West Des Moines
Victory By Any Means
"Fear God and Dread Nought"
The GCACW system really shines in the big campaigns where you have to husband your resources and settle in for the long haul.
Stonewall Jackson's Way focus on the period between McClellan's Peninsula Campaign that brought the Army of the Potomac nearly to the gates of Richmond (the subject of On to Richmond!) and Lee's invasion of Maryland that ended at the Battle of Antietam (the subject of Here Come the Rebels!). Known as the Second Manassas Campaign, this period pitted Lee versus Pope, who made a name for himself out West. Unfortunately for him, General John Pope simply couldn't deal with the combination of Lee and Jackson and was out-marched and out-fought until he was relieved and his Army of Virginia melded into McClellan's Army of the Potomac.
The victory conditions for Scenario 7 are weighted to push the Confederate player to go as far north as possible, obviously setting the stage for the invasion of Maryland that historically followed. Occupying Falls Church and Fairfax Court House are worth 20 VP alone! The victory points for burning rail stations along the Orange & Alexandria Railroad strongly encourage the Confederate player to duplicate Lee's route. The question for me was: does the South go for the obvious?
The situation on August 19th has Lee's army massing behind Clark's Mountain ready to force the crossing of the Rapidan river. Pope's army is scattered across Madison and Culpeper Counties, but is close enough to respond to Lee. However, if, rather than strike directly at Pope, Lee heads east for Aquia Creek Station, he has the opportunity to force Heinztelman's III Corps, Army of the Potomac to divert further north. Lee could then march up the Telegraph Road and potentially be in a position to force Pope to attack him after a long chase. The drawback to this approach is that it causes Confederate troops to largely bypass a lot of potential VPs along the Orange & Alexandria.
The other problem with a coastal route is that Lee's army will risk being out of supply that much quicker, posing additional problems to be resolved. That is part and parcel, though, of leading a Confederate army on the attack. After all, want of shoes will lead to a tussle near Gettysburg a year later.
So that is Lee's plan: an immediate strike towards Aquia Creek Station to disrupt the arrival of Union reinforcements from the Army of the Potomac followed by hard marching up the Telegraph Road to occupy Falls Church and Fairfax Court House as soon as possible and prepare for a decisive battle with Union forces.
August 19th, 1862
Because Lee is pausing to gather logistics AND because Pope has just discovered Lee’s plans after a successful Union cavalry raid only Pope’s forces in Madison and Culpeper counties (along with Griffin’s brigade at Aquia Creek Station) may act this day. Since Pope has Lee’s plans in hand I will be moving Union forces to repel the expected attack against IX Corps.
Reviewing the map, Pope’s first intent is to get cavalry in to position to cover the obvious fords. Buford is already covering Raccoon Ford and Bayard is at Rapidan Station and close enough to Willis Ford to at least keep an eye on it if not directly oppose a crossing. Orders are given to Beardsley to get his cavalry to Somerville Ford post haste. Unfortunately, he can’t quite make it, crossing Cedar Run at Mitchell’s Station shortly before nightfall – Beardsley did not push his troopers.
Meanwhile, Pope orders Reno to get behind Summerduck Run, McDowell to Mitchell’s Station and Sigel to move towards Rapidan Station. Banks is to take Williams’ division to Cedar Grove Church to function as local reserves while Pope remains in Culpeper with Greene’s division.
August 20th, 1862
Confederates win the intiative at the beginning of the day, and Longstreet gets his men up and moving…east along the Old Fredericksburg Road and the Old Turnpike.
Union scouts are quick to note the movement. Reno gets wind of it first, and on his own initiative gets his Corps moving in pursuit. His initial movements are desultory at best and stays on the northern side of the Rapidan. Eventually, his troops enter the northwestern corner of The Wilderness, picking up some speed after getting on the Germanna Plank Road south of Sheppard’s Grove.
Learning of Longstreet’s and Reno’s movements, Pope orders the entire Army of Virginia to follow Reno. Banks, at Pope’s urging, is next on the road. Hedging his bets, Pope has Banks tarry near Stevensburg against the possibility of Longstreet attempting to cross the Rapidan further east to turn the Union flank.
Jackson, knowing Schurz is sitting by himself at Rapidan Station and hearing from Stuart that at least Reno and McDowell have moved eastward in apparent pursuit of Longstreet, all but begs Lee to let him strike at Sigel’s I Corps now that it is apparently isolated. Lee, knowing that the sight of Jackson in his rear will cause Pope no small amount of consternation, agrees, but cautions Jackson against getting too far away from Longstreet. His worries are met by a cloud of dust as Jackson gallops off to rejoin his men.
