Strategic Hex Game McClellan's Last Command (custom GCACW module) - community playthrough

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
The fighting around Culpeper is worthy of analysis in and of itself.

I'm going to show the start positions here and elaborate on why I think the Culpeper fighting proved to be a problem for the Confederates.


startpos.jpg


So this is where everyone started off.

Now, the thing which should be clear is that the Union has a lot of strength quite a long way south. In terms of numerical strength at this point it's

Getty, Burns, Sturgis, Whipple total 18,000
1st Corps is 18,000
2nd Corps is 15,500
And the 5th and 6th between them are 45,000, while Sickles and Birney are 17,500 between them. (11th is not yet released.)

The Confederates didn't know the Union infantry was that far south, partly because this is a real historical scouting error.


Longstreet has 21,500 men at Culpeper, 7,000 men with Robertson and Ransom and 3,500 men at Gordonsville with Hood. There's 12,500 at Winchester, 8,000 with DH Hill at Front Royal and 10,000 with AP Hill.


The real scouting error led to the decision to try and hold Culpeper and link up with Jackson directly. This led to problems essentially because Longstreet's force was insufficient to hold out against the subsequent assault, and because Culpeper was not abandoned until far too late in the process - I've not done the maps for it yet but the flank march of 3rd Corps to encircle Culpeper was pretty meaningful, the Confederates were still trying to hold Culpeper when the situation map looked like this:


unknown.png




The Union commander (George A. Cardinal?) split his forces to do this with much of the Union army while the rest warded off Jackson. It's a good example of effective wing command because it splits the job - Franklin "kept Jackson busy" and allowed the rest of the Union force to apply crushing superiority to Longstreet.

That being said, if things had worked out better for the Confederates - or if they'd been willing to try and march via Little Washington to try and contact their supply route in the days beforehand - it could have gone quite differently.



This real historical situation (the November 1862 one) is one that's fascinating to me precisely because of how bad a situation the Confederates were in on an operational level.
 

Andy Cardinal

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Location
Ohio
In real life there, the Union commander (McClellan/Burnside) has the "chord" here, per Lincoln's letter to McClellan. Which is why my original intention (if the situation Saph diagrams above had not come about), my intention was too slip off to the southeast, bypassing Fredericksburg itself but using the Fredericksburg railroad for supply to get to Richmond first. I didn't want to get bogged down in the Culpeper/Orange area because I figured it would be to easy for Jackson to get in the rear around Manassas. I didnt want to get Poped.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
In real life there, the Union commander (McClellan/Burnside) has the "chord" here, per Lincoln's letter to McClellan.
This is slightly different because the letter was before McClellan crossed the Potomac, and because (as of the 7th/8th) Longstreet is in fact in between him and Richmond while the "chord/arc" argument was based on the idea that there couldn't be anyone between him and Richmond. It is however true that the Union force can reach Longstreet before Jackson can.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
So at the moment I'm thinking we should do the historical Northern Virginia, and then possibly follow it up with the alternate Northern Virginia.


The scenario specific scoring and supply rules for the historical Northern Virginia are:


VPs are awarded as follows (to the Confederates)

15 if the Union army suffers a Panic at least once in the game. (Union Panic results from a major defeat to a large force. No defeat of a single force of less than 6,000 men can trigger Panic, and for a force of 6,000 to 9,000 men to trigger Panic it has to be really walloped.)



For destroying the following stations by the end of the game:
Bull Run Bridge
Sangaster's Station
Burke's Station
Springfield Station
15 for one, 20 for two, 22 for three, and 25 for all.

12 if Falls Church is under Confederate control at the end of the game (i.e. a Confederate infantry unit was the last infantry to occupy the hex)

For destroying the following stations by the end of the game:
Rappahannock Station
Catlett's Station
Manassas Junction
Bristoe Station
10 for one, 12 for two, 14 for three and 16 for all four.

8 if Fairfax Court House is under Confederate control at the end of the game (i.e. a Confederate infantry unit was the last infantry to occupy the hex)

6 for each Union depot removed from the map.

