Monday, July 9, 2012

On To Richmond: The Gates Of Richmond

The 1862 campaign continued over several sessions during the month of June.  This time we went with the larger seven turn Gates Of Richmond scenario; once again settling into our now familiar roles with Mike L. taking the South and I the North.  This scenario is one of the most intriguing of the game, offering the central hypothetical of the entire campaign: what if McDowell had been allowed to march to Richmond and reinforce McClellan's army.  The system showcases the less unified early war command structures of both sides with typical corps formations containing no more than 2 divisions.  This makes for a very compelling chess-like game with small scale unit activations switching back and forth as each side attempts to gain advantage.
Gates Of Richmond Setup - Morning May 26, 1862
The situation opens with the Army of Potomac straddling the Chickahominy River ready to advance on several different avenues of attack.  The North is awarded points for occupying various important terrain features in the region: railway stations heading NW toward the Shenandoah valley, the defensive redoubt system surrounding the city, the forts guarding the southern approaches along the York River, and finally the city of Richmond itself.  The Confederates earn points, naturally, by preventing this occupation, but also by denying the Union access to its supply line along the railroad back to White House Station on the Pamunkey River. 
Night of May 27, 1862

Turns 1 and 2: May 26-27
I opted to try for a move on Richmond by crossing the Chickahominy north and wheeling around to approach the city from northwest.  This would put me closer to McDowell's marching forces and put me in a postion to push into the unoccupied redoubts in this sector of the Southern defense.  However, this strategy would come at the cost of uncovering my supply line to White House Station.  I was willing to take the risk and see how much strength Mike was willing to commit to take the rail line.  The first day the forces started slowly turning toward the western side of the city.  Day 2 saw rain which slowed everyone to a crawl as the units kept moving in the direction of the plan.  By the end of the day the North had everyone on the North bank of the Chickahominy and the South sent a force toward the supply line.  In the west, the Northern cavalry was able to push into the redoubt line before the South could adequately react. 

Night of May 30, 1862

Turns 3-5: May 28-30
The morning of May 28 found the Union army ready for action as they won a series of activations that marched the balance of two Corps into the western portion of the city itself and crossing over the river into Manchester.  The South positioned to counter-attack the next day.  May 29 was rain again which slowed all operations on both sides.  On May 30 the South launched their attacks which forced back the North from several hexes of the city and out of Manchester, but they could not move the units dug in around the President's House and Hollywood Cemetary.  Longstreet sent a division up the Union supply line which threatened White House Station.
Night of June 1, 1862: The Union holds West Richmond among the blood of Fatigue 4's

Turns 6-7: May 31-June 1, 1862
Turn 6 opened once again with rain.  Along the northern approaches, McDowell and AP Hill slowly made their way to the city battle, but effectively rendered each other hors de combat with their own battles NW of the city.  In the east, Longstreet's division took White House Station.  In response, Sumner sent a division to retake the supply line.  Turn 7 opened with renewed assaults by the South to dislodge the North from Richmond.  After several massive assaults they managed to push Franklin from the President's House, but at a considerable body count.  McClellan managed to hold onto the Public Square and Hollywood Cemetary.  At this point the game came down to who would control White House Station on the Union Supply Line.  Could Longstreet hold against Sumner's race to the river?  The point spread was so narrow that the outcome of this attack would declare the victor.  The final odds for the attack were close so we rolled the dice and the devastating 6 and 1 die roll combination came up in the North's favor!  A win for the North. 


Chris Strasser said...

Nice AAR! Was there a probability table for McDowell's arrival? When did he "leave" for Richmond? Why did it take nearly a week for him to get there?

Chicago Wargamer said...

Thanks, Chris! No, in this scenario there is no probability table for McDowell's arrival, he is on the board at start. The I Corps units start in Golonsville, roughly 30 miles north of Richmond. As I recall in our game he took his time moving south due to a combination of low move rolls, several rain turns which slows movement to a crawl and some timely screening by Confederate forces arriving from the Valley.