For some reason, when I resumed the battle, I could not take a sharp picture regardless of all my usual tricks, cleaning the lens, rearranging the lights, bracing the camera...... I finally put it down to drifting clouds of imaginary powder smoke and just got on with the game. It had only been 4 days since I laid the troops out and played the first 3 turns and 2 days since I'd played the second 3 turns, but it felt like 2 weeks.
|The Yanks had seized the mill but the Rebs were already counterattacking to take if back if they could.|
So, when we left the game, the Union 1st Brigade had just stormed the mill and both sides were rushing reinforcements into line and revisiting battle plans. Initially I had rolled for arrival points then again against a short list of options, taking the first roll into consideration. The Rebs had rolled "Deploy and hold until time is ripe for a counter attack" The Yanks had rolled "Attack up the Centre". The Yankees had 2 problems, their 3rd brigade (on their right) had been shot up pretty bad, while in the centre, the wood in the middle was making it slow to bring up the second Brigade into line, although it did provide a covered approach. The next few turns were quiet as Brigades were shifted and lines restored, then, before the Federal attack was ready, the Confederates launched a counter attack up the middle. supported by their cavalry on the far left.
|The struggle for control of the mill was prolonged.|
There was a fierce battle in the centre before the Rebs finally retook the Mill but the right hand Yankee brigade, out in the open, and in some disarray, crumbled under the counterattack. The attack against the Rebel right flank was looking iffy but suddenly one of their Brigades pulled back (chance card) and the cavalry and 2nd brigade stormed forward and almost took the road.
|End of Game: This end of the battlefield was hard on Brigadiers and neither side could claim to control this road at the end of the day.|
(The buglers are "order" marker that indicate that a Brigade can move this turn.)
In the centre, an intense bombardment and a desperate Union counterattack almost retook the Mill. On his right, the Federal General decided to pull the battered 3rd Brigade back, into cover, to protect the vital road exit behind them.
|End of game: the mill was still being contested so neither side controlled the crossroad.|
It was beginning to look like a draw. The road across the table was contested as far as the mill but beyond that neither side was close enough to threaten either road, well, not unless the Reb cavalry could drive superior numbers of Yankee infantry out from behind stone walls and woods.
|Overview of the battlefield as the cavalry was ordered to cut the road "If practicable".|
Brigadier Jacks rolled a 6 and ordered his brigade forward.
The last turns of fighting were bitter and bloody across the board but the dice gods had decided to favour the Rebs. The charge of the Butternut horsemen was legendary, the attack on the stone wall was repulsed as expected but the Yankees in the wood broke and ran. They ran and were pursued and sabered as they ran, until the cavalry pulled up across the vital road and rested, hooting at the stragglers. They didn't control the whole road, but they held the exit and a clear road to it.
|Picture taken just before the Yankee infantry broke and fled.|
It wasn't much more than a winning draw, but with heavier casualties and being cut off from one source of reinforcements with the threat of having the Rebels march off that road into the rear, the Federal commander had no choice but to withdraw.
After much foofarah, thinking (ouch!) and experimenting, I finally decided to just go back to an ACW variant on the Square Brigadier. I might post a bit about the rules in a few days, and why I made that choice, once I get them tidied. I might even play a quick game to confirm the choice, but I still have a 16thC Anglo Scots game to play and there are pikes and bills to mend, so, time will tell!