Antietam - The Miller Cornfield wargame

Hannover

Private
Joined
Jan 30, 2020
Last year I posted photos of a game centred on the Sunken Road at Antietam. This year I have decided to refight the morning clash in the Miller Cornfield. Here are some photos of the table. I will post more photos as the game develops if people are interested.
Miller Farm Orchard and Cornfield.jpg
View down the Smoketown Road.jpg
View from the Mumma Farm.jpg
View over the West Woods.jpg
View from the Confederate gunline.jpg
View into the Cornfield from the Union Position.jpg
 

Hannover

Private
Joined
Jan 30, 2020
Thanks everyone for the very positive responses. The scenery took an afternoon to put together from a map that I had constructed largely using Gottfried's 'Maps of Antietam'. The ground scale is 6" to 100 yards and the figures being used are 25/28mm from several manufacturers including Redoubt, Old Glory and Sash & Sabre. The 'cornfield' was made from a couple of plastic plants that I bought in Ikea, cut up and glued into mdf bases. I decided to give them the same bases size as the figures so the figures can fit into the field (we'll see how that works, but it seemed to be ok when I did a similar thing for the Piper cornfield behind the Sunken Road). They do not exactly look like corn plants but I was after more the look or effect rather than be an exact replica. After reading Welker's 'The Cornfield' he seemed to emphasise the gaps between the rows of plants which I have tried to reproduce with small gaps between the bases.
I tend to pick from three main sets of rules which I think are all good in their own way. They are 'Regimental Fire and Fury', 'Johnny Reb' and 'Pickett's Charge'. For this battle I will use 'Pickett's Charge' rules with some slight modifications mainly to reduce the casualty rate for high dice roles and some extra rules to involve not only brigade but also divisional commanders including rules for them becoming casualties. Sometimes I skew the odds to reflect what actually happened in the actual battle. e.g. In the Sunken Road scenario, Major General Israel Richardson advancing on foot had a slight addition to become a casualty. Riding round on horseback also has a slight increased modifier to become a casualty as at this stage of the war many commanders were injured because they stood out so much, especially if on a white horse!
Setting up the terrain is the easy part, now I have to construct a time schedule for arriving units and the really difficult part for Antietam, the numbers involved. I quite like 'Pickett's Charge' as they do not use a rigid figure scale but class the regiments as small (200-300 men), standard (300-450 men), and large (500+ men) and this seemed to work really well in the Sunken Road scenario.
Finally I construct some markers to make it easier to follow the regiments as they arrive and move around on the field. I will also have to determine which batteries are off-table but able to fire into the zone. The S.D. Lee's Confederate gunline will be just off the Southern table edge and will include Jordan's, Parker's, Rhett's and Woolfolk's batteries. I also have to find out which Confederate batteries were on Nicodemus Hill and interdicted Hooker's I Corps as they moved South. Similarly Reynold's battery may be just off the Northern table edge but able to fire in support of the advance.
Thanks everyone again for your support, I hope to keep you posted and look forward to any comments on any of the things I have mentioned in setting up the game or anyone with ideas or views on modifications to the Orders of Battle which I will post when completed or anything that might be included as a 'what if' scenario addition, the lifeblood of wargamers! If anyone wants the rule modifications or the markers to try out for themselves just message me. Cheers!
 

