Saturday, July 6, 2013

Battle of Pine Hill, July 6, 1863

Today (July 6, 2013), the Jackson Gamers fought a pair of post-Gettysburg "what if" battles based on a vigorous pursuit by Meade's Army of the Potomac of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.  I was a Confederate commander of one of the battles and this report concentrates on some of that action.

The scenarios of both battles were similar with Union forces attempting to cut Lee's line of retreat to the Potomac River crossings.  In the battle which I fought, the Confederates already held a strategic hill while in the other battle, the Union forces held the strategic hill.  The mission of the opposite sides were to either defend what we already had or take it from their opponent.

The Battle of Pine Hill pitted four brigades of Confederates under Lieutenant General James Longstreet against five brigades of Union troops.  John A. (young novice son of Jay A.) assisted me while we were opposed by Travis M. (overall Union commander) and Sean P. (my son).  On the other table Jay A. (overall Confederate commander) and Jerry Lee A. (his older son) fought a successful battle against the Union forces of Ed S. and Bill H.

Looking at the Confederate battle line with Pine Hill in the center upon which were placed two artillery batteries supported by a regiment of infantry.  John A. commanded a brigade of infantry and an artillery battery of the right (left of picture) while I commanded the center and left flank brigades.  We had the fourth brigade in reserve.

A full Union brigade of three regiments in column assaults the 4th Texas of John's brigade.  After a fierce struggle the Confederate regiment fell back precipitously, pursued by one of the Union regiments.  On the right, John's artillery battery lends fire support.

Sean P., a stone-faced Union commander, launches overwhelming attacks against John's other two Texas regiments.  After inflicting some casualties with their rifle fire, both regiments withdrew in front of the Union attackers.  Travis M. (back to camera) places casualties from his part of the Union forces back into their boxes.

The aftermath of a ferocious fight in the center.  After loosing his artillery battery to a Union assault, John counters with a furious counterattack by the 2nd South Carolina against two Union regiments.  The Palmetto boys beat both Federal regiments then turned against the Union regiment to the left facing the 17th Tennessee Infantry, scattering it with a fierce Rebel yell.

On the right flank, three of John's regiments from two different brigades face off against three Union regiments but in the background three more are moving around the copse of woods.

Meanwhile on the left flank I'm slowly withdrawing against very light Union pressure as I begin to send regiments to shore up the center and right of our line.  There were two Union batteries to my front and I didn't want to risk a mini-"Pickett's" charge against them.

At this point we stopped the action, with the umpire judging that the Union forces didn't have the strength to push our troops off the Pine Hill.  Travis' two Union brigades just couldn't close because he rolled lousy on his movement die rolls.  We decided that his troops had made a hard forced march the night before the battle and then encountered very muddy fields, slowing their advance.

I don't really know exactly what happened on the other table but the Confederate forces did successfully attack the Union held hill and severely beat them up, pushing them back along their front.  I know Ed S. took pictures so I hope he'll post them here shortly.