Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Bull Run update and rehersal

Saturday was rematch day on the new improved Bull Run table. The rules were the first edition Brigade level Fire & Fury. Russ (Rusty) Russell opted to take the Union ,his mission to destroy the Confederate forces commanded by Ian (the Hand Rubber) Taylor and march off the table to Manassas and end the Rebellion before it could gain momentum and thus restore the Union.  The Confederates would win if they could destroy the Union forces and for a major victory pursue them across the Stone Bridge and into Washington thus endorsing the Confederacies claim to independence.
All quiet here. Russ even has time to say hello to the dog who spent most of the afternoon cowering behind his legs whilst a thunder storm raged outside.

The rebel extreme and undefended left flank at the small town of Groveton. In the distance ,having spotted Colonel Evans small brigade, Hunters Division has formed up for an attack.

Hunters division,(two brigades of infantry and one of cavalry prepares to advance against Evans' forlorn hope at top right.

The Federal artillery pushes forward to take put Evans under fire

Failed order rolls mean that the Union brigades advance falters buying the Confederate commander time

Colonel Evans' small brigade stands atop a small ridge and awaits developments before scooting away toward the ford.

Federal reinforcements arrive and march on Groverton , their mission to outflank the rebel defenders

Evans has fallen back to the ford and now stands beneath the covering fire of the rebel artillery on Henrys hill.

Robbed of their prey the Union push their guns forward ahead of the advancing infantry.

The federals approach the town

Evans charges the still limbered guns and destroys them. The Union infantry counterattacks but due to some horrific dice rolling by Russ and some inspired rolling by Ian the small Confederate brigade pushes the Federals back. (Russ' dice were awful for most of the afternoon, especially in close combat) 

Evans has bought time for the first Confederate reinforcements to reach Henry Hill....

but at a cost. The enraged union brigades fall in huge numbers on Evans' isolated men and his brigade is wiped out.

The Federals have crossed the Fords at Groverton and deploy to threaten the Rebel left....

but Jackson has arrived and his Brigade supported by that of Bee and with General Beauregard in close attention begins to deploy on the far side of the ridge.

Meanwhile on the Rebel right flank a viscous fight had developed that would last the entire day and would sway back ward and forward across the ground before the water mill. Two large confederate brigades pushed up to the ford and supported by two batteries of artillery held it against an entire division.   

The double line of Union Brigades pushes at the thin line of Confederate defenders but the South won't give up the ford and the Yankees bounce backwards in frustration and lost stands.  

In the centre and finally free of the Evans irritation the Federals begin to get ready to advance once again

ahead of them Hamptons small battalion has moved into support the Rebel batteries on Henry Hill and the long range fire continuous to harass the Unions attempt to coordinate an assault.

On the left a second Union Brigade moves through Groverton...

to join its sister Brigade facing Jacksons Virginians.

The federals mass on the banks of Youngs branch...

whilst the Rebel guns continue to cause confusion.

On the right a dwindling Federal brigade again tries to force the ford but more failed order rolls mean that the brigade goes in unsupported and raked from both its flank and front..

it finally breaks and flees across the Stone Bridge to the Federal rear.

On the Left the Union continues to mass..

whilst on the right an uneasy long range duel commences with neither side wanting to force the issue.

In the center the union brigades finally wade across the stream..

whilst on the left the two Union brigades finally engage, but..

desperate local Confederate counterattacks and yet more inspired dice rolls force the Yankees back as more Confederate brigades begin to arrive on the battle field.

It was at this point that the Confederate commander announced that he had to go home as he wasn't allowed out after dark (something about turning into a pumpkin) and we called a result. The Confederates had held and the Union looked like they were going to run out of steam. Having destroyed more units than the Yankees the Confederates achieved a minor victory. The sacrifice of  Evans' brigade in destroying the Federal artillery, delaying the Federal advance and the stubborn defence on the right by the Water Mill proving pivotal. The war would continue until its inevitable and costly end  in the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House four years later.


  1. Great write up and pictures Jon - I almost wish I had been there and then remembered I had! Very good game and Russ played well but his aggressive moves went unrewarded - that'll teach him for infringing Southern rights! The battlefield looks really good and I think you're well set up for Joy of Six.

  2. Nicely wrapped up AAR Jon. This was my favourite ACW game to date and the table played a big part in that it created an atmosphere which enhanced the battle. Taking the Union was a challenge and I was very aggressive from the start but think I had a few better options to hand. I should of road marched a lot more stuff which would of allowed me to attack in more concentrated areas. The ford was near damn impossible to take and I though I an played very well, his early march over on his right took me by surprise and a stubborn defence of the ford proved too much on the day. I was pleased to have crossed the rived and secured the left flank but combined with very bad dice all day, a solid defence and too many losses on the Union it was a tough nut to crack.

    It's set me up good for JOS and I will be happy to play on either side on the day as I have the experience now after playing both sides.

    Good game