Jackson and Talliaferro hit Schurz hard as they storm across the ford. It’s a messy affair with both sides suffering 1 MP losses. Talliaferro stays on the heels of Schurz as AP Hill and Ewell cross the Rapidan in his wake.
Sigel was with Schenck when they heard the sound of artillery two miles to the south. Before he can get far to investigate, he is forced to flee in the face of advancing Rebels. I Corps simply doesn’t have the strength to tangle with Jackson’s large divisions in the open, and Sigel orders a general withdrawal for the entire Corps. With the exception of Schurz, the entire I Corps gathers on the Flatland Road behind a branch of Cedar Run. Schurz hightails it to the Schoolhouse, losing 1,000 men in the near-rout.
Sigel sends a courier to Beardsley and orders him to screen Schurz’s division against possible pursuit. Beardsley is not exactly thrilled at the notion of getting in the way of a Confederate juggernaut, but dutifully follows orders and manages to skirt the Rebel lines to reach a position south of Schurz.
The 2nd Virginia Cavalry cross the Rapidan and pushes almost to Mitchell’s Station to keep an eye on Sigel. Jackson has his dander up, and is anxious to see if he can push for Culpeper.
Porter orders Griffon’s brigade to head south towards Fredericksburg…just in case.
As Wilcox crosses into Spotsylvania County at the head of Longstreet’s corps, it is now apparent that Lee is up to something.
Stuart orders the cavalry still in the position near the Rapidan to shift to cover Longstreet’s flank and rear. F. Lee’s troopers reach Flat Run Church while Stuart and Robertson cover the rear of the march route.
Longstreet pushes his troops towards Fredericksburg. Lee pauses to pray at the Wilderness Church. The lead elements of Longstreet’s corps have already pushed through Chancellorsville. Keeping F. Lee in position at Flat Run Church, Stuart and Robertson work around Longstreet’s flank towards the front, ending the day a mile west of Banks Ford and four miles ahead of Wilcox.
Mindful of Lee’s warning, Jackson decides to begin withdrawing south across the Rapidan, ordering Hill and Ewell back across.
Griffon enters Fredericksburg, unaware that Stuart is only four miles away. With his arrival, the 3rd Indiana mounts up and moves to Salem Church to watch for the approaching Rebels.
Buford’s cavalry crosses the Rapidan and moves along the Old Turnpike trying to find Longstreet. Bayard’s cavalry also crosses and rides past Clark’s Mountain and Chestnut Hill looking for Jackson.
August 21st, 1862
At first light, Griffon’s men head out of Fredericksburg and into Chatham, dismantling the pontoon bridge across the river. Harland continues his march to reinforce.
The 3rd Indiana crosses the Rappahannock at Scott Ford. Porter orders Reynolds to make for Falmouth. His job is to use the resources available to him to block the Confederates from crossing the Rappahannock. It’ll be a tall order.
Beardsley moves to confront the 2nd Virginia Cavalry, who promptly mount up and ride off. They recross the Rapidan at Somerville Ford and continue on to Orange Church; Bayard’s cavalry is two miles away.
Longstreet continues the march up the Orange Plank Road, with Wilcox entering Fredericksburg not long after Griffon’s men finish dismantling the pontoon bridge.
F. Lee retires to the Wilderness Tavern to block Federal pursuit of Longstreet. Jackson’s men slip back across the Rapidan to begin the march to rejoin Lee and Longstreet.
Stuart and Robertson ford the Rappahannock at Banks Ford and attack the 3rd Indiana. It’s a rout, and the Indiana troopers are destroyed.
Reno continues the pursuit, skirting around F. Lee’s troopers. Realizing his predicament, Lee falls back to Wilderness Church.
The Union continues to suffer from dismal movement rolls, and McDowell and Banks both make marginal progress before calling it a day. Sigel stays put, not trusting Jackson to truly be gone. Beardsley reoccupies Rapidan Station.
A relatively uneventful day comes to a close as Lee and Longstreet want to give the men a chance to rest up before crossing the Rappahannock and renewing acquaintances with the Army of the Potomac.
August 22nd, 1862
General Pope finds himself in a dilemma as the sun rises on the 22nd. His Army of Virginia is getting spread out halfway across Viriginia. Reno’s IX Corps is 6 miles ahead of McDowell’s III Corps and Banks’ II Corps and Sigel’s I Corps is 13 miles behind them! There is a very real danger of Longstreet doubling back, rejoining Jackson and overwhelming the Army of Virginia in detail.
