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vren55's UG:CW Union roleplay and Grand Battle Guide

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So this is going to be a fun little thing I'm going to do to write a Grand Battle Walk-through. I'm going to roleplay it  through my Union character, Richard Winters (See Band of Brothers for the reference). Focusing here is tactics and strategies and army composition for Grand Battles only, not general skills, or minor battles. It's kind of a fun little fanfiction if you want to think of it and will be updated regularly as I progress through my latest Union Playthrough (currently as I write this, just finished Stones River). I'll put photos if I can, but my earlier battles will lack em due to me well... playing for kicks rather than for a guide. It takes the form of an autobiographical history-memoir and I incorporate a lot of real-life Civil War history into this... well as much as possible.

Note: This is inspired by Andre Bolkonsky's Landar's Road, which is an EXCELLENT read and guide to the earlier stage of the Union Campaign

Edit... Looks like I"ve reached my attachment limit... goddamnit :P NO photos

Prologue, the Beginning:

For you readers, this I swear. In God's name, every word I write in this account is true to my best knowledge. I write, with the notes from my diary and notes from correspondence I received, this account of my service, in testament to the character of the men I fought with and against, to teach men of all colors, of the brutality of war, but also, so that if war does come again, how to conduct it.

I, Richard Winters was born in Pennsylvania in 1824 to a Catholic family, rare in this great Union. Not much is to be said about my childhood, but that my father was a soldier, and my mother was a seamstress, but had took it herself to ensure that my father had me educated. 

I thus graduated from graduated from West Point in 1845, not particularly high up in my class, but I did well, particularly in military strategy, the organization of the army, and in Training men. I was immediately then dispatched as a major, where I fought in the Mexican-American war. There I commanded a section of an artillery brigade, where I honed my skills at managing Logistics and Medicine for my brigade. 

After the war, I dabbled in Politics. Which unfortunately, I was not very good at. Still, I learned to great importance in my later years, of the necessity of maintaining good relations with the civilian departments of this country, even if many Generals consider this annoying.

1st Bull Run:

When the Civil War started in 1861. The choice was clear to me. Pennsylvania sided with the Union. My faith had always dictated to me of slavery's evils and having met freed men, I found that their intelligence, indeed, their nobility are no less than that of my fellow whites. I thus enlisted and due to my service in the Mexican-American War, I was made Brigadier General of the Volunteers.

I was met with initial success at the Battle of Philipi with an easy victory over inexperienced Confederate Forces. Moreover, I and my small Corps also distinguished itself in the fighting around two Union supply depots, which we saved from a larger Confederate Force.

It was in the 1st Bull Run though, where my star rose.

Irwin McDowell had mustered my corps to lead his attack and I obeyed without question. In those early days, I had but 6100 men, with two brigades of artillery, one of five 10 pdr, or 3inch Ordinance rifles, and one of five 6 inch Smoothbores by Bobby Woods. He would serve me well in the days to come. I also had four brigades of 1,500 infantrymen. Two brigades of which were blooded, One Star men. One of these blooded brigades was armed with newer Lorenz rifled muskets. Hah, we loved those things back in those days. If only we knew. Anyway, the rest were with the old M1842 Springfields. Bloody good clubs, but not very good guns. Still better than the Farmers and Rebored Farmers the rebels had.

Anyway, my division commanders were Colonel Leonard Blume and Pedro Kershaw, good men both of them. But to be honest, the day belonged to my blooded men. Good old Kelly Walton... and Adam Loomis. Then only Lieutenant colonels. 

Now, in a stroke of terrible luck, Irwin Mcdowell ate something that bloody disagreed with his stomach. He went down with a terrible fever, and as his second in command, the execution of the battleplan fell to me and well... I could do naught but carry it out. Besides, it was a pretty good plan.

McDowell intended to divert the Confederate's attention with a probe on the Stone Bridge. To achieve this, he had given me command of the forces on the field, including the diversionary attack forces composed of 2 brigades of Ohio men and one of New York. Thankfully, he had also given me two brigades of six pounder guns. As these forces would make their attack, my corps was to lead the vanguard of the main Union attack on Matthews Hill and drive the rebels from the field.

The instructions were unclear as to the extent of the diversionary attack and I had had scouts reconnoiter the ground the night before and realized that to have the Ohioans and New Yorkers engage the Rebels at range would be suicide. I thus ordered the artillery brigades to wheel up to fire near point blank explosive shot at the rebel positions, and for all three brigades to get over that damn stone bridge as fast as possible. 