Quaama

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 13, 2020
Location
Port Macquarie, Australia
Thanks everyone for the very positive responses. The scenery took an afternoon to put together from a map that I had constructed largely using Gottfried's 'Maps of Antietam'. The ground scale is 6" to 100 yards and the figures being used are 25/28mm from several manufacturers including Redoubt, Old Glory and Sash & Sabre. The 'cornfield' was made from a couple of plastic plants that I bought in Ikea, cut up and glued into mdf bases. I decided to give them the same bases size as the figures so the figures can fit into the field (we'll see how that works, but it seemed to be ok when I did a similar thing for the Piper cornfield behind the Sunken Road). They do not exactly look like corn plants but I was after more the look or effect rather than be an exact replica. After reading Welker's 'The Cornfield' he seemed to emphasise the gaps between the rows of plants which I have tried to reproduce with small gaps between the bases.
I tend to pick from three main sets of rules which I think are all good in their own way. They are 'Regimental Fire and Fury', 'Johnny Reb' and 'Pickett's Charge'. For this battle I will use 'Pickett's Charge' rules with some slight modifications mainly to reduce the casualty rate for high dice roles and some extra rules to involve not only brigade but also divisional commanders including rules for them becoming casualties. Sometimes I skew the odds to reflect what actually happened in the actual battle. e.g. In the Sunken Road scenario, Major General Israel Richardson advancing on foot had a slight addition to become a casualty. Riding round on horseback also has a slight increased modifier to become a casualty as at this stage of the war many commanders were injured because they stood out so much, especially if on a white horse!
Setting up the terrain is the easy part, now I have to construct a time schedule for arriving units and the really difficult part for Antietam, the numbers involved. I quite like 'Pickett's Charge' as they do not use a rigid figure scale but class the regiments as small (200-300 men), standard (300-450 men), and large (500+ men) and this seemed to work really well in the Sunken Road scenario.
Finally I construct some markers to make it easier to follow the regiments as they arrive and move around on the field. I will also have to determine which batteries are off-table but able to fire into the zone. The S.D. Lee's Confederate gunline will be just off the Southern table edge and will include Jordan's, Parker's, Rhett's and Woolfolk's batteries. I also have to find out which Confederate batteries were on Nicodemus Hill and interdicted Hooker's I Corps as they moved South. Similarly Reynold's battery may be just off the Northern table edge but able to fire in support of the advance.
Thanks everyone again for your support, I hope to keep you posted and look forward to any comments on any of the things I have mentioned in setting up the game or anyone with ideas or views on modifications to the Orders of Battle which I will post when completed or anything that might be included as a 'what if' scenario addition, the lifeblood of wargamers! If anyone wants the rule modifications or the markers to try out for themselves just message me. Cheers!

I love Gottfried's 'Maps of ...' books. Informative, a pleasure to read and a great resource for wargamers. If Gottfried included numbers of men in each unit they would be perfect for creating a lifetime of wargames under any rules.
 

Lubliner

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
I would sure like to see how it progresses. When I saw the 'corn plants' my first thought was you had visited an aquarium store. They would have the gravel available as well as possible bases. Do you ever use the likes as these I just mentioned?
Lubliner.
 

Hannover

Private
Joined
Jan 30, 2020
When I saw the 'corn plants' my first thought was you had visited an aquarium store. They would have the gravel available as well as possible bases. Do you ever use the likes as these I just mentioned?
I got my plants from IKEA because they were cheaper:smile:. I know some wargamers who use aquarium plants and the like to make tropical forests e.g. Far East/Vietnam or for alien environments. Also as you can see I got something like 70 bases from cutting up just two plastic plants and the sizes were just about right for the effect I was after!
 

Hannover

Private
Joined
Jan 30, 2020
Here is the key for the Orders of Battle I will present in future post so you will know how to interpret them. As you can see they are tabulated with each box identifying a particular characteristic.

Key to ACW Orders of Battle

Infantry and Cavalry
Brigade Designation: Name of Brigade [number in brigade]
Name of Brigade Commander
Name of RegimentTroop QualityRecord of Casualties
ArmamentStrengthNumber of stands – Size of Regiment

Artillery
Name of Battery​
Battery LeaderTroop QualityRecord of Casualties
ArmamentDesignation

Troop Quality consists of 5 categories
Troop Quality
Description
Examples
Green​
Troops that have seen little/ no action
Regular​
Well trained who have seen some action
Old Lag​
Battle-fatigued or troops near the end of their enlistment period
Veteran​
Battle experienced troops
Elite​
Tough, professional regimentse.g. Hood’s Texans, Iron Brigade, Barksdale’s Mississippians, Louisiana Tigers, Berdan’s Sharpshooters

Armament is as follows:
RM = 1st Class Rifle e.g. Springfield/Enfield;
AR = Austrian Rifle/M1842 rifle or Inferior Rifle
SB = smoothbore musket
BLC = Breech Loading Carbine
BLR = Breech Loading Rifle
SSR = Sharpshooter Rifle

Information for armament for Union troops comes from Army of Potomac October-December 1862 Ordnance Bureau Quarterly Return as unfortunately, the July-September 1862 Quarterly Return was destroyed by a fire. It is accepted that some units may have received different types of firearms after the Maryland Campaign concluded. Many regiments carried multiple types of firearms in varying quantities. With a few exceptions, I have used for each regiment only the kind of firearm that a majority of the soldiers in that particular unit carried.

