Thursday, 20 February 2020

The Battle of New Market 1864

This week's game saw us play the another scenario from the 'Glory Hallelujah!' supplement, namely the Battle of New Market. It seemed a nice size for a mid-week game and without too many units per side. The map in the book was a tad on the spare size, so a bit of research online came up with the following excellent map;

Although not too easy to read, it did give enough information to add in fence lines, fields etc to populate the games table. It also showed a ford on Smith's Creek, with Imboden's Bde on both sides of it, so it must have been fordable during the battle. However without a detailed read of the battle I can't be sure.

Again for our purposes, we merged some of the Tiny and Small units together to make game play easier and faster. Afterall a Tiny unit with one hit is going to become Shaken pretty damned easily, so combining them gave a bit more durability.

Well this was pretty much as per the scenario in the book. I debated as to whether to have Imboden's Bde with the main force or across the Creek, but decided upon the former. Only time would tell as to whether this was a good decision or not.

An overview of the table, with the Union troops on the left, the Confederates on the right.

Wharton's Bde on the left, with the artillery attached and Echol's Bde in the centre. The small unit of 'Jocks' represent the famous VMI Cadets.

Imboden's Bde on the right flank with their artillery.

The Union troops with Wyncoop Bde in the sweetcorn and Moor's Bde in and around the farm.
Turn 1
The Confederates got off to a poor start as Echol's Bde failed to move, despite General Breckenridge being close by. Needing to close with the enemy before re-inforcements arrived forced Wharton's Bde to push forward as fast as they could, leaving some of the troops in the open. Imboden's Bde pushed well forward on the right flank and dismounted and deployed the artillery. There was not shooting as all units had moved too far.

Tibbet's 1st Cavalry Bde failed their command to arrive, but being in march column, they got a free move and moved towards the fences near to Imboden's Bde to try and engage them, but their shots failed to find their mark. Wyncoop's Bde advanced into the wheatfield and managed to Disorder the leading Confederate unit. Moor's Bde dressed their lines to bring more troops into line and then combined shooting saw a Confederate unit becoming 'Whipped!'

The end of Turn 1.

Wharton's Bde is on the receiving end of some fine Union shooting.

Part of Tippet's Bde dismount and engage Imboden's Bde across the fences.

A Confederate unit that is well and truly 'Whipped!'

Turn 2
Still needing to bring their numbers to bear before Union re-inforcements arrive, Echol's Bde advances forward across the snake rail fences to get as close to the Union troops as they can, but this means they are unable to shoot. Wharton's Bde manages passage-of-lines to bring a fresh unit forward in the wheatfield, but only manages to hit and Disorder Wyncoop's cavalry. The other units fail to inflict any serious damage on Moor's Bde, leaving them in a good position to return fire with added interest. Imboden's Bde seeing Tibbet's units arriving, moves towards the fence line to engage them, but only manages one hit. So overall not a good turn of shooting for the Confederacy.

Tibbet's 1st Cavalry Bde makes initiative and command moves to bring their artillery into the line and their numbers to bear against Imboden's Bde, who they hit and Disorder. As Thoburn's 2nd Bde arrives on the table, bringing more Union forces, Moor's Bde blunders, with one unit advancing right in front on Echol's unit by the snake rail fence line. Combined shooting from Moor's and Wyncoops' Bde's sees two units of Wharton's Bde again become 'Whipped!', causing the whole Bde to become 'Broken'.

The end of Turn 2.

Wharton's broken Bde on the left leaving Echol's Bde rather unsupported.

Wharton's 'Whipped!' units.

Echols' Bde strung out and unable to effctively engage the enemy.

Imboden's Bde is isolated and outnumbered.

Thoburn's Bde arrives in line of march.

The view from the Union lines.

