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Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

Friday 15 June 2018 saw me put on an American Civil War game at the club. Using 6mm Heroics and Ros figures, mostly freshly painted, a refight of the Battle of Fredericksburg (1862) was the flavour of the evening.

Fredericksburg was one of General Robert E. Lee's most decisive victories. The Federal commander, General Burnside, had wanted to cross the Rappahannock River, take the town of Fredericksburg, then push on to Richmond. Delays and Confederate vigilance turned his plan into a massacre, as the Federals repeatedly and fruitlessly assaulted Marye's Heights above the town, suffering 13,000 casualties to 5,000 on the Rebel side.

It was a straightforward battle to reconstruct on the tabletop. I assigned 45 infantry units to the Confederates, played by Jonathan, Phil, Kamall, and Patrick. The Feds, played by Tim, Noel, and Mike, had about 65 infantry units, and had to place 6 crossing points across the river to assault the rebel positions.

While time got the better of us, there were some contentious points in the game, as Phil's cavalry destroyed a number of Federal artillery units which couldn't retreat having been trapped by the river. Mike was not best pleased. The rules used - my 'Graybacks and Bluebellies' - were a variant of my revised Coup de Grace III rules which I had used for the Borodino game (see blog). The cavalry-artillery melees were indecisive, given the low hitting power of the two types of units, so were being refought again and again without result. This might need some tweaking for the next ACW game!

Apart from the general hustle and bustle of a club night, Rob's compliment on my figures and Jonathan's compliment of taking home a copy of the rules (the game also went down well with Mal), I enjoyed researching the battle and setting up the historical terrain most of all. To me, the game looked the part, if nothing else. To ensure ease of play, I will probably extend movement distances and simplify some of the rules next time. It might also be worthwhile increasing the size of units on the tabletop but reducing their number, to ensure increased playability. But on balance the three months spent painting the units was well worth it in the end!

Shiloh refight, anyone?


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