Sunday, 24 March 2013

Battle of Sharpeville ~ 12:30pm : Lee's Thoughts

General Lee shares his thoughts about the battle currently in progress at Sharpeville.
(see  The time is 12:30 pm (turn 4).
"General Jackson has been hit hard by Heintzelman's Corps at Barnes Farm, but despite the  firepower of massed Federal batteries, I have faith that he will hold his ground - Starkes' entire division remains in reserve. However, I am perturbed by the likelihood that General Porter's Corps will fall on Jackson's northern flank within the next hour or so. Stuart had formerly reported Porter's presence in the area, but has since lost track of him. Jackson's flank is refused with Ambrose Hill's division deployed against the possibility of Porter's appearance. I intend to bolster that position with Starke's brigades and Walker's reserve batteries - maybe even General Hood if need be. A new line may need to be drawn a little further south.
My chief hope lies with General Longstreet who has reported a moderate enemy force to his front, near Hawk Ridge - I have ordered him to assault those people with all haste then wheel north to relieve the pressure on Jackson.
It was indeed a calculated risk to accede to battle here at Sharpeville while the threat of Porter remained unresolved, but at this moment we outnumber the enemy substantially and must be bold . . . "


Friday, 15 March 2013

Sharpeville Campaign : Turn 9

Lee has consolidated the dispositions of the Army of Northern Virginia
  well enough to accept the challenge of battle . . .

Pope has taken me a little off guard by advancing aggressively against Jackson - but, although I know Porter's Corps is just off to the northwest, I feel that Lee's army is in a strong position so the Confederates are standing their ground !  This means that a table battle is declared, with me as the defender deciding the precise geographical area of the battlefield as shown below . . . .

The Sharpeville Battlefield - the road layout on the map is designed so that any
4x2 set of squares can be reproduced using the terrain units we own.
The Union army now gets a small bonus phase with limited command points to 'march to guns' any of their units beyond the area of the battlefield. Campaign moves are suspended until the battle is over, and a full report of the action at Sharpeville will appear on : ........ as soon as we can get to fight it !

Sharpeville Campaign : Turn 8

Pope's HQ and most of the large Army of the Potomac V Corps are revealed at the Cutler House.
Yankee cavalry lurk on Jackson's flank.
10:30am. With the two armies closing quickly, a lot of command points went into scouting this turn, with the result that Longstreet and the artillery reserve are not as close to Sharpeville as I would like. Depressingly, I can see that Pope is now well prepared to receive our attentions, and notions of local Confederate superiority are fading fast ! Jackson has moved into a position to be able to strike at Heintzelman's Corps in the town as soon as we are ready  (the enemy has formed a battle line in anticipation of such an attack), although the appearance of Porter's Corps to the northwest has dulled our enthusiasm for immediate battle somewhat. Lee and the supply train are close behind Jackson (positioning of the supply wagons is critical as ammunition rules will be in use for any table battle).

[ If anyone has stumbled across this blog by chance, these are the Confederate turns in an email campaign being used to create tabletop battles. The Union turns can be found posted by General Pope - my brother ! - at ]

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Sharpeville Campaign : Turn 7

 Kearny and Hooker's presence revealed at Sharpeville - the only 'A' grade
 infantry leaders the Union possess in this campaign

10:00 am - I hadn't intended to post every turn, but this has turned out to be gripping stuff and things are coming to a head - Robertson's cavalry has located Heintzelman's entire corps at Sharpeville, this being the III Corps of the Army of the Potomac (on attachment to Pope).

Jackson continues to advance towards the town from the east, maintaining Ewell and A.P. Hill in cautious line of battle with Starke in reserve. Longstreet's leading elements have left the turnpike to move across country and take up position on Jackson's left. Wherever Pope's army has been for the last few hours it is almost certainly now concentrating at Sharpeville and battle is likely to be joined very soon . . .

[ If anyone has stumbled across this blog by chance, these are the Confederate turns in an email campaign being used to create tabletop battles. The Union turns can be found posted by General Pope - my brother ! - at ]

Sharpeville Campaign : Turn 6

Arrows show Fitzhugh Lee's attempts to locate some enemy - any enemy!

