After last week's look at the Two Splendid Lines rules, we re-fought another of the 4th Texas' battles last night. We attacked the infamous Viniard Farm, held by the Federals under Brig. Gen. Carlin. This battle was the first after the reeorganisation, with Ollie promoted to colonel and taking command, Mike as lieutenant-colonel, and myself as the Texas Brigade's commander.
This was the first game after TSL had a fairly extensive re-write to make it simpler and easier to play - although I don't think it affected the game too much, since it played very much like our previous engagements.
1. Unlike the real attack on the Viniard Farm, this time I elected to attack in 'column of regiments'; that is, a successive line of regiments rather than a long thin line. I thought this would give me the best chance of concentrating my force. The 4th Texas are now rated 'Elite' meaning they will stand much more fire before breaking, hence why I put them at the front. The 1st Texas are in immediate reserve, with the 3rd Arkansas to act as flank protection.
2. The Texas Brigade deploys off the road, but the Yankees have something to say about it! Pushing a regiment forward, their skirmishers fire into our confused ranks as we try to align ourselves. This might be catastrophic for a raw regiment, but we brush it off and prepare to advance. You can see Mike taking off some skirmishers to the flank, to deal with that nasty Federal artillery.
3. This photo clearly shows the deployment we are intending for. The Yankees are going for a sort of echelon counterattack, trying to send the 81st Indiana through the trees and round a flank. On their right, they detatch a few companies to clear off Mike's skirmishers, but not before the latter drive off the Yankee gunners with some rifle fire, clearing the approach for the rest of the brigade.
4. Yes, they are in range Ollie! The Federal flanking manoeuvre is a disaster - trying to thrash their way through the trees the Indianians slow down, lose cohesion, and miss their opportunity. The 3rd Arkansas drive off a charge from the 38th Illinois with a devastating close-ranged volley, while the 4th and 1st Texas drive straight for the 21st. Here the increased veterancy of our regiments is crucial (as it was in real life), since it allows us to maintain order and we need less rest in between charges.
5. The end. Crippled by casualties and poor morale, the 38th Illinois skedaddle while the shaky 21st Illinois are charged again and again by the Confederate column. Driven almost into the river, the Yankees make a break for it but 221 officers and men are captured by the exhausted but victorious Texans!
This was a really interesting battle, and a little more successful than the bloodletting at Sharpsburg and Gettysburg. It showed how well-handled troops, with experience and good leaders, can charge and charge again, defeating a numerically equal enemy. The Federals were hamstrung by the woods in their flank. They made the mistake of trying to march through the thick Tennessee woods in formed columns which just made it impossible to get anywhere in time to threaten our flank. The Texans actually took comparitively few casualties in this battle - only about 11 killed and 20 wounded out of 165 men engaged. A lot, but less than some of our previous battles!
All the best,