Wednesday 4 October 2017

Antietam 1862, The Afternoon. Game at NBHW.

Saturday 23rd September saw the conclusion of the Battle of Antietam series of linked games at New Buckenham Historical Wargamers. Two previous games on Friday nights, game 1 game 2, had seen the Confederate forces in the North fall back to the 'sunken lane' position, with the attacks of the Union I and XII Corps, with support latterly arriving from II Corps, proving successful but costly. Only the artillery from Hooker’s I Corps would remain, now attached to a weakened XII Corps.

The Field of Battle.

The Confederate starting positions around Sharpsburg.

Union starting positions and the Confederates'
 formidable defensive line along the sunken lane.

The Confederate reception committee at the sunken lane.

Confederate left flank.

Sumner’s II and Mansfield’s XII Corps now pressed their attacks once more in an attempt to force a lodgement in the Confederate line. Before part of this line was the Roulette farm, still held by a Confederate brigade of Jackson’s II Corps as a kind of forward bastion. This was assailed three times before the Confederate force defending this position was driven out. XII Corps’ brigades were losing the will to continue but II Corps was lining up its troops to smash through where XII Corps had been checked. At the same time the lead division of Franklin’s VI Corps began to arrive in support.

II and XII Corps attack, Roulette Farm still holds out.

Roulette Farm assaulted.

To the south Burnside’s IX Corps was heavily engaged from the start, sending a division to demonstrate against Snavely’s Ford with the remainder of the Corps attempting to storm "Burnside Bridge". The first two attacks were valiant in their execution but were beaten back with heavy losses. The Union frantically brought up more artillery in support as the third assault on the bridge went forward. Despite the sight of the carnage around and on the bridge from the previous two attempts this Union charge cleared the bridge and the following brigades of this successful attack quickly formed up on the Confederate bank. The Confederate I Corps under Longstreet re ordered their lines and prepared their few reserves to take the bridge back.

The initial assault at Burnside Bridge.

Assaults continue.

Confederate support begins to arrive.

To the north, II Corps went in with every leading brigade they had that could get forward. Fighting raged along the natural defensive line that was the sunken lane, and at points the Union troops broke in only to be checked and thrown back with the rest of the tiring men under Sumner.

II Corps break into the sunken lane

Can the supporting brigades arrive in time?

Rebs fling in reserves against the Union breakthrough.

No, the Rebs manage to repulse the attack just before
the supporting brigades can attack. 

However these constant rolling attacks were having a wearing effect on the Confederate forces too. They were running short of reserves to plug any future Union breakthroughs and there was still no sign of A.P. Hill's fine division arriving. McClellan seeing the breakthrough at the sunken lane finally relented to release Porter’s V Corps, only one division at a time mind you, and these welcome troops started to advance on the Middle bridge.

Further concern came for General Lee as the leading Union brigade of the 1st Division of II Corps, making a flanking attack to the west of the West woods, drove forward with great determination, driving back the Confederate forces before them and threatening to turn the entire Confederate line along the sunken lane as well as forcing Lee to beat a hasty retreat to avoid capture.

General Lee and the Rebel left under threat.

Support from the centre stems the threat to the left.

With VI Corps rapidly forming to attack the sunken lane from the front once again the battle was hanging in the balance, but sadly time was running out as Longstreet sent his Confederate troops forward to retake and clear “Burnside Bridge”. Despite fearsome numbers of Union cannon drawn up on higher ground near to the bridge, Longstreet's boys advanced through the Union storm of shot, shell and musketry and drove those Union troops that had crossed, back over the bridge. However the bridge itself was now a bloody no man’s land.

VI Corps arrives ready to continue the assault on the sunken lane.

The Confederates send in reserves to take back the bridge.

The umpire called the game as a hard won victory for the Confederacy as they held a slim 100 victory point margin over the sorely tried Union army. We all felt a second day would have given a clearer result but what a game it had been, yet another memorable gaming day at NBHW.

Many thanks to all who contributed troops, terrain pieces and especially to Richard for organising another brilliant ACW game.

For a lot more photographs see the club Facebook albums Here and Here



  1. A truly lovely table - thanks for posting, I will keep on coming back to this, because to my eye, it is how a game should look.

    1. Cheers, Richard who put the game on had all the hills made especially for this game by one of the clubs terrain gurus. He himself spent a long time making fences.

  2. Lovely table and minis, great game!

    1. Thanks, your game looked great too, and very nice informative AARs.

  3. Great-looking game Tony, and the table and figures look magnificent.

    1. Cheers, another collaborative effort from the club. No figures from me this time but by Gettysburg next year....
      Hills were specially made for this battlefield and we liked the way he used felt patches to show the boundaries of wooded areas so the trees could be moved around the figures without these areas changing size.

  4. A huge and splendid table, sounds great and epic!