Monday 3 April 2023

Viniard Field at Chickamauga, 19 September 1863

I met up with some old friends on Saturday for a 15mm ACW game using Brigade Fire & Fury (the original) in an actual shed!  Here's the background from the player briefing:

The Union’s Tullahoma Campaign began on 24 June 1863 with William Rosecrans moving south-east from Murfreesboro, his Army of the Cumberland constantly outmanoeuvring Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee.  Within ten days, Bragg had been forced to withdraw through central Tennessee to Chattanooga close to the border with Georgia. The campaign ended on 3 July, in a week that saw the Union victory at Gettysburg and the Confederate surrender of Vicksburg.  

In mid-August, after resting and re-supplying his army, Rosecrans moved on Chattanooga.  Capturing the city would provide a vital rail hub, opening the way to Atlanta. Beginning on 21 August, and over the next two weeks, Union artillery sporadically bombarded the north-east of the city.  This kept Bragg's attention whilst the bulk of Rosecrans's army crossed the Tennessee River south-west of Chattanooga. When Bragg learned of this on 8 September, he abandoned Chattanooga and withdrew the Army of Tennessee into Georgia.   

Rosecrans pursued Bragg, but his Corps became scattered traversing the difficult rocky, wooded terrain.  Bragg, having now received reinforcements, planned to attack and overwhelm these isolated elements of the Union army. His plans were poorly executed, but alerted Rosecrans to the threat and he began to concentrate his corps.  Bragg resolved not to lose the initiative, forming up the Army of Tennessee near to the Chickamauga Creek by 18 September. He wants to strike the Union left before Rosecrans can fully concentrate his army, additionally cutting them off from Chattanooga.  Rosecrans foresees this, ordering forced marches to reinforce his left.  

Shortly after dawn on 19 September, Bragg launches the first in a series of assaults against the Union lines, opening up the Battle of Chickamauga. Some of the fiercest fighting in the entire battle taking place in and around Viniard Field. 

I took command of Heg's brigade who had stumbled across Gregg’s Confederate Brigade in an advance position in the woods. This meant I was in the thick of the action right from the beginning and was hard pressed as more and more Confederate units arrived in front and to the flank of my position.

Here are some photos from the game:

Despite my holding action in the woods I was forced to withdraw as I was overwhelmed and fell back towards our defences.  Unfortunately a traffic jam on the Lafayette road found our reinforcements stalled and as a result the game was a Confederate victory in the end.