Saturday, September 16, 2017

WBTS via Vassal - Weeks 49 to 52

Cycle 6 of 1862, almost halfway through the year.  The war is about to enter a new phase with manpower drying up and the initaitive chits about to change.

The Union received 160 supply plus 37 from captured towns.  Total 197 for a mere 10 personnel points.

The Confederates carry forward 18, receive 60 from major cities, a tiny 8 from imports (Union blockade and port capture has been very successful) and 122 from town supply.  Total 204 for just a microscopic 5 personnel points.

The Confederates manage to augment a 3-3 to an 8-3 and have 194 supply left to perhaps build some forts.

The Union augment a 3-3 to a 10-3, lay down an ironclad and a river flotilla.  They have 96 supply left.

The Union ironclad at St Louis has still not finished fitout.  Buell says it will definitely be done next month now that the curtains have arrived.  They deploy 3-3 infantry divisions in St Louis, Evansville, Cincinnati and Philadelphia.  4-3s go to Washington and Baltimore along with a 10-3 each and another 10-3 going to Cairo.  Then 15 garrison go to Washington and 6 to Baltimore.  A 2-4 cavalry goes to St Louis and a Supply Train to Baltimore.  There are also 8 militia to deploy later.

The Confederates deploy 3-3 infantry divisions to Little Rock, Memphis, New Orleans and Charleston.  Raleigh receives a 4-3 and Richmond gets a 10-3 and a 4-3.  No partisans appear, but more activity is reported from Tennessee.

The Confederates spend 120 supply building forts at Pittsburg Landing, New Orleans and Alexandria. This cuts off supply to Halleck's army and cuts off Washington from naval assistance.  New Orleans demanded a fort as they believe Hooker is headed their way.

The Union get an army HQ which they give to Buell in the hope that he will do something.  He replies about time and states he will now conquer Missouri.  Previous correspondence to that effect is now released with a few minor typos to the dates adjusted to show that the conquest has now been done as he said it would.  Unfortunately the Richmond Times, which is avidly read in Washington, had previously reported the loss of Missouri (or rather that Price has said he will reclaim it for the Confederacy just as soon as Polk gets back with an army).

Not to be out done this time, the Confederates create the Army of the Atlantic under the command of Johnston in Richmond.  They also recruit Breckinridge to command a corps in Richmond.

The Confederate forces consume 31 supply and 7 rail.  This leaves them with 43 supply and 13 rail. 10 rail is used sending supply to the wagon trains supporting Lee.  Depots at Richmond and Memphis are also topped up.

The Union consume 43 supply and use 5 rail.  Halleck and Crittenden are isolated.  A depot is created in Nashville and supply is broadcast to it.  Thomas' supply train is filled up.  The depot at St Louis is filled up.  The supply trains for Keyes and Heintzelman are filled up halfway.  The Baltimore and Washington depots are filled up.

Missouri militia are appear in St Louis and in Columbus for Kentucky.

Week 49

The Union get the 3 chit.

Heintzelman does a march attack on Stuart who retreats.  Keyes is then ordered to move up to support him, while trying to bottle Stuart up.

Pleasanton is told to deal with Price and in a successful march attack wipes out the last remaining Confederate in Missouri.  Price escapes dressed as a washer woman.

Sumner and Buell rest up, the latter taking the credit for the victory over Price.

McDowell borrows a few troops from Thomas and crosses over the Mississippi and starts marching downstream, getting as far as New Madrid.  Thomas marches to Humboldt.  Although outnumbered, he dares Jackson to attack him.

Halleck and Crittenden finally display some initiative and start to get themselves out of trouble. Halleck denies the initiative came from Grant.  Pope needs to get on and fix the railway.  Banks needs to get on and make Chattanooga.

Hooker has now rounded Florida.

Curtis holds firm.  Maybe he is hoping to draw troops from Richmond to come and attack him?  We will give his lack of initiative the benefit of the doubt.

McClellan sits in Washington demanding Washington send him more reinforcements.  McClernand thinks of attacking.  He doesn't but Keyes does!  Stuart retreats.  Keyes doesn't advance as he knows he has to maintain his position to block the Confederates.  Stuart is back across the Potomac.  If he had been feeling brave he could have gone north, but he remembers what happened to Burnside, plus he is needed to protect Lee.

The Union raise militia in Frederick and Washington.

The Confederates order the replenished wagon train up to Leesburg.

Johnston does a march attack on Curtis, they both lose one factor.  Bragg is also activated by him and sweeps the area and then coming to Johnston's support.

Hindman takes the initiative to send garrisons to nearby ports and then joins Bragg.

A Hill takes the small division from Raleigh and starts to advance on New Berne.

Lee does a march attack on Heintzelman and causes him to retreat.  Heintzelman falls off his horse and will be out of action for almost ten months.

Stuart takes the initiative now that there is a hole in the Yankee lines and he is through to Baltimore (well that's what the papers say).  Magruder keeps his eye on McClellan while making lots of displays on the banks of the Potomac to convince the Union that there is a massive of host of rebels facing them across the river.

