Take Command: Second Manassas AAR: “Boots and Saddles”: Sigel’s I Corps AoV on August 29, 1862

by Brett Schulte on April 14, 2006 · 0 comments

Guys,

I promised quite a while ago to clean up and post some of the AARs (After Action Reports) I wrote while playtesting TC2M. I’ll be posting these in the MMG Forums, in the Paradox Forums, and on my American Civil War Gaming & Reading Blog.

The AAR below covers Sigel’s I Corps, Army of Virginia (soon to become the much-maligned XI Corps, Army of the Potomac) as they probe Jackson’s line early on the first day of fighting, August 29, 1862.

2nd Manassas – SM09v_Sigel (U_Corps) (Historical Variant) “Boots and Saddles” PART ONE
3Oct2005 7:02 P.M.
Length of Play 9:30 A.M. – 12 noon, 29Aug1862

1. Since this is a historical variant, I have the option of using Sigel’s entire Corps as I see fit. Needless to say, I won’t be sending in a Division here and a Brigade there. We’ll be striking what I hope to be a decisive victory.

2. I’ll be playing on Normal difficulty.

3. Pope has given me my orders, and I am to attack Jackson, who is presumed to be retreating. I plan to attack WNW toward the southern objective. I hope to use the Divisions of Schenk (1st) and Schurz (3rd) to lead the attack on the left and right respectively. von Steinwehr’s 1-brigade Division will support Schenk, while Milroy’s independent Brigade will support Schurz. I plan to put the Cavalry on the flanks where possible. Sigel’s Corps is a rather unwieldy organization, with von Steinwehr only having one brigade and Milroy commanding an independent brigade. I hope this doesn’t hurt me in the upcoming fight. I plan to make good use of the assault formation, trying to punch holes through the Confederate lines at two separate points within supporting distance of one another. At 9:34, I ordered everyone forward to the eastern edge of the woods bordering the unfinished RR.

4. At 9:43, I made contact with skirmishers from Field’s Brigade on the left, and Thomas’ Brigade on the right. I sent Milroy and Col. K, respectively, to deal with them.

5. By 9:47, I had driven these skirmishers off. In the process, Milroy drifted right, and so Schurz will be alone hitting the objective, and the remainder of my Corps will strike a blow to the left.

6. At 9:54, the entire I Corps was massed in the woods east of the Unfinished RR. Schenck was on the left, near the cut in the Unfinished RR. Milroy was to his right, and Koltes’ Brigade of von Steinwehr was supporting Milroy. Cavalry skirmishers posted in the woods covered the gap between Milroy’s right and Schurz’s left. Schurz was posted immediately in front of the objective on the right.

7. I allowed everyone to catch their breath until 10:05, when I launched an all-out assault on the Unfinished RR. Each group is attacking in depth, with ample reserves. The hope is to throw successive waves at the Rebs all along the line so that no one brigade can reinforce another.

8. McLean’s Bde. ran into Field at 10:06. Schurz’s Division ran into Thomas at 10:07. At this point, I’m removing myself from direct command of the four “Division” level commanders (Schenck, von Steinwehr, Schurz, and Milroy). I’ve given all but von Steinwehr an attack command by courier, and von Steinwehr, in support of Milroy, a probe order. Milroy appears to have hit a gap in Confederate lines, and does not face any direct opposition to his front.

9. Schurz took the objective at 10:08. I was watching Schenck, and as soon as he got the attack order, he galloped over to one of his brigades and set them in motion across the unfinished RR.

10. Schenck sent Stahel off to the left to fight Lawton. McLean is taking on Field, and Milroy is lending a hand on his left. Schurz seems to be pretty timid. He sent the 29th NY way off to the left, and he is holding back a brigade. He also lost the objective as Thomas’ forces moved up to the Unfinished RR.

