Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Skirmish in the East Woods : Battle of Antietam 1862

 After moving red and blue wooden blocks about for a few (enjoyable) games it was time to get a proper (virtual) miniatures game in. One of my “targets” for the year is to play some more historical based games and part of this is an ambition to play all of the scenarios from Brad Butkovich’s Antietam scenario book. This is titled Brave Hearts Trembled and is well worth a buy if you are interested. If you track back though my older posts we have played a number of his Shiloh battles already.

Anyway onto this year the first scenario in the book is a smaller battle based on the skirmishing which took place on the evening before the main battle 16th September 1862. This makes a perfect battle for Rebels and Patriots and is just manageable as a virtual game.

The history is well covered in Brad’s book but in simple summary Brigadier General Truman Seymour 3rd  Division 1st Brigade are the first to the battle field and marching north then west bump into the pickets of General Hood’s division. A sharp skirmish then took place to occupy the East Woods close to the Smoketown Road and the Miller Farm. At the end of the day as darkness fell the Confederates were ordered to pull back and it was this same area which saw the famous assault by Union Troops through ‘The Cornfield’ to start the main battle on the 17th.

Setup : I managed to squeeze as much of the battlefield onto my 4x4 table including the main elements of the Eastwoods, the Miller Farm and the Cornfield. We used the scenario pretty much as written with a couple of tweaks. There were a couple of ‘special’ rules, the woods are light and only provide light cover, the Cornfields block line of sight, after 8 turns ranges will reduce to 12”  and then the game will randomly end between 8 and 14 turns unless one side has already fled.

So onto the battle......

The 4th Texas skirmish close to the Miller Farm, beyond them skirmishers of Colquitt’s Brigade in the East woods
Irwin’s Georgia Battery and slightly raised ground behind the Cornfield
And further in the East Woods the 9th Virginia Cavalry dismounted just beyond Smoketown Road
The leading elements of Seymour’s force 3rd Pennsylvania Reserves again skirmishing , Battery B 1st PA and in the far distance beyond the smaller cornfield the 13th PAR sharpshooters.
With the arrival of the Federals the Rebel guns open up
BG Seymour leading his brigade with the 1st Pennsylvania Reserves are quickly disordered and with some bad activation rolls the Federals are slow to get off the mark.
More Pennsylvania Reserves move down the Smoketown road and their supporting artillery opens up, but they come under skirmish fire.
But the Confederates don’t get it all their own way and an immediate snake-eyes activation sends Colquitt’s skirmishers fleeing back
The Confederates are now pushing into the woods supported by their artillery
...and the 1st Texas led by Colonel William Wofford opens up through the trees
Battle continues but the Federals are not making much headway
and then they suffer a double 1 as well (I should say at this stage we played about 11 turns, and between us we rolled an unbelievable 9 snake eyes)
Eventually though the numbers of Union troops begin to count and the Rebel skirmishers become disordered and weakened the 6th Pennsylvania Reserves break out into the open fields at the Miller’s Farm.
But the Confederates are already holding the Cornfield
Close to the smoketown road some of the Pennsylvania boys are pushed back through the smaller cornfield.
Another double 1 (we were laughing quite a bit at this stage) as ones set of rebel skirmishers presumably in the growing darkness turn and shoot at their own side !
The Rebels in the cornfield fire a powerful volley, which disorders the 6th PAR
At this stage the light was fading and we agreed the Confederates had done enough to win the day holding the Federals back
A closer shot looking in the gloom up the Smoketown road, at this point the Confederates are pulled back deeper into the East Woods to prepare for the following morning.

An enjoyable game, difficult for the Union forces who had some spectacularly (really spectacular) bad dice rolling early on failing several activations, but it felt like a proper wargame and the size fitted well with Rebels and Patriots. There are several more scenarios some very large which I really want to play in the shed later in the year.

Hope you are well, keep safe 👍


62 comments:

  1. A splendid looking and sounding game Matt...

    At some point I intend put together a little collection for Rebels and Patriots... though possibly War of 1812...