But what is Lee up to? (yes,I’m doing a bit of roleplaying here) Longstreet’s lead elements have reached Fredericksburg and Porter, representing the lead elements of the returning Army of the Potomac, doesn’t have much to stop Lee from crossing the Rappahannock. But what would he do after gets across? Washington? But he’d have Porter and the rest of the AoP on his heels, not to mention Pope’s own AoV.
After much thought, Pope comes to the conclusion that Longstreet’s march is a feint meant to draw the Army of Virginia out of position. Lee has no intention of crossing the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg. Certainly not in any strength. Therefore, he directly orders Beardsley to hold Rapidan Station. Sigel is to move his I Corps towards Morton’s Ford to protect the rear of the rest of the army and hedge against Jackson turning back again and striking for Culpeper. Reno is to advance no further than Chancellorsville and await the arrival of McDowell and Banks. Pope then sends a message to Porter asking him to prevent a crossing at Fredericksburg with the hope of bottling Lee in. With missives sent from his headquarters in the saddle, Pope is again optimistic about the situation.
Upon receipt of his orders, Reno moves further through the Wilderness while avoiding the Germanna Plank Road, intending to slip into Chancellorsville from the north (and hopefully avoid the watching eyes of F. Lee’s troopers at Wilderness Church).
Anderson’s men reach F. Lee’s picket lines. He passes through the cavalry troopers, only to encounter Union pickets a mile down the road from the Church. A courier goes tearing up the Orange Plank Road towards Lee and Longstreet.
Jackson’s men resume the march up the Raccoon Ford Road. All three of his divisions enter the Wilderness after passing Mine Run. If he were to push, Jackson could get between Reno and the rest of the Army of Virginia.
The 2nd Virginia Cavalry moves east along the Old Fredericksburg Road. Buford’s cavalry is ahead of them, and Jackson wants his flank covered.
McDowell and Rickets reach Wilderness Tavern, forestalling any possible foolishness from Jackson.
With information in hand from Stuart and F. Lee and Anderson’s courier freshly arrived, Lee is getting a picture of the box that Pope is attempting to put him in. Lee has no intention of forcing the crossing at Fredericksburg; not when the Banks and Scott Fords are unguarded (thanks to Stuart). Besides with the pontoon bridge dismantled, there’s no way to cross at Fredericksburg anyway. The question is whether to double back and strike Reno before Pope can consolidate.
After consulting with Longstreet, Lee decides to hedge his bets. Longstreet will cross the Rapphannock and move north, but will take advantage of the roads to slide westward. If the situation is favorable, Longstreet can recross the river and be the hammer against Reno to Anderson’s anvil. The courier is sent back to Anderson, ordering him to hold his ground. Wilcox is ordered to hold Fredericksburg and make menacing noises at the Federals in Chatham.
Banks marches south and links up with McDowell. Pope establishes headquarters at Flat Run Church.
[a computer glitch ate the notes for the rest of the day ]
August 23rd, 1862 – The Battle of the Crossroads
Overnight, as the various couriers pour into his headquarters, Lee gets a better picture of the situation before him. Pope has seized on Anderson’s apparent isolation outside Chancellorsville and has pulled his III and IX Corps into a position to attack. However, the scouts’ estimates put McDowell and Reno only a little more than 2 to 1 odds. Anderson is a very capable commander, and Lee feels confident that he can withstand Pope’s intended attack.
And why should Anderson hold his ground against superior odds? Because the rest of Longstreet’s corps, with a good march can hit Reno in the rear, while Jackson’s Corps can push aside Banks and hit McDowell in the rear. Pope has presented Lee with an opportunity to crush the Army of Virginia.
The couriers get little rest before they are back in the saddle. Anderson is to hold at all costs until relieved. Wilcox is to abandon Fredericksburg and march to assist Anderson. Longstreet will recross the Rappahannock and strike at Reno. Jackson is to use the Old Turnpike and the Germanna Plank Road to assume a superior position and push Banks out of the way and then threaten and possibly attack McDowell.
Such are the best laid plans …
Lee, Longstreet and D.R. Jones’ division gets their boots wet in the Rappahannock and approach within two miles of Reno with no sound of gunfire ahead. Have they gotten the jump on the Federals? Lee wants to knock Pope off balance so he has Jones plow into Stevens without waiting for the rest of Longstreet’s corps to move up.
The resulting fight is not pretty nor all that spectacular. Both sides take minor losses (1 SP each) and Stevens is forced to retreat. Jones’ exhausted troops advance to occupy the crossroads and split Reno and Ferrero from Pope and King.
