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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

THE BATTLE AT JACK'S CROSSING

Jack Breen enjoyed the Cedar Mtn. scenario so much that he wanted to do a sequel. Careful readers will know that Jackson, as opposed  to the historical outcome, was forced to retreat from the battle at Cedar Mtn. This is Jack’s take on a possible sequel.

THE UNION
The recent victory at Cedar Mountain has given General Pope new hopes of victory and dominance in northern Virginia. With Stonewall Jackson and his rebel 2nd Corps pushed back, he has ordered General Nathanial banks to “finish the job” and drive Jackson’s forces back into the valley.
For the last several days, Union scouts have tracked Jackson north, across a branch of the Rapidan River. Reports, however, suggest that he has slowed his retreat and he has halted his march at Jack’s Crossing, a small village that provides easement west through the mountains, or eastward toward the Manassas rail junction. There is rumor that the rebels have begun a telegraph line linking these vital regions.
Banks knows he can defeat Jackson. He has had him retreating for over a week now. It  is believed that Jackson is re-supplying his troops and preparing for battle.
General Pope has ordered the destruction of Jackson’s forces and the holding of Jack’s Crossing. General Banks senses that he has the momentum and that morale among his army and commanders is excellent. He is ready to attack!



Union Order of Battle
Banks Corps CO (E)
1st Div. Williams (E)2nd Div. GreeneCav. Bayard (E) 6/4/3
Crawford (E) 9/7/5Sclaudeker  8/5/3Beardley             6/4/3
Gordon (E)     8/6/4Candy (E)    7/4/3      2 Horse Batteries
3 BatteriesTait              6/4/3(arrives turn 2)
3 Batteries   
THE REBELS
Confederate Order of Battle
Stonewall Jackson Corps (E)
Ewell’s Div.A.P.Hill Div (E)Cav. Stuart (E)*
Early (E)  7/5/3Branch      5/3/2Roberton (E)   6/3/2    
Lawton     6/4/3Gregg (E)  5/3/2 2 Horse Batteies
Hays         5/3/2Taliferro    5/3/2
Trimble     5/3/2
4 Batteries
*Stuart's Cavalry and guns arrive when Stuart spots US Cavalry
Victory conditions
Hold Jack’s Crossing +5VP; additional VP as per F&F rules

Special Conditions
 Some special conditions, or rules.
  1. Behind the Rebel line in the fields before Jack’s Crossing was a lot of cut down timber. The rebs could use that to build hasty works if within 2” and not moving or firing for one turn. The defense modifier of the works was 2.
  2. Bridge Crossing: The Bridge can be crossed in attack or march column(only 1 Bde at a time). If there are no enemy troops within 2 “ of the bridge the column may re-deploy into any form of line. If the bridge is defended by enemy within 2” the attacking column will receive enfilade fire and will count as outflanked and unsupported.. If it wins the ensuing melee by >1, it forms a line and refuses the flanks touching the river bank.
  3. Union artillery on the top contour has a +2 on fire and can see over all obstacles.
  4. The Confederates received what was essentially a free move. Before the Union made its first move.
EDITOR’S NOTE: in my opinion, the Rebel hasty works should get no more than a 1 defense factor. The river crossing rule is unnecessary and overly complicated. There is ample maneuver in the regular rules for an attack column to attack across a bridge if properly supported. Finally, I can accept the union guns seeing over all obstacles from the top contour, but as their fire would be “plunging” fire rather than the “grazing” fire that all artillerists of the period were trying to achieve should receive a -1 to their firing dice. #4 compensated for the Union starting off in road column within easy march of the Rebel left. Without this the Rebs would be outflanked on the first turn! We could have avoided this by starting the sides further apart.

THE GAME
The map shows the starting positions. Being unable to reach a forward defensive position before the Union column outflanked them the Rebels under Ewell (Ben Clough and Dick Bryant ) drew back toward the Northern Hill and deployed their 4 Batteries on the road south of the village. The Union columns under Williams (Spencer Clough)marched over the bridge as per special rule 2 and sent a Bde into the rocky area to the Union right of the bridge.

Union troops under Spencer Clough move toward the bridge. Note the infamous 3 contour hill on the right.
 3 artillery pieces started climbing the high hill on the union left. Greene (Dick Messier advanced over the clear ground to their right and crossed the two fords.

The Union moves across the bridge and deploys
The cavalry brought up the rea. The Union Bde on the far right advanced by itself into the Rebel defense and was essentially decimated.

Ewell's Division (Ben Clough & Dick Bryant) Dig in behind hasty fortifications
The Rebel artillery did some execution but the Union arty on the 3 contour hill with its +2 soon silenced 2 batteries and destroyed another. By now Stuart had moved up and seeing the Union cav, called up Robertson. Robertson’s artillery advanced across the fields to support Ewell’s batteries but met the same fate.The rebs managed to destroy one Union gun for the loss of 3 of their own.

By now, it was getting late, the Rebels had pulled into their breastworks and except for guns the  Union had had the most casualties. The score was as follows:
                                                      Rebs                                       Union
Hold Jack’s Crossing                      5VP                                           _
1 Union Spent Bde.                        2 VP                                          _
Destroyed Guns                              1 VP                                        3VP
TOTAL                                          8VP                                         3VP

A clear Rebel Victory! Will Jackson meet banks again in the near future? Only time and Jack Breen will tell.

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