This the three brigades did so with great gusto, and despite the green nature of their troops, they drove the lone rebel brigade and seized the bridge and the heights above it. They then, according to my earlier instructions, set up a semi-circle position facing west, across the riverbank, with artillery support. 

In the meantime, I, unclear about how successful the attack was, led my men through the woods, where Loomis, Walton and good old Jesse Pegram, the lt. colonel in charge of one of my green brigades, gave the limited rebel forces and skirmishers in the air such a rattling that they fled in short order. Oh the Rebels tried to resist, but with a good old bayonet charge from my greener troops, with my veterans pouring supporting fire over their heads and my artillery firing shell shot like mad, we drove them from Matthews Hill before McDowell's main forces caught up. The engagement did exhaust my troops though, so I allowed them to linger backward a bit while I pondered my next move.

Damn Rebels had received reinforcements. I had but driven P.G.T Beauregard's men backward toward the Henry House. At the time, I wasn't aware that he was already meeting with Joseph E. Johnston, nor that I was going to face a hellufalot of more firepower. Still, once I realized I needed to seize Henry House, I wasted no time.

Unfortunately, I was harassed by Bee's brigade as I moved my brigades quickly, and as I crossed the river, one of my artillery brigades got quite badly shot up. I thus had to send Pegram's brigade in the forest to keep Bee from bloody stabbing my back as my men and McDowell's brigades quickly crossed the nearest crossing took the damn forest and then pushed up into Henry House. 

Alas, the brave Ohioans and New Yorkers had paid a heavy cost. None of their artillery survived as concentrated Rebels nearly destroyed their brigades. I was but forced to merge them, while using more of my arriving men to save them. This was the point when I learned that Bill T. Sherman's brigade, which arrived far from the Confederate Right... had not been issued orders and was forced to run them down. 

That was when my scouts informed me of Johnston's advance. As such, I set up a defensive line, employing the forest and rivers on my flanks to protect my men as best they could, whilst I garrisoned my veterans in the best possible positions. As best I could, I ensured I had a supporting brigade behind my frontline brigades so that if the damn rebels charged, I could either counter-charge, or have my supporting brigades give suppressing fire.

And so Johnston's men charged again and again, but to no avail, and alas, when he had but a few, I advanced my boys and sent em packing. Out of 18756 Rebel Infantry, 26 guns and 531 cavalry, we slaughtered 12866 infantry, 361 cavalry and disabled or captured 17 guns. Both my veteran brigades under Loomis and Walton killed over 1000 men each, losing more or less than a hundred for their trouble, whilst Jesse Pegram, though wounded, also killed 1100, despite commanding a green brigade. We also captured 2890 Rebels, which we would later ransom for 1000 extra recruits.

In contrast, my army lost 4567 men, 7 guns and 120 cavalry, of which a good few percent were quickly brought back into action, thanks to my quick organization of a field hospital. All in all, it was a resounding victory.

But alas, my celebration after the battle was short lived. I was sure to be promoted for such a feat. Men had been promoted for less, but it was not to be. Instead, the "Hero of Bull Run," while praised and celebrated by the press, seemed to have ruffled Mcdowell's feathers by taking charge. I was thus commended for my initiative, but sent Westwards under the command of a senior West Point Graduate, Ulysses S. Grant.

This fateful decision by the bloody damn brass would bring me into the hellhole that was Shiloh, where it would serve as a baptism of fire for some of my best and most trustworthy commanders.

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Nicely written! My times as AAR author (which were limited to a german audience anyway) are over since I discovered the advantages of recording and Youtube, but I still rather read than watch LPs. xD Looking forward to the next battle!

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On 8/21/2017 at 11:53 PM, Hjalfnar_Feuerwolf said:

Nicely written! My times as AAR author (which were limited to a german audience anyway) are over since I discovered the advantages of recording and Youtube, but I still rather read than watch LPs. xD Looking forward to the next battle!

Thanks :D

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Shiloh, the Hell

My Corps came out of 1st Bull Run... triumphant, but I was humiliated. Sent westwards, away from the eastern theatre, into the woods and put under another general for winning a victory.

The bright spot in this was that I was put under the command of a capable commander, Ulysses S. Grant. Well the S in his name was an accident that he did when he wrote his application, but he liked it and well we called him that at West Point. Great horseman, and he would be one of my most faithful subordinates in the future.

At the moment though, he was my superior. Well... okay this was complicated. Buell and Grant were theoretically partners commanding two separate armies. I was technically directly under Grant's Command, but Buell... sortof was under his command except he wasn't. And Grant technically commanded my divisions and brigades... but he relayed his orders through me... and left the details at my discretion... 

