Battle of Bull Run
This is a scenario for the rules Volley & Bayonet RtG. It depicts the first major battle during the american civil war and took place july 21 1861. It was two amateur armies going up against each other and was on the whole a chaotic affair that the confederate forces managed to win.
The Union have the Army of the Potomac lead by McDowell that has four divisions. One of these divisions was held in reserve at Centerville. The other three divisions was to crush the rebellion before it could spread to far.
The Confederates had two armies at Bull Run. The army of Potomac under Beauregard, that also is divided into one right wing and one left wing, and the army of the Shenandoah under Johnston. These two armies are about equal strength to the union army.
This is a long scenario that starts at eight in the morning and ends at six in the evening. Every turn counts as an hour so we have eleven turns to go. But Volley & Bayonet are much about manoeuvre so the first turns will be much movement, at least for one part...
The Union will start the battle!
The Union enters the battlefield. Two divisions, the 2nd under Hunter and the 3rd under Heintzelman are advancing on the confederate forces from the north. To the east Tyler advances on the stone bridge with his 1st division.
The Confederates already have forces on the field. Evans brigade are defending the stone bridge and Cockes brigade are defending balls ford. None of the brigades are in command so in this scenario the player rolls a dice. If it is 5 or 6 the brigade are in command and can act accordingly. Unfortunately none of the brigades are in command and can therefore not do much. The confederates also gets some reinforcements. Two brigades arrive at the road to New Market and follow the road.
The Union presses on with the northern force and the two divisions cross the Bull Run. The artillery that accompany them uses the road and the fords to get forward. Tylers division advance rapidly towards the stone bridge and forms a line of battle and opens fire on Evans brigade. Evan takes some casualties but fails to hurt the union brigades.
The Confederates still out of command presses on. Evan readies to defend the bridge. Had he been in command he could have gone stationary and then given the union brigades across the bridge a hard time. But as it were he could only stand there and hope for the best. Cocke down at Balls Ford turns his brigade to prepare for the union advance but are disordered. The two reinforcement brigades advancing along the road also press on but are disordered by it.
The Union Moves the Northern forces on to Stony Ridge and starts forming a line of battle. The artillery are moving up. One battery are placed on the road. Tyler overwhelms Evans brigade with rifle fire and takes the stone bridge for the union. They can not how ever cross the bridge at this time.
The Confederate forces still suffers from the out of command status and thus moves slow towards the enemy. Only one brigade finds the commander and gets some order. The brigade under Bee order the ranks and advances towards the enemy.
The Unions 3rd division under Heintzelman takes Henry Hill and forms a line along its crest and down the side to the east. Hunters 2nd division stands back on Stony Ridge and forms a reserve. Tylers 1st division starts to cross the stone bridge and forms behind the 3rd division. He leaves one brigade at the other side of the bridge to guard it from an confederate counter attack.
The Confederates try to rush there forces forward to try to steam the tide of union troops. The two confederate commanders enters the field of battle and moves along the roads towards the battle. Cockes brigade stays at the ford and the new troops tries to make some form of defensive line but they feel the pressure of the massed union troops.
The Union sees a chance for victory and presses the attack on the thin confederate line. They advance on the whole line to try and crush the rebellion in one single, savage blow.
The Confederate commanders try to get some troops in the unions way to try and stop the advance but they look really thin compared to the masses union ranks.
The confederate commander looks on in despair as the union bears down on his scattered forces.
The Union still have the initiative and press on against the confederate forces. The 2nd Division under Hunter advances and takes Bald Hill and now the union has three objectives against the souths one.
The Situation for the confederates looks grim. They place on artillery battery on a hill and starts shelling the union army and are inflicting light casualties on the soldiers in blue under Heintzelman.
On the union left flank Tyler starts to advance to take Balls Ford from the confederates. He attacks from two sides. At the same time the whole 3rd division attacks the artillery battery on the hill. Hunter advances on the little town New Market with his two brigades and some artillery support.
The Confederate forces also advances on New Market and claims the town before the union. Also the confederates gets three more brigades on the field and they hurry to the fight along the roads. The confederate commander also tries a desperate counter attack with Jacksons Brigade that are partly successful. He was hoping he would rout a union brigade but manages only to make it retreat.
After the combat the casualties start to rise and the divisions start to loose its combat effectiveness.
The Union holds it advance at the left flank to engage the confederates in a fire fight. In the centre they assaults Jacksons Brigade and he is forced to retreat towards Bull Run. The union also attack the artillery and in the fight the artillery is routed of the field. On the right flank Hunter press home his attack on New Market. The artillery harass one southern brigade but it has no effect.
The Confederate launches a series of counter attacks on the union army. Jackson Brigade again makes an attack on the union centre and this time one union brigade are routed. With the newly arrived brigades the confederate army starts to strengthen there left flank at New Market and also plug some holes in the centre. The confederate right flank is still in danger of being overrun.
The Union tries to hold its ground. One brigade moves over Balls ford and takes up position to defend the ford. Now the union have all the objectives and the south only has two turns to try and take at least three back and claim victory. Palmers Cavalry makes a heroic charge against Jacksons Brigade but are cut down to the last horse. The 3rd division in the centre have been under constant pressure and its combat effectiveness are now reduced to defence only. Hunters 2nd division also losses one brigade to enemy fire and are nearing the breaking point.
The Confederates now have the initiative and Jacksons Brigade makes a charge against Shermans Brigade that are guarding Balls Ford. Shermans men have had enoch of the fight and routs over the ford and leaves the ford in southern hands.
The Souths divisions are all near the breaking point.
The Union has lost the momentum of attack all together and only makes minor adjustment to try and stop the confederates that are screaming and shouting and fast closing in the weary union troops. The union still holds four of the objectives!
The Confederates makes some additional attacks and manage to rout two more union brigades. On the confederate left flank one brigade advances against Bald Hill with the intent to make one last charge before night will end the fight.
All Union divisions are now exhausted and two of the confederate divisions have the same status. But the south have one advantage and that is Holmes division that arrive late to the battle but are fresh and therefore can attack.
The Union tries to hold on to the three objectives that it controls. But the brigades are badly hurt in the fight. The union commander sends in one artillery to New Market to try and hold that objective to despite that there are three confederate brigades bearing down on them.
The confederates now have a sent of victory and advances on all fronts. They need to take at least one more objective to claim victory over the northern invaders. The last shots in the dying light sees one more union brigade leave the field. The artillery in New Market can´t withstand the confederate massed fire and also routs of the field and leaves the town in southern hands.
At the end of the battle the south have four of five victory objectives and have won the first struggle in the civil war!
It was a hard fought battle were I as confederate commander many times felt like it would be impossible to stop the union army. But my reinforcements arrived in time for me to be able to make a counter attack. But I also had some luck at some crucial moments when my friend rolled badly. But in the discussion after the game was done we both agreed that it probably would have been better for him to stop his advance in a line from Stone Bridge, Henry Hill and Bald Hill and hold that position. Then I would have been forced to attack an enemy at high ground and ready for a fight. As it was now his forces was broken up and I could attack were I needed it most. Well is was a fun battle and we had a lot of fun.
I must also confess that this was the first time I played this scenario. I have not played with the rules for over a year so my understanding of the rules was a bit rusty so we probably made a lot of mistakes along the way.