Several weeks ago, I showed readers some South Mountain screen shots of HPS‘ newly released Campaign Antietam. As I explained there, despite being given the name “Campaign Antietam”, the game actually covers quite a few more battlefields, including First Bull Run (including Blackburn’s Ford, Henry Hill, and Matthews Hill), Second Bull Run (including Cedar Mountain, Brawner’s Farm, and Chantilly), and South Mountain.
Today I’m going to take a look at the offerings for Second Bull Run in the game, including Brawner’s Farm. After browsing through the Scenario Selection Dialog box, I saw main scenarios and variants for the following engagements (click to see the full image):
- Second Bull Run: covering the main two days of fighting on August 29 and 30, 1862
- Groveton (aka Brawner’s Farm): The baptism of fire of the famous Union Black Hat Brigade on August 28, 1862 on what would shortly be the main battlefield of Second Manassas
Second Manassas (+8 variants)
The full two day historical battle of Second Manassas is available as an 81 turn scenario. It looks like shorter scenarios (say under 25 turns) were again neglected, just as in South Mountain. The eight variants offer the ability to play day one only (36 turns) in several variants, or the full two day battle in several variants. I am more than a little surprised that users were not given the option to play various famous vignettes of the battle as stand alone scenarios. This would include the various uncoordinated probes of Jackson’s line along the unfinished railroad on day 1, Longtreet’s newly arriving units tangle with the Pennsylvania Reserves and Hatch’s Division at twilight on day 1, Pope’s misguided attack on day 2, and Longstreet’s famous crushing flank attack the finished the battle. None of these is covered in detail. It looks like modders can have a field day attempting to recreate these “battles within the battle.”
As in the first entry, I’m going to take a look around the battlefield and take some screenshots of the famous landmarks located there. First we have the left half of Jackson’s defensive line generally following the unfinished railroad bed (click to see the full image). A.P. Hill’s Division and Stuart’s cavalry covered this far left Confederate flank anchored on Bull Run.
This screen shot was taken using the “3D Zoom-Out” view with the unit boxes along the left side removed.
A close-up of part of Hill’s line can be seen below using the “3D Normal” view (click to see a larger image):
Moving southwest, we can see the right wing of Jackson’s defensive line, covering the Dump and the Deep Cut and manned by Jackson’s and Ewell’s divisions.
This screen shot was taken using the “3D Zoom-Out” view.
I wanted to provide a look at what the 2D views look like in the game as well. Here you can see a portion of the Union lines at the beginning of the battle in that format. Kearny’s III Corps division is highlighted in red.
Unfortunately due to the small number of starting times I could not get a screen shot of the situation at the beginning of day 2, so I’ll describe it for those of you unfamiliar with the battle. Longstreet’s Wing has arrived to the right of Jackson and is ready to deliver a crushing blow. Pope, mistakenly believing the Confederates are retreating, plans to give them a push by attacking the unfinished railroad with Porter’s V Corps of the Army of the Potomac.
Now that we’ve seen the main areas of the battlefield, I want to show you a view of the entire first day’s battlefield using the 2D Zoom-Out view. If you click on the screen shot below, the large image file is labeled with the main geographic features such as streams, roads, forest, hills, and of course the unfinished railroad.
Note the presence of Confederate forces in red and Union forces in blue. The situation depicted is as of 9 AM on the morning of August 29, 1862.
Groveton or Brawner’s Farm: First Fight of the Black Hats (+ 7 variants)
Many of you are I’m sure familiar with the first bloodletting of the Black Hats (later known as the Iron Brigade) against Jackson’s veterans at Brawner’s Farm. I’m happy to report the presence of this fight in the game along with multiple variants allowing several Union and Confederate brigades to participate who watch historically. I had to move the units manually into position, but the following screen shots approximate the Union and Confederate lines as darkness approached on the evening of August 28, 1862.
In the first screen shot, we get an overview of the entire battlefield. The Union front lines consist mainly of the Black Hats, including the 2nd Wisconsin highlighted in the unit panel to the left, and with some help from two of Doubleday’s regiments, . The Confederate lines facing the Black Hats are veterans of the Valley Campaign and the Seven Days. They include the famous Stonewall Brigade, Lawton’s Georgians, and Trimble’s mixed brigade. This one was taken with 3D Zoom-Out view.
The second screen shot below focuses on the main fighting between three of the four Black Hats regiments (19th Indiana, 2nd Wisconsin, and 7th Wisconsin) versus the famed Virginians of the Stonewall Brigade. Brawner’s farmhouse marks the western edge of the engagement.
The various views used in the game allow the player to see the overall picture or drill down to take a detailed look at a battle in progress.
I hope to continue these sets of screenshots for the next few weeks, including ones on Cedar Mountain/Chantilly, First Bull Run, and the main battlefield at Antietam.
For further reading on Groveton (Brawner’s Farm) and Second Bull Run, I suggest the following:
- Return To Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas by John Hennessy
- Second Manassas Battlefield Map Study (Virginia Civil War Battles and Leaders Series) by John Hennessy
- The Second Bull Run Campaign July-August 1862 by David G. Martin
- Second Manassas 1862: Robert E Lee’s Greatest Victory by John Langellier
- Brave Men’s Tears: The Iron Brigade at Brawner Farm by Alan Gaff