The percentage of different armaments from this Quarterly Return breaks down as follows:

Type of Armament
Percentages
First Class Rifles​
76​
Inferior Rifles​
24​
Rifled Muskets​
90​
Smoothbore Muskets​
10​
Based on other sources these seem to be reasonable figures.

Strength is the number of troops engaged. This is perhaps the most contentious area particularly for the battle of Antietam. The numbers are based first and foremost on Carmen’s numbers but also’ best estimates’ based on a variety of different approaches including percentage values of present for duty figures that attempt to account for straggling and numbers based on regimental frontages when these are known.

Number of bases per Regiment is determined by the following Table

Number in Regiment
Number of bases
Size of Regiment
<120​
1​
120 men per base
120-240​
2​
small
240-360​
3​
small
360-480​
4​
standard
480-600​
5​
standard
600-720​
6​
large
720-840​
7​
large
840-960​
8​
large

Generally with 4 figures per base this is a ratio of 1 figure to 30 men.

Artillery Batteries are designated as Rifled [R], Smoothbore [SB] or Mixed[M].
Number and type of artillery pieces are recorded as actual types from ‘Artillery Hell’ by Johnson & Anderson. Sometimes battery strengths may be combined to simplify them overall.
 

Hannover

Private
Joined
Jan 30, 2020
I will post the Order of Battle as separate Divisions - first the Union I Corps, 1st Division.
Union I Army Corps

I Corps: Maj. Gen. Joseph P. Hooker

1st Division: Brig. Gen. Abner Doubleday

1st Brigade: Phelp’s Brigade [513]
Col. Walter Phelps, Jr.
22nd/24th/30th/84th New YorkVeteranCasualties:
RMStrength 2493 - SMALL
2nd U.S. SharpshootersEliteCasualties:
SSRStrength 2643 - SMALL
6 bases

New York Regiments have been consolidated into a single regiment.


2nd Brigade: Hofmann’s Brigade [727]
Lt-Col. John W. Hofmann
7th IndianaVeteranCasualties:
RMStrength 2202 - SMALL
76th/95th New YorkVeteranCasualties:
RMStrength 2893 - SMALL
56th PennsylvaniaVeteranCasualties
RMStrength 2182 - SMALL
7 bases

76th & 95th New York Regiments have been consolidated into a single regiment.


3rd Brigade: Patrick’s Brigade [795]
Brig. Gen. Marsena R. Patrick
23rd New YorkVeteranCasualties:
RMStrength 2593 - SMALL
21st/35th New YorkVeteranCasualties
RMStrength 4084 - STANDARD
80th New YorkVeteranCasualties:
RMStrength 1281 - SMALL
8 bases

21st [156] and 35th N.Y. advanced together so have been consolidated. 80th N.Y. supported Campbell’s battery as a single stand. The line formed left to right:

80th New York
35th New York
21st New York
32nd New York



4th Brigade: Gibbon’s Brigade – The Iron Brigade [944]
Brig. Gen. John Gibbon
19th IndianaEliteCasualties:
RMStrength 2683 - SMALL
2nd WisconsinEliteCasualties:
RMStrength 1722 - SMALL
6th WisconsinEliteCasualties:
RMStrength 3143 - SMALL
7th WisconsinEliteCasualties
RMStrength 1902 - SMALL
10 bases

Gibbon’s brigade advanced onto the Poffenberger Farm front to back 6th Wis, 2nd Wis, 19th Ind, 7th Wis.

They formed into two lines forward facing, left to right:

2nd Wisconsin
6th Wisconsin
7th Wisconsin
19th Indiana

First Division in numbers 2,979 with 31 bases (ratio 1:96)


Divisional Artillery

1st New Hampshire Light , 1st Battery
Edgell’s BatteryVeteranCasualties:
6 x 12pdr NapoleonsSB

1st Rhode Island Light, Battery D
Monroe’s BatteryVeteranCasualties:
6 x 12pdr NapoleonsSB

Edgell’s and Monroe’s batteries set up on the J. Poffenberger Farm to counter Confederate batteries on Nicodemus Hill.