Anyway, my Corps was sent on two very dangerous missions that were officially for Grant... but kind of for the Buell's Army of the Ohio and Grant's Army of the Tennessee. The first one was to hold the Logan's Crossroads, which my forces managed, forming lines while using the farmstead as the center point. 

Grant appreciated my success in this area, and so sent me, with additional reinforcements, to seize a River Crossing where I seized the Southern hill first and then hit the north hill. Again, I got extra men and money for this, which was further supplemented by my lobbying in Politics where I and Grant both lobbied Washington to give me a larger command, while also generating publicity for my victories. (1 point to Army organization after River Crossing, and everything else after Bull Run in Politics).

That was when I under Grant's Command was sent to link up with the Army of the Ohio for a push toward Corinth. We were going to link up at Pittsburgh Landing.

Grant ordered me and under his direction, I trained, requipped and reorganized my forces. At this point, I was only a Brigadier General, but I commanded with several other Brigadier Generals. Except I had been made Brigadier General of the Regular forces and he was of the Volunteers. Anyway, here's how I distributed my army

1st Corps Commander: Richard Winters

  • 1st Division: Brg. General William Brooks.
    • Brigade commanders: Brg. Gen Ronald Bass commanding 2 star veteran brigades (1500 Springfield 1855s, excellent rifles these were.) Colonel Kelly Walton (1 star veteran 1500 Springfield 1855s), and Lt. Colonel Jerome Lawton 1 star (1500 Lorenz)
    • Lt. Colonel Wade Scales commanding 7 24 pounder howitzers
  • 2nd Division: Colonel Pedro Kershaw
    • 3 brigade infantry 4500 Soldiers, 1 arty 15 Guns (6 pounders), one of the infantry brigades is 1 star armed with Lorenz's
  • 3rd Division: Colonel Leonard Blume
    • 3 brigades recruit infantry 4500 soldiers, 1 arty 7 guns (10 pdr ordinance, I loved using these guns)
    • armed with Springfield 1842s

2nd Corps Commander: Brigadier General Barry Hanson

  • 1st Division: Colonel Sam Baxter 
    • 4 Brigades, 6000 soldiers, Springfield 1842s

Now... much has been argued and written about why Grant never expected the Confederate attack... and why the Corps directly under my command seemed very well prepared. 

To put it bluntly, I don't begrudge Grant for not realizing Johnston was marching on him. We had no actual intelligence of Confederate movements. We knew they might block Corinth, but an attack? No. On the other hand, several of my subordinates, including my 2nd Corps Commander, Barry Hanson, had raised concerns considering that skirmishers from Grant's army had actually confronted Confederate skirmishers. I didn't expect a full blown attack, but I was concerned that my corps might be raided by Confederate cavalry or skirmishers. So I had my personal corps wake up early and moved my brigades out of their camps and into the fortified positions near Shiloh church, but also into the bush. I mean, we still had our camps around and my troops could still lounge around.

So it was a shock when my scouts spotted Confederate brigades that attacked the area around Shiloh church. They outnumbered the 1st, and 2nd divisions I had around that church, and at one point early on in the battle, one of my brigades on my right flank (looking at the screen, that's the left of the screen) was sent into a momentary withdrawal, before I stabilized the flank with my elite veterans which I had kept in reserve.

Luckily, my superior positions and better guns (the Confederates only had farmers and rebored farmers) meant the Confederate numbers were largely nullified. Furthermore, I had used some political contacts and some of the money I was hoarding to get a brigade of 7 24 pounder howitzers... which would kill three thousand confederates on that day.

Grant was not idle while this was happening. He had awaken to the sound of the guns and had ordered Buell to get here post-haste. He had also sent my 2nd Corps to reinforce the position of my 1st Corps and was reconnoitering my 3rd Division.

My 3rd Division, which was ably led by Leonard Blume, performed admirably considering the circumstances. They had good artillery, which helped, but they were FARRR outnumbered by the forces opposing them. However, Blume, assisted by Grant who helped to rally my men, spaced my brigades out, and ordered them to detach skirmishers. Even with only Springfield 1842s, the more spread out brigades were able to slowly contain the Confederate advance for more than 2 hours. It was a close thing, and they were pushed back from Laurel Hill and the Spanish Field, but they had bought my army time. 

Elements of the Army of Tennesee started arriving by then, which were ordered to my assistance by Grant. With these three extra brigades, I was able to hold Hornet's field and Shiloh easily. 

It was when Grant and I agreed to retreat to Pittsburgh Landing that... well we encountered our first problems. Some of the Confederate Brigades had charged past the Hornet's nest to Pittsburgh landing. I had immediately race several brigades to seize the point and prevent total disaster. Even as I hurried my army back (with detached skirmishers covering us) I had to continue to oversee my brigades driving the Confederates away. 

