Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Champion Hill Battle

We played this game at Fondren Presbyterian Church in Jackson MS. on April 6, 2013. This was a large battle, a kind-of recreation of the American Civil War battle of Champion Hill, which was fought on May 16, 1863. In the real battle, General Grant overwhelmed the forces of CSA General Joseph Pemberton and sent the rebel army retreating into Vicksburg where it surrendered on July 4, 1863 after a siege. Ours was a 25mm game using our 30+ year old armies composed mainly of Minifigs, Hinchliffe and Custom Cast figures. For variety a few Garrison and RAFM miniatures along with several brigades of young whippersnapper Old Glory troops also march in our armies.

The Gamemaster for the game was Jay Stribling. The photos are by Jim Pitts. The rules used were a variant of Larry Brom’s A Glint of Bayonets.

During the Game Set-up

The above photo shows the set-up with about half of the Confederate forces on the field. The Champion hill is shown. The lower tiers of the hill were wooded and the crown was clear.

Another Set-up Image

Another view, similar to the above, during the game set-up. Again, the central hill is shown. Note the wooden ruler at the rear of the hill. This simulates the Confederate line of retreat, which was a Union objective during the game.

A Union Brigade Is Deployed

This shows the size of an “average” brigade in this game. Each regiment has six 4-man stands (24 men total) and this 3-regiment brigade thusly has 72 infantry figures plus a mounted Brigdier general.

View From The Confederate Rear

This shows more of the Union Army being set up. The order of deployment was, half of the Confederate brigades were set up first, then half of the Federal army’s brigades, then the remainder of the Rebel troops (less two brigades kept off the table) and lastly the rest of the Union brigades (with two brigades similarly held off as reserves).

The Confederate Right

This shows the regiment on the extreme Confederate right flank. This unit, composed of “veteran” Custom Cast figures, is owned by Jim Pitts.

A Mass Of Union Troops

This shows the right half of the Union army, deployed, possibly at the end of the first game turn. Jay Ainsworth is shown at the end of the game table. Partially shown are Sean Pitts and Fred Diamond (on extreme right of image).

Martha Stevens Adjusting Troops

The Confederate Players were: Phil Young (Extreme right flank) Bill Hamilton (Center-right) John Murdaugh (C-in-C, Center) Martha Stevens (center-left) and Jay Ainsworth (extreme left flank)

The Union Players were: Sean Pitts (Extreme right flank) Mark Stevens (C-in-C, Center-right) Fred Diamond (Center) Jim Pitts (Center-left) and Jay Stribling (Extreme Left flank).

The Confident Confederate General

Bill Hamilton, his forces deployed in line on the central hill, confidently awaits the Federal horde. Bill’s troops defended the hill well, till the last turn when he swept down off it to advance against the withered forces of Jim Pitts.

The Federal Advance

Union general Jim Pitts’ first brigade has it’s regiments in line, advancing against the rebels on the Champion hill. Note that the regiment closest to the camera has already lost two of it’s six stands. Rebel Generals shown in the background are, John Murdaugh (in his red battle-shirt), Martha Stevens, and Jay Ainsworth.

At The Double-Quick Boys!

With national and regimental flags flying, the first Union reserve brigade (I believe) advances in columns behind the front, trying to gain position to deploy into firing line.

The Union Left Advances Into The Killing Ground

This shows Jay Stribling’s command on the Extreme Federal left flank, advancing against Phil Young’s Confederates. Note the Palmetto flags of the defending brigade, indicating that they are South Carolinians. The figures in the foreground are Old Glory miniatures, painted and owned by Jay Ainsworth.

The Green ring on the flag closest to the camera indicates that the regiment has a morale point of 2. The gold ring on the regiment in the center of the image shows a morale point of 4 – much superior. By the end of the sixth turn of the game (the last turn) all the regiments shown here had been blown away by the Rebel sharpshooters. Only a 4-stand rump of one regiment and the red-shirted battery (partially seen behind the trees) remained on the Federal left flank.

Forward The Seventh Michigan!

The brave 7th Michigan regiment gets onto the hill, driving off the first line of Confederat defenders. Will they be able to take the guns on the crest? Ahh- No. Too many rebel defenders and too much cannister fire, drove them back, tattered and bleeding.

The High Water Mark

From the same brigade, the 20th Massachusetts infantry gets onto the hill amd attempts to seize the crest. Alas, they also were pushed back.

The Federal Advance On the Right

Toward the end of the game, the remaining mass of the Union army moves forward on the Federal right flank. Martha Stevens would be hard pressed to hold the connecting line between the hill and Jay Ainsworth’s troops on the Extreme Confederal left. But while this looks promising for General Grant, on his left flank, Generals Stribling and Pitts were being flayed by superior numbers and massive concentrations of Confederate artillery on the crest of Champion hill.

The Empty Field

At the end of the fifth turn, this shows the portion of the battlefield that had been filled by the troops of Jim Pitts’ command at the beginning of the battle. Note that Bill Hamilton has moved his first unit of Rebel infantry off the hill and is advancing against Jim’s left, severing the commands of Jim from that of Jay Stribling on the Federal extreme left.

The Massive Union Right – 1

The Massive Union Right – 2

The two images above show the mass of the Union army concentrated on it’s right. The time is at the game’s ending. The Federals are threatening the Champion hill and all of the Confederate forces to the north of the hill. In the real battle, this force broke the Confederates and sent them streaming to the rear. However, unlike our game, in the real struggle, the Union left was still intact. Not so here!

Travis Melton is shown in a yellow shirt. Travis arrived late and took over the command of Jay Ainsworth who had to leave the game, but returned in time to witness the ending.

So, what did we learn from this game? Our fast-play version of Larry Brom’s rules seemed to work well. The game-master, Jay Stribling, tried to keep the game moving and generally succeeded. In a three hour period (excluding set-up time and our lunch break) we played six turns. Not bad for 11 players and 2000+ miniatures in the game. A good time seemed to be had by all, which is normal for the Jackson Gamers.

We plan to put this game on again at Bayou Wars in Metaire LA in June, 2013. We hope to see you there!