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Buford Protege

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About Buford Protege

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  1. I would say the best explanation to the advantage comes during the 2nd Day of Gettysburg in the game when playing as the Union. One Brigade alone can hold Big Round Top as the enemy can not charge up it due to the incline. They take too much of a fatigue hit and stop before they reach your positions. You will notice some bonuses in game as your troops attacking an enemy who is on higher elevations in a straight up fight (like a screening force) will take more casualties generally than the command on top of the hill. In history the biggest advantage has always been moving uphill slows an enemy and the fatigue it causes more than anything. An enemy slowing blunts the effects of a charge and as mentioned, gives the defenders more firing chances. If one looks at the fighting at Little Round Top in real life we see Benning's Georgians unable to break through on their attacks as the men are exhausted by the time they reach the top. Contemporary teachings at West Point (1849-1865) claimed you needed a 3-1 numerical advantage for an assault to be guaranteed of success on even ground. When attacking elevated ground you needed 5-1 or better. Under this model even Pickett's charge (if it was at full strength) bringing 15,000 men to bear would not have succeeded against a weekend II Corps (estimates of 8,000 on July 3). Its the same idea as to why commanders always looked to turn a hill's flank rather than assault it directly (even Grant tried to find flanks). The best example in American history of how to handle a hill is at the battle of Cerro Gordo in 1847. Winfield Scott took 8,500 men and routed a force of 12-20,000 by finding the flank (thanks Lieutenant P.G.T. Beaureguard, Captain R.E. Lee and Colonel William Harney) and turning it. So traditional tactics said don't charge up a hill...go around. Good motto to follow
  2. I would definitely have to agree that non of the Confederate upper echelons can be held devoid of blame. I would generally argue Stuart was among the chief culprits in which he left the army virtually blind. He was smarting from the bloody nose taken at Brandy Station and was eager to reclaim glory. What troopers he left behind were not enough to keep the federal cavalry at bay and perform the full scouting details required. For one of the few times of the war he allowed the Union army to have nearly complete scouting supremacy. With the work of Buford, Gregg and Kilpatrick feeding Pleasanton reports that he forwarded to Meade it gave the Union commanders a much better view of the field and knowledge of what was coming and where. When the fighting started Robertson was busy fending off Wesley Merritt's regular brigade and nowhere enough to handle the entire Confederate army's needs. I would also argue that Lee's army rearrangement led to many of the problems that arose. Though Jackson's death was not his fault. I agree with his reasoning that without him it made sense to make 3 Corps instead of 2 massive ones with less proven leaders. Ewell needed explicit orders (he was an old pre-war company commander). When given orders and full discretion he did very well at 2nd Winchester and up the Valley. His orders were no different than Jackson's the year before. Clear out the Valley, take Harper's Ferry and lead the march north. He did all 3 very well. When the battle was joined he needed actual orders and not just a very loose guide of what to do. A.P. Hill was very impetuous, which Lee should have known from the early days of the war. Add in his health maladies, he was not in his best form at Gettysburg. Had he been it is very likely that the III Corps performs far better on the first day. When in action there were few better leaders than Hill. Out of action is when he struggled, but he would learn as the war went along. Knowing of his health issues it is a wonder Lee was not closer to the start of the action. Perhaps he could have spurred Pender or Anderson to moving faster to the field and driving away Buford before the infantry could reinforce and extend the fight. All in all it seems to all boil down to Lee giving too much discretion to certain commanders who were untested or trying to reclaim lost headlines. Different commanders need different things. Lee learned what men like Longstreet and Jackson needed during the Seven Day's campaign and there were learning curves and opportunities missed. This was essentially much the same as then in a way. Opportunities missed in a larger engagement. Whereas the Union had a command structure that came up together and mostly already knew how to work together (Sickles excepted). One name we missed was E.P. Alexander. When one strolls the battlefield of Gettysburg it has been pointed out historically that had the artillery been placed on a different rise it would have allowed firing at an oblique angle which would have negated the poor Confederate fuses to a degree. This would have meant shots falling too far would have just landed on the southern end of Cemetery Ridge instead of Meade's HQ. Falling short would have hit the skirmishers along the Emmitsburg Road instead of harmlessly in front of the stone wall. Also, it would have limited the number of Union guns available to work in counter-battery fire. Only the guns on Cemetery Hill and some of Cemetery Ridge would have been able to engage.
  3. Mr Mercanto left out the most glaring omission on the second day. The attack of the 1st Minnesota . Also, the missing engagements on Culp's Hill late on the 2nd day were very intriguing. Alas, if they were to fit everything in it would be a very long movie. My biggest complaint of the Civil War movies is the lack of a movie to go along with "The Last Full Measure" by Jeff Schaara. Unfortunately they didn't develop enough of the characters needed for that in G&G or Gettysburg. I would have loved to see Brian Mallon carry on his portrayal of Hancock and the emergence of John Gordon on the Southern side. Tom Berenger I'm sure would jump at the chance to play Longstreet again. He is said to have loved the role so much that he owns a bar in Charleston, SC that he named after his role.
  4. I think there are a couple major things being missed in the answers to the question. The first being that even IF little Mac wins the election in 1864, he would not take office until March 4th, 1865. There was a much longer gap between winning the presidency and taking office than there is now due to many logistical reasons. I believe, that if Lincoln had lost the election he would have pushed harder for an earlier end to the war, or at the very least an earlier start to what proved to be the final campaigns. If one goes with the current timeline, we see that by March 4th Grant is besieging the Richmond/Petersburg line and the last supply lines are nearly severed. Sherman has taken Savannah and Charleston and is playing a "cat and mouse game" with Joe Johnston in the Carolinas. This means that McClellan takes office with the war nearly won. If one reads McClellan's own papers (I had to while writing my capstone), one sees that in his personal correspondence that he has no actual plan to end the war with negotiation with the way the war goes. He is saying he will to try and appease the old democrats in his party. What a candidate says they will do and what they actually do can be very different things. Especially with wartime powers. If he does send representatives to the Confederacy to honor his pledge, I believe he would have a draft of unacceptable demands for the Confederacy and thus they would be forced to decline. Then he could blame the Confederacy for not accepting his negotiations and then finish the war. Not unlike Lincoln did to the Confederate representatives he met at Hampton Roads. I get the feeling that had he actually negotiated a peace he knows he would not have been re-elected and thus committed political suicide, allow peace when a war is nearly won. Even Mac was too politically astute, or his advisors would have been, to see the faults in giving up when it was nearly won. Now as to what would have happened had the Confederacy won in 1861? I agree with Mr. Mercanto in believing it nearly impossible for the disorganized and unprepared Confederate army to have laid siege to Washington and won in 61. They did not have the artillery capable of winning a siege like it would have taken. Also, with the regular army returning the Union would have been able to field a further 16,000+ experienced soldiers to break the siege. But, to play to the fancy that says the Confederates win. I get the feeling we would see 3-4 nations come in what we know of today as the United States by the end of the 1800's. We would have the Union, the Confederacy, a Mormon state in Utah and possibly a nation comprising California, Oregon, Washington state and possibly more. The U.S. military had just quieted a Mormon issue in 1858 and I believe that Brigham Young would have taken full advantage of the splitting of the nation and the focus on the new border to proclaim his own nation. Also, the fact that California and the other western lands at the time were not well garrisoned, it is possible that the small minority that wished independence (Bear flag republic) would have been able to sway more people than was done historically. I definitely ascribe to the historiography that there would have ended up being at least 3 nations in what we know of as the United States today. Essentially one growing to keep the North and South in check (much like Germany grew to keep England and France in check) more than the North and South ganging up to fight in Mexico. I just feel there wasn't enough push from the populace at the time to fight another war in Mexico when the nations would likely have had to deal with reconfiguring their borders and how to deal with each other.
  5. Union Strategy at Cold Harbor