And after that, Grant and I had to hold the landing against repeated Confederate assaults. We held, and I replaced my tired brigades with Buell's newly arrived brigades.

After that the day ended and I and Grant well... we had the devil's day, but we had held. That was what mattered. We both knew we needed to plan the next day though.

Grant wanted to hit back, and Buell agreed. I personally wanted to sit there and let them come at us, but agreed eventually. We still had the riverboats supporting us.

So we attacked. I mainly ordered the attack on the Confederate right, with some of my more battered, but not entirely depleted brigades holding the Union Right. (aka the left of the screen). This required quite a lot of micro-managing, as the Confederates fragmented, which helped my brigades's assault... but meant that I often was managing two different fronts. Hanson and Buell's leadership helped in that respect as they were able to rally different parts of the army.  I also ended up having to charge past the Confederate left with one of my more veteran brigades to capture Shiloh Church. Still by the end of the day, we had driven the Confederates from the field and seized Laurel Hill, Shiloh Church and the Spanish Field.

Unfortunately, again... circumstances kind of conspired against my interests despite my victory. I had benefited greatly from the destruction of the Confederate.

Our total forces numbered 42,000 infantry, 175 cavalry, and 46 guns against Confederates numbering 38,124 infantry, 1890 cavalry and 112 guns.

The problem for Grant mainly, was that he lost 11016 infantry, 1 gun and 105 cavalry. Of course, the cavalry and gun loss wasn't the problem, but over a quarter of the infantry we had brought into the battle were casualties. 

Of course, Confederate losses were SUBSTANTIALLY worse, at 29115 thousand Infantry, 77 guns and 1066 cavalry. This wasn't enough to satisfy the damn Union Public though and the press who basically crucified Grant for his inattentiveness and called him a drunkard. Which wasn't true. He was damn sober and certainly didn't look drunk rallying my men!

Damn bastard Buell, eager to find a scapegoat, also blamed Grant though. Grant didn't get stripped of his rank by the will of President Lincoln, who argued that "I can't spare this man: he fights." And damn right he was. However, Halleck was still intent on reorganizing the Western Armies.

I luckily, managed to procure Grant as one of the Generals serving me. He didn't like the situation. Oh no, he did not like it at all, but we both agreed that if he could redeem himself as a division or corps commander under my command, he would be able to remove his disgrace and regain his standing in the eyes of the public. The rank thing... was an issue, but he Major General was of the volunteers and I was of the regular army, and so that worked itself out as I outranked him... slightly.

Still, despite the awkwardness, it was a damn good thing I procured Grant as one of my subordinates, for I was about to sever under what Grant would later call "one of the great mysteries of the civil war" George B. Mcclellan, the man who... would become one of my subordinates and would serve me very well, but at the time... was going to be my biggest rival and creator of problems for me.


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Gaines Mill

Or as according to Richard Winters, Goddamnit Mcclellan #1

After Shiloh, I and my two Corps were put under the command of the Army of Potomac and I was made one of the deputy commanders of the new Union Commander, George B. Mcclellan.

It was probably one of the most aggravating assignments I've ever had. I and my deputies, 2nd Corps commander Barry Hanson, and 1st Corps 1st Division Commander Ulysses S.Grant were being given a lot more responsibility. However, I disagreed with Mcclellan's command style.

He was just so goddamn f*cking cautious. He'd assembled 121,500 soldiers and the Confederates according to the reports I captured had only 76-81 thousand! Yet, he believed that he was outnumbered because of that stupid idiot Pinkerton who kept claiming Confederate forces were twice the size of the Army of the Potomac.

It didn't help that Mcclellan STILL thought the rebels outnumbered us when I defeated a detachment of Bragg's and secured a river in Virginia. I also managed to seize the Hanover Courthouse and smash the rebel attack at Seven Pines, finally earning a promotion to Major General of the Regular Army.

Yet, even with all of this, Mcclellan bloody didn't want to attack Richmond, rather, he wanted to siege it out even when we outnumbered him! By that point, we'd lost any strategic momentum or even initiative. I begged him to attack, but he refused. Instead, the army was attacked at Beavers Dam Creek and while we won that, Mcclellan bloody completely lost it and ordered a withdrawal. I was ordered to hold Gaines Mill at all costs as the Army of the Potomac changed its supply base to the James River.

And unfortunately, I was outnumbered. Mcclellan would only allow detachment to engage. I would find out later the rebels under Robert E. Lee had 52,138 infantry and 67 guns.

