Monday, March 4, 2013

Battle of Bagger's Crossroads

After the Confederate defeat on the Nishnabotna River Part I and Part II the Rebs fell back attempting to establish a blocking position at Bagger's Crossroads behind some prepared positions.  A fresh division of 18 regiments plus five regiments from the previous battle with three batteries were attempting to stand against 36 Yankee regiments with nine batteries.  With the losses from the previous battle the Reb regiments were generally larger than their Yankee counterparts, but the advantage in artillery was huge.

Playing the long way on a 6 x 9' table the Rebs were instructed to fight and hold as long as possible but not fight to the last.  Works are medium, dark fields are firm footing (clear) while the others are tall crops and broken ground.


With three divisions the plan was to push hard on our left and center, and use the right to tie up and perhaps cut off the lead Reb brigade.  Despite moving forward in column for as long as it was safe the Yanks were unable to prevent the two marching brigades from plugging a hole in the line and establishing a tenuous second line.  On the Yankee right the Rebs skillfully extracted themselves with minimal damage to form a more or less continuous line.

As this reporter commanded Absalom Baird's division on the left I can give the most details there.  Reminiscent of the cartoon in the rule book, my first shot with artillery was "boxcars" to run myself out of ammunition, and next turn got the exact same result with another battery.  Sigh....  Needing to do this the old fashioned way and trusting that the Rebs could not get too aggressive, we combined some first fires followed by passage of lines to continue the advance.  Three successes and three disorders.  The center, spearheaded by Zouaves made progress until running up to the works.  Sensing attacking at 1:1 odds would be a bloodbath, they maintained the pressure without pressing the issue.

On the right progress was steady if slow as the Rebs were pushed back and the works on the hill facing attackers on two sides.  Meanwhile on the left, Brigadier Starkweather led a charge at the head of the 10th Wisconsin while General Baird himself led charges by the 21st Wisconsin and 38th Indiana.  A third charge also rolled forward at the same time as the newly reordered troops advanced behind.

The Rebs being as a disadvantage (down a stand or in one case shaken) could not hold and as they fell back caused some disruption in the second line.  Brigadier Starkweather, as he waved his men forward was struck down.  The 21st WI, in a scene reminiscent of the end of Glory, paused exhausted from their charge atop the hill, only to see a fresh mass of Rebs that opened fire from hasty works and completely eliminated the gallant group.

Still, the line had been pried open and more Yankees charged forward on the left.  Although almost all of the entire Rebel 2nd line had thrown up hasty works, once flanked they didn't help.  In the center two brigades lurked, ready to exploit any movement by the Rebs, while on the right the Yanks finally got into the position they wanted to be able to charge. 

A heroic supported charge threw back the works defender and its supporting unit and the followup created a massive melee as the Rebs would not yield the position without blood. And there was plenty as a crappy dice roll against a huge roll meant the both Reb regiments disappeared in the first round of melee.  Back on the left, an out-of-control charge ended up behind the other works and two Reb batteries with a flag and Confederate brigadier in tow.  One of the Union batteries, having replenished their ammunition, rolled down to where they could enfilade the Confederate works, and just like that a nail-biter saw a Reb collapse. 

After the battle, General George Thomas was heard to ask for a map and comment, "I hear Atlanta is nice this time of year."  "......Recalculating....."


1 comment:

  1. Great battle report and - in particular - the detailed battlefield set is fascinating! All over hedges, fences and chaos - realistic! Thanks for sharing!