Wednesday, September 6, 2017

WBTS via Vassal - Weeks 41 to 44

The last winter cycle has the Union with 150 supply minus 5 for the loss of Harper's Ferry.  Total of 145 for 60 personnel points.

The Confederates have 44 carried forward, 60 from major city supply and 8 from seaport (in additions to the closure/capture of three ports, another three were successfully blockaded). Total of 112 for 20 personnel points.

The Confederates build a railway repair unit (at great expense), augment two 4-3s to 10-3s, convert 3 militia to a 3-3, raise 2 militia and 1 garrison.  This leaves them with 31 supply.

The Union build 10 militia, 21 garrison, a 2-4 cavalry division, convert a 3-3 to a 10-3, 10 militia to a 10-3 and 3 militia to 3-3.  They are left with 36 supply.

The Union produce two 4-3s. two 3-3s, 20 militia and 2 garrison.  The divisions go to Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and St Louis.  The garrison goes to Washington.  The Union create six corps. These go to Buell, McDowell, Sumner and McClernand with the spares going to St Louis and Baltimore.

The Confederates get a 10-3 and a 4-3 which go to Richmond and Raleigh respectively. They get two corps HQs and two leaders to go with them: D Hill (Memphis) and Hindman (Richmond).  The Confederates just wish they had the troops to populate those corps.

The Confederates are also able to complete the fitout of their ironclads in New Orleans and Norfolk. The Union vessel in St Louis is not yet ready.

The Union consume 29 supply and 3 rail, the Confederates 24 supply and 3 rail.  The Confederates tip their remaining supply into the depot at Richmond, conscious that Lee went north with few supplies.  The Union follow suit putting their remaining supply into the Washington depot.

A partisan cadre appears in Tennessee.  The Union get 1 militia in Rolla and 1 in Kentucky (I might have wrongly been giving the Union double that amount since Kentucky declared for the Union.  So it goes.)

Burnside surrenders.  This gives the Confederates a political point which puts them back on parity.

Week 41

The Union start with the 3 chit.

Heintzelman is ordered to abandon Leesburg and pull back across the Potomac.  McClernand is sent with reinforcements to Sharpsburg.

In the West Grant is told to get on with removing the rebels from Missouri or he will be appointed to Halleck's command (orders for which have already been sent, effective May, 1862).

With the exception of Thomas who just shuffles some troops around while waiting for reinforcements none of the other generals along the Mississippi do anything.

Halleck stays put, awaiting his promised new subordinate no doubt.  Crittenden crosses the Tennessee cutting the rail line to Decatur.  Banks stays in Nashville instead of heading to Chattanooga like he oughta should.

Curtis and Keyes do nought.

Porter takes his ironclad to test the mettle of the new Confederate ironclad in Norfolk.  Both vessels pass their SNAFU rolls and the combat is a draw.  It does consume supply.

Grant fails to attack...

With that failure the Confederates decide to wait it out in Missouri.

Lee's challenge.
The scrawled figures represent the number of troops in the various commands.

Lee must know about the new rule [6.57] which implies supply points can be railed during a game turn, not just in supply broadcast segment.

Stuart (the three star cavalry commander wrongly labelled as Longstreet) is activated and sends troops up the valley to scout a way for Longstreet and for Lee through Manassas to the Potomac. Longstreet then moves up to threaten Hagerstown.

Beauregard fails to move (I guess he is busy taking custody of all the Union prisoners he captured). Lee however sweeps up and occupies Leesburg, securing all of the southern bank of the Potomac.  He loses one factor due to force marches.

Annoyed that neither Bragg nor Hindman show initiative to move out of Richmond, J Johnston takes the reinforcements north himself.  Magruder knows what needs to be done and rushes to Newmarket where a half strength division is at risk of sitting idle.  A Hill needs to move out of Richmond, but doesn't.

Bruckner is told to sit put in Charleston and likewise Van Dorn and Floyd in New Orleans.  The new ironclad starts making its way up the Mississippi.

Hardee holds out in Decatur.  He has a slight numerical advantage over Crittenden.

Jackson moves to Pittsburgh Landing.

Polk and Price display no initiative to do anything.

The two commanders in Memphis don't have any troops so don't even think of displaying any initiative.

Longstreet fails to attack.

Week 42

The Union get zero free initiative.

Longstreet is just out of communication range.