    It was much more common in European warfare to have dedicated assault units than the American school of thought at the time. Though Grant essentially used the II Coprs AOTP as his sledgehammer during the campaigns of 1865-65. The American School is thought was in tactical flexibility. We wouldn’t see a return to specified assault units until The Great War (spoiler alert, skip ahead if you don’t want your mind blown by a different conflict). In The Great War we see a return to trying to crack entrenchments and so we see a return to grenades and specialized units. The Germans brought forth their Stosstruppen and the Italian Arditi among others. What you see later in th war, when dealing with entrenchments, was a change in tactics. Emory Upton pioneered a change tab Spotsylvania with two assaults. First they tried a small scale test and then due to its succsss in cracking the Confederate entrenchments it was tried again in a large scale. In Upton’s plan the 1st wave would go in with rifles unloaded so the men wouldn’t be tempted to stop and fire, therefore getting pinned down. The second wave would go in with the same configuration. The 3rd would go in with rifles loaded, but without the percussion cap being affixed. The fourth wave would have the weapons loaded and capped and essentially be tasked with the following up and exploiting the breach. The tactics succeeded at Spotsylvania to the point the Stonewall brigade was annihilated and the Confederate division that opposes the assault was ruined and took a counterattack by John Gordon and a re-alignment if the lines on the Confederate side. It was tried again at Cold Harbor, only undone due to the distance of open ground the Union troops had to cover and the fact Grant always started his assaults at the same time of day. At Richmond they broke through and routes A.P. Hill’s corps. Essentially the idea was that at the time to go back to Napoleon’s assault columns, but update the tactics to dealing with a rifle equipped enemy instead of a musket armed enemy.
  6. Union Strategy at Cold Harbor