11. By 10:13, Schurz had regained the objective with Col. K’s Bde. alone. Col. S was still hanging out in the woods, and the 29th NY was off covering the right flank in the woods. Thomas had been routed completely, and while two of Field’s regiments were still hovering, my overwhelming numbers will send them scurrying soon enough. Schenck may soon have a problem on the right. He has routed two of Lawton’s regiments, but Trimble has moved off into the woods southeast of my position. I’m sending von Steinwehr’s little Division to deal with them. I hope they aren’t too late.

12. Field was defeated at 10:14, and I sent McLean over to battle Lawton and Trimble as well. So now, Schenck and von Steinwehr are fighting Trimble and Lawton, Milroy is holding the center versus zero opposition, and Schurz is facing a determined counterattack on the objective by Pender at 10:16. Action everywhere!!!

13. By 10:21, I had some good news and some bad news. Schenck, with very little help from Lawton, sent all of Lawton’s men and most of Trimble’s routing away. Pender dealt harshly with Schurz, however. I tried to get some of Schurz’s artillery set up along the unfinished RR, but some routed away. I have very few regiments left at the front from Schurz, but Pender only has two himself. Most of Schurz’s men are reforming in the woods. Milroy is unmolested in the woods in the center.

14. By 10:27, I was facing no immediate resistance in the form of infantry on any front. I consolidated my gains. von Steinwehr was facing south in the woods on my far left, Schenck was along the unfinished railroad facing south towards Lawton’s former position, Milroy was next in line to the north facing west in the woods west of the unfinished RR, and Schurz had reformed on the objective and again held it. Since this is a long scenario, I’m going to play it over two nights. This concludes my report on the first part of the battle. More to come tomorrow night hopefully.

TO BE CONTINUED…

PART TWO
15. Slightly after 10:30, a good number of regiments from Early’s and Hays’ Brigades attacked Schenck and von Steinwehr. My right under Schurz is only being shelled by artillery. A.P. Hill seems pretty content to let me keep the Manassas Gap RR.

16. To put it mildly: “HOLY CRAP!!!!!” My left was hit with overwhelming force by quite a few Rebel Brigades. Schenck was wounded, and the 1st and 2nd Divisions were routed off the field and fled northeast into the woods around 10:42. These are the moments that make this game so fun to play. I decided to abandon Milroy’s position and pray that Schurz can hold his own against Hill. Milroy is now facing south, with his left on the Unfinished RR. The remnants of Schenck and von Steinwehr are rallying and hold a position to his left, with their right on the Unfinished RR. The Rebs are coming after me, so I hope they can hold.

17. By 10:48, the Stonewall Brigade and Early’s Brigade were assaulting this new line, mainly on Milroy’s front. That was a bonus because Milroy’s troops had done very little fighting up to this point. The Rebs were aggressive, launching a charge immediately on Milroy’s right, but this was driven off with heavy losses.

18. My left part of this line under Schenck’s replacement and von Steinwehr is a jumbled mess. One hard push might send them all on their way.

19. At 10:51, the 3rd WV did great work. It was charged twice by Confederate regiments and routed both, only falling to a third consecutive charge. This relieved some pressure on my southern front. I’m trying to get around the Confederate flank too.

20. Uh oh. At 10:53 Archer and Gregg are moving in Schurz’s direction, and I’m going to have no reserves for the first time in the battle.

21. UTTER DISASTER at 11 A.M.!!!!! My entire left broke because the Confederates moved east of my southern flank and they are actually in the clearing west of Dogan’s Ridge. I have ordered a general retreat of the entire Corps. I can see elements of the II Corps forming behind me. I’m going to try to form a line south of them if all goes well.

22. It is now 11:18. The III Corps has moved forward to relieve me, and I am attempting to reform in their rear. I’m not having much success, though I currently have almost 4000 points from holding the objective earlier.

23.At 11:30, I’ve got pretty much all that’s left of my I Corps still on the field and in organized formations (4989 men!) resting on Dogan’s Ridge several thousand yards east of the unfinished railroad. We are out of the fight. The IX Corps has also reached the field.

24. I was never seriously threatened again. This one was tough because I only went after the southern objective and because I also poked around too much too far south and paid. I ended up with about 4000 points, but I was whipped soundly in this one. It felt like and was a defeat.

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