|Union forces advance, Fredricksburg Dec 11th - 15th 1862.|
Players involved were Mick, our host and Tom on the Confederate side with Scotty and myself the Union. The troops were 15mm mainly from Mick and Scotty's collections while I provided a mere Union corp. The setup is all Micks in his fantastic game room. The rules used were Fire and Fury with some adaptions for Micks splendid hex system.
A short introduction courtesy of Wikipedia:
The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought December 11–15, 1862, in and around Fredericksburg, Virginia, between General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General Ambrose Burnside. The Union Army's futile frontal attacks on December 13 against entrenched Confederate defenders on the heights behind the city is remembered as one of the most one-sided battles of the American Civil War, with Union casualties more than twice as heavy as those suffered by the Confederates. A visitor to the battlefield described the battle to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln as a "butchery."
Burnside's plan was to cross the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg in mid-November and race to the Confederate capital of Richmond before Lee's army could stop him. Bureaucratic delays prevented Burnside from receiving the necessary pontoon bridges in time and Lee moved his army to block the crossings. When the Union army was finally able to build its bridges and cross under fire, urban combat in the city resulted on December 11–12. Union troops prepared to assault Confederate defensive positions south of the city and on a strongly fortified ridge just west of the city known as Marye's Heights.
On December 13, the "grand division" of Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin was able to pierce the first defensive line of Confederate Lieutenant General Stonewall Jackson to the south, but was finally repulsed. Burnside ordered the grand divisions of Maj. Gens. Edwin V. Sumner and Joseph Hooker to make multiple frontal assaults against Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's position on Marye's Heights, all of which were repulsed with heavy losses. On December 15, Burnside withdrew his army, ending another failed Union campaign in the Eastern Theater.
As can be seen from the above map the Union effort was primarily directed towards the Confederate left against Marye's Heights which was bloodily repulsed at the infamous stone wall, however a second attack against Prospect Hill came as near to success as any that day for the Union though as it was delivered piecemeal due to Franklins caution it too failed.
The big difference for the Union side in the replay was that Mick had allowed Scotty and myself to have the Union artillery deployed closer in support on the other side of the river. As you will see this was to make a huge difference to the outcome of the game.
Initial set up, The town of Fredricksburg can be seen with Sumner and Hookers Union forces deployed inside facing Marye's Heights.
Longstreet's Confederate forces behind the infamous stone wall and a view of Marye's Heights to their rear.
The Union centre, one pontoon bridge was placed here while Scotty on the Union left had two more. Bottlenecks at all crossing points were to prove a pain for the Yankees but as we shall see would ultimately contribute to the Union success!
Both the Union centre (myself) and left (Scotty) advanced on the confederate positions.
Mick commanding the Confederate centre now decided on a bold but risky plan. The above picture shows three large brigades charging down from the heights to attack the Union centre before it could be fully deployed over the one pontoon bridge allocated to it. I have to say it was squeaky bum time for a while but the union batteries deployed on this side of the river now made their presence felt. Unsupported by it's own artillery the Union guns made mince meat of the rebs, crippling this whole veteren division. Mick was to rue the loss of these troops later on when the pressure started to build.
This shows the centre left from the Confederate side and it may be now worth filling in our dear reader on the plan devised by Scotty (as seen in the picture) and myself as the Union commanders.
Scotty would make the difficult attack on Tom's troops holding the Confederate centre while masking their right on Prospect Hill, this position was heavily defended and would be a tough nut to crack, no pun intended Tom - his surname is Nutt - Ha!
Scotty's attack would at least occupy the Confederate left and centre, my Union troops on our right in Fredricksburg would stay put for the moment while my reinforced Union centre punched through diagonally up Hazel Run as seen in the above photo. This would turn the confederates manning the stone wall in front of Fredricksburg at which point they would be engaged to their front by the union right emerging from the town. Micks weakening of his centre with his risky charge would prove to be the deciding factor, but it would still be a bloody business.
As can be seen Scotty's task was not easy. Tom had skillfully deployed strong Confederate forces on Prospect Hill (top photo) while his centre though not as strongly held was in a semi circle forcing Scotty place his head in the lions mouth so to speak!
As the number of Union troops cross the Rappahannock river the pressure begins to mount on the Confederate centre.
As their position behind the wall began to be outflanked Mick's Confederates began to very slowly give ground but Sumner and Hooker's troops took a pasting in front, if the Union didn't have their artillery over the river Mick would have thrown me back right along the line.
The Confederate centre is forced back by shear numbers.
The wall is now outflanked.
A fantastic two day game. Thanks to all the guys but particularly to Mick who was his usual excellent host.