Reno, finding himself threatened by Longstreet’s Corps emerging out of the woods, orders Ferrero into Chancellorsville proper. They begin entering the town only to discover Wilcox’s divison approaching from the east up the Orange Turnpike. Ferrero is now sandwiched between Anderson and Wilcox!
Pope still feels the odds are in his favor, and orders McDowell to proceed with the assault on Anderson. Couriers are sent to King and Ferrero with orders to join the assault, but in the confusion following the fight between Stevens and Jones and Ferrero’s subsequent move into Chancellorsville, the orders don’t arrive in time. Rickett’s men, expecting support, are simply unprepared to face Anderson’s entire strength and are repulsed with heavy losses (2 Union SP, no Confederate losses).
Longstreet rides up to encourage Anderson to turn on Reno and drive him out of Chancellorsville, but his division is still regathering itself following the repulse of Ricketts. (blown Assault roll) Mindful of the danger he is still in, Reno orders Ferrero to keep marching on through Chancellorsville.
Banks is well aware that Jackson’s corps is just up the road from him and he protests vigorously when Pope’s courier arrives ordering him to move north and east to strike at Longstreet’s flank. To the courier’s credit, he does not wither under Banks’s fury. Instructing the courier to formally note his protest, Banks then sets to following this fool’s errand with a will and with some pushing gets his division on line on King’s left (north) flank with Jones’ disorganized rabble in front of him.
As if purposefully trying to make Banks appear to be a prophet, Jackson’s corps comes marching along not long after Banks’ men leave their positions around Wilderness Tavern. Ewell makes contact with McDowell’s Corps, who is in the process of getting sandwiched between Jackson and Longstreet – not a healthy place to be!
With Reno south of Chancellorsville and out of the trap, Longstreet has Anderson organize an assault on King’s woefully under strength division. What’s left of King’s shattered division finally stops running, with Pope dragged along, at Richardsville. Longstreet advances and occupies the position between Banks’ II Corps and Ricketts, linking up with Ewell.
With Pope in headlong rout, Ricketts disorganized and exhausted after being repulsed by Anderson, Ferrero pushed too far south to be of any help, Banks finds himself in command of the only organized Union troops in a position to do anything about the Rebels running rampant.
He prepares his corps for an assault on Jones, but is unable to coordinate properly and Greene goes in unsupported. The resulting affair is certainly not one for the books, but Jones falls back in retreat and Greene holds his ground, not wanting to advance into the deadly crossroads between Anderson and Hood.
Ewell attempts to push Ricketts out of Wilderness Chuch, but with McDowell stiffening his spine, the Federals hold their ground. Ewell is repulsed, suffering minor casualties. (1 SP)
Meanwhile Jackson and Hill attack Stevens. The Federals are driven off, but forcing their way across the creek costs the Confederates some casualties. (1 MP).
With the exception of Sykes, who is guarding Aquia Creek Station, Porter’s V Corps, Army of the Potomac moves into the area around Benson’s Mill, blocking Lee’s path back north of the Rappahannock. Porter hopes that will give Pope some time to gather his wits and his army.
August 24th, 1862
The Battle of the Crossroads, as yesterday’s affair is coming to be called did reunite the two corps of Lee’s Army of Virginia. That’s about all it did. In spite of the chaos and confusion of the day’s events, Longstreet’s Corps is ready for action less Jones’ Divison. The same cannot be said for Jackson, most of whose divisions are going to out of action as they recover from the botched attacks late the previous afternoon.
Lee feels he has three problems today, and they are Banks, Reno and Porter. McDowell is in the way, but Ricketts is in no shape to act so that is a worry for later. Individually, the three Federal Corps would not be a problem. However, they form a triangle around Longstreet that will be hard to surmount with the forces at hand.
Upon reflection, Lee opts to hold Porter at the Rappahannock, trust Jackson to keep Banks from being foolish and allow Longstreet to focus on Reno and Ferrero south of Chancellorsville. Then he might be in a position to oust McDowell and restore something resembling a line to face off the disparate elements of Federal armies swirling around him.
As Taliaferro moves to catch up with the rest of Jackson’s Corps, Banks opts for the better part of valor and begins withdrawing north. The close presence of A.P. Hill keeps him from crossing the Rappahannock, but he is not sitting in the middle of the Confederate army any more.
Sigel finally arrives and his men begin taking up positions behind Flat Run. Hood occupies Chancellorsville and falls in line next to Wilcox.
