Monday, August 09, 2010

Hackett's Junction: 1862

A gentleman by the name of Martin wanted to get some experience with the Black Powder rules, particularly with his collection of American Civil War miniatures. So I obliged and set up a simple scenario with some suitable forces.

The Union army Led by McClellan Featured two brigades of four infantry regiments each, a single regiment of cavalry and a half battery of guns. They deployed in two extended lines, with cavalry on their right flank. Some of the Union were rated as Stubborn (Irish) but most were Untested (Philladelphians). The Union cavalry were only skirmishers.

The Confederates were my command and featured two Brigades of three regiments, some of which were elites; an elite Cavalry regiment and a dismounted cavalry regiment with repeating carbines, and a half Battery of artillery. The Cavalry were rated as Bloodthirsty, whilst one of the brigades were only armed with smoothbore muskets. We deployed our elites in a brigade column of attack, whilst the other brigade was spread thinly. The Hussars were on our right whilst the dismounted cavalry screened the flank of the elite Virginians

The field was a simple one, with some partially boundaried fields around a local junction between a prominent hill and a wide river marking the boundary of the field of battle.

I won first turn and began a hurried advance; my aim was to use my superior fighting quality (Confederate infantry were higher command and rated 6 in melee, compared the the Union regiments 5) to launch assault from the walls. Martins first turn saw what would become characteristic reticence from the Irish, accompanied by a command blunder from the Philladelphians; instead of advancing they closed the lines on the Irish.

This gave me the time to get a second round of advancing in, and allowed my Hussars to run round the flank of the Irish.

The Irish realised their predicament, and rallied to face the Hussars. Their stoicism was enough to hold the charge of the Hussars:

This gave time for a second Regiment of Union troops to join the melee, and this overwhelmed the Hussars, who withdrew in some disorder. On the Union Right, Confederate dismounted cavalry tried to contain the Union horsemen.

Elsewhere the Virginians launched the first of their assaults:

Sadly the first assault faltered under superior fire of the Northerners. The Virginians withdrew in disarray; though the intervention of the Brigadier and the Army general (using the rallying rule to good effect) managed to save the broken regiment from disaster.
On my Right the Hussars were finished by the Irish with musketry, but the Irish then refused any further orders for three successive turns. The rallying Virginians supported by the artillery and the skirmishers had to try and contain the Union centre which supported by Irish musketry was able to wear down the smoothbore equipped Missourians on my right.
Eventually two of the Missourian regiments broke, and the Philladelphians began to attack my centre. It was crisis point for the Confederates.
But on this day God was a southern gentleman! The Union attack faltered at the walls. not quite getting engaged. The Confederate CinC used a follow me command to execute an artillery charge against the stranded Union flank, shattering them with an enfilade of canister.
The Virginians also broke some of the Union line, whilst at the moment when their hand could have told most, the Irish again decided to avoid confrontation.

And so the game ended as a respectable draw; though one where the Union forces performed with historical caution, and squandered every opportunity to win. I think the special rules used reflected the historical characteristics well , and the battle was a great tussle.
Had the Union troops been more enthusiastic (at one point rolling 11 three turns running for a Brigade order - not good) they could easily have wrapped it up in half the time.
Martin seemed to enjoy it greatly, and the rules showed their versatility once again. I look forward to a rematch!


  1. Excellent Battle report!

    I also use Black Powder for the ACW, but with 6mm figures and find the rules really fir the period.

  2. From Martin - your apponent ! This was a great game ! I thouroughly enjoyed the challenge , the frustration and excitement and I agree with "Too Much Lead" , a typical cautionary Union approach ! Damn that brigade of Irishmen who were content to sit and drink the bourbon left by the rapidly fleeing Hussars ! Great game, hope to repeat it in the future !

  3. Nice battle report. Sounds like a lot of fun! I wish I had more opportunities to play Black Powder. But... I don't think they had Hussars in the American Civil War. Though, in the pre-war years, the US army did have a couple regiments of Dragoons. I think by the Civil War, they were all just referred to as cavalry.

  4. One regiment that I know of styled itself as Hussars, specifically Bentons Hussars. How much of the past tactics and elan they actually held is not known to me, but it seemed an easy way to distiguish between them as charging cavalry and the union troops as skirmishing cavalry.

  5. Ah, that makes sense. Any chance you'll post the unit stats and special rules you used for this game?

  6. that would be good please post if no copyright issues with BP

    Dave T