1st New York Light, Battery L
Reynold’s BatteryVeteranCasualties:
6 x 3” RiflesR

Reynold’s battery set up on the Miller farm centrally placed to fire into the Cornfield.


4th United States, Battery B
Campbell’s BatteryVeteranCasualties:
6 x 12pdr NapoleonsSB

Campbell moved down the Hagerstown Pike with Gibbon’s brigade and set up to the West of the Pike opposite the middle of the Cornfield.
 

Hannover

Private
Joined
Jan 30, 2020
2nd Division: Brig. Gen. James B. Ricketts

1st Brigade: Duryee’s Brigade [973]
Brig. Gen. Abram Duryee
97th New YorkVeteranCasualties:
RMStrength 2032 - SMALL
104th New YorkVeteranCasualties:
RMStrength 2823 - SMALL
105th New YorkVeteranCasualties
RMStrength 2983 - SMALL
107th PennsylvaniaVeteranCasualties:
RMStrength 1902 - SMALL
10 bases

Duryee’s Brigade advanced in order left to right:

105th New York
104th New York
97th New York
107th Pennsylvania


2nd Brigade: Christian’s Brigade [935]
Col. William Christian/ Col. Peter Lyle
26th New YorkVeteranCasualties:
RMStrength 2112 - SMALL
94th New YorkVeteranCasualties:
RMStrength 2352 - SMALL
88th PennsylvaniaVeteranCasualties
RMStrength 2182 - SMALL
90th PennsylvaniaVeteranCasualties:
SBStrength 2713 - SMALL
9 bases

Christian’s brigade remained in a wooded swale fixed to the spot for at least 30 minutes and Christian fled later explaining he suffered sunstroke. Lyle eventually led his 90th Pennsylvania towards the gap between 11th Pennsylvania and the 13th Massachusetts of Hartsuff’s brigade.

3rd Brigade: Hartsuff’s Brigade [1,158]
Brig. Gen. George L. Hartsuff
12th MassachusettsVeteranCasualties:
RMStrength 3343 - SMALL
13th MassachusettsVeteranCasualties:
RMStrength 3013 - SMALL
83rd New YorkVeteranCasualties
RMStrength 2883 - SMALL
11th PennsylvaniaVeteranCasualties:
RMStrength 2353 - SMALL
12 bases

Hartsuff’s Brigade advanced in order left to right:

83rd New York
13th Massachusetts
11th Pennsylvania
12th Massachusetts

2nd Division in numbers 3,066 with 31 bases (ratio 1:98)

Divisional Artillery

1st Pennsylvania Light, Battery F
Matthew’s BatteryVeteranCasualties:
4 x 3” RiflesR

Matthew’s battery formed a line on the Miller Farm with the left of the battery in line with a fence following on from the fence around the Eastern edge of the Cornfield.

1st Pennsylvania Light, Battery C
Thompson’s BatteryVeteranCasualties:
4 x 3” RiflesR

Thompson’s battery supported the advance of Hartsuff’s Brigade.
 

Hannover

Private
Joined
Jan 30, 2020
3rd Division: Brig. Gen. George G. Meade

1st Brigade: Seymour’s Brigade [1,278]
Brig. Gen. Truman Seymour
1st Pennsylvania ReservesVeteranCasualties:
SBStrength 2252 - SMALL
2nd Pennsylvania ReservesVeteranCasualties:
ARStrength 2232 - SMALL
5th Pennsylvania ReservesVeteranCasualties
SBStrength 2413 - SMALL
6th Pennsylvania ReservesVeteranCasualties:
RMStrength 3143 - SMALL
13th Pennsylvania ReservesEliteCasualties:
RMStrength 2753 - SMALL
13 bases

Seymour states that 13th Pennsylvania Reserves were put forward as a skirmish line advancing into the East Woods. The remainder of the brigade was widely spaced from left to right:

5th Penn Res
2nd Penn Res
1st Penn Res
6th Pennsylvania Reserves was stationed as reserve by Matthews battery and advanced into the East Woods after Duryee’s brigade marched into the Cornfield.