Reno, seeing the odds begin to stack up against him, falls back into the Wilderness, following back roads until eventually Ferrero’s divison falls in behind Buford’s cavalry on McDowell’s flank. Not inclined to go haring off after him, Longstreet pulls Hood back up the road and, along with Wilcox, gets into position against McDowell.
Longstreet wants Anderson to lead the assault against McDowell and Ricketts, but twice Anderson’s men prove mulish and nothing happens aside from a bit of skirmishing amongst the pickets. (two blown assault rolls in a row)
With Kearny and Heintzelman arriving at Aquia Creek Station, Sykes is freed up to rejoin Porter. He promptly moves off at a respectable pace.
When a third attempt to get Anderson’s into attack formation fails, witnesses swear that Lincoln, himself, can hear the swearing coming from Longstreet’s tent. With that, the rest of the day passes uneventfully.
August 25th, 1862 – The Battle of Wilderness Church
Hooker’s division arrives at Aquia Creek Station, bringing Heintzelman’s III Corps, AoP, to full strength. Piatt’s brigade arrives at 6-Mile Post.
Lee looks at the map with reported Union positions all around his forces and sees not a trap, but an opportunity to make the most of interior lines and defeat Federal forces in detail.
Of primary concern is McDowell and Reno at Wilderness Church. Between them, they have 14,000 men in two divisions and a brigade of cavalry (Buford). Crushing this force will remove a significant portion of the Army of Virginia and allow Lee to operate against remaining Federal forces without watching his back. Most of Longstreet’s corps will be used to keep the rest of the enemy at bay, particularly Porter’s V Corps. Jackson is tasked with removing McDowell and Reno as threats.
First, Jackson consolidates his men , with Taliaferro and Hill marching to join Ewell. With Ewell’s men cheering them on, Taliaferro and Hill get their commands into position and begin the assault against Ricketts.
The assault shows Jackson at the height of his abilities. Ricketts is routed out of position, losing 3 MP (and triggering Union Panic in the process). Hill lost 1 MP as they took the brunt of the Union fire before they disintegrated, but Rebel forces occupy Wilderness Church in good order and immediately swing around towards Reno.
This time Ewell’s division is able to hit the defenders in the flank, and again the blue troops go running. Three more Union MPs are lost to one Rebel. Lee has his breathing room, and Jackson’s tired, but ebullient troops will now keep an eye on Longstreet’s back.
Stuart and Robertson recross the river and pass through Lee’s army. Stuart then has F. Lee cross the Rappahannock and drive off the 6th New York cavalry tasked by Porter to watch the fords above Fredericksburg. It’s a harsh, brief affair that leaves Lee in command of the field and the New Yorkers pushed back several miles and disorganized. Neither side suffers significant casualties.
With the fords clear, Jones brings his division across at Banks Ford. Lee and Longstreet then lead Anderson, Wilcox and Hood into positions in front of Banks’ II Corps. Lee’s plan is becoming clear: a series of sharp blows has already driven off McDowell and Reno. Next, Banks is to be driven off. With those troops of Pope out of the picture, Lee will be free to focus on Porter and other elements of the Army of Potomac that are arriving from the Peninsula.
Longstreet again has trouble coordinating his troops (another ‘6’ for the Assault roll!) and Banks is able get across the river and flee the immediate trap.
Bayard attempts push the 2nd Virginia cavalry out of Wilderness Tavern, but fails miserably, losing 1 MP in the process and leaving the Virginians shouting for more Yankees to kill.
All the pieces get in place, with Anderson and Jones having moved in behind Porter (with Morell’s division and Griffon’s brigade) and Evans assaulting across the river. The Rappahannock proves to be too strong a barrier, and while Porter’s troops are left in sad shape, they stand their ground and drive the surrounding Rebels off after inflicting heavy losses (3 MPs).
Sigel shows an incredible amount of initiative, getting his corps across the Rapidan and in front of Wilcox and Hood. Milroy, Schenck and Schurz get their troops on line and ready to go. The lines of blue push through the woods and are met by a grey line more than ready for them. Sigel’s display of organization falls apart under withering Rebel fire. His shot at being the “Hero of the Union” and replacing Pope as army commander dies along with 2 MPs of Union troops.
Porter pulls Reynolds back up with the rest of the corps, but this allows Kemper to get across the river unopposed. Sykes is unable to rejoin Porter due to the presence of Anderson and Jones and holds back at a distance as night falls.
