The Chattanooga Campaign
Greetings from the mists of time! I'll get the feeble apologies out of the way first. I've had a good year off the blog now, as I went on several work-related courses which took up all my free time. Having fractured my ankle, however, I'm back where I started in my old job and I've found myself with a lot more free time on my hands.
So I decided to start the blog back up again. I don't know if I'll ever get back to my once-a-week posting rate; I'll take it steady for the moment and we'll see how things pan out. To get the ball rolling I'll relate a very exciting campaign I've recently finished.
The Chattanooga Campaign
|The Second Day of the Battle of Chattanooga -|
shortly after this the lines disintegrated and
both sides were compelled to withdraw.
My last post (way back in January) was a battle report of Give Them The Cold Steel. After this, we decided to do a map campaign exploring an alternate history scenario, to whit, an early attempt by the Federals to seize Chattanooga before (and instead of) Corinth in March 1862.
This was done in real time (1 day = 1 day), with a set of map campaign rules umpired by Kieran, who's written a post about his own role as umpire/administrator. Assuming historical alter-egos, I took command of the Union forces in Nashville, and my brother Ollie led the Confederates defending Chattanooga. We sparred across the Tennessee countryside for three weeks and fought a series of battles, resulting in a complete Confederate victory. Damnation!
Firstly, the Battle of Dry Fork Creek - a force of Federal cavalry surrounded Confederate troopers and forced five hundred of them to surrender. A great victory for the North, but soured by the death of their division commander General P. H. Sheridan (who in real life lived to be a prominent leader in the East later in the war).
The Battle of Helton followed, as the retreating Confederates turned and stood against the pursuing Yankees. A sharp firefight followed but the timely arrival of Reb reinforcements decided the battle in the Confederacy's favour.
After this, I made a bold move by marching my army to Huntsville, Alabama and got them all on boats. Sailing up the Tennessee I disembarked right inside the town - the Confederate reconnaissance screen realized only just in time and rushed troops to defend the vital town.
The Battle of Chattanooga followed, a vicious struggle over two days. By the end of the first, I had secured a bridgehead and scared off the Confederate defenders, but on the morning of the second day another division had arrived. A brutal, nine-hour stalemate was fought which meant I had to retreat back into the city having failed to decisively defeat the Rebels.
After this it was only a matter of time. Besieged and with no way out, after a partially successful Confederate effort to take the walls, I was forced to surrender my entire army to avoid further bloodshed. The Confederates had won!
Burning Tennessee and The Surrender of the Army
I can't begin to convey how much fun we had playing this. The secrecy between us all as we scurried about the house, passing secret orders to the umpire late at night... but the real reason we'll never forget this campaign (and why I mention it at all) is because of the extras we invested in. A full Confederate and Federal uniform for dressing-up purposes helped bring the games to life (often spontaneous sword fights would break out).
Over the course of the last four months, I also wrote a short book detailing the campaign in the style of a historical non-fiction work, called Burning Tennessee. A 290-page epic tale of the struggle for control of this vital state, we had several copies printed by DoxDirect. (and I have a few spare if people are interested, let me know)
You can see how much fun we had dressing up from the sketches of the two 'generals' on the back. But most excitingly, we took a photograph enacting the surrender of the Union army, and the end of the campaign. Then, the very talented artist Jane Dunn brought the moment to life by creating an oil painting of the moment - which will shortly be hanging above my mantelpiece.
|The Surrender of the Army - that's me (on the left) in oils, surrendering my sword to my worthy opponent.|
Of course there was a hefty investment in all these extras, but this really has been a watershed moment in gaming. It became much more than a series of four linked games, and has been a huge project that I've worked on with my friends and family to make something really memorable.
Anyway, enough waffle. The headline is - I'm back! Expect posts over the next few weeks on my Mordheim Warband, Russo-Japanese War Infantry, 28mm ACW infantry, and more. Apologies to those faithful followers and friends I've not been in touch with for a few months; I'll make a special effort to get over to your respective blogs and say hello.
All the best,