9:30 am - Tompkin's division must have been way out on a limb because Buford has retired him in front of Jackson's advance, yielding the Confederates one campaign victory point. Longstreet's Corps has finally moved up close enough to support Jackson if all hell breaks loose.
That's the good news. The bad news is, Stuart has yet to discover the whereabouts of any Union infantry divisions ! Fitzhugh Lee's troopers have been desperately scouting the area just south of Sharpeville, using up half the available command points this turn, but they have turned up no boys in blue from the Lutheran Church to the Schimmel House. Could it really be that the main weight of Pope's army is deployed over towards Fremont, and Lee has outmanoeuvred him already ?

Monday, 11 March 2013

Sharpeville Campaign : Turn 5

The first engagement of the campaign

With maximum command points yet again I was able to achieve a lot, and the Confederate phase of the 9:00 am turn has brought some action at last ! Robertson scouted Masons Ford and then the area directly north of his position where he discovered one of Buford's divisions at the crossroads. This froze Robertson's movement and scouting abilities - but he had already seen enough to inform Jackson, who moved quickly across the ford and deployed to engage the enemy troopers. (Rebel unit markers changed to red text to indicate battle formation)

I am hoping that we have caught Pope off balance (maybe even caused a little panic?!) and that he doesn't have enough infantry in the immediate vicinity to confidently bring on a battle, so the Union cavalry will be forced to retire. But of course I could be completely wrong!

Strategic overview - Lee and Longstreet moving up fast

Pope must have allocated some forces to protect the town of Fremont several miles to the west, so by concentrating and coming at Sharpeville from the east, Lee hopes to force a battle quickly and gain some local superiority.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Sharpeville Campaign : Turn 4

Jackson's infamous 'foot cavalry' race ahead of Longstreet - a masterstroke or a blunder ?

Two hours and four turns into the day - 8:30 am. I have been literally trying to 'steal a march' on Pope by allocating a lot of command points to the movement of Jackson's Corps in order to get part of my force further north than the enemy might reasonably expect in the time. This is a bit risky as Jackson is now seriously isolated, but as far as I know he remains undetected !
The downside of my command point choices is that Longstreet's Corps is making poor progress, and Stuart's brigades have done almost no scouting at all. Patrolling out of Fairfax, rebel troopers have found no sign of the enemy in the area around the Shriver House, but that's it for intelligence reports so far.
Next turn - assuming I am not surprised somewhere by hordes of Yankees ! - I must exercise more caution, drawing the two parts of the army closer together and doing some proper scouting to find out exactly where Pope is located.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Sharpeville Campaign : Turn 2

Confederate situation- Turn 2 -  7:30 am - 1st Aug 1862

Confederate situation after two turns of play. I got the maximum number of Command Points on turn two (there is a random element) and used most of them to increase the movement of Stonewall's Corps. To the west Fitzhugh Lee's troopers have entered Fairfax without incident.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Sharpeville Campaign : Initial Deployment

Campaign map overview with Confederate initial dispositions.
(click to enlarge)

The best strategy in this campaign - I think! - is to try and bring on a battle where Lee can achieve local superiority before enemy reinforcements can reach the scene. There are two towns that will yield VPs for the Confederates in the northwestern area of the map ( Sharpeville and Fremont), so Pope will initially move to defend these. This means I can guess his general deployment and target one of the flanks – I have chosen the eastern approach. Lee’s initial disposition is just south of the Rappahannock, and he has issued orders to make for Berry Creek with Robertson’s cavalry out in front to prevent any nasty surprises. Fitzhugh Lee’s troopers are posted out wide on his left to screen the movement from the enemy and gather intelligence.

If Pope can concentrate his entire force on any battlefield then the Rebs will be outnumbered, so Lee’s main tactical consideration is to avoid this.

We both have a limited number of Command Points each turn to spend on scouting and movement, and these could all initially be allocated to cavalry units rather than army movement, enabling them to cover a lot of ground and scout a lot of squares. I haven’t decided yet whether to do this on the first turn, though I suspect the enemy might – knowledge is power! However, once a cavalry unit encounters an opposing cavalry unit it’s scouting and movement abilities are substantially curtailed, making careful defensive screening a viable tactical option, and less drain on Command Points.

Lee, Longstreet, Jackson and Stuart prepare to march.