Jackson Gamers' 25mm Civil War Battle

The Battle of Olustee

Photo by Ed Sansing

A view of the center of the table before the game began. The brownish-greenish mess in the center is "Ocean Pond". It could not be crossed during the game. The Yankees were to march from right to left along that road in the top of the picture. The Northern Agressors entered from the right. Our sturdy southern boys entered from the left.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Jay Ainsworth (got MILK!) is at the left, visibly surprised by something. Larry Reeves, in center, stopped by to show off his latest family member, son Alexander (the great!) who was aged 6 weeks when this photo was taken. Robert Whitfield, on the right, is moving his Union forces forward.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Jay Ainsworth points out something to Unionist Robert Whitfield (in center) and his co-agressor, Bill Reiman, on the right. Those two wortheys commanded the right-fland and center Federal troops (respectively). Ed Sansing commanded the Union left flank unit in this game. The Federals eventually prevailed.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The Confederate high command! Jay Stribing, on left is puzzled over what to do next. Bill Estes, in blue shirt, happily begins to move forward. Jim Pitts is out of the photo on the left, commanding the Confederate cavalry that operated with great success against the Union left flank.

Jerry Lee Ainsworth (even further out of view to left) commanded the Southern right flank infantry regiment, and took over Pitts' Cavalry after Jim had to leave.

What happened in our game?

The Confederates were doing well, especially on their right where Jerry Lee Ainsworth caught the Federal artillery limbered up and took the guns, driving off their infantry support. He then attacked another Federal regiment in the rear, routed it, and went back to the deserted guns and spiked them to prevent their use if recaptured.

On the left the Southerners, under Bill Estes was holding well, although casualties were beginning to mount under the fire of Robert Whitfield's attacking Federals.

Jay Stribling felt he was doing well, fighting among the buildings of 'downtown' Olustee, when a chance shot killed the Confederate commander as he urged his men forward. All the Confederate units then had to test morale, and that was that!

As the Confederate army fell back (or mainly routed!), Stribling decided he didn't like Florida anyway, and began composing a letter to President Davis, asking to be transferred to the Northern Virginia theater of action.

The game took about 3-1/2 hours, including set-up and pick-up. There were three Union players and four Confederates (although two of the southern commanders had one unit each).

Jay Ainsworth set the game up and provided all troops, rules and dice from his collection.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The Confederate commanders lean back in their chairs, confident that everything is going well. They have abandoned the earthworks (orange-colored mounds in center-left of photo) and are moving to their left to set up a new line of defense to keep the Federals from marching down the road. This would have turned the Confederate left and won the game for the Union.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The sole Confederate cavalry regiment moves towards the Union artillery battery under Ed Sansing's command. This was the left-most Federal unit.

This is what happened in the real battle

To secure a base in northern Florida, a Federal division under Gen. Truman Seymour landed at Jacksonville Florida on February 7, 1864. Meeting no opposition, the 5,000 troops pressed 45 miles inland to Olustee.

Reaching this village on February 20, the Federal force was attacked by a Confederate brigade under Gen. Joseph Finegan in midafternoon. Although two Federal regiments were quickly routed, a third held in place until Seymour could withdraw under cover of darkness.

The defeat cost the Federals 203 killed, 1,152 wounded, and 506 missing, plus the loss of six guns. Confederate casualties, in what is sometimes called the battle of Ocean Pond, totaled only 934. General Seymour fell back to Jacksonville.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Ed Sansing's infantry, forming line between the battery and the center Federal units under Bill Reiman.

Photo by Ed Sansing

The bulk of the Confederates! Bill Estes's men have formed a battle line, blocking the Federal advance down the road (dimly seen on right). More of Bill's men can be seen moving through the cornfield behind Bill on his orange-brown horse.

Jay Striblings' regiments have moved into the burg of Olustee itself and shortly launched a sizzling bayonet charge into the left flank of Robert Whitfield's union troops. Unfortunately for Jay, the attack fizzled instead of sizzled!

Photo by Ed Sansing

The Federals begin their assault. Game-master Jay Ainsworth verifies movement of federal units, while Bill Estes watches to make certain the "da***d Yankees were in range.

Photo by Ed Sansing

Robert Whitfield's units move through the fields on the Union far right. This movement would win the game for the Federals if not stopped. In the background, Jerry Lee Ainsworth waits for his turn so he can attack with the cavalry.

Photo by Ed Sansing

A view of the site of the action on the extreme federal left flank. Where once stood 2 Yankee infantry regiments and 1 artillery battery, now there is only the victorious Rebel cavalry, and the abandoned northern guns.

Perhaps more to come!

Go to the rules used in this battle

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