3 for each of the following locations under Confederate control at the end of the game:
Culpeper
Warrenton
Falmouth
Aquia Creek Station
Front Royal
Winchester Toll House
Leesburg

2 for each Confederate infantry division in Fairfax County or Prince William County

1 for each Confederate infantry division in Loudoun, Clarke or Frederick County

1 for each Union combat-related casualty
-1 for each Confederate combat-related casualty

92+ decisive Confederate victory
70-91 significant Confederate victory
47-69 minor Confederate victory
24-46 minor Union victory
2-23 significant Union victory
1 or less decisive Union victory





Supply rules

Units have their supply checked on the 24th and 29th August (turns 6 and 11). A unit which is out of supply becomes Disorganized (i.e. fights at 2/3 strength) and cannot reorganize until it is back in supply.

Supply line

For the Confederates:
Caroline, Culpeper, Madison, Orange and Spotsylvania county are in supply.
In addition, if a Union depot has been captured, up to two units can be supplied or resupplied if they are in the same county as the captured depot.
A unit which does not meet these conditions at the end of turn 6 or 11 is out of supply until it can forage.

For the Union:
Units located in the same county as a Union depot are automatically in supply.
In addition, if an intact railway route leads from a depot (or Upton's Hill or 6-Mile Post) to a railway station, any Union units within 2 miles of that station are in supply.

Foraging

If a unit is out of supply, it can forage. This is done by adding the unit's fatigue (at 0, 1 or 2, not 3 or 4) to a dice roll. If the dice roll is less than or equal to the county's forage valie, then it successfully forages.

County forage values
Union:
3 (hardest)
Rappahannock, Spotsylvania, Orange, Madison, Culpeper, Caroline
4
Stafford, Warren, King George, Prince William, Fauquier
5
Clarke, Fairfax
6 (easiest)
Loudoun, Montgomery

Confederate
3 (hardest)
Fairfax
4
Fauquier, King George, Montgomery, Prince William, Rappahannock,Stafford, Warren
5
Clarke, Culpeper, Frederick, Loudoun, Madison, Spotsylvania
6 (easiest)
Caroline, Orange
 
Last edited:

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
I may step aside for the next game. But I really want to comment on your analysis of what happened at Culpeper. There was an immediate threat from the north, but especially from the east at the bridgehead, and I was too quickly enveloped trying to degfend my side of the river and still maintain Culpeper as a depot. I thought I might be able to hold out but was miserably overrun by Andy's troops. I then had to split my force there and try to protect Fredericksburg, and find a way to protect Orange Court House, as I fell back upon that spot. My force that headed east toward Fredericksburg was overwhelmed out of the blue. The force at Orange Court House was kept continually threatened and advanced upon, so I had to fall back with both forces. My hope to retreat to Hanover was dashed when the Union Cavalry arrived well in advance with a stronger force than my infantry. I stood no chance at all, and I kept anticipating some more attacks up toward Orange Court House on the Gordonsville Depot that never materialized. The scouting reports Saph mentions not only were flimsy, but the cavalry I had was quickly defeated to the point they were not a viable threat to the Union.
I really enjoyed the game, and take the loss with grace. It is the game itself and how it is played that is a real winner, and not whether I win or lose. Thank you all for the fun I had. I did better this time with my planning and thinking than I did around Monocacy in my first game, though the results may not reflect it. Less confusion, more fun.
Lubliner.
 

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
If the proposed game above is the Bull Run 1 battle base from 1861, and depending on how many players can be drummed up, I may cast my lot in and play. Please let me know.
Lubliner.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
I may step aside for the next game. But I really want to comment on your analysis of what happened at Culpeper. There was an immediate threat from the north, but especially from the east at the bridgehead, and I was too quickly enveloped trying to degfend my side of the river and still maintain Culpeper as a depot. I thought I might be able to hold out but was miserably overrun by Andy's troops.
It's actually an interesting and difficult topic to defend a river line, and I think the key factor is to judge how long the river line is and how densely it should be held.

