Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Sharpeville Campaign - Turn 20

Lee and Longstreet start to put pressure on the
Federal position by advancing against Porter.

7:30 am - and Lee has decided to take the initiative, creating a contact in the map square north of the Barnes House. If Pope withdraws from that contact then the Confederates gain a campaign VP. If he decides to give battle then all the possible tabletop configurations will be acceptable to us. I am fairly confident (but then I was last time!), with the only negative being that Anderson's Division is still not in a good enough condition to be much use in combat, and will have to sit this one out.

I am pretty sure that Ian will fight. He has another two divisions in the Cutler House square (scouted last turn) and probably more troops west of there and at Sharpeville, currently beyond my scouting range. Buford's troopers have been quite effective in their screening of Pope's extended deployment.

Divisional names in red text indicate they are deployed for battle.
[ Keep up with the Federal perspective at Road to Appomattox. ]

Monday, 22 April 2013

Sharpeville Campaign - Turn 19

7:00am - August 2nd - day two of the campaign . . . . .

The night turn is complete and this is the situation at dawn from the Confederate perspective. The last few turns have been spent inching around the Union northern flank trying to look for, or create, a situation where it might be favourable to engage. So many command points have been used up by movement and scouting that Anderson's division is still not restored to battle worthiness, and I have held it back.

I don't know for certain but I suspect that during the previous evening Ian finally became aware of the extent of my manoeuvre and I may have missed my chance. As the Union army is moving around far less due to it's interior lines, it has probably been able to allocate more command points to scouting and keep fairly accurate tabs on what the Rebs are doing. So Lee now faces a substantial enemy line arrayed north of Sharpeville. He could continue to slip westwards, go for a frontal assault at an advantageous spot, or pin Pope down while Longstreet tries to turn his eastern flank - answers on a postcard please !

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Sharpeville Campaign - Turn 15

Rebel situation at 5:30pm, including scouted Union units.

The campaign will go to a night turn at 7:00pm, so further large engagements are unlikely today though smaller ones are still possible.
I have managed to get most of the army into a good position north east of Sharpeville, and have detected Butterfield's division of Porter's (troublesome!) corps at the Cutler House. Because only cavalry can scout diagonally adjacent squares I am hoping that Jackson's presence has not been spotted by Butterfield. More worrying is Tompkin's cavalry near the Stevensburg Turnpike - they seem to have just appeared and I don't know how much of our northward movement they have become aware of. I need to drive them away, or at least 'confuse' them a bit next turn !
It would seem that Ian may have guessed by now that I didn't head south and west, so there could be all sorts of trouble in store for the morning . . .

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Sharpeville Campaign - Turn 12

Rebel positions at the end of Campaign Turn 12 (4:00pm)

Following the Confederate defeat at Sharpeville, Lee eventually decided to retire his forces to the east and position them along the Stevensburg turnpike, From there he can move them south or north quickly at a much smaller Command Point cost.

A plan is forming in my mind that actually involves - doing nothing for a while! If Lee can avoid Pope's cavalry patrols then a prolonged period of Confederate 'invisibility' might suggest to Pope that we have taken the long road south then west to move against Fremont, the other VP site. This is a fairly flimsy plan and Ian may not fall for it ! But if he does shift his weight towards Fremont then I could  conceivably hook around Sharpeville to the north and try for a battle in the same general area as before, with more favourable odds if possible - and a better state of mind! In the long term it might be better to goad the Union army into attacking us, and fight a defensive battle . . . .

During this lull I will also begin attempts to restore the status of Anderson's division (marker currently white to indicate 'battle weary') and give General Wilcox command of the division formerly led by the now deceased General Kemper.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Sharpeville Campaign - Turn 10

Retreating Confederates flood the roads leading
 away from the battlefield

The Battle of Sharpeville is over - and it was pretty much an unmitigated disaster for the Rebs!
See for a blow by blow account.

Confusion and doubt about the whereabouts of Pope's largest corps led me into a paralysis which unfortunately coincided with some assertive tactical play by Ian. The divisions of Hood and Starke never fired a shot, and by some appalling incompetence that I don't even fully understand myself, the majority of Confederate artillery remained limbered up and useless for the duration of the battle! Rebel army demoralisation (6 simultaneously broken units) was reached after playing just 8 tabletop turns - our final session consisting of 1 turn only! Map moves have resumed with campaign turn 10 commencing at the time that the battle ended - 3pm.

In short - Jackson's corps was severely damaged in defence, Longstreet's was crippled in attack, and I was hampered by over-confidence alternating with baseless paranoia.

By mid afternoon, the Army of Northern Virginia was in full retreat, and Ian had recieved 5 Campaign Victory Points for winning the battle. During Longstreet's disastrous assault it was Anderson's Division that took the heaviest losses and is now designated 'battle weary' in campaign terms. Kemper was killed in the chaos when his men broke in the woods, so a replacement will need to be found to command his division. I have started to extricate my army from the battlefield with a view to retiring southwards and having a serious re-think. If I lose a second battle then victory goes to that dreadful character, General Pope . . . . .