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Subject: Altnerative History of the Civil War: Part 1: July 1861 – March 1862 rss

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Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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I occationally get together with my friend Simeon. He doesn’t like playing games that are too heavy (unlike me), so we’ve decided to play through all the Battle Cry scenarios. I hope to unfold the entire Civil War through our battles together. We will play a campaign, keeping a running total of flags, with Confederate flags subtracting from Federal flags and vice-versa. Simeon took the part of the CSA, while I took the part of the USA.

Occationally (often?) victories will be defeats and defeats, victories. This may force some change of venue for certain battles. This will not change the setup or play of a particular battlefield, but may impact the name of the battlefield I decide to give it. This is mostly because battles shape campaigns and campaigns determine where battles take place. I will note the historical battle in parenthesis when necessary. I may occasionally change a General’s name also if they are ever eliminated early.

The CSA fired on Fort Sumter and ignited the American Civil War. Mobilization of forces followed and President Lincoln sent out the Army of the Potomac under McDowell to take Richmond and end the war. Beauregard met him at Bull Run and a battle ensued.

The First Battle of Bull Run:
The Federals slowly advanced , and quickly deployed cannon into the Henry House. Stuart led his men on a fast attack on the Federal right flank, but was unable to inflict any casualties, and suffered from counter-fire from the artillery. As the Federals advanced in the center, the Confederates were never able to move more than one brigade at a time up onto the Henry House Hill, though those single brigades often drove back the Federal attackers. Stuart assaulted again, but was driven back with severe losses. The Federals pushed into the Confederate Left, smashing their forces, and turning the Confederate flank. Jackson attempted to move the CSA Right forward in an attempt to even out the line, but was driven back in a hail of infantry fire.

The Confederates retreated from the battlefield. The Federals suffered few losses and were able to dominate Northern Virginia past the Rappahannock for the rest of the year. Beauregard’s defeat ensures his quick replacement as commander, while Jackson’s poor performance ensures that his reputation is as a man unable to be in the right place as the right time.

Running Total for the Campaign: 2 Union Flags


Battle of Pea Ridge:
After suffering setbacks in the East, the Confederate government decides that success in the West may be the key to victory and foreign intervention. With this in mind, they commission Van Dorn’s Army to march into Missouri and attempt to move the populace into succession.

The Confederates attack in strength on their left flank, destroying almost all of General Dodge’s Federal force. Dodge is compelled to take his survivors and try to rendezvous with the main Federal force under Carr. Confederate General Price advances his men all along the line, though differing regiments are repeatedly driven back by the artillery hold up near the Elkhorn Tavern, though never with severe losses. At the key moment, General Van Dorn orders an all out offensive, sweeping the Federals off Pea Ridge and taking the Tavern. The Federals are able to rout a few regiments, but after the loss of the Ridge and Tavern, the Federal Army routs and withdraws back into central Missouri. Van Dorn leads his men into southern Missouri and continues to agitate the populace there.

Though Missouri never officially joins the Confederacy, a large occupying force is required to move in from Iowa and Illinois to keep the threat of session at bay. General Van Dorn campaigns in Southern Missouri for the rest of 1862, fighting a few minor engagements. Thousands of Missourians flock to the Stars and Bars, while much fewer go to join the Stars and Stripes. Eventually, pressures in other theaters compel Van Dorn to withdraw his army, intact and much strengthened, and fight in other battles throughout the West.

Running Total for the Campaign: 1 Confederate Flag


The Battle of Kernstown
In an attempt to break the Federal stranglehold on Northern Virginia, President Davis equips General Jackson with a large force to campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, threatening the flank of the occupying Federals and opening up the possibility for a coordinated Confederate offensive against the fairly static Army of the Potomac. Jackson’s move into the Valley was detected by General Banks who dispatched Shields to intercept and eliminate him at Kernstown

The Confederate command was poorly coordinated from the start, and they were never able to more for than a couple of regiments up to the defensive fence line. Meanwhile, the Federals advanced at a quick pace, using the forests and mountains to screen their movements from enemy fire. Fulkerson advances his men beyond the fence and engages Tyler’s forces (many of whom have been reassigned to the center and are actually under Kimble’s command). Tyler takes his two brigades and some attached cavalry and makes an effective counterattack, devastating Fulkerson’s men, and a causing a great many casualties. Meanwhile, Kimble’s men have advanced up the center and around the Confederate right into a flanking position on the “Stonewall Brigade”, which quickly crumbles under enfilade fire. General Garnett is shot and killed, which prompts a rout of the Confederates, though Union losses were not bad, they did have to halt to reorganize rather than pursue the fleeing Rebels.

The Federals claimed the field, and once again Jackson was unable to carry the day. Jackson was able to stay in the Valley with some strength, and by partnering with Mosby and other partisans, wage an effective campaign. Jackson avoids battles, and it takes until Lincoln orders a full division from McDowell’s Corp encamped upon the Rappahannock, in addition to the forces in the Valley and West Virginia to completely shut off the Shenandoah from Staunton to the North. Because of Jackson’s ability to preserve his force in the face of a superior enemy force, he was able to keep many Federal troops tied up in the Valley, leaving some limited reinforcements for McClellan’s forces to the East. Jackson’s reputation as “The Man of Maneuver” is made.

Running Total for the Campaign: 1 Union Flag


Part 2 coming soon…
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Ian Milnes
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A friend and I have just done this. Great fun!
It came down to the last battle - New Hope Church. I (Union) needed to win by at least 3 flags to carry the campaign (albeit by a solitary flag) but failed to crack that very strong Rebel position in the centre, losing the battle 4-6, and the campaign by 4 flags. The overall total was Union 68, Rebs 72. Rebs won 9 battles to the Union 6.

As I said, great fun!

regards

Ian
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