Monday, April 13, 2015

Battle of Shelbyville

I have been working on commissions for most of my hobby time, so it was time to set aside the brushes and treat myself to a wargame.  I hadn't played Regimental Fire and Fury for awhile, and I have enjoyed these rules for solo actions.  This game was a struggle for the town of Shelbyville in the the heartland of Virginia.  It is, of course, fictional as are the orders of battle. 

This scenario has Purdy's Virginia cavalry brigade guarding the approach to Shelbyville from the east.  Scouts have returned alerting Purdy to the fact that a Union infantry division is on its way to destroy the town, which is a vital supply source for the Army of Northern Virginia.  The cavalry general has sent out couriers to press for reinforcements, but until they arrive his four regiments and Dodson's three sections of guns are all that there is to defend the town with. (All of the remaining units to be engaged rolled a d10 to see when they would arrive on the field.)

Purdy's right flank


Shelbyville, with Purdy's defenses in the background

The western side of the table. No sign of reinforcements
The game began when Freeman's New Jersey brigade arrives on turn 1.  He is rather new to command and foolishly advances up the main road in march column.  Dodson's experienced artillerists give the 4th New Jersey a very hot welcome. (the battery rolled a 10, which was withering fire, but one section is now low on ammo.) Freeman's other 3 regiments march away from the road to form a line of battle.  The Union general wasn't expecting such a hostile reception.
Dodson's battery opens the battle and draws first blood
The 4th NJ loses two stands
Fortunately for Freeman, the divisional artillery, a battery of heavy rifles, is right behind him and should be able to take on the rebel guns.  With this confidence, he rallies the bruised 4th and sends the other 3 regiments forward.
The 4th VA hiding in the woods

The 6th VA behind its hasty works.

Freeman's right flank moves into position to engage the rebel line.
On turn three things really got going.  The Union artillery set to challenging Dodson's guns and the Union line of battle marched stoically into position to begin dueling with the gray-clad cavalrymen.  Dodson's battery was able to take out another stand of the 4th NJ, but the shotguns and hunting rifles of the cavalrymen did no damage to the Yankee soldiers.
Dodson's guns feeling the wrath of heavy rifled guns

The lines begin blazing away at one another.

On the Confederate left, a lot of noise but little damage done.
During the Confederate half of the turn, Purdy sprung his surprise.  The 4thVA had concealed itself in a thick wood.  While the 14th Rhode Island was fully occupied with firing at the 6th VA, the 4th moved out of its hiding place to deliver a stunning volley (rolling a 10).  This took out two stands of the 14th RI and disordered them.  But the 6th VA suffered significant casualties in the preceding firefight.  Purdy anxiously looked over his shoulder, but all of the approaches from the west were void of butternut columns.
The 4th VA's surprise

The 14th RI and 4th NJ have lost heavily
After three turns the rebels have managed to hold their line, but it is clearly an uneven fight and Purdy will need to concede his first line of defense and pull back closer to the town.  How much longer will he be able to hold out?  And Freeman is wondering where the rest of the division is.  Surely they can hear the sounds of battle.  Why aren't they rushing to his aid?  To be continued.


  1. Very interesting battle. Is it the first day at Gettysburg, but the roles reversed?