August 26th, 1862
[Rain (Current +1)] [Ripley is delayed one turn so that he may arrive further east]
With rain quickly swelling the Rapidan and Rappahannock rivers, Lee decides the opportunity to force a river crossing has passed. While yesterday did not go entirely as planned, it went well enough to keep most of Pope’s troops out of the fight for a while. The papers report that Pope is going to be sacked and McClellan is coming to the rescue. Lee can’t be sure if the news is true, but if so, the last thing he needs is McClellan and the rest of the Army of the Potomac on the other side of a river from him.
Longstreet is to secure the crossings at Banks and Scott fords while Jackson keeps Pope at bay. With Longstreet in position, Jackson will then cross over, and the Army of Northern Virginia will resume its march north.
Robertson attempts to hold-up Kearny as he approaches Falls Run, but Kearny is not having it. Robertson is dispersed, losing 1 MP in the process, and Kearny gets across the rain swollen creek without having to go on line.
Evans loses 1 MP pushing his weary troops down the muddy Mine Road.
The turn ends abruptly thanks to the Random End of Action Cycle rule.
August 27th, 1862
[Confederate Reinforcements Delayed – evidently the rains are causing havoc for Ripley and Hampton]
McClellan arrives at Richardsville and officially takes command from Pope. You can almost hear the sigh of relief from the Union troops. Little Napoleon is here!
The rain is greatly hampering Longstreet’s attempt to reunite his corps; actually the rain-swollen Rappahannock is preventing that from happening.. The biggest concern is making sure Heintzelman doesn’t block the fords. Unfortunately, Heintzelman knows the score and while F. Lee’s cavalry is able to slow up Kearny, they aren’t able to prevent Hooker from blocking Scott’s Ford. The rain has made a trap far more effective than anything Pope could do!
Hoping that the rains will stop, Lee has Jackson move north with an eye towards securing a crossing over the Rapidan if need be. Jackson does so, and manages to also threaten Sigel’s fragile I Corps. Jackson desperately wants to take advantage of the fact that Sigel’s back is to an unfordable river, but Lee expressly forbids him from attacking before the 28th. Lee wants to get his army across the river and moving northward and does not want Jackson’s command inconveniently worn out.
Porter leaves Morell and Griffin to guard his rear and protect the river crossings and takes the rest of V Corps into the woods after Longstreet. Heintzelman pushes Hooker to block Banks Ford with Kearny on his flank. Anderson and Kemper are now sandwiched.
Jones’ division is holding a way out around Kearny’s flank, but his men are in no shape to attack. Anderson is no better. Kemper is relatively fresh, but not strong enough on his own to force the issue. Lee is finding the rain to be his worst enemy, but Porter and Heintzelman are right up there.
August 28th, 1862 – The Battle of Scott’s Dam, The Battle of Horsepen Run
[Command Paralysis: Union]
With McClellan on the field and in command of all Union forces in the vicinity, he now has to exert that command over those who had begun to operate independently out of necessity. He does this by recalling all corps commanders for a conference.
This could not come at a worse time as Lee is in as bad a position as he could be in. Lee doesn’t realize the opportunity that exists, but he does know he’ll have to act now that the rain has stopped. Lee gets a courier across the river to Jackson, who is instructed to blast Sigel out of the way, get across the rivers and hit Porter in the rear. Evans, Wilcox and Hood are to gather at Banks Ford and stand ready. They may be forced to assault Hooker across the river.
Jackson leads an assault with Ewell and Hill against Sigel’s corps. The attack is successful and drives off Sigel’s troops. Milroy’s brigade is destroyed but Ewell loses 1,000 men in the process. Further, Ewell and Hill are not in a position to capitalize on their success, leaving the rest of the job to Taliafero.
After stumbling against Sigel, Jackson shows his qualities. Joining Taliaferro, Jackson leads his men on a wild march, fording first the Rapidan and then the Rappahannock before hitting Morell in the flank. Morell’s men are caught unprepared and rout across the Rappahannock before finally stopping at Wilderness Church. On a rampage, Taliaferro’s men steamroll over Morell and into Griffin and put them to rout, as well. They get across Horsepen Run and to Benson’s Mill before brushing up against Sykes’ pickets.
McClellan, who had ridden with his staff in the early morning hours to join Porter for his announced conference, was startled by the sound of gunfire so close by and from an unexpected direction. Thinking rapidly, he orders Porter to consolidate his command away from the river. Porter orders Reynolds to shift north and join Sykes.
Wilcox gets across at Scott’s Ford and comes up behind Hooker while Evans joins Stuart and Robertson at Banks Ford. Hooker, not wanting to get trapped by the river, shifts north to Kearny. Longstreet is still in a tight spot, but he now has some room to wiggle.