In this case, you didn't really have the manpower to hold the line of the Rappahannock and Hazel - you ended up spreading yourself too wide, there's too many distinct fords. There were 20,000 men in Culpeper and they had to defend about nine crossing points.
It's not at all an easy challenge.
 

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
It's actually an interesting and difficult topic to defend a river line, and I think the key factor is to judge how long the river line is and how densely it should be held.

In this case, you didn't really have the manpower to hold the line of the Rappahannock and Hazel - you ended up spreading yourself too wide, there's too many distinct fords. There were 20,000 men in Culpeper and they had to defend about nine crossing points.
It's not at all an easy challenge.
This made me begin to wonder if I had immediately fallen back onto Orange Court House, how much better I may have stopped the advance? At the very beginning I didn't think the Union would advance so quickly with such strength. I remain amazed how fast their forces moved in all directions. It was like waking up the next day and being already overtaken.
Lubliner.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Ending narrative


Suffering for supply and blocked by Union troops in Leesburg, Jackson found himself imperilled from the rear by Union reinforcements arriving around 3rd December. These units, of the 11th and 6th Corps, overlapped his rear while Howe's division marched around from the north to bolster the defences around Leesburg.

Rain set in on the 4th, and Franklin and Heintzelman expected a quiet day; however, Jackson launched a sudden assault against Abercrombie's division and forced his retirement in a bloody battle in the rain.
(1000 CS casualties, 500 Union casualties)

Opting to accelerate his plans for the day as Jackson attempted to gain the Old Carolina Road, Franklin ordered in various units of 6th Corps and 11th Corps. An assault by Newton and Stahel suffered heavily but gained the area north of Hogback Mountain and forced Early into a difficult retreat around the headwaters of the flooded Tuscarora Creek (1500 CS retreat casualties, 1000 Union casualties), followed by a second assault involving Brooks and Howe against DH Hill.
The assault cost 500 Union casualties despite a major benefit fron flanking, but cost DH Hill's division 1,000 casualties in the fighting and a further 1,500 as they followed the same difficult retreat route as Early.


The 5th saw formations on both sides recovering from their exertions, and this time it was the Union who made the first moves of the day. Heintzelman shifted forces around Leesburg and attacked AP Hill with Casey's division, operating in concert with Franklin's wing to force AP Hill into a difficult retreat harried by Price's DC cavalry. (1,500 CS battle casualties, 2,000 CS retreat casualties.)

Marches towards the evening by 2nd Corps threatened to cut off the forces of Jackson's corps as they moved south, but Jackson conducted a tiring forced-march allowing Early and DH Hill to punish overextended Union cavalry and evade immediate attack; they broke contact with Union cavalry around sundown.
AP Hill, caught in a crook of Goose Creek and with Hancock covering the far side, had no such luck. His force was attacked by over 20,000 troops on the morning of the 6th,largely destroyed in the rout (suffering 3,000 casualties in the battle and the rout) and finally forced to surrender around Farmwell.


Jackson's remaining 6,500 troops managed to avoid further contact, marching via Sudley Springs and Hopewell Gap to return to the Shenandoah Valley and thence to Staunton.



Around 6 December, with Union cavalry approaching Burkeville, Longstreet and Smith concentrated their forces at Lynchburg before moving southwest by rail. The Union sent the Right Wing (5th and 3rd Corps) in this direction, supplied out of Richmond by rail, while also sending the Left Wing (1st and 9th Corps) south towards the North Carolina border.


This Union control of the rail networks of Virginia meant that Jackson was compelled to retire further up the Valley to Lexington and Roanoke.



Union offensive operations largely shut down for the rest of the year and until April, owing to the weather; when they recommenced, the Union held Lynchburg and Burkeville while manoeuvering against the Roanoke river line.
 

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
I am happy with a sit out, but I would prefer you (Saph) to publish the whole order for each turn so I can follow along. Will you do so for me? Very much appreciated,
Lubliner.
 

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
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