Thursday, October 27, 2016

Action at Brawner's Farm v2.0

Doubleday's BDE Approaches Brawner's Farm
After having fought the Action at Brawner's Farm in an earlier outing, the table was reset and a second game was readied.  Prior to the replay, slight adjustments were made to the OB and arrival time table.  To read these earlier battle accounts, see:
As a refresher, the initial deployments find Gibbon and Doubleday's brigades strung out along the Warrenton Turnpike with the head of the Union column nearing Dogan's House.  Jackson, holding the high ground, lays in wait to spring the surprise.  With only a few hours of fading daylight, Jackson must act quickly to bring this action to a successful conclusion.
Positions at Start
The first sign of concern for the Federals appears when Gibbon spots several Rebel guns deploying on the high ground around Brawner's Farm.  The situation begins to sink home as Confederate artillery rounds whiz towards the long Federal columns.  Doubleday's brigade in the rear is the first to take effective fire from Danville's guns.  Before Doubleday can even get his troops off the road and deployed to challenge the guns, he is dropped dead from the saddle as artillery falls among the 56 PA.
Doubleday deploys on the left
With their brigadier on the ground dead and taking casualties, Doubleday's brigade smartly deploys into line and begins an advance upon the Rebel gun positions.  The Virginians under Baylor quickly advance from their hiding place in the treeline to take up a position at Brawner's Farm.  Who are these Virginians?  They are part of the famed Stonewall Brigade.
Doubleday deploys and advances
Realizing the difficulty in which his lead brigade has found itself, Gibbon, having reached Dogan's House, orders his brigade to deploy from the turnpike.  As the Iron Brigade deploys and begins its passage of Brawner's Woods, Federal artillery has dialed into the Rebel gun positions around Stony Ridge.  
Gun duel on the Federal right
Federal artillery fire from the 4th US - B battery is so precise that two Confederate gun sections are knocked out of action almost immediately.  Having won the artillery duel on the Federal right, Gibbon pushes his boys up to the edge of the woods in an attempt to recontact Doubleday's right.
Gibbon advances through the woods
With the Federals deployed and advancing upon seemingly, insignificant Rebel forces, the long blue line makes a spectacular sight as if on the parade ground.  What fate awaits?  They know not.
Doubleday's thin blue line
Having only moments before taken over command from the fallen Doubleday, Doubleday's replacement falls to artillery fire.  Not even thirty minutes into the engagement and two Federal generals are dead on the field.  These will not be the last officers to fall this evening.
A second Union Brigadier falls to Confederate fire
The six Confederate guns (each stand is a two-gun section) are causing quite a bit of mischief in the Federal line.  The downside of dealing such chaos is that Danville's battery spends much of the early throes of the contest low on ammo.  With the Federals advancing within small arms range of Baylor's position at Brawner's Farm, the Virginians occupying this objective are beginning to feel the pressure.  As casualties rise, cohesion within the Virginians wanes.  
Danville Battery in action
As the Rebels opposing ex-Doubleday's brigade (should that be ex-ex-Doubleday?) slow Federal progress upon Brawner's Farm, Gibbon's brigade successfully navigates the woods and broomstraw field to threaten the Confederate left.  Having destroyed most of the Confederate artillery opposing him, Gibbon makes excellent progress taking the fight to Jackson.  Still, where are Jackson's gray-clad troops? 
Federals tighten the noose on Baylor
Having sent one more Confederate gun section scampering to the rear, Gibbon's command presses on.  With his Confederate left unsecured, Baylor and his Virginians holding the farm are forced to retire.  Doubleday gains the farm without much contest.  With a Key Objective lost, Jackson must fight hard to win back the farm.  With the area thick with Union blue, this will be a difficult task.  Jackson, finally frustrated by his subordinates' inability to join the fight, commandeers two of Lawton's regiments (26 GA, 38 GA) and strikes back in an effort to stem the Federal advance.  
Jackson strikes back
Gibbon finally finds a Rebel regiment lurking in the copse of trees as his 6 WIS crashes into the other half of the Stonewall brigade.  Surprised by the sudden appearance of anything resembling enemy opposition on the Federal right, the 6 WIS is repulsed by Baylor's Alabamans.
Alabama vs Wisconsin
With the repulse of the 6th at the copse of trees and the timely arrival of Jackson leading the Georgians and two additional gun sections, the ragged Confederate line begins to congeal.  In close range musketry duels, casualties mount on both sides.  Can the Federals be stopped from sweeping the field of Rebels?  My Confederate opponent thinks not and tension mounts as the fight continues without hope.  "Where are my reinforcements!" Jackson exclaims.
Jackson's line stabilizes

