shows himself.
Union retains the initiative and activates Buford’s cavalry (9). He reaches the School House northwest of Cedar Mountain.
Rebels get the initiative. Jackson is activated (4). A.P. Hill reaches Palmyra, with Winder right behind him.
Rebels retain the initiative. Due to the rules for Turn 1, the only unit still eligible for activation is Ewell (3), but he gets a case of the slows and doesn’t make much progress.
All units at 2 Fatigue or higher (due to combat), initiative is firmly in the hands of the Union for any remaining activations. Banks activates II Corps (7). He is eager to find Jackson and bring him to blows. Crawford moves out of Culpeper and occupies the crossroads northeast of Pony Mountain. Williams puts the rest of 1 Division due south of him and Auger’s 2 Division is due south of Pony Mountain. II Corps is ready to fight if Jackson crosses the Rapidan anywhere between Somerville Ford and Morton’s Ford.
The Union, feeling pretty good about its positions and ability to protect Culpeper, passes and ends the day.
August 9, 1862
As dawn breaks, both sides find their leaders embroiled in heavy planning. General Banks is busy trying to convince General Pope that II Corps would not be better off nestled between Summerduck and Potato Runs. Pope only sees the defensive advantages of being behind the creeks, but Banks realizes that Jackson doesn’t have to attack them to accomplish what he wants. The pressure is on the Union to engage, though the Rebels will want a fight at some point.
Meanwhile, Jackson is giving his orders for the day. Ewell’s troops didn’t make enough ground yesterday to be part of the great maneuver to hit Culpeper from the southeast. Instead, he’ll strike north and hopefully do what Robertson’s cavalry failed to do yesterday: drive off the Rhode Island cavalry. Once across the Rapidan, Ewell will continue to drive north up the Flatland Road towards Culpeper. A.P. Hill and Winder will ford the Rapidan further east and either strike out towards Culpeper on their own or move back westward to support Ewell if needed.
Rebels get the first initiative. Ewell gets his boys up and moving (4). They make it to the banks of the Rapidan where Robertson is still trying to get his cavalry reorganized after yesterday’s fight.
Rebels keep the initiative on a tie. Ewell activates again (3), determined to get across the river. The Rhode Islanders, seeing a very large force of infantry obviously intent on forcing the river crossing, get in the saddle and skedaddle. However, they retire in such an organized and belligerent fashion, that Ewell is forced to prepare for an assault only to find them gone with the bulk of his division still on the southern side of the river. (The cav rolled a 6 for the retreat, which wiped out Ewell’s move allowance. Those Rhode Island boys are very good at their job.) This is a major setback for Jackson’s plan.
Retaining the initiative, Robertson (6) pushes his troopers across the Rapidan to secure the now vacated Rapidan Station, moving on to occupy a crossroads two miles north of the Station.
With another round of activity, Ewell pushes his boys across the river (3). They join Robertson and suffer no further effects from the Extended March.
The Union finally gets the initiative. Sigel’s I Corps gets activated (3). The bulk of the Corps nears the outskirts of Culpeper while Milroy pushes his brigade south to support the cavalry units scattered around in the face of Ewell.
Rebels regain the initiative. With time slipping away, Jackson gets Winder and A.P. Hill moving north (5). Winder makes for the Somerville Ford, “encouraging” the Maine cavalry to beat a hasty retreat, but not before forcing Winder to go on line and cost him some precious time. A.P. Hill crosses at the Raccoon Ford, and marches north to make contact with Auger’s division, with the tail end of the Summerduck Run between them.
At this critical juncture, the Union gets the initiative. Banks activates his Corps (7). With the Rebels in the vicinity, it is time to force an engagement. Leaving Auger in place, Banks orders Crawford to march his brigade down to guard Auger’s left flank, while Williams moves around Pony Mountain to come down on Auger’s right flank and directly threaten A.P. Hill without a creek between them. Given the relative strengths of the units involved, the Union had better hope it retains the initiative.
Banks’ gamble fails, and the Rebels seize the intiative. Jackson activates Winder and Hill again (8). Winder heads north and prepares a careful attack on Williams. Banks steps in and commands the defense, and while the Williams’ division must retreat, they do so after inflicting losses on Winder. Williams, with Banks and Pope, retreats two miles towards Culpeper leaving Winder in possession of the battlefield but too spent to go any further.
Meanwhile, A.P. Hill, with Jackson alongside, orders his division across Summerduck Run against Crawford’s Brigade. He hopes to overwhelm the Yankees and blow a hole he can march through towards Culpeper. Crawford uses the creek to his best advantage, inflicting casualties before being forced to retreat. Not the overwhelming victory Hill and Jackson had wanted. Hill gets across the creek, but his men are too exhausted to pursue Crawford.
