Monday, July 7, 2014

Mossy Creek, 1863

December 29, 1863 a largely cavalry action was fought between 1st Cavalry Division, Army of the Cumberland and Martin's cavalry corps of two divisions.  The Union forces had been pursuing Longstreet's Corps after the failed assault on Knoxville and in this action the Confederates have turned to attack their pursuers.  Scenario is taken from "Forward the Colors" by George Anderson and Ryan Toews.  Rules are Johnny Reb III.

The first thing the Yankees see is Morgan's division, all dismounted with two batteries of rifled guns just off picture to the upper right.

The Yankee force is a mix cavalry and infantry under Brigadier General Elliott.  One unit of cavalry had repeater rifles, the others breechloader carbines.  And elite battery of rifles were in attendance.  The two infantry regiments had a single section of green 12 pdrs. in support.

Looking the length of the table the Reb objective is the crossroads beyond the Branner Farm.

Oops.  On the first turn Armstrong's cavalry division trotted on table.  Historically the eight regiments were rather small, so five represent them on the tabletop.  Meanwhile the Union 1st TN had trotted out to distantly threaten the dismounted troopers.  Now they have a real foe!

The dismounts continue to advance as the Reb artillery bangs away totally ineffectually at long range.  The Union guns are little better.  Palmer's unit of cavalry detachments emerges from behind the farm.

In response the 1st and 3rd AL quickly remount and charge, beat and melee Palmer's.  They rout leaving the Rebs disordered.

A similar result befalls the 1st TN as they are meleed with a pair of Texan regiments.

The remainder of Armstrong's division moves up mounted to threaten the Union forces on the edge of the woods (brown swatches).  The dismounts advance is stalled when one unit becomes shaken at its first test and the rest advance slowly to maintain a more or less continuous front.

Most of the Confederate cavalry is armed with rifled-muskets so out-range the carbines, but they don't feel there is time for a musketry duel.  Besides, crouching cavalrymen with breechloaders make a difficult target.  The 1st and 3rd AL reorder themselves and seek opportunities.

As the troopers draw close, the Union line disengages and scurries away into the woods.

On turn 4 the Union brigade under La Grange trots on table to support their beleaguered comrades.

The view of the table from the Union perspective.  A lot of Rebs out there.

The 1st AL takes out the green section of 12 pdrs., but the 4th and 7th AL are taught a lesson about dismounted cavalry assaulting regular infantry.  They were lucky only to be thrown back shaken and disordered.  The 2nd GA routs away in the face of elite cannon fire but the 3rd GA is ready to step into the gap.

With their targets disengaging away the cavalry sees no option but to plunge into the woods where they move very slowly.

2nd Brigade to the rescue!(?)  Some of the disengagers are getting in the way.

The 3rd AL charges the left flank of the Union line but the gunners abandon their guns and disengage away.  The 'Bama boys try to stop their charge but cannot and charge disordered in pursuit of their target.  Rolling very well on charge bonus they catch and rout the 16th KY and gunners.  The 4th TN is less successful and ends their charge disordered.

As the Yankees move away to re-organize the dismounted line surges up the ridge line, past the abandoned guns.  Meanwhile the 1st AL dismounts and occupies the farmstead.

Sadly not pictured, the Union launch a desperate charge against the ridge.  Breechloaders drop a stand and the subsequent impact roll allows them to hold.  The exposed and disordered Confederate cavalry run off to get re-ordered and the Union forces reluctantly begin to withdraw.  Given that they controlled the crossroads and heights, the Confederates were willing to let them withdraw.

Historically the Rebs didn't fare as well.  The Union forces held until the 2nd brigade came up and they could launch a counter-attack that drove the Rebs miles back.  The observation was made that historic refights rarely turn out as they originally did.  That does seem to be a pattern in our games.


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