    Hence why I’m every corps I build I have an “assault” Division. The brigades get the traits that help them in endurance and melee. Then in the setting up the battlefield I deploy them in locations I decide to make the smashing assault. Keeps the casualties down to only a couple brigades instead of across the board. Also, make sure you have artillery with good accuracy, helps ensure hits against entrenchments. Get them up where they can do damage before you launch your assault. Be like George Thomas or James Longstreet, get the assault all set and then move forward in an unstoppable assault.
  7. Union Strategy at Cold Harbor

    Assaulting fortifications is a tricky thing in some cases. The best way to crack them is to use a tactic made famous by Emory Upton at Spotsylvnia C.H. and used in game it works also. Take 3-4 brigades. Order the first two or three not to fire. Double quick them right up to the enemy lines and charge. The first brigade or two will be repulsed, but the 3rd usually breaks their line. The 4th allows a follow up to start peeling back the entrenchments. Once you've broken through in one point, exploit the flanking abilities and you can peel back entrenched enemy forces fairly easily. (Works well at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania also) As for myself at Cold Harbor I focus on the extreme flanks and then peel to the middle. If you hit the far right of the Confederate line in that form you can peel back the enemy there and usually keep rolling with flanking fire. I also like to slash the far left of the rebel line with a smaller force after I've hit the right flank. The computer usually starts pulling troops away (In response to the threat at the other flank), thus making my job easier. I'm not sure its the best strategy for Cold Harbor, but it seems to work for me.
  8. UG Civil War’s Future

    Custer had the entire 7th Cavalry with him (12 companies). He had 5 companies in his stand on the hill where he was killed. Reno, Merrick and Benteen had the remaining 7 companies with them. But, it is very true that much of the war in the US Frontier was generally a small unit affair. It was usually a company or two on their own. Frontier postings usually lasted six years in one post. That means every six years the entire frontier would rearrange. Before the Civil War fighting in present day Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Washington and Oregon rarely exceeded the 800 men that engaged in the Rogue River Wars. Post Civil War, the largest campaigns never had thousands in action at any time so, I agree it would be a very impractical game. The same problem you mentioned with the War of 1812 or Revolution have the same problem with the conflict I would like to see, the Mexican-American War. Armies were too small for a grand strategy game. The Napoleonic Wars, Crimean War or at most the Franco-Prussian or German reunification wars would be great. Essentially fix where I always felt the Total War games were a let down, the actual historical side.
  9. Favorite Commander Choices