End of Game
With Wharton's Bde broken and Union re-inforcements arriving in strength, it was obvious that the battle was a lost cause for the Confederate troops. The battle was over before it had really begun, yet it felt like we had played more than two turns.
Post Game Thoughts
So at the end we sat there rather stunned that it had all ended so quickly and with such a convincing win for the Union troops. In the end we spent more time chatting than actually playing the game, which is enjoyable in its own right. As always some of our thoughts on the game are as follows:
  • The Confederate troops need to get going straight away and to bring their numbers to bear before the Union re-inforcements begin to arrive. In my eagerness to close with the enemy, I advanced Wharton's Bde too far and without the ability to then shoot. Frankly not a good move and it most likely cost me the game. 
  • Echol's Bde failing to move in the first Turn forced the above. If they had advanced, maybe the Union shooting would have been more spread out or maybe I would have sensibly advanced both Bde's, thereby allowing my to shoot in the first Turn.
  • This game the Die Gods abandoned me and put all their favours with Dave. In fact he was rather embarassed when his artillery delivered their devastating shooting in Turn 2, helping to two Confederate units becoming 'Whipped!'
  • I didn't read the Confederate OOB carefully enough as I could have spread out the two artillery units between Wharton's and Echol's Bde. Having them with the former meant that when that Bde became 'Broken', The Confederate troops only had one artillery unit left and that was with Imboden's Bde.
  • We both felt post game that there was too much artillery on the Union side. Whilst this may be historically accurate, we felt that one unit per Bde would be better for game play. Artillery when it hits (out shooting was at 'Effective' range) makes saving hits very hard due to the -2 to the Morale Save. 
  • Post-game reading I realised that we had been allowing our artillery units to move and have a free limber/unlimber move at the end; this only applies to horse artillery units. something to remember for the future.
  • The open terrain by the wheatfield, became a killing zone very quickly. Going forward we both agreed that sometimes more terrain may be required to allow the game to develop rather than finishing all too quickly due to some good die rolls. Having had recent games finish in two or three Turns, games that last longer would be nicer.
  • For our next game I will look at my scenario books or other historical actions for something that will hopefully give both sides a nice challenge and a longish game.

The next game won't be for a couple of weeks as I will be finishing work, having recently taken voluntary redundancy. I'm looking forward to having more time to do what I want, when I want as well as spending time on wargaming and my other hobbies. Hopefully this will lead to an increased output on the painting front, but only time will tell. So until next time...


  1. Nice action Steve and a good idea to amalgamate tiny units and anyway it helps bring cavalry numbers into line with collections. I note in the supplement AAR the Confederates won (just!) so looks be a balance there that would encourage a replay.

    Hope your redundancy works out well to give some extra quality of life time.

    1. It was tempting to replay it that evening, but I think it would be best to do this another time. I might try it with my wooden blocks (I was going to do this this weekend but had to clear the table away) just to see how it might have panned out.

      I'm really looking forward to some more 'normal' hours rather than 5.20am wake ups to get to work!

  2. What a disaster for the Confederacy!\

    On both sides, artillery was typically employed independently so that they would not break if the infantry they supported broke. With supports gone, any artillery may wish to limber up and bug out too but that shouldn't be required.

    Delays in attacking and poor die rolls likely cost the Rebs the battle as you state. In the battle, von Kleiser's guns pulled out of supporting Moor very early when it ran out of ammo. Perhaps something ought to be included to cover this possibility? Also the Federals were quite disorganized in the defense as Sigel delivered orders in German and few understood them!

    Nonetheless, I enjoyed your battle report very much. It motivates me to give New Market a try some day.

    1. Hi Jonathan,
      yep, a disaster as you say! Really useful info on how the guns were used, which I will take forward into future games. Ditto on some aspects of the battle, not all of which are readily available. I'm glad you enjoyed it and would love to see your take on the battle, given the fact that you've walked the battlefield.

  3. Wow 2 turns Steve...
    You have to feel for Imboden that was a real whooping.
    Some games just happen like that.

    1. Yep, some games just go that way and you have to accept that 'c'est la guerre' moment!

  4. Enjoyed this Steve.

    Voluntary redundancy - you bugger! I mean well done and congratulations. Now it should be easier for us to get together for some games.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Keith. Lucky bugger is my hope and all being well we should be OK on the financial front. Looking forward to trying to get more games in once the dust has settled.