THE BATTLE OF PRAIRIE GROVE
On July 16, 2005 the Jackson Gamers played a 25mm American Civil War game at HOBBYTOWN USA in North Jackson. Jay Ainsworth was the Game-Master and provided most of the troops used in the game, although a few brigades came from the army of Jay Stribling.
All the photos were taken by Ed Sansing who also wrote the comments in blue under each photo.
From left: Jay Ainsworth, Jerri Lee Ainsworth, Phil Young and Mark Gilbert
They have set up the game table and are beginning to place the Confederate troops on the battlefield.
The Confederate commanders - Jerry Lee Ainsworth, Jay Stribling (with mouth open) and Phil Young.
Stribling was the overall commander. He does not look happy in this shot and admits to having "A bad feeling about this..." Stribling usually plays a Yankee in these games, but pluckily agreed to be a Rebel in this game.
The Union commanders, from left: Mark Gilbert, Ryan, Fred Diamond and Mike.
Game-master Jay Ainsworth is in the background about to answer a question from Ryan. Fren Diamond in red shirt appears ready to lend a hand. Mike, at the end of the table, appears pretty mellow about the whole thing. "Just let me shoot at them!"
The Confederate line looking toward the east.
After deployment, but before the first turn of the game. The Confederates had to move off high ground and through some woods before they could reach open country and advance on the enemy.
The Rebel victory conditions called for them to cross a stream (only one spot was fordable) and move completely across the table to seize the spot where the main road exited the field behind the Yankees. This was to the left in this photo.
The northerners had only to hold the spot where the road exited.
The center of the Confederate start line.
The troops and battery on the hill were the brigade of Jerry Lee Ainsworth. The troops in the slight valley between the higher ground was the infantry division of Jay Stribling. The forces on the more distant hill (with blue "Hardee Corps" flags visible) were the division of Phil Young. Upon the commencement of festivities, the rebels moved towards the right of the image
The left of the Union Line.
The left of the Union line showing the road, which is the only way over the creek. A single Union sharpshooter may be seen between the 2 regiments.
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE REAL BATTLE?
After their victory at Pea Ridge in March of 1862, Federal forces held a firm grip on northwestern Arkansas. General James Blunt's division of 7,000 men stood at Prairie Grove, about 15 miles south of Fayetteville.
To destroy this isolated force, the Confed-erate general Thomas Hindman left Van Buren, Ark., on December 3 with 11,000 Confederates. By the evening of December 6 Hindman was ready to attack Blunt, when he learned that a second Federal force of 3,000 men under Gen. Francis Herron was marching down from Missouri.
Leaving a cavalry screen opposite Blunt, Hindman circled to the east to get between the two enemy armies. The following morning the Confederates struck the lead elements of Herron's column and drove them back. Instead of following up his advantage against Herron, who had just completed a 125-mile march, Hindman took up a defensive position. Herron's tired troops made three unsuccessful attacks against the entrenched Confederates.
But now Blunt, who had heard the battle sounds to his rear, came up to strike Hindman's left flank. Only a fierce cavalry counterattack enabled the Confederates to hold their position. That night Hindman withdrew to the south. The Confederates had lost 1,317 men. The combined Federal losses were 1,251
The Union Right.
The Union right was secured on the table edge. These are Mark Gilbert's Federal division, occupying the edge of a woods. These were good cover, allowing him to begin shooting up Phil Young's Confederates (the Rebel left), as they tried to move through the cornfield stubble, shown to the right, long before they could reply.
The Union center showing the end of the creek.
The end of the water barrier would allow the Confederates to flank the unfordable (except at the road) creek. However, the Rebels never got that far. Casualties, some morale failures, and the slow rate of advance in line, did not allow them to flank the creek or even reach it, before movement ended after turn 10.
The Confederates move toward the Union lines.
The main mass of the Rebels moves ponderously forward. This is turn 2 or 3. Rebel cavalry began the game on the extreme left of the southern line - you can just see thier heads at the bottom of the image - but they got "squeezed out" and had to maneuver behind the Rebel infantry mass to try to reach some area in which they could maneuver.
A close-up of the Union right.
The Federal right flank was never seriously threatened. Their position in the woods was too strong. As they did not move, they got "first fire" against Phil Young's advancing rebel brigades.
A view of the center of the battlefield.
The Southern regiments are advancing from the right of the photo. On the left, the Union troops have advanced to the line of the creek.
The large Union battery on a hill.
The Federal players established a two batteries (12 guns) on a hill in the rear of their center. From here, these guns reached out and dominated the battlefied. They delt harsly with Jerry Lee Ainsworth, whose 4 Rebel pieces opposed them.
The Confederates slowly close in.
The Confederates slowly close in to firing range of the Union.
Union cavalry charges across the ford.
Federal cavalry, shown at the gallop, making one of three "death or glory" charges across the ford in the stream. These paralized the advance of Jay Stribling and Jerry Lee Ainsworth's Rebel infantry in the center. Although each Northern cavalry regiment was eventually thrown back, the time and confusion caused by them stopped the advance of the Southern troops in the center of the table.
A dead Confederate sharpshooter.
Each side started with two "sharpshooters". One of the Union "sharpshooters" really was a marksman, and he killed both Confederate sharpshooters and one of the Confederate Divisional commanders.
SO WHO WON THIS GAME?
The dammyankees won it - blast them!
A few more images are yet to come on this battle report.
GO TO THE RULES THAT WE USED IN THIS GAME?
The Revised American Civil War Rules - Tuned and tweaked by Jay Ainsworth, specifically for the ACW.
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