Copyright © 2017, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2017, Paul Scrivens-Smith

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of the creator.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

A brisk action at Hawkes Farm


Thursday saw another meeting of the Madison Tea and Crumpets Wargames Club for a bash at Sharp Practice American Civil War. With an ice storm coming in the event was in the balance, but in the end Drew and Bruce were able to make it to mine for the game. 

Besides getting the table set up with the weather making the game doubtful I'd not done much preparation so we settled on the 'An Encounter' battle, both sides would be about 110pts, this may seem a lot to Sharp Practice players used to earlier conflicts, but the basic 1863 Confederate force is 88 points!



Drew would play the Union, as is his way, while Bruce and I played the Confederates.

Confederates:
  • Leader, Status III
    • Three groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status II
    • Three groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • One group of 6 Skirmishers with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • One group of 6 Skirmishers with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • One group of 8 Cavalry with a variety of firearms and cutlery


Union:
  • Leader, Status III
    • Leader, Status I
    • Three groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status II
    • Two groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status II
    • Two groups of 8 Infantry with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • One group of 6 Skirmishers with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • One group of 6 Skirmishers with rifled muskets
  • Leader, Status I
    • Medium artillery piece with 5 crew.


I've cracked on with quite a bit of painting Confederates, so no longer have to use the dismounted cavalry as Skirmishers and can field more groups of infantry. For the first time we would be fielding an artillery piece on the Union side.

The Confederates had a starting Force Morale of 9 while the Union started at 11. The Union deployment point was central while the Confederate one was on their right flank.




In the initial phases both sides moved to shake out their lines, the Confederates anchored their right on a scrubby hill with a unit of skirmishers while the infantry shook out their lines and prepared to advance, the left flank was secured by another unit of skirmishers on another scrubby hill. The Confederate cavalry were pushed out to the left to hopefully gallop down the turnpike and get into the Union rear.

The Union pushed a unit of skirmishers through Hawkes farm and placed their main infantry block in the centre, one smaller block was making poor time through a wooded area that must have been much denser than the scouts suggested, on their left another formation of infantry supported by skirmishers would attempt to push the Confederate skirmishers from the hill.



First casualties of the day were inflicted by the Confederate skirmishers on the left, firstly knocking out a couple of the Union skirmishers sent against them then subsequently felling the lieutenant leading the infantry formation ranged against them who struggled back to his feet and bravely carrying on.

The first humorous random event of the game happened when the gunnery sergeant commanding the Napoleon stepped in a steaming pile of rancid coyote dung reducing him to Status 0, oh how us Confederates made mirth of this, however as the crew loaded the gun using command chits the next random event saw them getting a bonus firing action, not so may smiles as one Confederate group suffered 5 shock!



The Union certainly were getting the worst of the random events, after firing off a desultory volley at the Confederates facing them the main Union group was suffering from damp powder. 

On the Confederate left the cavalry shook out before the skirmishers in Hawkes farm, the Union skirmishers fired several times at them but the horsemen swept past and were soon galloping up the turnpike so the Union skirmishers turned their attention back to their front so that they could support the Union troops in the centre. The Union quartermaster would need some investigation today though as it was also found that these troops were also suffering from a supply of damp powder.



Things now started to move the Union way, unable to make headway in the dense woodland the Union troops had about faced and were now moving back across their rear to cover against the threat of the Confederate horse, one volley at effective range was enough to see off the rebel cavalry who skulked off to regroup. On their left some concentrated volley fire from the Union line and supporting skirmishers saw the Confederate skirmishers driven off, although with the wounded Federal lieutenant they we not able to easily capitalise and take that position. 



The Union centre was looking rather shaky though, with only the sporadic support of the Napoleon as the gunnery sergeant was distracted by the stench emanating from his boots and the damp powder the Union line was soon broken with panicked troops retreating before the advancing Confederates, however we'd run out of time and everybody wanted to get home before the foul weather hit so we call it a minor Union victory as they had a Force Morale of 7 to the 4 of the Confederates.




More images of the battle, many courtesy of Drew.