Wednesday, March 20, 2024

The Second Battle of Kernstown - Pickett's Charge AAR

The second game I played at Cold Barrage was a refight of the Second Battle of Kernstown, using Pickett's Charge and run by Ted and Chip, more member of my old New Jersey group.

Three Union Divisions faced three Confederate Divisions. If I remember correctly, both sides' goal was to cause 40% casualties to the enemy while maintaining their own coherence.

I was a Union commander, once again saddled with Rutherford B. Hayes and the 23rd Ohio, and set up against Will (my fellow Yorkist commander from the morning's game).

Will's Confederates came on in a grey-and-butternut tide. My own troops quickly retreated to the relative safety of the fenced-off road, while my lone artillery battery scrambled to wheel into position.

The other two Confederate divisions began the long march toward the Union lines. 

While the main Confederate attack ground forward, Will's separate attack was coming under fire from Union artillery safely positioned up on high ground.

The outnumbered Union infantry had to be worried, watching more Confederates stream out from behind the wooded area and push forward into an uncontested flank.

The weakest Union position was in Kernstown itself, defended by an understrength infantry brigade. With the other Confederate divisions moving away, I decided to bring the other two Union regiments in to reinforce. However, I wasn't able to do so before Will's rebels charged into the town.

Will's attack on Hayes' brigade hadn't fared well, with the average-to-large sized Union regiments outnumbering the attacking Confederates. The Confederates were forced back in disarray. 

Despite some encouragement from Ted (who pointed out that Hayes' political career would benefit from a decisive win against the Confederates), I decided to keep my troops in cover and holding the flank.

Will's attack on Kernstown was going much better. The defending Union regiment was chased out of the town and the artillery was routed. 

On the other side of the battlefield the Confederates were still coming on strong, but had finally entered the Union artillery's range. Cannon fire was beginning to take its toll, and a small unit of Union cavalry was skirmishing against a pair of Confederate brigades. 

The fight for Kernstown ended up with multiple small regiments firing (somewhat) ineffective volleys at each other.

The rest of the battle was shaping up in the Union's favor, with their weight of artillery punishing the advancing Confederates. 

We decided to call it there for time with a Union victory. 

I have to say, with Ted and Chip running the game, and with Will playing, this almost felt like one of the old Saturday night games that I haven't been in for almost a year now; fun and nostalgic with just a hint of melancholy, to be honest. 

Overall the day was a complete success. I played in two fun games and walked out with about half as much flea market items than I walked in with! 

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