Sunday, August 11, 2013

BatRep - ACW Battle of Port Republic

Kevin and Scott showed up near midday Saturday to fight the Battle of Port Republic using Regimental Fire and Fury (RFF).  The Federals under Tyler were tasked with defending a line stretching about one mile from the banks of the South Fork of the Shenandoah to the heights of the Coaling near the Lewis Mansion (Lewiston).  Jackson's goal was to drive the Federals from the Valley.  His problem? How to dislodge Tyler from his formidable position.

The Federals held two key positions: the Coaling and the crossroads near the Lewiston farmstead.  
Federals deployed in the background between Shenandoah and the Coaling
with Winder deployed in foreground along Baugher Lane

Winder's initial line along Baugher Lane interspersed by guns

Taylor's Louisianians ready for combat

Carpenter's guns along Baugher Lane

Federal line
The Coaling and Lewiston

7th Indiana on the Union right

84th and 110th PA in reserve behind Lewiston
Daum's artillery on the heights of the Coaling

Union gun section defending crossroads at Lewiston

2nd and 4th VA ready for action opposite the Coaling
The battle opens with an artillery exchange between the Federals along Lewiston Lane and the Rebel guns along Baugher Lane.  Confederate gun fire yields results almost immediately.  In the long range exchange, Federal infantry suffer a number of casualties and disorders.  Tyler falls dead from the saddle in these opening salvos.

Rather than follow Jackson's historical plan of sending Taylor through the woods to flank the Coaling, Kevin prepares to send Taylor's brigade in a direct frontal assault on Union positions straight up the the River Road.  With three Federal gun sections on the heights, Taylor would be under fire early and often.

Kevin had another plan.  The 2nd and 4th VA would attack out of the thicket towards the Coaling with hopes of preoccupying the Federal guns.  While the 2nd VA  scampers back into the cover of the woods, the 4th VA advances up onto the heights.
4th VA attack Federal guns
Federal guns are largely ineffective and in the first clash, one gun section is damaged.  In an attempt to relieve pressure on the guns, the 66 OH marches up and wheels towards the heights.  Being green, the regiment is disordered performing this maneuver in broken ground.  The two Pennsylvania regiments are brought up on line as well when Taylor's Louisianans are seen advancing in the distance.
Federal reserves committed
With initial success against the guns on the Coaling, Taylor and Winder both advance across the plain.  Confederate artillery continues exceeding expectations while the Federal guns flounder.
Rebels Advance
Suffering few casualties in the advance across the wheat fields, Taylor bears down on Lewiston.  On the Coaling, Federal guns, completely occupied by the attacking Virginians, fail to extract a toll on the pesky 4th VA and the 4th closes.  
Taylor attacks
Taylor's waves of grey

66 OH prepares a defense
In continued dismal performance, all guns atop the coaling limber and skedaddle leaving the heights in control of the 4th VA.  With their left turned and two brigades bearing down on their line, the Federals are backed into a corner.
Federals lose Coaling
Having taken one key position at the Coaling, Rebs concentrate on the second at the crossroads.  Heavy casualties fail to stop the remnants of Wheat's Louisianans from entering the Lewis grounds as waves of their fellow Louisianans crash into Federal positions along the Lewis Lane.
Taylor and Winder close on Lewiston Lane
 The 6th LA hits the 84th PA and pushes them back out of the second key position.
6 LA assaults 84th PA

6 LA assaults 84th PA
In one last desperate attempt, Federals counter strike along the line to stabilize their dire situation.  Having gained no progress in that last ditch effort, the Federal commander orders a withdrawal from the battlefield.
Ending positions

Rebels control Lewiston and crossroads
Again, another RFF game with lopsided results with 1.5 hours of game time played out in just over two hours.  Most of our RFF games have followed a similar pattern of one side dominating the other.  In the final casualty tally, Federals lost 18 stands of infantry, one gun plus two damaged guns.  Jackson's command lost 16 stands of infantry.  Federals suffered from extremely poor die rolls while the attacking Confederates displayed great prowess at rolling many 9's and a few 10's.  As I recall, much of the artillery fire from the Coaling was resolved with a string of 1's.  Such extreme die rolls really plays havoc on a game and player morale.  The key to victory for the Confederates was the taking of the Coaling while suffering very few casualties.  This bold assault prevented the Federal guns from disrupting the Rebel attacks on the plain.  I didn't think this plan should work but it did!

Congratulations to Kevin and better luck next time to Scott.

While not likely able to better Kevin's success against the Coaling, I plan to reset the game and give it a try solitaire.


  1. The new QRS aims to make fire less deadly and artillery more vulnerable. I certainly rolled a lot of ones, but artillery no longer has a smashing effect at close range, either.

    In looking at the OOB this morning, I was wondering how Kevin's guns had the reach they did. Most were LS. Did we mess up the modifiers?

    I also looked over the scenario from Guns at Gettysburg, and they have the Union troops at a better morale level. That 66th Ohio is rated "Regular," for example, and the rest of the regiments are the equal of the Confederates.

    1. You certainly did roll a fistful of 1's! To compound the Federal calamity, Kevin rolled a fistful of 9's.

      We certainly could have messed up the artillery modifiers. I didn't check Kevin's math... The OB you provided show both Poague and Carpenter as having one section of LR each. It would help the Federals to have the 66 OH upgraded to TRN from GRN.

      We should try it again!

  2. Yes, but at that range, the LR should get 2 fire points and the LS only 1. The LH should have been out of range.

    1. The battery nearest the river was firing as 3 pts while the guns closest to the River Road fired as 5 pts (as I recall). Perhaps, Kevin was treating the LH as an LR?

      Damn rebels!

      Even so, 3 pts firing with '9's still yields one hit and disorder.

  3. Good AAR with quick and decisive results. Victory to the bold, and lucky perhaps!

    1. Yes, very quick and decisive results. The victor was indeed bold and lucky.

  4. An amazing battlefield, great looking game!

  5. Very nice looking game and love the rules!

    Your casualty count does not sound very lop sided and IMHO a Pyrrhic victory for the rebels.


    1. Thanks for your comments, Christopher. I see your POV of a Pyrrhic victory as far as casualty counts.

      I guess "lopsided" in the sense that Jackson took one key position (the Coaling) without much more than a scratch and took the second key position in a frontal assault in the first attempt. The battle was essentially over in under two hours whereby historically, it took more than four hours before Tyler withdrew. The guns on the dominant heights really played very little role in our game.

  6. Outstanding looking game. I like the carpet fields. I can't help but noticed you have re-based your units again. What is the basing scheme you have chosen for this game?

    1. Thanks! You could have dropped by...

      The wheat fields are door mats with a stiff, straw-like pile that look quite similar to ripe wheat.

      Ah, yes, I went through another bout of rebasing. This time all stands are 1-1/8" x 7/8". For the infantry, you can see two Old Glory strips (10 figures) on each stand. I rebased the collection for Regimental Fire and Fury for use in a more tactical level game. For larger battles using Republic, I can put two infantry stands together to form one Republic sized unit. Best of both worlds!

    2. I wold have loved to attend, but I had to finish painting my 185mm terrain piece...

  7. Simply grand! Love to see the Old Glory 10mm in action, as I am painting up a collection myself.

    1. Thanks, David! I am fond of Old Glory's 10mm ACW range too. Still working on my project as well, but have enough to field good sized games. Great figures that look terrific on the battlefield.


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