Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Battle of Stones River, December 31, 1862 (Historicon pt 3)

The Battle of Stones River (generally known as Murfreesboro in the South) began on the last day of 1862 and was one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Civil War. Fought between the Union Army of the Cumberland under general William S. Rosecrans and the Confederate Army of Tennessee under general  Braxton Bragg, it decided the fate of middle Tennessee for the rest of the war. This version was played at Historicon on Friday afternoon, under the direction of GM Tim Couper. All of the 15mm figures are Tim's, and he brought them all over from England with him for this game, which was played with Piquet's  Field of Battle, 2nd edition, by Brent Oman. I believe there were five players on each side - maybe even six on the Confederate side.  As usual, the better pictures are by Gabriel F., denoted by (GF) where applicable.

Now, I have to confess that I strongly prefer 25/28mm figures myself, but... these look pretty sharp!    (GF)

GM Tim Couper prepares to explain the scenario.

Large scale picture of the entire Stones River Battlefield, with the as yet concealed Confederate flank attack in the foreground..

At the opening of the scenario, the troops on the Union right flank are at ease, sleeping, cooking breakfast, etc, when a mass of Rebs pour out of the woods and catch them with their pants down... often, literally so! To represent this, once the first Confederate units appear, all the Union troops on the Right are placed Out of Command (black square markers).  (GF)

Even a unit or two of Confederate Cavalry are involved in the flank attack.  (GF)

View of the Confederate (near) and Union centers.

Closeup of the unsuspecting Union Right flank... the calm before the proverbial storm.

Which is not long in arriving!

The Confederate flank attack - the far edge of the table are all Confederate players as well, their troops being directly opposite the Federal line.     (GF)

Union troops grit their teeth and try to hold back the onslaught of grey and butternut.    (GF)


Lookee over here on yore flank, Billy Yank!      (GF)

On the Opposite flank, Union troops mass to threaten the Confederate right flank. Here, however, the Southerners are well aware of the approach of the enemy, and hold a strong position, anchored by earthworks on top of a bluff overlooking Stones River.


Reinforcements arrive in March Column in the center of the Union line.     (GF) 

On the Confederate right flank, masses of Bluecoats cross Stones River and begin preparation for an assault on the prepared position atop the bluff.    (GF)


The Confederate position looks formidable, but the Union has concentrated its troops for a big push, an Irish Brigade in the lead.    (GF)

The action develops further as Confederate players Thomas, Phil and Andy (Catan shirt) look on.   (GF)

Troops on the Union right flank break under the relentless pressure.   (GF)

A Union battery gets stuck in with some Rebs.   (GF)

The Union center maintains good order.     (GF)


Fresh Union units try to bolster their crumbling right flank.   (GF)

However, the Northern assault on the bluff ends in... disaster! Son Thomas opposes Dad Alex in this Father against Son clash, in a way fitting for a Civil War action. Thomas fires at his Dad's bluebellies four times rolling 11, 12, 7, and 10; his Dad, rolling the brand new Hurricane Dice (the purple and gold ones) rolls 1, 1, 1, and yet a fourth 1 in a row on his D6 defense dice! Result: Four Union units are routed or destroyed, at a loss of 14 UI/14 Morale chips. The union offensive on this flank is hopelessly shattered as a result. We concluded they were called Hurricane Dice because the player who has them gets Blown Away!   (GF)

Union troops are reduced to long range artillery shots at the troops on the bluff from across Stones River.   (GF)

The Union Right flank rallies somehow.    (GF)

Seeing their own flank attack fail, and their Right flank still in peril, the Union commanders in the center adopt the usual tactic of wargamers faced with a crumbling situation... and move to the attack!   (GF)

 Confederate players fine tune their defense in the center, confident of breaking this last ditch effort by Rosencrans' boys. Doubtless all the real soldiers that day were now as tired as Jeff G looks! Michelle in Rebel Grey has had a pretty good day, Jalapeno dice in hand, battling husband Gabriel's Federals. I'm told it was their Anniversary that day; may their fights be limited to those happening on the tabletop!

Confederates rejoicing in a hard fought victory. Andy, who drove 10 hours to Valley Forge from his home in Tennessee, has had a hand in reversing a key moment in the history of his state!


Braxon Bragg and his Rebel Band...    battle to Victory in Tennessee!

(This is actually the handsome PELA award for Znaim the day before, but with the Theme for Historicon 2011 being the American Civil War, it seemed to fit better here.)

Part Four of my Historicon report will deal with the massive Napoleonic battle fought Friday night - Neverenufski!   'Till then...

Don't roll a One - especially four ones in a row like Alex!  :-)



  1. Very nice report and photos. Go the South.

  2. I wish FOB2 would hurry up !
    Looks like a fun game with lots of figs on show

  3. Thanks Ray, Rodger, and Garry (and Happy Birthday, Garry). Just got a notice that FoB2, DoB2, and Blunders on the Danube *should* be printed by the end of next week. Still, copy in hand (or avaialble to order) is all that really matters, eh?

  4. Looks like a great game. Imagine you in an ACW battle game. Will wonders never cease? Looking forward to Neverenufski.

  5. Well, I actually helped set up the game, and assisted with the rules. Didn't play... although I did play in Tim's Civil War game last year using Zouave! rules by Bob Jones. Played it pretty much like it was Napoleonics, and just like the early days of 1861 got slaughtered, as expected, LOL!

  6. Does the dark green felt represent the wooded areas?

  7. Yes, the dark green areas are the woods; we could have added some lichen to them if I had had any. Tim brought the cloth over with hime from England and had the woodded areas permanently affixed in position to speed set up time.