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Kennesaw Mountain (1864): 6mm ACW

Our club night yesterday was a refight of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain (27 June 1864) - using my 6mm figures and Beards n' Bayonets rules. I was inspired by a well-known Don Troiani painting 'Thunder on Little Kennesaw'.

The game saw Union General William T. Sherman's three armies - led by Mal, Philip and Richard - attacking General Joseph E. Johnston's Army of the Tennessee - Theo and Doug -entrenched in strong fortified lines north-west of Atlanta, Georgia.

Historically, Sherman's drive on Atlanta in the summer of 1864 consisted of a series of outflanking manoeuvres against Johnston's army, who was forced to pull back on each occasion. However, Sherman decided to make a frontal assault on Confederate positions at Kennesaw Mountain.

Union forces

The Federals had 20 'Standard' infantry units (10 brigades) operating in three armies, with 10 artillery units. All commanders were rated 'Good', except for the C-in-C (Sherman) - rated 'Excellent'.

Rebel forces

Confederate forces consisted of 12 infantry units (six brigades), seven artillery units, and one cavalry division of two units (equating to four dismounted cavalry bases). Confederate commanders were rated 'Good', except Hood ('Excellent'); Hood's two units were also rated 'Veteran'. I also gave the Confederates one skirmish unit per brigade.

Federal armies begin their attack

The first half of the game saw the Federal armies advancing towards the Confederate positions and engaging in artillery fire to soften them up, whereas Theo and Doug responded with long-range fire.

Mal advances on Kennesaw Mountain from the Union left

Theo chastises advancing Federals with sustained fire from the Confederate centre

Confederate right is outflanked by Mal

The second half of the night saw Mal's army on the Union left launch a flanking attack as well as frontal assaults on Kennesaw Mountain.

Union brigades mass in the wood opposite Little Kennesaw mountain

Philip's forces had been massing in a wood close to the Confederate positions, and had taken casualties as a result of close-range Rebel fire.

Philip assaults the Confederate centre

However, Philip managed to organise an attack on the Confederate centre, held by Theo, just as Mal was attacking.

Confederate centre is ruptured by Philip's and Mal's brigades

Exploiting gaps in the Rebel line, both Philip and Mal managed to force several of Theo's units off their positions, and inflicted flanking fire on the remaining units in the centre. While Mal was forced to retire from the Confederate positions, he had been instrumental in prizing open the Rebel line.

Union right flank: Richard's brigades halted by Doug's men

Richard's army had been hampered by poor activation rolls early on in the game, but did launch an attack on the Confederate left late on. However, Doug held the line here with his dismounted cavalry and Hood's veterans.

Near end of play: Confederate positions vulnerable

The game ended with the Confederate line looking shaky, Philip's Union forces having punched a hole in the centre, and both Theo and Doug failing activation rolls for their brigades. Mal's units of two brigades retired, but, with one unscathed brigade, he was still a threat to the Confederate right. I declared a Union victory.

Historically, the battle was a failure for the Federal forces, but did not stop their advance on Atlanta, which ultimately led to Sherman's famous March to the Sea.


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