Monday, November 24, 2008

A Little ACW Interlude

1st Tennessee and 7th Tennessee of Archer's Brigade (Heth's Division) circa June 1863. Figures are a hodge-podge of everything from Dave Alsop Old Glory figures, to Eagle, Connoisseur and one Dixon chap who's chucking rocks from the skirmish line.

Over the past several months I have been reading American Civil War books during my hour long train commute into the office everyday. Earlier in the year, I worked my way through Grant's Overland Campaign of 1864, courtesy of the four volume set by Gordon Rhea. Mr. Rhea's books are a pleasure to read and are well augmented by plenty of maps and orders of battle in the appendices. The series is highly recommended.

Next on the list was a new book about Champion Hill, a battle fought between Grant and Pemberton during the Vicksburg Campaign. Then Peter Cozzens recently published his new book on Jackson's Valley Campaign of 1862. If Cozzens wrote a book about the history of wall papering kitchens and bathrooms, I think that I would buy it sight unseen because he is such a good story teller.

Last week, I completed my reading of Stephen Sears' book "Chancellorsville" and found that it gave me a very good understanding of a complicated battle. It also dashed a lot of misconceptions that I had about the battle and Fighting Joe Hooker. I was rather surprised to discover how good Hooker's intelligence network was. He had Lee's army strength spot on, within a couple of thousand men and he knew where every brigade was deployed. This gave him a tremendous advantage at the beginning of his campaign. I left the book with a feeling that Chancellorsville was actually a winnable battle for the Army of the Potomac, after the first day when Howard's corps was obliterated by Jackson's flank attack. Days Two and Three were quite a different story.

Harry Heth and his staff consider their next attack at Chancellorsville.

I am now reading Sears' book on the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, called "To the Gates of Richmond. More on this later.

A Confederate regiment deployed in open order, with skirmishers in front. Building and fences by H.G. Walls; figures an assortment of everything, but mostly Dave Alsop's original Old Glory figures. Flag and basing done by Dennis Smail.

Tonight, I set up my wargame table with my ACW terrain and set up a small battle with two brigades per side. I am playing it as a solo game, so it takes awhile to get several turns in. I was up to the start of Turn Six when I retired to bed this evening. I will provide some updates as the battle continues over the next several days. Oh, and there will be a few more pictures as well.


  1. Thank you for sharing something different. The bibliography is inspiring - it's particularly good to see the flag of the Confederacy because, though long gone, the first soldiers I collected in any numbers were 54mm Confederates back before my age reached double figures!
    What rules are you using?

    all the best,

    Stephen Caddy

  2. Stephen...that's the same question I wanted to ask!

  3. Really interesting diversion from my Napoleonic/18th century interests- super figs,terrain and book recommendation. What rules did you use for your solo game?

    I played a lot of acw at the university wargames club some years ago. We had very large games with 15mm figures using the Johnny Reb rules - a system that gave a really good game.
    At the same time I played quite a few games of Spanish American war of 1889 using a variant of the same rules. I collected forces for both the Americans and Spanish.
    best wishes

  4. First of all, where do you find those wonderful buildings?
    Second, I'm going to steal that bibliography and "accidently" send it to my relatives this week ...

  5. Yet another request for which rules you are using.

    Also I keep waiting for the second part of that Scottish battle you promised us months ago.

    -- Jeff