This Saturday, we played in the "Posada del Lobo/Club Comandate" the Battle of Olustee, a game the most active members of our Club prepared for the past "Hispania Wargames". I can say this game was really fantastic, intense and full of fun all the morning. And we finished only half of the turns, so next Saturday will be the rest of the battle.
The Battle of Olustee was fought February, 20th 1864 near the Florida town of Lake City, and this one was the largest battle fought in Florida during the American Civil War. US Brigadier General Truman Seymour, in command of the US expedition to sever Confederate supply routes of beef and salt and to recruit black soldiers, landed his troops at Jacksonville, in an area seixed by the Union back in 1862 and made several raids into Florida. CSA General P. G. T. Beauregard guessed Seymour objetive was Florida itself, so he sent the Georgian Brigadier General Alfred H. Colquitt to reinforce Florida troops under Brigadier General Joseph Finnegan.
On February 20, Seymour led 5,000 US troops towards the entrenched 5,000 CSA soldiers of Finnegan, near Olustee Station. Finnegan sent an Infantry Brigade to meet the US forces and lure them into the Confederate entrenchments but this plan failed. Both armies met at Ocean Pond with both, Finnegan and Seym our reinforcing their initial forces. The Union forces attack was savagely repulsed by the Condeferate musketry and cannon fire and, finally, Sinnegan commited his last reserve during the afternoon and his mostly veteran troops broke the Union line which began to retreat helped by the Montgomery´s Brigade of two coloured regiments, 1st North Caroline and 54th Massachusetts.
With this defeat, the Union strategy in Florida ended for the rest of the War.
Our game was played using the excellent "Regimental Fire & Fury" rulebook. This is a really good ruleset, very easy to learn, fun to play and full of really good details. Perfect, I think.
First elements of Colquitt´s Brigade, my command, arriving to the battlefield.
And the vanguard of Hawley´s US Brigade, marching in a quiet Souther morning...
The battlefield ready for the game with Oliver, Finnegan himself, preparing his strategy. Because it was a game designed for a show, it had a lot of terrain elements not present in the battle nor in the map of the scenario. But the table is very nice!
Another part of my command, the 4th Georgia Cavalry. There were no flanks in this game, the terrain was very dense and they were armed with shotguns, so they were going to be not really useful.
My command deployed for battle in the left flank. I was awaiting other two Infantry regiments, but this was a very good force composed of veteran troops. Sadly, they were in the middle of a swamp (another difference with the real terrain) that slowled their movements a lot.
In front of me was Hawley´s Brigade, with two regiments armed with repeater rifles; really dangerous because they doubled the number of figures firing.
The battle began, of course, with a bold attack of the Confederates. In the right flank, elements of Harrison´s Brigade assaulted the positions of Montgomery´s coloured Brigade, gaining time and space for the rest of the Brigade.
The Us command, Dani/Seymour and Jose Antonio/Montgomery (yes, Dani had the bigger command), watched by our Luís/Harrison, very quiet awaiting his moment to arrive with reinforcements.
Taking advantage of the clearer terrain in this flank, Dani (a true Napoleon himself) amassed here two sections of the biggest cannon they had (Heavy Smothbored) and all the US Cavalry. I like a lot watching him playing ACW games because he is, as I have said, a true Napoleonic general and thinks as a Napoleonic general in this different enviroment (and many times it works!!!). These were really hard times for Colquitt´s Brigade...
The battlefront. That my Infantry regiments were all veterans was really important, because I was able to resist the Union fire and put on flight an Artillery section and an Infantry regiment. But, Where is Harrison?
Jose Antonio/Montgomery showing all of us he is a true Confederate and not a "bluebelly". He launched to the charge, with "cold steele", his coloured Brigade... and won half of the combats! Fortunatly, it was only a marginal victory.
A great moment for me. Dani obtained a "1" in his Command Roll for Hawley´s Brigade and one of his regiments retreated from the combat, leaving a hole for my Georgians to exploit. Sadly, they were disordered in the middle of a swamp and I had really bad Command Rolls!!!!! This is something I have read many times in ACW related books: the imposibility to exploit an advantage in the middle of the battle.
And then, a glorious US Cavalry charge. They were able to broke this infantry regiment but then my second line repulsed them without problem and with heavy casualties. But, ok, they had their moment of glory.
And here we finished the Saturday morning´s game. The battle, after having played half of the turns, is in the balance, with an slight advantage for the Confederates. I have 2/3 of my Brigade in very good conditions and the other 1/3 with almost 50% casualties, and the 4th Georgia is ready with their shotguns. Harrison´s Brigade is arriving fast and Oliver has stoped the Coloured Devils, so I think we can win (and I have a clear idea about from where to launch my next assault...).
Oliver/Finegan signaling Luis/Harrison his objetive. The battle is in the able hands of Luis; we have won time and terrain for him but he MUST win it because the blame if we are defeated will be all for him, of course.
So a fantastic Saturady morning with a very nice game. Really good "Regimental Fire & Fury" to represent not too big ACW battles, like this one.
I´m thinking about to give a second chance to my Perry Miniatures...