I deployed first and was conscious that, given you set-up first, go second, the attacker has the initiative and always chooses whereto attack, which objectives to go for, to feint for, etc. For my part, in defence, I didn't want to be too static, the plan was for a more mobile set-up. I have 3 cavalry units on my roster so can afford to be. These would be more mobile infantry, starting all held in reserve and moving to reinforce as extra riflemen. My front line was bit weaker, as I kept 2 regiments back as infantry reinforcements and 1 artillery battery limbered too, to move to meet the biggest incoming threat. 2 batteries started deployed ready for the on-going and never resolved counter-battery artillery duel. For the first time all campaign I had more guns than the South.
In the centre, Hope's cornfield, I deployed back, out of LoS, but a short move for the recruits and the guns (prolonged) would bring them into LoS, but it meant the enemy guns couldn't target them until I rolled forward an inch, waiting for his attack closed in. On my right, the ground was good for me. I had woods (cover) to deploy in, fronted by a swamp to slow him down. My best, but small, eager-veteran unit went here and, on turn 1, dug-in. They'd take some shifting, and by then, my reserve cavalry would be in behind them to block the route to the objective.
On the 'refused' left, my second battery, my Ohio boys, the senior veteran regiment of the brigade and 1 cavalry unit were ready to move out and take the objective beyond my deployment zone. I couldn't let him have a clear march to that, but again, did I have the men to stop a major attack - probably not, but the limbered guns and, in extremis, the extra cavalry could be sent to help if dire need called and his entire force came that way.
He deployed, and the guns roared to the usual call of 'counter-battery fire'!
The Rebs tried to attack in various strengths in 3 places, nothing more than a feint on the left, not pressing hard, with only 1 small regiment against that objective, so hey, my cavalry could hold them and galloped of to do so. In the centre, his big unit, but all fresh-faced recruits, marched in and formed up into a firing line, only harassed by some skirmishing fire back from the woods, than did nothing. That situation looked dangerous, I had no units that size, so sent 2 smaller ones to the woods to stop him, including the reserve Zouaves committed in turn 1... at the double!
His main attack was on my right, through the swamp, which is an odd choice, but if you play cards, it doesn't slow you down. His now dismounted veteran cavalry waded into the water, along with his best veteran infantry, and my single 4 stand unit, behind their log barricades looked well out-matched. But they hung tough, volleyed away and, aided by a timely 'Like a Stone Wall' card, the defended log barricades and my Preacher, saw off the first Reb charge. They'd be back. My guns in the cornfield were pushed forwards 1 inch to open up with hails of canister fire on the Rebs in the swamp, and casualties started to mount fast. Still, my boys would need help soon, the spare cavalry to the rescue! As is, of course, required, just in time.
Actually they weren't required, because my veterans did well, before finally being thrown back from their barricades, but not wiped out. His attack stalled, aided by an 'Old Rivals' card. to much Southern cursing. On the left, his feint had petered out, my dismounted cavalry having seen the threat off with good skirmish fire, and in the centre, well, we traded fire through the woods, but his charge again failed to drive my boys back... a bad day at the office and some not great dice and cards cost him in this crucial melee. With that, and my artillery getting the upper hand in the counter-battery dual, 2 guns KO'd to 1, he retired. The Rebs pulled back to preserve their force rather than press what looked like a hopeless position any further. A solid win for the boys in blue... and now a head in the campaign too. Looking good ... 3 straight wins has seen my brigade commander race up the ranks. Next time, we move into 1964, with a Meeting Engagement, something to look forward to in February. The Reb's really need a win to raise morale.
A few snaps of the game in progress, and my current brigade roster, as it stands after this battle and it's campaign turn. This is so much fun!
Deployed, this i s my refused left, behind is Hope's cornfield in the centre, and the reserve cavalry in columns ready to move from the centre rear, left or right.
The centre, my dedicated 'counter-battery' guns at the back(he had a hill for his guns, so LoS wasn't an issue, just trying to roll 6s was!), I out range some of his small howitzers, with reserve Zouaves. The front line is across the cornfield.
12th Maine Cavalry, off to secure the floating objective on the left.
His main attack, cavalry just dismounted, approaching the swamp... time to bet wet feet.
The fight for the wood lot in the centre goes my way, his recruits were pushed back after their charge. Zouaves have joined the line and helped keep up skirmish fire through the trees.
12th Maine, now without their horses, hold the objective (marked by the camp fire).
Lt General Dupont's brigade.