Gaines Mill is for me a fascinating battle and one that I have been hoping to play for sometime. It has been made even more interesting by my recent visit to the battlefield.
It of course is set against the Peninsula Campaign and the Union advance on Richmond. With Lee taking the field the Confederate forces undertook a series of troop movements and battles that unhinged the Union forces arrayed in front of the Rebel capital. Gaines Mill, fought on the 27th of June found Lee launching the largest Confederate attack of the war, with some 57,000 men in six divisions. In the early afternoon, A.P. Hill ran into strong Union forces deployed along Boatswain’s Creek. This swampy stream, slopes and hasty defences provided a major obstacle.
The resulting attacks resulted an intense battle, the largest of the Seven Days and the only clear-cut Confederate tactical victory of the Peninsula Campaign. While McClellan had already planned to shift his supply base to the James River, his defeat unnerved him and he abandoned his advance on Richmond. This scenario was created by Andy Nicoll and Jim Nevling and can be found here.
For those interested my visit to the battlefield is documented here. For additional reading I would highly recommend Stephen Sears “To the Gates of Richmond” which describes the battle well and places it in the context of the Peninsula Campaign.
There are a few excellent Volley & Bayonet blogs on the Internet, one is the Seven Years War blog run by Fabrizio Davì called the Torgau Project. Here Fabrizio documents his research and army building, in 6mm. Recently Fabrizio has posted a four part series on the scenario and mini campaign for the Battle of Korbitz which is now packaged up as a full scenario and published here. To set the scene I will hand over to Fabrizio.
At the beginning of September 1759, a Prussian relief corps under Maj.Gen. Wunsch was sent to counter the Austro-Imperial invasion of Saxony: despite arriving too late to prevent the Dresden surrender, it recaptured however most of northern Saxony. With the help of a corps commanded by Lt.Gen Finck, Wunsch recaptured Leipzig: the two reunited corps marched then on Meissen. To counter them the GFML prince Friedrich von Pflaz-Zweibrücken, commander-in-chief of the Reichsarmee, left 16 battalions to garrison Dresden and marched with his army, reinforced by the Austrian corp of Hadik to attack them. The whole operation was supervised by Field Marshal Serbelloni.
The plan was to fix the Prussian left wing in front of Meissen with the Reichsarmee whereas Hadik was to flank the Prussian position with his corps. The Wunsch wing contained the Reichsarmee ineffective attack: in the meantime Hadik attacked the Finck wing. The approach march of Hadik wing was delayed by the very poor terrain conditions and Hadik asked repeatedly to call off the attack. However Serbelloni ordered to proceed and Hadik troops arrived piecemeal on the battle scene.
To continue with the background and see the full scenario click here or visit the Scenario Section of this site.
Fabrizio Davì has recently sent in a new Seven Years War scenario for publication here on “The Volley & Bayonet Page”. Indeed Fabrizio, on his excellent blog, describes the action as one of those lesser-known, middle-sized, uneven and asymmetric actions between the Reichsarmee and the Prussians which makes some delightful war-game scenarios. While I haven’t played the scenario it certainly looks interesting. As way of background I will hand over to Fabrizio who describes the situation further…
In the August 1760, on the Saxony theatre, the commander of the ReichsArmee, Prince Michael of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld was at the head of an Austro-Imperial army of about 25,000 men. Since his forces were almost twice of those of the Prussian Lieutenant-General Georg von Hülsen, he resolved to attack him in his fortified camp at Strehla, on the Elbe river.
Most of the Prussian units were in field fortifications on the plateau immediately to the west of Strehla. The right wing of the Prussian positions was positioned on the Dürren-Berg. The gap between these positions was covered by the cavalry.
The Reichsarmee commander planned a typical attack by different columns. The Reserve of Prince Stolberg, supported by the Grenadier corps of Guasco and by Kleefeld’s Austrian auxiliary corps was to attack Prussian right whereas the main Imperial corps would put a demonstration against the fortified camp near Strehla with the Imperial cavalry skirmishing on the Prussian left flank.
The complete scenario can be found in the 18th Century Scenario Section. In addition Fabrizio provides a summary of one of his playtests of the scenario on his blog.
Pea Ridge provides a small introductory scenario for an interesting battle from the west. The battle, fought in northwest Arkansas, near Garfield. Union forces led by Brig. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis moved south from central Missouri, driving Confederate forces into northwestern Arkansas. Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn reorganized the Confederate army and launched a counter-offensive, hoping that a victory would enable the Confederates to recapture northern Arkansas and Missouri.
In a two–day battle, Curtis held off the Confederate attack on the first day and drove Van Dorn’s force off the field on the second day. The outcome of the battle essentially cemented Union control of Missouri and northern Arkansas.
This latest scenario for Pea Ridge, supplied by Kurt Braunsroth, can be found in the American Civil War section of this site, or directly here.