Beauregard sulks in the valley.

Buckner sits in Charleston safely guarding the city.  Likewise Floyd and Van Dorn in New Orleans. Polk and Price are missing in action.

Hardee is marching north, reaching Tupelo. D Hill sits in Memphis, waiting for news from Jackson. .

Jackson considered a march attack against Thomas, but realises it would be futile.  In his impotent rage he fails to follow up and attack.

Lee looks to attack Keyes, but fails to do so.

Completing the string of disappointments, Johnston fails to attack Curtis.

Stuart's breakthrough.
Can Lee keep it open so that he can return?

The Army of the Atlantic defending Richmond.
The Confederates are not taking any risks.

The West

Week 50

The Union get the 1 chit.  This means the Confederates will be getting a double move (moving first this week after having moved last in Week 49).

The army of the Atlantic is activated and does a march attack on Curtis.  Both sides lose one factor and Curtis is almost wounded.

Van Dorn is ordered to take a train with his smallest division to Mobile.

Floyd is now in command at New Orleans.  He orders a new uniform and starts to plan his run for the Presidency of the Confederate States of America.

Polk and Price are still "whereabouts unknown".

D Hill joins Jackson to help him focus on the task at hand - killing Yankees.  Huger is left in command at Memphis.  He argues with Buchanan over the idleness of the Confederate ironclads. Buchanan stresses his vessels are best preserved as an untested deterrent.  It is doubtful if this line of reasoning would be understood.

Hardee recovers Corinth.

Over in the East, A Hill recovers New Berne.

Stuart stalls.  He should be destroying railway lines.

Lee tells Magruder and Beauregard to stay put as he prepares for battle.  However he spent too much time writing orders and explaining why he hasn't yet taken Washington and runs out of time to attack this week.

Jackson has in depth discussions with D Hill and lets time get away from him.  He fails to attack.

I now realise that Halleck's and Crittenden's display of initiative in the last turn was probably in error - they are isolated and should have their initiative rating reduced by one, which would make Halleck zero (which I disagree with).  They could have been given the free initiatives and their die rolls passed to the guys that did. So what happened was not impossible.  I will further rectify the situation by activating Pope and getting the railway fixed.

No one else does anything out west except, surprise, surprise, Buell who rails his small army to Cairo.

Hooker arrives at Mobile to hear the sound of trains, but they are in the distance.  I've just realised the Confederates didn't have the rail capacity to support Van Dorn over two weeks, but recounting and having Van Dorn catch the train up the road from New Orleans gets him to Mobile just in time! Hooker is thwarted and remains afloat in Mobile Bay.

Curtis is concerned about the Confederate build up before him, but does nothing.  Maybe it is a sacrifice as it keeps Rebel troops from strengthening the grasp round Washington.

McClellan, who could do so much, does so little.  Keyes does nothing as well, but at least McClernand has the sense to take his corps (leaving a brigade behind to hold Sharpsburg) and moves to confront Stuart.  However he lacks the initiative to attack.

The Union raise militia in Washington and Baltimore.

Week 51

The Union get the 3 chit.

McClellan is told to go attack Stuart which he does with a march attack.  Both sides lose one factor. Stuart is wounded and out of action for eight months.  It takes him almost that long to get back to friendly territory, but it is assumed he is helped by Confederate sympathizers in Maryland. McClellan has a narrow escape and was lucky because he was in command of an Army HQ, not a corps.

I Corps (Heintzelman's destitute corps) is sent to Washington to replace the troops McClellan took from there.

Pleasanton is told to take his cavalry to capture Fayetteville, AK (which can act as a Union supply source).  He does, capturing Price on the way.

Sumner is left in Springfield with a decent sized army wondering what to do next.

McDowell moves down the west bank of the Mississippi.  He hopes Buell will follow him, but Buell decides to stop in Cairo.  People look at him strangely when he asks to be taken to be shown the pyramids.  Thomas stays in Humboldt and taunts Jackson who is now extremely livid with rage.

Banks finally reaches Chattanooga where he is warmly welcomed by the locals who are pro-Union.

Halleck, Pope and Crittenden do nothing.  Halleck says he is busy instructing Grant on the ways of military tradition.

Hooker looks at his options and settles on occupying Pensacola.  He has enough movement to cut the rail line.

Curtis holds on in the Peninsula.  McClernand moves to block off Stuart.  Keyes is not so adventurous.  They expect McClellan to attack.  He doesn't.

Lee does a march attack, forcing McClernand back.  Stuart's old corps is activated with instructions to escape.  They retreat via Gettysburg to Hagerstown (as McClellan's army HQ has a cavalry ZoC).

Beauregard and Magruder are shocked at this turn of events and do nothing.  The other Eastern commanders are also stunned with the exception of Buckner who moves to Savannah.

Van Dorn and Floyd do nothing in the Gulf, believing that the threat from Hooker has now passed.

Polk finally appears in Little Rock.

