This month, July 2013, celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and earlier this week a band of enthusiasts came together to mark the occasion with a wargame using 54mm toy soldiers. The real battle was fought over three days but we opened our action on day two of the struggle:
Overview of the field from Rock Run Creek looking west
The union forces are concentrated in a salient between the two roads that stretch from cemetery ridge where General Meade has made his headquarters all the way back to Little Round Top, the ground rises steadily from the town of Gettysburg up to the surrounding hills. Flags are placed to mark initial troop deployments (some are dummies) and are replaced by actual units when the umpire decides that they are in line of sight at ground level.
Overview of the initial action.
The artillery duel begins.
Confederate Command, with an English observer, Captain William Widdirington: late of the Steam Steel and torpedoes blog
The Confederate Command watch as their attack goes in.
The Confederate advance from Gettysburg along the roads up to the ridge
More Confederate Regiments appears on the Union left, working their way south towards Little Round Top, to close the line with another two Regiments believed to be hidden in the woods. Up on the hills above, three Union Regiments with two Batteries await them.
The fighting becomes much hotter on the right and a Regiment is rushed from the centre to stiffen the Federal flank.
The Union left flank is rocked by the rising crescendo of the Rebel Yell!
Up on Little Round Top the Yankee commander starts to get anxious that the expected rebel attack against him might just be a faint and he makes a probing advance to force the issue. Too late he discovers that he has been duped, the main attack is well advanced on the right while he has been sitting on the left with half the army and it’s guns.
Union troops on the left advance across The Wheatfield and form line around the Peach Orchard. (the plant markers were used to indicate geographical features)
The Union left makes up for lost time, engaging the Rebel right to the relief of the hard pressed Zouaves holding the centre.
Effective Confederate artillery fire takes out the first Union battery.
Good shooting from the Rebel guns took a fearful toll on the massed ranks of Union troops squeezed into the salient.
Pressure builds up on the right as more Confederate regiments are fed straight into the attack as they arrive in the line.
And yet more Rebels! the whole of the South must be here today.
The struggle to hold the woods continues
The Iron Brigade and Berdans Sharpshooters join the line as the last reserves are thrown in to face the final assault of the day
Sadly I was unable to stay for the second days play so this is all I have to offer you but hopefully the story will be taken up and continued on the Megablitz and more blog of Mr Tim Gow who commanded the armies of the South on the day.
The game didn’t follow the path of the original battle and it was never intended that it should do so (especially with the well known Rebel sympathies of some players on the Union side!). All the players contributed several regiments each, the sight of so many toy soldiers set out on an extensive terrain was quite inspiring and made the effort of painting them up all the more worthwhile.