    All the best. Aly

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    1. Thanks Aly......a new project sounds nice 👍 I have mentioned several times on the blog these are my preferred rules now for these musket based skirmish games

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  2. A fine game thank you for organising it Matt, all those snakes eyes were hilarious even when I rolled them. A most splendid tonic in these trying times.

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    1. A pleasure to play Phil, as you say we all need some small moments of fun and entertainment in these times 😀

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  3. Matt, you always present the most handsome games. Very enjoyable BatRep. What is it with rolling all of these extreme results at each end of the distribution? This happens to you and I in our R&P games too.

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    1. Thanks Jonathan ....this was an extreme game in terms of double 1’s massively above any normal average. From a rationalisation point of view is was getting dark, late in the day so you might expect some of these friendly fire events ?

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  4. Lovely table as always and I like the effect of the crops in the field. Nice post in support of the smaller playing area with bigger figures.

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    1. Thanks Norm.....I’m still not happy with the corn but I haven’t had time to make anything better yet. Perhaps this year ? These skirmish games work best at this scale 👍

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  5. Nice looking game there. I take it Phil was the Union?

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    1. Thanks David 👍 and yes you guessed it 😀

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  6. Lovely looking game Matt and an unbelievable number of Double 1's rolled in the game! All you can do is laugh really but it does make for a memorable game:)

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    1. Thanks Steve ....frustration turned to hilarity when we got beyond 6 double 1’s as mentioned above it perhaps reflects the darkness falling across the battlefield?

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  7. cool games, think you need new dice.

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    1. Cheers......nothing wrong with the dice just the general!

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  8. A great looking little game Matt....lovely terrain and figures

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    1. Thanks Keith just nice to get a game played 😀

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  9. I have that book and it’s nice to see a scenario from it played out on the table. It’s a big goal to want to do all of those scenarios as some are quite large! Though the OOBs can be modified to suit the collection. 😀

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    1. Thanks Stew.......I really fancy going large as soon as the lockdown is resolved. Having played the Shiloh scenario last year, in our shed, which is the largest in that book I think we can probably with only minor modification run the Dawn in the cornfield scenario which I think is the largest. I’m not goal driven but it is a good goal 😀

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  10. Great looking game and AAR, thanks for posting it.
    I don’t own these rules, but are the double ones generating random events seeing what occurs when they are rolled?

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    1. Thanks and yes the rules require an activation roll, achieving a 6plus on 2D6. This is modified for certain situations. Double one is always a fail and has a simple D6 chart of bad things retreat, friendly fire etc...you get the same for double 6 but we hardly ever seem to roll those ! 🎲

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    2. Thanks! This is a set of rules I might pick up.

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    3. Personally and I don’t get any commission they work pretty well give fun games with some occasional random events, feel reasonably period specific and are quite adaptable 👍

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  11. Nice Batrep Matt, I live the cornfield, where did you get the plastic plants from?
    Cheers
    Stu

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    1. Thanks Stu the plants are plastic hedge/mats off eBay see post here from before Christmas, they work ok although I’m still not convinced and have another plan in my head but can’t seem to find the time to put it into action.
      https://wargamesinthedungeon.blogspot.com/2020/11/28-mm-cornfields-acw.html

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    2. Sorry the link doesn’t work, but the post was back in November I think.

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  12. Lovely looking game and it sounds like fun in spite of the double ones!
    Best Iain

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    1. Thanks Iain given the circumstances it was indeed a fun game 👍

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  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  14. lovely! thank you so much for sharing!

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  15. gui hang di my phu nhuan https://expressdhl.com.vn/ntt-express-van-chuyen-hang-quoc-te-dhl-tai-phu-nhuan/

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  16. I have made satisfactory corn stalks from pieces of evergreen (Christmas garlands) that have some ochre mixed in with the green. I use wire-cutters to make the corn stalks the right length, trimming off most of the "needles" down to the nub.

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