The Battle of The Wilderness

The colonel contemplating his next move...

We're now on battle 7 of 8 in our quest to re-fight every engagement of the Fourth Texas Infantry - the Wilderness!  This fierce Eastern engagement took place in May 1864, and our regiment is fighting on Day Two (May 6th) as Longstreet desperately tries to stop Winfield Scott's attack down the Orange Plank Road.

The rules are now pretty much set in stone - hugely simplified from their start point, we now have a good system in place and all the models and terrain we need.  (I've sent out some notes of the rules to a few of you who've requested it - stand by, as I'm currently writing a full version which should be a little clearer).

Anyway, to business!  The battle is a fairly straightforward frontal assault, complicated by the tangled woods of the Wilderness.  The entire battlefield is thick woods (we just placed a few trees down to give a flavour and moved them as we needed to).  The effects of this are that shooting is less effective, and marching in line is all but impossible.  Perhaps we can use the cover to approach the strong Federal line and overwhelm them?  We shall see...

The deployment.  We're on the left flank of the brigade, formed up in column with a party of skirmishers either side.  This should give us some good maneuverability in the thick woods, while still keeping a fair amount of firepower ready.

Things start to warm up quickly.  The 3rd Arkansas and 2nd South Carolina both struggle to close with the enemy (thanks to a nasty Federal battery with double-shotted canister).  We manage to get close enough to declare a charge on the 12th Massachusetts, but only thanks to the personal intervention of the brigadier's dice roll.

What's this?  They're not running!  For the first time, a Federal regiment has enough morale to stand and fight and a bloody melee ensues that we just can't seem to end.  Both regiments being veterans, they stay locked in combat.  The two parties of skirmishers try to work their way round the flanks, so the 83rd New York expertly refuse the flank and forestall that.  Mike still keeps them busy with some expert skirmishing that exacts a fearful toll.
The tipping point comes when Dan's skirmishers on the flank fire at the Yankee general and bring him down.  This gives us a crucial morale edge!  Dan then re-forms his skirmishers into line.  This is because everything is based on proximity to a formed enemy unit.  For instance, if you're routing, you can't rally if there's an enemy within 25cm - but skirmishers don't count for this, hence Dan's wisdom in forming up ready for the pursuit...

End Game.  The 3rd Arkansas and 2nd South Carolina both struggle to close with the line (mainly because of the guns), but we manage to drive off the flank unit and roll up the line.  Here, it's good Dan was on hand to continue the pursuit, since the main body of the 4th Texas was so exhausted and disorganized that it couldn't continue.

On the downside, Ollie was the victim of a random events card, and was hit by a stray bullet in the right arm.  He was rushed from the field, and the surgeon (played by Kieran) performed a successful amputation.  A lucky escape!

A successful battle in all, again mainly down to the extra freedom we had in choosing attack formations and reacting to events.  Only one more battle to fight...



  1. Ah; I like the skirmishers reforming for pursuit having a knock on effect of preventing the routed units rallying. Should make for some interesting play.

    btw, you need to give some dates (yes you do).

    1. Thank you Mr. Zzzzzz. Yes, it's all about rally ranges - the more disordered you are, the further you have to be from a formed-up enemy to begin the rally process.

  2. Oh brilliant; brilliant.

    Lovingly done.

    1. That's precisely the word; we do love doing these. Makes for a memorable afternoon.

  3. Oof.... Those poor Arkansas boys having to march down the road into a battery of Union guns! Moi-dur!

    Interesting to read how this is getting simplified some. The more I think on it and ponder on your reports, the more I think these rules would work with 15mm on a larger table.

    1. Thanks mate! Yes, the NPC dice weren't kind to those poor boys. Luckily (for them) there was a fairly prompt 'switch fire' dice, meaning they started shooting at us instead!

      I'm currently putting together a 'publish' version which is a little more polished and easier to follow.

  4. Great game report.

    Make sure Ollie only uses one arm in the last game, got to keep the roleplay element going.



    1. Thanks Pete! Haha, yes we've had to update all his portrait pictures for the book!

  5. Nice looking game, and nice report!


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