2nd Brigade: Magilton’s Brigade [1,030]
Col. Albert L. Magilton
3rd Pennsylvania ReservesVeteranCasualties:
RMStrength 2112 - SMALL
4th Pennsylvania ReservesGreenCasualties:
SBStrength 2813 - SMALL
7th Pennsylvania ReservesVeteranCasualties
SBStrength 2853 - SMALL
8th Pennsylvania ReservesGreenCasualties:
RMStrength 2533 - SMALL
11 bases

Magilton’s Brigade advanced in order left to right, with 8th Penn Res forming a second line

3rd Penn Res
4th Penn Res
7th Penn Res

3rd Brigade: Anderson’s Brigade [823]
Lt-Col. Robert Anderson
9th Pennsylvania ReservesVeteranCasualties:
SBStrength 2643 - SMALL
10th Pennsylvania ReservesVeteranCasualties:
RMStrength 1602 - SMALL
11th Pennsylvania ReservesVeteranCasualties
ARStrength 1792 - SMALL
12th Pennsylvania ReservesVeteranCasualties:
ARStrength 2202 - SMALL
9 bases

Anderson’s Brigade advanced in order left to right:

12th Penn Res
11th Penn Res
9th Penn Res
10th Penn Res

Third Division in numbers 3,131 with 33 bases (ratio 1:95)


Divisional Artillery

1st Pennsylvania Light, Battery A
Simpson’s BatteryVeteranCasualties:
4 x 12pdr NapoleonsSB


1st Pennsylvania Light, Battery B
Cooper’s BatteryVeteranCasualties:
4 x 3” RiflesR

Simpson’s and Cooper’s batteries set up on the J. Poffenberger Farm to counter Confederate batteries on Nicodemus Hill.

5th United States, Battery C
Ransom’s BatteryVeteranCasualties:
4 x 12pdr NapoleonsSB

Ransom’s battery set up on the Miller Farm about 150-200 yards in front of Reynolds battery central to the Cornfield.

The following batteries are listed in published comparable scenarios of ‘Brave Hearts Trembled’ and ‘Undying Courage’ as off-table support. ‘Undying Courage’ lists only 2 x 20pdr Parrotts in each battery.

Artillery Reserve Off-Table

1st Battalion New York Light, Battery A
Wever’s BatteryVeteranCasualties:
4 x 20pdr ParrottsR
1st Battalion New York Light, Battery B
Kleiser’s BatteryVeteranCasualties:
4 x 20pdr ParrottsR
1st Battalion New York Light, Battery C
Langner’s BatteryVeteranCasualties:
4 x 20pdr ParrottsR
New York Light, 5th Battery
Taft’s BatteryVeteranCasualties:
4 x 20pdr ParrottsR


Summary

Total of 95 infantry bases

9 batteries [1st Corps] with 4 of these involved in counter battery fire against Nicodemus Hill which will be placed off-table
4 batteries [Artillery Reserve] off-table.
4-gun batteries are represented by one model, 6-gun batteries by 2 models.
Total of 7 models needed [4 x Rifles, 3 x Napoleons].
 

Hannover

Private
Joined
Jan 30, 2020
Antietam – Opening Assault: Comments on Union Strength

Union 1st Corps Totals

First Corps
Strength
No. bases
Ratio
1st Division
2,979​
31​
1:96​
2nd Division
3,066​
31​
1:98​
3rd Division
3,131​
33​
1:95​
Total
9,176
95
1:97

Fox (Regimental losses) reports a value of 14,850
Meade's statement of those carried into battle: about 9,000
Approximate infantry strength: 8,619 (Carman)
Calculation of effectives in 67th Tigers ACW blog: 9,305
Casualties: 2,590

Approximate infantry strength the morning of the 18th: 5,327 (Sears, p300 – 6,729 reported pfd) adding 2,590 casualties gives a total of 7,917. Sears notes that in addition to Meade's complaints about large numbers of men on the roster ("present for duty") simply not being present, at least another 800 had straggled and were never in the firing line. We can thus estimate that on the morning of the 18th, 1st Corps fielded around 4,000 effectives. We should not forget estimates that 3rd Division only had 300 men with the Colours on the afternoon of the 17th; this implies that the formation was so wrecked it could probably only muster 1,000 or so men at that point.
Of the 10 brigades in the corps, only Hoffman's brigade (727 PFD) was not wrecked since it had been detached as the right flank guard and was not used in the assault. They only suffered 10 casualties during the day.


Union Reported casualties
1st Corps - 417 killed, 2,051 wounded and 122 missing gives total of 2,590.
 
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