Rebels retain the initiative on a tie roll. With Ewell at F3, and Winder and Hill at F4, Jackson’s options are pretty limited. For there to be any hope of a last ditch push for Culpeper on the 10th, Ewell should not gather more fatigue. The Rebels pass. The Union then activates Sigel (6) intending to get the I Corps in position to preclude any Rebel move towards their objective.
Schenk and Schurz both march their divisions through Culpeper to take up positions south of town, blocking any direct attack. Steinwehr’s division occupies the town itself.
Keeping the initiative, Ricketts is activated (3), and reaches the northwestern outskirts of town.
Continuing with the initiative, Rickets activates again (5), gets to within a mile of Cedar Grove Church, meaning he was within two miles of Winder’s disorganized troops.
Both sides then pass, bringing August 9th to an end.
August 10, 1862
The morning of the 10th, Jackson moves to join Winder, hoping to better coordinate his Corps when Ewell gets close enough.
Having seen plenty of action during Winder’s attack, Pope retires to Culpeper where he consults with Steinwehr on the defense of the town. Banks rides out to join Auger, sitting rather vulnerable between Winder and Hill.
Union gets the first initiative. Ricketts gets activated (6) and goes hunting for Winder, hoping to drive him off and knock his division out of the day’s events early. Jackson and Winder skillfully fend off Rickets and send him reeling, with a loss of 3 manpower.
The Union retains the initiative. Bayard’s cavalry are activated (10) and they pull back across Cedar Run. This brings them within two miles of Winder’s division, but keeps the creek between them and Ewell’s possible advance.
The Rebels get the initiative. Robertson’s cavalry are activated (3). All he does is advance up the Flatland Road to keep in contact with 1 Rhode Island and to fend off possible disruptions from Buford.
The Rebels retain the initiative. Ewell activates (6) and marches towards the sound of the guns. He’s held up somewhat by Bayard’s cavalry as he gets across Cedar Run, but he gets his division in a position to flank Ricketts.
Rebels retain the initiative on a tie. With Ewell now in command range, Jackson activates his entire Corps (7). Winder goes first, and the 1st Maine cavalry attempts to disrupt his movements. While they do hold Winder up for a bit, they can’t stop him from occupying the Cedar Grove Church and threatening the rear of both Ricketts and Auger.
Jackson and Hill then launch a prepared attack against Auger. With Winder blocking, Auger’s division is routed, losing half his strength (4 manpower).
Ewell then attacks Ricketts. The fight is intense, but Ricketts’ disorganized troops can’t stand against the determined Rebels and are routed for a total loss of 3 manpower. Ewell’s troops are too pooped to pursue any further.
In the wake of the pummeling of II Corps and Ricketts division, Sigel sees his opportunity to save the day and is activated when the Union gains the initiative (2). Schurz and Steinman order a Forced March to catch up to Schenk as Sigel tries to gather his Corps to assault Jackson. Schurz loses a manpower to stragglers, but Steinman keeps his small division intact.
Rebels regain the initiative and activate Robertson’s cavalry (6). He slips away from the Rhode Islanders and gets across Cedar Run to protect Ewell’s rear.
Retaining the initiative, Jackson activates (5) to get Hill to finish off Auger’s division and get closer to Culpeper. The extended march is begun in good order. Hill prepares a normal attack on Auger’s position. The fight is brief and brutal as Auger’s demoralized and dispirited troops crumble at the first sign of trouble. Auger’s division is effectively destroyed. Banks just barely avoids capture and reaches the relative shelter of Crawford’s men.
Hill’s progress around Pony Mountain is orderly and relentless. His troops encounter Crawford’s Brigade further up the road and start preparing their own attack almost before Hill realizes more Yankee troops have been met. He and Jackson quickly step in, and launch a well-planned attack. Crawford puts up a fight, but simply lacks the strength to stop Hill’s large division. Crawford loses a manpower and his demoralized brigades routs off the battlefield.
The Union gets the initiative and activates Sigel’s I Corps for an assault on Winder at the Cedar Grove Church. Leaving Schurz’s division in reserve, Sigel gets Schenck and Steinwehr on line. Winder repulses the assault, and the Union loses another manpower and its last major field unit has been spent.
With all major field commands either at Fatigue 4 or otherwise unwilling or unable to fight, the scenario comes to a close. While the Rebels did not capture Culpeper or gets any troops adjacent, it still managed a Substantive Victory thanks to its victories in the field (14 Union Manpower lost – 7 Union VP scenario balance -2 Rebel manpower lost = 5 VP).
For the first GCACW game I’ve played in over a decade, I was glad to see this series has stood the test of time. I enjoyed this just as much as when I first played it. My intent to have Jackson come from the southeast was obviously overambitious given the time allowed, but still could have worked with better activation rolls. In general, Confederate troops suffered heavily from the slows.
In retrospect, I probably should never have attacked with the Union. The pressure was on the Confederates to gain Culpeper, and defending in a battle works to their advantages. Many lessons (re)learned, and I look forward to more fun in the future with the GCACW series.