Antietam Refought

Antietam is without doubt one of the defining battles of the American Civil War. If not for outright victory, certainly for determination by those involved and of course for lost opportunity. With the 160th anniversary of Antietam this year refighting the battle was certainly on my calendar.

Admittedly it has been many years since I have refought this battle. Perhaps for that reason alone it had a certain draw. Though honestly I can’t escape the evocative description of events that Sears provides in “Landscape Turned Red”.

Whatever the reason, our refight of Antietam did not disappoint. A summary of our refight, including photos and a description, can be found here.

For those preferring a video format a short video of our battle can be found here.

Cedar Mountain to Manassas

August has been a busy month as we continue our American Civil War 160th anniversary series. Specifically we look at the eastern battles in August 1862 as Lee begins the invasion that will take him into Maryland.

With McClellan held up on the Virginia Peninsula Lee spent the first part of the month probing Pope’s forces north of Richmond. Our first refight of August found Jackson engaged on the 9th near Cedar Mountain. Now, in Volley & Bayonet terms Cedar Mountain is a small battle. So small that we refought it twice in one evening. Despite the size it produced two great games. A report of one of our refights can be found here.

More recently the next battle in the series has been played, specifically Second Manassas. A much larger battle, historically fought over three days, this engagement promised plenty of challenges. Long columns of troops, ambushes, a shortage of roads and traffic jams all added to the tension as both commanders struggled to move troops forward. A summary of our refight, with a number of photos, can be found here.

Hopefully you find the reports of interest. For my part I must get back to organising the terrain for the next engagement.

Gaines’ Mill to Malvern Hill

Over the last month we have continued our engagements on the Virginia Peninsula as we mark the 160th anniversaries of the Battles of Gaines’ Mill, Glendale and Malvern Hill. Together with Seven Pines these battles have formed something of a campaign as we march with General McClellan towards Richmond and even more rapidly away.

Gaines’ Mill, which we have fought twice, proved particularly challenging for the Rebels. A strong natural position in every way. You can find a summary of our first refight here, while the second can be found here.

More recently we have refought Glendale and Malvern Hill. The scenario has the features of both battles on one long table and is to be fought over two days. Coordinating dispersed forces have been a feature of the entire campaign. At Glendale they take on new meaning. Our refight can be found here.

Seven Pines

This year I plan to mark the anniversaries of several American Civil War battles by recreating them on the table, assuming Covid doesn’t disrupt these plans of course.

First up was the Battle of Seven Pines, historically fought over two days, the 31st May and the 1st of June 1862. Now as the 160th anniversary fell midweek instead of refighting Seven Pines once we opted to refight the battle twice, on the Friday evenings each side of the anniversary.

The scenario used was that defined in the scenario book “A Storm in the Valley 1862” by Jessee Scarborough. The scenario, in my view, captures the core elements of the battle extremely well. In particular the Confederate challenges created by converging forces across three different roads. Opposite the Union commander also has challenges to contend with. Specifically the very real potential of uncoordinated or delayed reinforcements compromising his defence.

As to the resulting games they were both excellent. If you haven’t considered this scenario I would highly recommend it. For those interested I have placed a summary of our first refight on-line, which can be found here.