Ripley reaches the area and along with Evans crosses the Rappahannock at Banks Ford. Hood crosses at Scott’s Ford and joins with Wilcox. Heintzelman moves his corps out of the pending trap and onto the Marsh Road.
Stuart has the 2nd Virginia Cavalry subordinate itself to Robertson’s command. This campaign has been hard on Rebel cavalry, and Stuart wants to consolidate his strength.
The day ends with Longstreet’s corps consolidated on the north side of the Rapphannock. Jackson’s corps is split, but with no Federal units between them, reuniting should not prove a problem in the morning.
August 29th, 1862
[Union Reinforcements Delayed – this could be huge, Sumner’s II Corps and Slocum’s VI Corps were scheduled to arrive today. After the debacle of yesterday’s Union Command Paralysis, this may be just the break Lee needs]
McLaws and DH Hill arrive at Massaponax Church, bringing an additional 14,000 troops with them.
McDowell and Ricketts’ division finally cross the Rapidan and link up with the remnants of King’s division. McDowell’s corps is finally reunited after the disaster at Wilderness Church.
Jackson gets Ewell and AP Hill’s divisions across the rivers and settled in at Hartwood. Still worn out from the battle yesterday with Sigel, Jackson wanted to get them into a blocking position to limit McClellan’s options.
Porter’s corps gets out of the woods and away from Longstreet. Taliaferro is still on his flank, though. Heintzelman also moves his corps north, using Kearny to link up with Porter’s corps while Hooker is at Berea Church. While potentially looking at being surrounded by Lee’s army, McClellan is in a decent defensive position and his units are strong enough that Lee would have to attack with his entire army to have a reasonable chance at success.
Lee is not interested in attacking two healthy Federal corps on their terms, but he does need to get around them. Jackson has pretty much gotten around them already, but Longstreet has a tougher row to hoe. Fairchild and Harland are behind Falls Run. If Longstreet can push them aside he would have access to the Telegraph Road.
Hood leads the march and quickly gets his men in line and forces his way across Falls Run, routing Harland’s brigade in the process. While the casualties are light, Harland’s men don’t stop running until almost to Aquia Creek Station. They’re out of the picture for now.
Rather than attempt to root Fairchild out of his breastworks behind the Run, the rest of Longstreet’s men move north up the road that parallels the Telegraph Road, and Wilcox soon reaches the vicinity of Skinner’s Store.
Heintzelman swings Hooker around towards AP Hill at Hartwood, then has Kearny join him. Jackson is going to have to work hard to link back up with Longstreet. Porter’s corps also slides north to stay in contact with Heintzelman.
Longstreet pushes his men into a forced march, hoping to make ground. The miles are eaten, and Wilcox does reach Trent’s Church in Prince William County, though he loses 2 MP to stragglers in the process. What it does mean is that until further reinforcements arrive from The Peninsula, there are no Federal units large enough to stop Longstreet even after he slows down to rest his men and forage for supplies.
August 30th, 1862
Walker’s division arrives in Orange County. Rather than delay his entry a turn to bring him on further east, I bring him in the original zone so that he can march up the Orange & Alexandria rail line and serve as a distraction for the Union.
The II and VI Corps of the Army of the Potomac finally arrive, and are actually well positioned to march for Bull Run and intercept Longstreet’s oncoming troops.
Jackson slips away to the north, but the roads require that AP Hill separate from the rest of the corps, which finds McDowell in their way. AP Hill and Jackson march past Spotted Tavern and swing around into McDowell’s rear, hoping to either force McDowell to get out of the way or push into a battle on unfavorable terms.
McDowell, his corps still greatly depleted in strength, obliges by pulling back into a better defensive position. Jackson rides hard and joins back up with Taliaferro and leads him and Ewell up to the vicinity of Spotted Tavern. Unless the Federals get really aggressive, this should give Jackson’s men a chance to rest and forage before the big push to rejoin Lee.
Bayard’s cavalry is able to greatly hinder McLaws’ crossing of the Rappahannock, but ultimately they have to give way and McLaws get across, but doesn’t make nearly as much progress as he wanted.
Franklin gets his VI corps up and moving off the transports and makes good time down the Telegraph Road, nearly reaching Bull Run by the end of the day.