Luckily, I had been working with my friends in washington to improve the situation of my army (Politics 10)and the size of my army (Army Organization 5). I still had certain issues with the Economy 1, Logistics 2, Training 1, Medical 2, and particularly the Reconaisance 0 done for my army.  But at this point, I had assembled a sizeable force of 40,300 infantry and 45 artillery pieces that were organized as shown below:

1st Corps: Me, Richard Wingers

  • 1st Division: Major General Ulysses S Grant: The Veterans division with my elite 2 star brigades: The Red Vipers, Baker's Rangers, and other veterans. In total, 8000 men in 4 brigades, primary armament Springfield 1855s, with one brigade of Hapers Ferry variants. 1X 15 gun artillery brigade of napoleons
  • 2nd Division: Brigadier General Stephen Hardin with 1 star veteran brigades. 4x2000 men with Palmetto 1842s, Springfields 1842s, Lorenz's and 1 x10 gun 24 Pounder Howitzers
  • 3rd Division: Brig General: Kelly Walton: 4x2000 1 star veterans with Springfield 1842s. 1 x 10 guns of 10pdr Ordinance artillery brigade.

2nd Corps: Barry Hanson

  • 1st Division: Brig General: Andy Wallace: 1x2000 1 star vet brigade, 3x2000 recruit brigades with Springfield 1842s. 1x 10gun 10pdr Ordinance artillery brigade. 
  • 2nd Division: William Brooks: 4x2000 recruit brigades with Springfield 1842s. 1x 300 Skirmishers with Sharps 450 range sniper rifles.

My 1st Corps and 1st Division were initially deployed across the river while the rest of my army were near a series of breastworks in front of the mill, on the other side of a creek. Grant had initially deployed the 1st Division this way to try to protect my breastworks, but I realized it would be a better idea if I consolidate all of my forces, so I pulled my divisions back.

What I ended up doing was deploying my men following a double-line principle. The first line being those brigades, no star and 1 star, garrisoned into my breastworks, and a second line where reserves, 1 star or 2 star would give supporting fire should the rebels charge. I also put my elite 2-star brigades on my extreme right flank, where the longer breastworks made it more vulnerable.

As such, Ambrose Hill's attack failed against my defenses. Even when my brigades fled, I managed to use my 2nd line to reinforce them.

I did eventually find out though that my rightmost breastwork was more than useless. I instead had to defend that flank through using my elite brigades to flank any enemies advancing to that position and through putting my brigades into the forest. It also helped that I put my 24pounder Howitzer brigade into the forest behind the brigades. They took some casualties, but inflicted a hell of a lot of kills.

The main problem was that while I fended of Ambrose HIll's attacks, DH Hill came to flank me, hard. I was forced to shift my reserves, which had been damaged by the earlier fighting, to delay them as Barry Hanson arrived with my 2nd Corps.

Immediately as I had Barry Hanson throw my 2nd Corps recruits into the woods and field at the foot of the hill, Ambrose Hill launched several more attacks at Boatswain swamp. Although my brigades retreated briefly, my artillery held them off though, while I shifted my 2nd internal line of reserves to defeat the attack.

DH Hill kept trying to press my right, but my 2nd Corps formed dual lines as well, a line of brigades in the woods and fields on the front, and then a line of damaged brigades behind them, ready to replace them in case of a hole. In this cover, my elite brigades The Red Vipers and Baker’s Rangers did very well, both achieving more than a thousand kills to less than 200 losses.

At the end of the day, I held Gaines Mill and Boatswain’s Swamp and could claim a victory. My men were exhausted, but my army had actually taken fairly light casualties. Out of 40,300 infantry and 45 guns, I had lost 6771 infantry and 3 guns, with my elite infantry brigades and my 24 pounder Howitzer brigade getting thousands of kills. Scales’s artillery brigade actually claimed 3000 kills and they weren’t even 1 star veterans. Only later did I find out that I had faced a confederate force of 52318 infantry and 67 guns.

But despite inflicting 22198 infantry casualties and 4 guns on Lee’s army, goddamn Mcclellan ordered me to continue the retreat and he wouldn’t give me further reinforcements. I instead had to scrounge out reinforcements myself with my skill in politics and invest heavily into preparing medical care (Medicine +1) and new weapons (Economy +1) because I now had to cover the movement … well, retreat of the Army of the Potomac to Harrison’s Landing along the James River.

This would lead to the Battle of Malvern Hill, a strange battle, perhaps easier than most, but at the same time, a difficult battle which would test my skill in coordinating my brigades to the limit.

Edited by vren55
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