Beauregard is ordered to Leesburg, Stuart is ordered to Harper's Ferry with his cavalry, but to send his infantry to besiege Alexandria.

Longstreet displays initiative and does a march attack on Hagerstown.  He's on the 131 to 160 column of CRT 1 with his leadership modifier of plus or minus 2.  He can't fail.  The Union defenders fall back.  But disaster strikes and he is wounded and will be out of action for 5 months, which is effectively the 1862 campaigning season.  I only just decided/realised I should be rolling for commander casualties whenever they are in combat, i.e. rolling on the Combat Results Table.

Magruder to the rescue.  He races to take command of Longstreet's divisions.  He forced march taking reinforcements with him and it cost one casualty.

Lee moves to take command of the siege of Alexandre.  J Johnston fails to send troops to his aid.

Hindman takes over Magruder's troops on the Peninsula (all three factors - look busy boys!).

Again A Hill fails to send on reinforcements from Raleigh.

Union riverboats stop Jackson from taking further action, but he's not worried.  He has a plan.

Buchanan now has two Ironclads to the Union's one on the Mississippi.  His fleet is collected at Memphis ready for a potentially war winning naval clash.

All the other Confederate commanders can stay put.

Lee storms the fort at Alexandria.  He is on the 401-900 column of CRT 4.  He uses one supply.  He throws a six which would result in the elimination of the garrison, but an equal number, doubled, on his force.  He reduces the die roll by one which is 50% losses (3 factors) on the Union, but none to the Confederates.

The Union defenders of the Potomac display no initiative.

Likewise Keyes cowers in Fort Monroe with that useless Butler.

BUT, finally Curtis makes his move, sweeping down on Wilmington and cutting the rail line, isolating the port.

Porter tries his luck.  Both ironclads fail their SNAFU rolls.  But in the Battle of Norfolk the USS Monitor prevails and the CSS Virginia is sunk.  Maybe that was what Keyes and Butler were waiting for?

The Union in Tennessee do nothing.  Thomas at least had a plan to march on Jackson, the town...

McDowell twiddles his fingers in Cairo, but Sumner gets his act together and takes the militia and railroad repair unit to the break in the line near Rolla.  Supply points are railed there for the repair unit to use (not sure if that is right, but seems reasonable).

Farragut calls up more riverboats to try and keep ahead of the Confederate naval build up.

Pope and Grant don't move.  Will Grant attack?

Yes!  He's on the 161-200 column of CRT 4.  Neither side required supply.  Grant pushed it hard and raised casualties to 3 each.  The Confederates retreat.

The Union raise militia in Washington, Baltimore and Chambersburg.

Tension in Tennessee

Grants finally going for glory (or rather Springfield) 

But the war may soon be decided here.
With the next month Lee will be able to cross the Potomac with significantly reduced risk.
Stuart is also placed to raid into Pennsylvania.

Week 43

The Union get the zero initiative chit again.

Even with two free initiatives it is tricky for the Confederates.  Magruder is isolated.  Stuart (the command at Harper's Ferry with three cavalry units) has a lot of opportunities.  Beauregard is fixed in place while Lee completes the storm of Alexandria.

In Tennessee Jackson should probably pull back, but leave enough troops at Pittsburg Landing to build a fort.

Missouri is hopeless as it is very hard to reinforce.  All Polk and Price can hope is to buy time.

Then there is the question of the Carolina coast.

In studying the map of North Virginia and Maryland, the Confederates now realise destroying the rail line at Manassas Junction was a bad move.  It has put Magruder and Stuart out of command.  They are ordered back to winter quarters.  The cadre of Longstreet's old corps looks somewhat abandoned (I will have to read up the rules about empty HQs).

Beauregard sends his wagon train back to the railhead to get supplies.  J Johnston displays some initiative, sends the reinforcements to Beauregard and returns to Richmond.

The rest of the east and coast is busy doing a recruitment drive as the South need a few more armies to counter Yankee incursions into their homeland.

Hardee realises he is rather exposed, but does nothing.  (The Union are placed to sail up the Tennessee and cut the railway bridge near Stevenson.)

Jackson leaves a small division at Pittsburg Landing to build a fort and moves back to protect Jackson (the town and his reputation).

Polk is transfixed before Grant like a deer in the light of a big burning lantern (headlights not being in existence in the 1860s).  Price starts looking at options... If only there were some troops available.

Lee forgets that he needs to storm Alexandria one more time.