Federals in firm control of Brawner's Farm
Firefights rage across the hillside, as men drop in scores.  For now, Confederate marksmanship dominates and Federal casualties increase disproportionately.  While the Federals still cling to the key objective of Brawner's Farm in the center, Doubleday's brigade is beginning to melt away on the Federal left.  How long can Doubleday remain under this hot fire?
Doubleday takes a pounding
Not long!  First one regiment breaks and withdraws back down the hill followed by a second regiment.  The Federal position at the farm has been uncovered. 
Federals losing control of Brawner's Farm
Unable to maintain the Brawner's Farm position, Doubleday's command falls back to regroup.  Can Jackson capitalize on this turn of events?  Before the action in the center can be resolved, Ewell's guns come up and prepare to engage Gibbon's over-extended brigade.  Gibbon's command suffers great losses from artillery fire and Gibbon goes down.  Dead on the field.  Third Union general dead on the field this evening.
The tide has turned
Not only is Gibbon's brigade staggered from both artillery fire and the loss of its commanding officer but Trimble's brigade and the remainder of Lawton's brigade charge out of the railroad cut.  The Federal right has been knocked back onto its heals.  Casualties mount at an alarming rate as Confederate musketry ravages the Federal line as the number of muskets under arms favor the Rebels. 
Trimble and Lawton snap into action
As Gibbon forms up a gun line to lend support to his wavering brigade, Trimble presses his advantage.  Threatened by being outflanked on Stony Ridge Gibbon must consider withdrawal.
Ewell attacks!
In the quickly fading light, Gibbon is forced to fall back onto his guns.  The last half hour has witnessed a significant turn of fortune.  Federals have suffered tremendous casualties at the hands of Jackson and are now at heavy casualties.  Having suffered more casualties in total than their adversary, the Federals call a halt to the fighting. 
Gibbon falls back on his guns
In the end, each hold one key objective.  Those objectives cancel in victory determination.  On the casualty front, much of the Confederate artillery was destroyed early in the engagement.  For infantry losses, Federals lost about twice as many men as did Jackson.  Having reached the Heavy Casualty threshold and having lost more men than the Confederates, Jackson gains victory points for casualties inflicted.

It was a good contest that maintained a definite ebb and flow.  There were points in the game where each player thought all was lost.  Die rolling was hot and cold as we both played the extremes of the D10 distribution.  Early on, the Federals had great success against the Confederate artillery and gained ground quickly.  In the end, the tide turned and Confederate numbers overwhelmed the already battered Union brigades.  This may have been the Iron Brigades' baptism of fire but it may be a long time before this brigade is fit for duty.  My thanks to Jake for a well played Jackson.
Next game on the schedule will see the debut of my Russian Great Game collection in their first battle.  That game takes place on November 5.


  1. Excellent report! Great looking game too.

  2. Great start to my day .. with a coffee. Very interesting, the scenario balance looks just right, and the loss of generals helped the narrative roll along nicely.

    1. Norm, now that is a very rewarding comment! You have made my day! The work involved in crafting BatReps is often underappreciated. A comment such as yours, make the effort worthwhile. Thank you!

  3. Only had time for the pretty pics this time. Will be back for the report and the other accounts. Love the look of the battle though!

    1. David, I hope you come back for a read when time allows. Appreciate your comment on the game layout!

  4. Great looking game and report Jonathan!


    1. Thanks, Christopher. Should the BatRep have been broken up into more than one episode? That is, was it too much to read in one sitting?

  5. Great game, both visually and from the play. But with the death of Doubleday does this mean no baseball?

    1. Thanks, Mark! If you believe Doubleday was the Father of Baseball, then his death in this battle would not have affected his standing since the baseball claim precedes the ACW.

  6. Great report and beautiful looking game Jon, love the terrain and the lines of battle...And the 'Ewell attacks' picture is very very impressive, love the mass effect!

    1. Always appreciate your continued support, Phil! Very pleased that you liked the game.

  7. Superb table, Jonathan. And I had to do a double take when I realized your lovely minis are 10mm! This makes me want to get back to ACW. Well, not as a Union General. Was each heard to say "They can't hit an elephant at this distance" before going down?

    1. Monty! Thanks for stopping by for a look! Glad you enjoyed the BatRep and the 10s. The Union commanders had a few other choice words before they hit the ground.

  8. Nice report as always, Jonathan. 10mm looks really good.


  9. Hi there
    I have shared your blog post on 10mm Wargaming Facebook Page ( and 10mm Wargaming Facbook Group (

    Take care


    1. Hi Andy! Appreciate you stopping by. Other 10mm ACW BatReps are available on the blog if you care to seek them out.

    2. Thanks Jonathan much appreciated

  10. Great looking game and an inspiring Batrep, Jon. It seems like the scenario tweaks did the job as well!

    1. Thank you so much, Peter! As for the game play, Jake and I spent much of the first half of the game rolling in the extremes of the D10. We either had no effect or devastating effect. The devastating die rolls caused Low Ammo on the firing units so such effective fire was not rewarded but punished. Near mid-game, Jake's Confederate morale was wavering. Then, the tide turned on a dime and he began spewing all kinds of punishment. Federal casualties were great in number.

  11. Looks great and a wonderful report. Thanks!

  12. It certainly was a classic ebb and flow game Jonathan.
    Excellent, fast-moving report too, combining description and photos to great effect.
    A most enjoyable post!

    1. James, your very supportive and complimentary comments are most welcome! You provide great encouragement.


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