    The works by Stephen Sears and James McPherson are a great place to start and get a very good grasp with some differing opinions. Then delve deeper. i recommend Douglas Southall Freeman’s “Lee’s Lieutenants” and also “The Class of 46” by Jon Waugh or Sears’ “Lincoln’s Lieutenants” if you want in depth on the commanders in particular.
  10. Favorite Commander Choices

    With Howard not directing the field it would have left Carl Schurz in command of just his division and Howard (hopefully) focusing on his troop placements. I feel Howard would have been better strategically than the failed revolutionary Schruz, but there is no way to know for sure. Barlow felt able to disobey Schurz and I don't know if he would have done so to Howard. Schurz and Howard were already feuding by the time of Gettysburg as to the dispositions at Chancellorsville. A very poor leadership dynamic was in place in the XI Corps at the very least and probably also led to its failings. Howard was always one with an ear to the politics and stickler for his image. Hence the bashing of Doubleday and not wanting to yield command to Hancock.
  11. Favorite Commander Choices

    I knew of his extra-curricular activities and the having contracted gonorrhea. I first read about it when reading "The Class of 46." George McClellan and Hill were courting the same woman and McClellan even used it as leverage to win her hand and steer her away from Hill. Really quite sad, yet that is how he decided to do it. He generally had problems with Jackson due to his lack of discipline on the march. Jackson quite frequently condemned him for the heavy straggling in his division. Something Jackson did not allow. Also, Hill wanted more information than Jackson would give and that also led to issues between them professionally. Jackson had an ability to look the other way on a person's personal issues if it benefitted him on the field of battle. He took in the eccentric Ewell, worked with the extremely profane Isaac Trimble, allowed Turner Ashby to do as he pleased, as well as Hill's issues when the battle came. Many officers did not get along well with Jackson off the field of battle, but few wanted anyone else when in the thick of the fray. Reynolds as the senior officer on the field always had the authority to choose what to do in the moment until higher ranking officers arrived. That is how the structure of command works. There were no field telephones or satellite uplinks like we have now for him to be in constant contact with Meade. He had essentially 3 choices in front of him. Option 1: Give up admirable ground and Buford's work and defend further back or disengage completely with nothing gained or lost. Option 2: Send a courier to Meade and wait hours for any orders (basically this is option indecision, ala Sumner at Williamsburg on the Peninsula) Option 3: Continue the fight that Buford started with the strategic and tactical planning of long and short term combined. I can't see men like Reynolds or Buford, much less Reynold's commanders allowing option 2 to be a real choice. I would argue that had Reynolds lived and kept command of the field throughout the day the XI Corps would have been better placed and the rest of his wing given more orders and possibly arrived sooner. We know that Buford briefed Reynolds before he arrived and after he arrived and he likely had the best view strategically of anyone as he knew exactly where his entire wing was and added to Buford's reports it gave him the strategic mind to know that it wasn't impossible for the I & XI Corps to hold out until the II & III Corps of his wing could arrive, much less the XII Corps arrival as he could have sent orders ordering Slocum to move sooner rather than Howard having to request aid from a senior officer. Granted this is all hypothetical, but knowing the man he was and his relationship with Meade, I believe Meade would have signed off on his judgement rather than micromanaging the affair from miles away. Its not unlike Lee leaving operational decisions to Jackson or Longstreet. He let Jackson have his head in the Valley and at Chancellorsville. While he gave the order for Longstreet to attack, he allowed Longstreet to decide when and how to attack at 2nd Manassas. When you have people whom you trust you let them make decisions. Hence why Meade didn't race forward and allowed Reynolds to command the fight until he could arrive. Then with Reynold's death he sent forth Hancock with written orders to take command until he could arrive. I guess my question is what else Reynolds could have done? Buford and Gregg were the two most reliable of the 3 Union cavalry commanders and known to have reliable information. He trusted Buford to do his job and Buford trusted Reynolds to do his.
  12. Favorite Commander Choices

