Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spotsylvania, Early 1864

1864 has dawned, and it is time for the Confederacy to be finally conquered!  Hardtack's division is with Grant's Army of the Potomac, and taking part in the Overland Campaign.  This game sees our man somewhere close to Spotsylvania, where he has been ordered to take up position on some tributary to the Po river, and deny the rebels a chance to cross.

Very wooded ground, of course - and with streams breaking up the Federal side
Hardtack splits his force into four, putting one on each of the three fords he can find, and keeping the fourth back in reserve (the large and untested 70th New York.)

"First order of business: dig in everywhere!"
It soon becomes apparent that the left-most ford is actually far larger than previously thought, with many more crossing-places.  It also sits rather forward of the rest of the line, and this inevitably becomes the region targeted by the Confederate advance.

The crossing is watched by a group of veteran regiments: the 122NY, the 27PA, and the 1/11MA.

The Rebs come charging ahead, before all units have even managed to dig in.
The Federals dig in while just inside the woods, to save themselves casualties from the enemy artillery.  Hardtack also doesn't much about, and orders all the reserves he can to rush to the scene.

Firing begins across the rebel ranks
Things soon become desperate - the tiny 122NY is routed by the throngs of rebels, and while the 27PA keeps solid, the 1/11MA goes charging out under the leadership of it's glory-hunting "hero" Colonel!  

"Back into the river with them, boys!"
Elsewhere, a second rebel force tries to approach the central ford, btu swiftly gives it up: artillery crouched in the woodland, and the crossing practically encircled by the zig-zag trenches of two Colored regiments, just playing something is unwise enough to try a crossing.

"Washington this way!"
Over on the critical left, the 1/11MA was facing a disaster from rebel fire, but thankfully the steely Hardtack's 'Drillmaster' tendencies pay off, and they are able to fall back swiftly and in good order, back into the trees.  Rebel casualties keep on steadily mounting from the draining Federal fire, while reinforcements are getting close.

The Confederates just can't break through the wood

A panorama of the entire field
A desperate rebel charge with cold steel is met with a stone wall-like defence: rebels fall back in confusion, and the blue line holds!  Just as the Reb attacks peter out, the 70NY & 31VT arrive on the scene to relieve the battered 1/11MA.  

Charging back into the rebel bridge-head, the fresh troops sweep through the thick smoke of the rebel defensive fire and charge home.  The Confederate attack has collapsed, and been routed back over the river!

"A Victory!"

The field at the close of day.
For the first time in a while, Hardtack has a victory to boast of - and quite a good one too, featuring successful defences and also charges back from his own side.  The Confederate forces do seem weakened now, what with their deck-sizes being plagues by shortages, and also a judicious bit of sabotage from cavalry raiders where appropriate!  The victory gives Hardtack his full promotion to the top of his military tree, a 4-Eagle commander.  

His division has to say goodbye to the disbanded 122NY, but at least the 70NY have seen the elephant and proved themselves capable troops.  One thing that all his victory produces is evidence that everybody loves a winner - he gains a 'Friend in the Statehouse' when his state's Senator decides that associating with Hardtack might not be such a bad thing, and begins pulling strings for him.  A fresh infantry and cavalry regiment are added to the division, to boost it up, plus Hardtack finally gets some further artillery reinforcements in the shape of two new Light Rifle sections.  Ah, friends in high places!

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