Sunday, December 7, 2008

Decisions, decisions...

The 8th Wisconsin of the Eagle Brigade at Vicksburg.
Lots of hats here! Note "Old Abe" on his battle perch.

I have the figures, but not yet a lot of flags, leaving me having to decide just who my Yanks and Rebs are to be, and where they will be fighting! I always go for a historical order of battle, as it makes a nice theme for any miniature collection. It also helps in that it can impose some "discipline" should I decide to order more miniatures!

I'm most likely to end up using the old
On to Richmond rules that were published by the Courier magazine (see sidebar) or one of its more modern incarnations- there are some out there on the net. These rules are long in the tooth, but simple and fun. In the rules each "unit" represents an historical brigade- but I am also willing to have a unit just represent a regiment and leave the rules as is. Call off the lawyers.

Some considerations on choosing an orbat. Many of my Union troops have hats rather than forage caps/ kepis. This from the fact that the first bunch of Bluebellies I painted had been originally slated for Confederate service! This means that they may be more suitable for Western battles than for battles such as Antietam.

Another factor is that I already have two units of US Colored Troops; this means I choose a battle or campaign from 1863 or later.

Finally, I already have a New York state flag from GMB that needs to be used! Although this is not a really big factor. However, I do like the flags that were used by many of the "hard-core" Yankee states such as New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The large range of paper flags printed by Stone Mountain have some very nice examples of these.

There are a number of units/campaigns that interest me at the moment;

Olustee, Florida 1864: a small but remarkably bloody battle. A very one-sided Reb victory, and for the Union, the largest percentage loss in a single battle of the entire war. The combatants included Colquitt's brigade of Georgians (late of the Army of Northern Virginia) on the Confederate side, and on the Union side were a number of US Colored Troops and a brigade of New Englanders. It saw the 54th Massachusetts (of "Glory" fame) conducting a determined rear-guard action as the rest of the Union force fled past in disarray.

The Wilderness, 1864: this would definitely mean having one unit representing a brigade given its scope. This brutal and confused struggle has always fascinated me, and using my brimmed-hat Yankees as "ragged veterans" has some appeal.

I'd likely do Burnside's 9th Corps-which at this stage of the war included Ferrero's Division of colored troops. The Corps would later fight at Cold Harbor and- notoriously- The Battle of the Crater.

This clip from the movie Wicked Spring gives a good portrayal of the terrain over which both sides had to fight in the Wilderness battles, as well as of the
resulting confusion.

Finally, the Atlanta Campaign, 1864: Go west, young man? This would give me a chance to include one of my favourite Confederate units, Cockrell's Missouri brigade.

While not strictly historical, I could "transfer" the Union Eagle Brigade for service in this theatre (and Dixon do a very nice representation of the 8th Wisconsin's mascot, "Old Abe" the eagle). The two brigades certainly fought on opposite sides during the Vicksburg campaign, although no colored troops were present then.

What do you think? I've added a poll on the sidebar on the right. What I eventually go for will come down to a pretty quick spur-of-the-moment call on my part (it usually does!), but it is always interesting to see where the preferences of
other gamers may lie.

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