The American Civil War    
  Big Bethel; 10 June 1861   scale: 1:50, start: 5am, dark: 10pm, 1 game turn = 30 min, 2 guns = 1 stand
     
 

Brief background:
After the 'Battle of Philippi' where the 800-odd Confederate boys chose to run rather than give battle, Union morale was up and young general McClellan had begun to make a name for himself. Union forces were blockading Chesapeake Bay and in order to stem their aggression further up the peninsula, Confederate forces established defensive lines around Little and Big Bethel churches, some 8 miles from the town of Hampton, then in Union hands. Due to Confederate cavalry raids into Union lines, the Federal commander despatched a force to drive the Confederates from their defensive lines. But the very raw Union troops attacked piecemeal and were driven back everywhere in great confusion, albeit with only slight losses (they ran rather too early). Still, the Confederates abandoned their positions after the vicory and withdrew to Yorktown.

Game notes:
- The umpire must arrange that the Union player commanding Bendix's troops fires on the 3rd NY regiment, mistaking it for Confederates due to their grey uniforms. This 'attack' in the rear caused the forward units to temporarily turn back.
- Units with more than 8 stands may be broken up into 2 sub units, which must operate within 3" of each other.

 
     
 
UNION FORCES start the morning with orders to attack
C-in-C: Brig Gnl E. W. Pierce
Units
Col Duryea 5th NY Zouaves 550 11/9/6 green
  Troy rifles 200 4/-/3 green
  1st Vermont 300 6/5/4 green
Lt. Col Washburn 4th Massachusetts 300 6/5/4 green
  7th New York 150 3/-/2 green
  2nd US artillery:  2x6 pdr 1 stand  -
Col Bendix 7th New York 400 8/7/5 green
Col Townsend 3rd New York 550 11/9/6 green
2 x mtd howitzers 2guns 1 stand  -
Col ? 2nd New York 550 11/9/6 green
Col Allen 1st New York 550 11/9/6 green
 
     
 
CONFEDERATE FORCES
C-in-C: Col. J. B. Magruder
You have readied your men with orders to attack the Union lines when you see enemy columns 
approaching.
Col D. H. Hill 1st N Carolina 600 12/9/6 veteran
Col D. Stuart 3rd Virginia 600 12/9/6 veteran
Maj E. B. Montague Virginia cavalry 200 4/3/2 veteran
Maj W. Randolph - Excel Richmond howitzer battery 6 guns 3 stands  -
Reinforcements
Col ? Louisiana IR 600 12/9/6 veteran
 
 
 
Download scenario here
 
 
     
 
 
Time table
05:00 start
05:30  
06:00  
06:30  
07:00  
07:30  
08:00  
08:30  
09:00  
09:30  
10:00  
10:30  
11:00  
11:30  
12:00  
12:30  
13:00  
13:30  
14:00  
14:30  
15:00  
15:30  
16:00  
 
     
  Account of the refight:
Players:
Confederates: Steve Mason
Union: Garrith Joynt
Garrith decided early on to concentrate the majority of his forces on the left of the road to attack the hill at Little Bethel, sparsely manned by troops from Stuart's command. Washburn and Townsend were sent on along the road, heading straight for the bridge. The Troy rifles were left to contend the forest and were later joined by the 150 men from the 7th NY under Washburn. Mason was a bit slow to respond to this weak opposition on his left and took his time to send Hill's men in, preferring a piecemeal feed. Thinking defensively he was pulling back his cavalry and made a tempting wheel right in front of the 1st Vermont, but the latter forgot to empty their muskets into the cav's flank. Perhaps this was caused by the confusion of the arrival of the 3rd NY, dressed in grey, who promptly received a round of cannister from Washburn's artillery, causing great damage. It took a while before tempers settled after this surprise and the actions refocussed on the front line. There, Mason had massed as much artillery as he could to fire on the leading Union regiment, the hapless 1st Vermont. His cavalry was waiting on the other side of the defensive wall to charge, but while the Vermont boys were wittled away turn after turn, the Virginia cavalry refused to budge. (dice again) Garrith had meanwhile barrelled more men down the road and charged the lone Virginia unit holding the edge of the forest. His aggression paid off: Col Hill was shot from the saddle and his unit was sent reeling back. Behind the wall on the hill too, Col Stuart was killed by a canon ball, and things started to look bleak for the Confederates. With little to lose, Mason decided to throw everything into the attack. The Virginians in the forest charged and finally cleaned the Troy rifles out. Part of his cavalry finally charged across the wall and rode down the by now spent Vermont boys while driving back the glorious 3rd NY who, having recovered from their cannister ordeal, had shortly before killed Hill and routed one of his units. At the wall in front of the Little Bethel church, things did not go the Confederate way though. Montague charged the massed Union regiments with the remaining half of his cavalry but was repulsed by a withering fire. Stuart's men, who by now had got a new commander, were out of ammo and in true rebel style also charged their foes across the wall. They were decimated by the Union fire and swept from the field in the ensuing combat. This fierce round of play did however mark the last of the game. 11 turns had been played in 5 hours. Both sides had lost their right flank, but lack of manpower prevented Mason from following up and he withdrew behind his defences around Big Bethel and the comfort of his artillery. Garrith had lost a couple of units and was in disarray on his right, but held the Little Bethel hill with large numbers of infantry. Neither was streaming from the battlefield (as was the Union historic fate) and both sides would in all likelyhood eye each other wearily across Black Creek for the rest of the day, especially since a Confederate regiment was joining their ranks shortly after noon. It was a fair draw, suitably played with enthusiasm and frustration and in fair ignorance of the rules, as was befitting young troops at the very beginning of the war.
 
     
 
Pics of the game:
 
     
 
 
View of the battlefield at the start of the game Union troops are arriving from the right, while the Confederates are well entrenched on the left.
     
 
 
Arrival of the hapless 3rd NY, dressed in grey, in support of their Union comrades. Washburn's battery has alreadyturned to fire at it. Garrith, not sure the 3rd NY were his troops, was raging with frustration. One can imagine the chaos and anger in real life.
 
 
 
     
 
View of the game before the rebel counterattack into the congested centre. Union units are massing at the bottom right for their push on Little Bethel hill.