Banks fails to move the railway repair unit, but Pope sends the supply train up to Grant.  Grant performans a march attack on Polk on the 251-400 column of CRT 1.  This costs the Confederates a further casualty for no loss to the Union.  Polk isn't required to retreat, but would like to as this would mean Grant would then possibly be out of communications, but having read section [8.0] Ground Combat I couldn't find out if he can optionally retreat... Wait a minute, here it is on the back of the CRT table.  Polk retreats.  Grant advances.

Buell stays in St Louis, correcting the dispatches from Grant.

Thomas sends militia to garrison New Madrid and then returns to Union City.  He has Jackson in his sights.  He just needs a few more men...

Just as Hardee feared a Yankee gunboat sails up the Tennessee (the one cycle in the year it is navigable at these headwaters) and blows up the bridge at Stevenson.  Rumour has it is was helped by local Federal sympathisers.  Of course the retreat of Jackson meant that the gunboat was not needed to block the river crossings.  Halleck can breath easy.

Halleck captures his bridge over the Tennessee and does a raid on Corinth.  It involves a forced march and he loses a cavalry factor.  He blames Grant.  Crittenden and Banks are amazed at Halleck's daring.

Curtis sits outside Wilmington wondering what to do next.  Keyes returns to Baltimore.

None of the generals on the Potomac do anything.  What about recovering Hagerstown or blowing some bridges or reinforcing Alexandria while they have the chance???

Grant attacks.  He is on the 401-900 column of CRT 4.  Grant uses supply, both sides lose 1 factor and Polk retreats.  Grant doesn't follow (as he would get separated from his supply train, not a good move this late in the cycle).

Militia are raised in Washington, Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

Week 44

The Union get one free chit.

The Confederates order Polk to pull back to Springfield and for Hardee to pull back into Alabama to reserve his supply route.

Only Huger shows any initiative in the West and there is nothing he can do.

Everyone else waits to see if Lee will storm Alexandria...

He does.  He's on the 901+ column of CRT 4 with a plus or minus 3 modifier.  He can not fail. However he does use up all his remaining supply. The fort is captured which gives the Confederates one more political point.  Grant destroys the fort, although wishes it had been sighted with its guns facing the Potomac.  The Union transports servicing Washington have pulled out.  (Note: The destruction should occur in the next cycle's fort phase.)

Sumner is told to take over Grant's command and Grant heads off, on his own initiative, to undertake his close supervision by Halleck.  I'm not crazy about this rule [26.5].  Which reminds me I have been using the Leader Casualty rules that assume there are two star generals in the counter mix: not with the Vassal module I have :-( 

Buell and Pope do nothing in Missouri.  McDowell has to wait for reinforcements.

Thomas takes his opportunity and marches to Humboldt, losing 1 factor on the way but causing a bit of bother for Jackson (makes 'em mad as hell!)

Halleck, with Crittenden and Banks, do nothing.  Halleck blames Grant.

Curtis, who must have the same manual as Halleck, which was presumably written by Butler, does nothing.

McClernand and Heintzelman do nothing but McClellan gets his act together, sending a big division to reoccupy Hagerstown.  He then blows up the two bridges across the Potomac to Alexandria. Keyes gets into the act as well and moves to Hagerstown.  Supplies are moved by rail to him and McClernand.

The last militia is deployed to Baltimore.

I also decided that the fate of Longstreet's abandoned corps can be dealt with in the clean-up segment, by putting it back in the counter mix.  Otherwise if the Union had moved into the hex it would have been destroyed, giving the Union a political point and deleting the counter.  The loss of a leader seems pretty hard if you don't have a second in command handy (i.e. in the same stack), perhaps there needs to be a Clayton commander to take over so that the corps can at least be given an initiative.


Confederates lost 6 factors this cycle compared with the Union's 12 plus the whopping 20 representing Burnside's surrender.

The East

The West

The Far West


  1. Replies
    1. It has had an interesting side effect - I have been very cautious with the start of the current Confederate spring offensive not to risk getting into a similar trap.

  2. Replies
    1. Apart from the locations (the map) it's the generals that give this game colour. It would be much less fun if they just had generic commander counters.

      I would be interested in trying out the "unknown" general rules, but for Vassal it would mean having to engineer some new counters and by the time I get through this game it will be time to move on. That said I do want to try my hand at some Vassal coding.

      But yes, now there are plenty of generals, things are starting to happen, if a little bit unpredictably at times.