    Careful Mr. Hill, you might come down with a stomach ailment and make you miss the battle. I would say Chamberlain is a solid commander who learned on the job and succeeded when given chances. He greatly benefits from having very well written and received memoirs, then again that can be said for many a commander who survived the war. The performance of his unit at Gettysburg has been turned into something of legend. Though if you go back to the period, it was the 1st Minnesota's attack that had the whole army buzzing more than the 20th Maine. Its argued that had the 20th not held as long it would have meant less as the entire 6th Corps was arriving on the field on the Union left and likely would have pushed off the exhausted Confederates, had they taken the hill.
  13. Favorite Commander Choices

    Roosevelt served under an old Confederate during the Spanish-American War. Joe Wheeler was brought back to the US military to help bring the country back together. Wheeler led the cavalry in Cuba in initially, both regular and volunteer units. Malaria kept him down more than he would have liked but, he was still the division commander. Wheeler, I think is another officer who doesn't get enough credit. He was the eyes of the Confederate armies of the West. It is said he fought in around 1,000 engagements over the course of the war. He constantly kept A.S. Johnston, Beaureguard, Bragg, J. Johnston, Hood and more always informed of the Union movements. He was always where he was needed and I would argue he made a herculean effort that gets ignored by many for flashier commanders. Forrest gets all the glory while Wheeler did the dirty work.
  14. Favorite Commander Choices

    Hence why I viewed him as an army commander on the better end, but too unreliable for a good subordinate commander. Grand strategy is great for an army or theater command. Not always so for an lesser level. Old Richard Ewell could definitely concur with the secretiveness of Jackson. I think it have been more catastrophic had Jackson been killed in a Valley battle and none of his subordinates knew anything of his plans it would have likely wrecked the army. Jackson's issues with "poor Dick Garnett" got Garnett killed at Gettysburg in a play to clear his name. Thus, Jackson deprived the army of a commander far greater than many around him. Garnett pulled the Stonewall Brigade out at Kernstown because it was out of ammunition and would have been overrun and the brigade destroyed. Had he done so he would have been cashiered for losing the brigade at the least if not for losing the battle when the brigade was overrun. I think we idolize Jackson for the fact he, like many great historical figures, died at the height of his glory. He was a tremendous commander when in the fray and would push the troops to their limits. He was a great fighter, perhaps reckless, but still thats the key. Other than mistakes in part due to faulty orders from Lee he struggled during the Seven Days battles. Some say due to mental exhaustion of working his Valley masterpiece and not sleeping while bringing his troops to help save Richmond. I agree that Longstreet was the better commander at the end of the day. He could bring troops to any fight and once in the fight he was nearly unstoppable. His troops rarely gave ground and when on the offensive were a steamroller. Excepting the faults in the fighting around Suffolk and Norfolk he was excellent. He led the troops that blunted the Federal advance at Williamsburg. Was the only reliable "division" commander on the Peninsula. Led the crushing assault at Second Bull Run. Held against everything with nothing at Antietam. Decimated the Federals at Fredericksburg. Almost broke the Union at Gettysburg and chewed up 3 Union Corps while only using two divisions. Led the crushing assault that won Chickamauga. Missed Chattanooga thanks to Bragg. Almost won in the Wilderness until being shot by the troops of Micah Jenkins. Longstreet, if nothing else was a tremendous infantry commander. It would be interesting to see how he would be perceived had his world not come crashing down around him in the winter of 62 when his family died and he became the sullen type that he is portrayed as. If one reads Arthur Freemantle's account of the time he spent in the Southern states he speaks of a conversation he had with Pickett and Armistead. They told him of a Longstreet he never say. Armistead and Pickett knew Longstreet personally before his family died and told Freemantle of a man who would stay up all night carousing and playing cards with his fellow officers. Would imbibe and enjoy life. After scarlet fever took his family he was never the same man. I'd take a Lee, A.S. Johnston, J.E. Johnston as army commanders any day, but I can't find a better combination of corps commanders style wise than Jackson and Longstreet. While they were together Lee was nearly unbeatable as they complemented each other perfectly on the field and respected each other's abilities.
  15. Favorite Commander Choices

    Hide your wives, liquor, perfume from dead Frenchmen and the training manual...Straight ahead!