Monday, December 27, 2010

Dranesville Battle Cry session

Game Store Tony and I continued our series the other day. Recent sessions at Greenbrier, Va. and Belmont, Mo. were a split, with the boys in blue coming out on top at Greenbrier and the rebels at Belmont.

The Battle at Dranesville was another in the series of little-known 1861 skirmishes that Battle Cry has dug up. Most standard histories devote very little time and ink to the fighting that happened between First Bull Run and the 1862 campaigns in the Valley, the Peninsula and Shiloh. Compared to the later fighting the casualty toll was low, although many of them were pretty important strategically. They were especially critical in keeping the border states in the union (esp. Missouri) and in splitting off the western counties of Virginia into the new state of West Virginia.

The Dranesville affair was small, about a brigade's worth of troops on each side. Historically the federal force drove J.E.B. Stuart from the field, but in our game things went badly for the Union troops right from the start as the elite "Bucktails" unit fell quickly under a hail of fire (hot dice) from the Secesh side.

As can often happen in Battle Cry and its ilk the bad stuff snowballed and the Union was never able to turn things around, resulting in a fairly lopsided 6-2 win for the Rebels. As has been usual for Game Store Tony, his cavalry took it hard and both flags came from eliminated cavalry units. I told him that at this rate I'll have to change his nickname from "Stonewall" to "Kil-cavalry."
Unfortunately I was never able to finish off an infantry unit, even though several were reduced to a single figure. But each time the unit was saved when a flag also retreated the damaged unit out of range or behind a ridge. In contrast the federal units were too stalwart to retreat from fire and died where they stood.

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