Hardee and Huger, who should be rushing to protect the Confederates' tenuous hold on Tennessee and the Mississippi, do nothing.

Again Jackson fails to attack Thomas.  D Hill reports that Jackson is busy reading the training manual recommended by Butler.

Johnston fails to attack as well (rumour has it that he is revising Butler's manual, but urging a more cautious approach).

Lee attacks Keyes on the 251-400 column of CRT 4.  Lee uses 2 supply, but the result is not what he hoped for.  The Confederates lose 8 (10%) and the Union 6 (25%).  Keyes retreats.

The Confederate supply is from the rail head (broken) at Manassas 
(it just goes to the road links around Lee). 
 There is a secondary supply source from New Market which supports the Valley.
This supply situation really limits what Lee can risk doing, 
especially as the Union armies, while smaller than his, are larger than those protecting his rear.
The remnants of Stuart's corps can escape via the path in red. 

Week 52

Who goes first this week will be significant.

The Union get the 3 chit.  They should be able to save Washington and perhaps cut off the Confederate cavalry.

McClellan is told in very certain terms to organise the defence of the rail line linking Washington and Baltimore.  He has access to a spare corps as well as his army HQ in Baltimore and he has a 5 command span, this allows him to move nine units into the front lines.

Keyes is activated to recover Gettysburg and to lock in the Confederate cavalry.  He uses militia to do that and then moves to strengthen the line protecting Baltimore and Washington.

McClernand feels left out.

If Lee can push McClellan back and then attack 
he will be able to get a unit on the Washington Baltimore rail line.  
This would give the Confederacy a political point and 
put Washington under extended siege [13.39]


In a shock move Curtis does a march attack across the mouth of the York and pushes the small Confederate garrison out of West Point.  The Confederates retreat so as to block any further advances without a fight (and means they can ignore Curtis for this week, unless Johnston gets some motivation).

Hooker leaves Pensacola and sails to Proctorsville.  He realises he will need reinforcements if he is to attack New Orleans, but still.

Crittenden positions his supply wagon so it can get replenished and sends off a small brigade to secure the railway line towards Chattanooga, liberating Huntsville on the way.  Halleck berates Grant for talking to Crittenden without his express approval.

Pope, Buell and McDowell don't know what to do.  Thomas knows he just has to keep taunting Jackson to attack him.

However I've just remembered the Union had three free chits and have only used two.  Buell is ordered down the Mississippi.  He joins McDowell creating a sizeable force in striking range of Memphis.

Sumner and Pleasanton relax in, believing their job to be done.

Back East Keyes makes an attack to clear Rebel pickets from Frederick (by using the "attack wriggle" rule).  This cuts off the Rebel cavalry from coming back this way.  He would have preferred McClernand to have done this, as it has meant weakening his force, still, the expectation is that Lee will attack McClellan.

Beauregard is ordered to dispatch a brigade to clear the bridge north of Romney.  It completes its task, but dies on the forced march back.  However the way is now clear for the Confederate cavalry to escape and they do.

Lee makes a march attack against McClellan.  It is on the 111-130 column of CRT 1.  Lee throws a 1 which he can only adjust by one as McClellan has 2 combat rating (to Lee's 3).  The result is a contact.  (He had a two thirds chance of forcing McClellan to retreat - this failure will save Washington this month at least).

Magruder wishes he could help, but can't think of what to do.

In the Peninsula the mess of Confederate generals don't seem to be capable of getting their act together.

A Hill likewise in New Berne can't get moving.  At least Buckner continues on his reconquest of the Georgia coast, heading to Brunswick.

Down in the Gulf Van Dorn and Floyd don't know what to do.

Polk will rest in Little Rock, gathering reinforcements.

Hardee joins Jackson.  D Hill takes an empty supply train back to Memphis.  Jackson is so happy to see Hardee that he forgets to attack Thomas.  Hopeless.

Lee attacks McClellan.  He is on the 201 to 250 column of CRT 4.  Lee uses one supply.  His forces suffer 10% (6) casualties to the Union's 25% (7).  McClellan has a lucky escape from being killed (it pays to be high ranking and in charge of an army).  He sends the garrison troops he had in his command towards Baltimore and moves to cover Washington.  Lee advances to the outskirts of Washington, but is unable to get to the all important connecting rail line (this month).

The East 
Action on the Potomac as General Lee tries to go to Washington.

The Atlantic Coast

The Gulf 
The rail cut at Pensacola breaks the east west line for the Confederacy.

The West
All quiet on the Mississippi


Confederate losses have been 19 compared to the Union 16.  Maybe Jackson has been right not to attack?


  1. You are doing a great job of building tension while highlighting the seeming futility of command on BOTH sides.

    1. Thanks. I am amazed, given that I'm playing solo, just how exciting this game is.

      I do wish I was using the revised commanders as they start off as unknowns plus they fit in better with the risk to commander rules that I am using.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks. I enjoy writing the narrative, it adds another dimension to the game.

  3. The pyramids of Cairo. another great american tourist attraction!