Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Invasion Maryland - Turn 28

5:00pm - Turn 28 - strategic situation

Christmas festivities over - back to the battlefield! As more and more Union forces arrived at Jones Crossroads I remembered the massive disparity in artillery between the two armies. Yankee artillery units are mostly 6 guns, predominantly rifled weapons with massive ranges - stack three or four of those in hex and you can rout enemy units by artillery fire only. The Rebs quite often have artillery counters of only 2 or 3 guns with half the range. I decided that the Confederate position at Tilghmanton was becoming too exposed to massed Union batteries and began to withdraw Longstreet's forces to the west.

Jackson's men continue to arrive on Longstreet's left flank

Longstreet's divisions retire to the west while presenting a coherent front to the enemy
 A difficult manoeuvre causing some traffic chaos.

The collision between the two armies at Jones Crossroads had been a bit haphazard. To fight a defensive battle with any hope of winning I need to choose my ground a little better. Night is approaching and I hope to hold a more sustainable position by morning.

Overview of A.P.Hill's Division as Jackson's men move up through
 Downsville on Longstreet's left.
D.H.Hill's Division  is finally across the Potomac at Williamsport, but it is hard work.
I think a large force of Federal cavalry is still embedded in the centre of the town
 but I may attempt to bypass them to the south.

                  Click maps to enlarge . View Union turns at

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Invasion Maryland - Turn 25

Well, the Confederates have stuck to their original plan with only minimal interference from the enemy. The Army of Northern Virginia continues to converge on the area just east of Downsville between Jones Crossroads and Tilghmanton. General Lee himself is now present on the field and detailed deployments for a major battle are being made. Due to the time of day (3:40 pm) it is unlikely there will be any major action until tomorrow.

Both wings of the army deploying near Jones Crossroads.
All divisions will soon be present except D.H.Hill who is still west of the Potomac
 threatening Williamsport and Hagerstown.

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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Invasion Maryland - Turn 21

Strategic situation
Turn 21 - 2:40pm, September 12th. At Williamsport a token force stays to engage the Union troopers on the east bank. The bulk of Jackson's men continue to cross at Falling Waters and head for Downsville, where Yankee cavalry opposition has melted away.

Rebel guns continue to bombard across the river

Jackson's wing of the army ploughs on through Downsville

At Jones Crossroads the Federals have been digging in and keeping their units out of range of massed Rebel artillery. But more and more forces from both sides are arriving on the scene.

Longstreet faces the enemy to the north and to the south.

Union columns are also advancing on Jones Crossroads from the south, creating a big tactical headache for Longstreet. The good news is that JEB Stuart's cavalry has been rampaging across that area, destroying limbered guns and supply wagons on the roads and generally causing delay and mayhem.

Union forces head north from Sharpsburg, approaching Bakersville.

Click on maps to enlarge.
Get the Union players perspective at

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Invasion Maryland - Turn 17

It is now Turn 17 - 1:20pm on 12th September. Multiple engagements are developing across a broad front. Firstly - D.H. Hill has been attempting to force a crossing of the Potomac at Williamsport but the river and general terrain here are making it easy for large numbers of Yankee Cavalry and horse guns to delay us substantially. Artillery has been brought up, but Hill has diverted part of his column back down the western side of the Potomac towards Lee and Jackson's crossing point at Falling Waters a few miles south.

Williamsport : strategic situation

Williamsport : tactical situation

At Downsville, Jackson pushes the brigades of Ewell's Division forward as quickly as he can to envelop the Federal troopers and secure the town.  Union cavalry are being used very effectively to delay us and buy time for McClellan to march all his corps to the scene of the action.

Downsville : strategic situation

Downsville : tactical situation

But the main event is shaping up to be at Jones Crossroads, some five miles north of Sharpsburg on the Hagerstown/Sharpsburg Pike. Here the two armies are colliding with enough friction to bring on an engagement that could draw in a lot of troops on both sides. Longstreet is present on the field and has deployed the divisions of Hood and McLaws against an as-yet unidentified Union corps. A large scale artillery exchange has begun.

Jones Crossroads : strategic situation

Jones Crossroads : tactical situation
Click on images to enlarge. Follow the moves of the Union player at

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Invasion Maryland - Turn 13

Union forces were becoming so 'pesky' close to Sharpsburg that Longstreet has ordered his remaining divisions west of the Potomac (Walker & Jones) to stay on that side and find a ford further north.
D.H.Hill is now on the west bank preparing to cross at Williamsport. His men captured a Union cavalry officer who had stopped for a pee in the bushes, obviously completely unaware that an entire enemy division was coming up the pike from the south! McClellan finally seems to realise that Rebel forces are attempting to cross at multiple locations, and Pleasonton's troopers appear to be criss-crossing the landscape like headless chickens trying to make sense of it all ....

More and more Union forces emerge from the 'fog of war', but the plan is just
about still intact - consolidate near Downsville.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Invasion Maryland - Turn 10

Scouting has revealed that a large chunk of the Union Army seems to be converging quickly on Sharpsburg. Another corps is moving northwest towards Williamsport, and quite probably yet another could be making due north for Hagerstown. As McClellan is being unexpectedly aggressive, Lee needs to consolidate his army quickly to avoid being caught at a numerical disadvantage - I am thinking maybe in the area just east of Downsville.

As Longstreet continues to push his divisions northwards up through Sharpsburg to meet with Lee and Jackson, more and more Union infantry are starting to appear just beyond Antietam Creek, a little too close to the town for comfort. Stuart's troopers are starting to incur some losses holding them at bay, and it could be that elements of Longstreet's command will have to deploy soon to counter this. I don't really want to get into a major engagement here.

SHARPSBURG - 11:00am, Turn 10. Fitzhugh Lee's troopers under serious pressure at the Rohrbach Bridge.
Wade Hampton's men at the Middle Bridge may soon be facing the same.

                                                               Click on images to enlarge.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Invasion Maryland - Turn 4

This will be an occasional record of a PBEM game played against my brother (or General McClellan as I like to think of him!) - if our previous games are anything to go by it could run to a hundred turns or more.  It is a scenario constructed by ourselves in the editor program of the HPS computer game 'Antietam', representing Robert E. Lee's invasion of Maryland in 1862 - hypothetical deployments and open-ended gameplay. Various Union towns provide modest numbers of Victory Points to the South, but the main strategic object of the game is a convincing defeat of your opponent's army. I am playing Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.

Confederate forces  9:00 am Sept 12th 1862. TURN 4

The initial Confederate strategy involves multiple thrusts across the Potomac River to seize as many VP sites as possible, and then with that advantage combine forces to fight a defensive battle on our own terms. McClellan has a numerical advantage of roughly 30,000 men, so we must try and keep him in the dark, spread out and off balance !

The situation at Sharpsburg

McLaws Division of Longstreet's Corps approaches Sharpsburg from the west. Stuart has just secured the town (and the 20 VP's) and moved off to the east to screen Longstreet's arrival from the prying eyes of Union patrols coming through the mountain passes.
Follow the moves and strategy of the Union player at