August 31, 1862 – The Battle of Cropps’ Mill
With September looming, Lee knows he’s running out of time. Lee sends orders out to all commands to march hard and cut the Orange & Alexandria rail line and burn stations as much as possible while moving towards Fairfax Court House. Those troops of Longstreet’s who had reached Prince William County cross Cedar Run and move towards Clover Hill. Jackson’s men aren’t as successful. Beardsley’s cavalry does a masterful job of tying AP Hill up and after fierce skirmishing Beardsley retreats in good order.
At Lee’s request, Longstreet sends a different batch of orders to DH Hill. Rather than trying to catch up with the rest of the corps, Hill is ordered to secure Falmouth to prevent the Union from rebuilding its pontoon bridge at Fredericksburg.
Reynolds rolls right over Richardson’s cavalry as he moves in behind AP Hill. Sykes brings his division in on the flank.
Banks gets his men on line and prepares the assault on Hill’s positions. McClellan oversees the operation and ensures that Porter’s V Corps hits Hill in the rear and flank. Hill is simply overwhelmed, and his troops, low on ammo, simply can’t stand their ground. The fight quickly turns ugly, costing Hill 3,000 men (6 MP) between the fight and ensuring rout. McClellan’s name is in all the papers as the Hero of the Union with Banks and Porter also prominently mentioned.
Walker pushes his men hard, but they are able to slip by Buford’s cavalry and seize Culpeper before Reno can get there.
September 1, 1862 – The Battle of Manassas Junction
[Accelerate Union Reinforcements – brings Pleasanton’s cavalry up sooner than expected]
Longstreet’s men have recovered from their big march of the 30th and have also successfully foraged. Jackson’s command is in sad shape and is definitely feeling the pressure of McClellan’s new-found aggressiveness. Lee pins his hopes on Longstreet as Jackson is in no shape to do much more than defend a good spot to give Longstreet some room to maneuver.
Ripley’s division reaches Catlett’s Station and prepares to burn it while Anderson reaches Bristoe Station and prepares to do likewise. Jones, Wilcox and Kemper cross Broad Run and confront Scammon’s brigade at Manassas Junction.
Jones quickly sets Scammon to rout and occupies Manassas Junction. Wilcox reaches Bull Run Bridge while Kemper scurries across to Union Mills. Before he can push on to Sangster’s Station, though, he encounters the lead elements of Sedgewick’s division of Sumner’s II Corps. Kemper quickly retreats back across Bull Run Bridge before Wilcox burns it.
[Random Turn End hits]
September 2, 1862 – The Battle of Cedar Run
[Command Paralysis – Union]
“McClellan’s got the slows,” laments Lincoln after he realizes that McClellan did nothing to capitalize on his success of August 31. Longstreet’s men are running rampant and Jackson got away. When word reaches him that Jones has burned the station at Manassas Junction along with its depot, he just shakes his head.
Franklin shifts the direction of his march as he gets word from a courier of the destruction of the depot at Manassas Junction, however, he has some trouble navigating the woods and only Taylor’s brigade gets across Cedar Run.
Longstreet gets Anderson and McLaws in position to oppose a crossing of Cedar Run by Franklin’s troops. Anderson hits Taylor and sends him scurrying away and back across the Run, but loses 1 SP in the process.
McClellan finally heeds the barrage of telegrams and gets men moving but Taliaferro gets across Cedar Run and AP Hill gets his dispirited, worn-out troops behind Turkey Run in spite of efforts by Sigel, Banks, McDowell and Porter.
Reno brings his corps into position opposite Walker in Culpeper, but is unable to force the issue.
There is much scurrying as the 2nd comes to a close, but nothing of consequence. Final Score: 58 VPs, Confederate Marginal Victory.
This very much felt like a marginal victory for the South. Lee’s original plan went up in smoke when he turned Longstreet back to hit Reno. In hindsight, it was foolish to focus so much on wining a few battles at the expense of the larger objectives, but it did trigger Union Panic, worth 15 VP alone.
This game was two weeks of march and counter-march, with just enough big battles to satisfy. The Battle of the Crossroads and the Battle of Wilderness Church could almost be considered the 1st Battle of Chancellorsville. Jackson’s battles against Sigel and Porter on August 28th were fun to watch play out, and I must say I got excited when McClellan got off the roll for the grand assault that became the Battle of Cropps’ Mill.
I thought for sure it was going to end in a Union victory, but Longstreet’s gamble on the forced marches paid off and he had just enough space to burn some stations to pull the VP total to Confederate side before the scenario ended. It’s hard to say what the next step would have been, whether Lee would have felt compelled to pursue his northward march or if discretion would have been the better part of valor.
- Last edited Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:41 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:41 pm