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Mr. Lincoln's War- Recreating Regimental Warfare in the A.C.W.

Antietam's Cornfield


The American Civil War. A war made up of armies of citizen soldiers, volunteers, militia, and a few trained regular army troops all fighting for their belief in either preserving the Union or struggling for the right of their States to make decisions. They are thrown together into battle with weapons of horrible brutality, ordered into combat by officers steeped in the tactics of fifty years previous.

These rules are meant to give the wargamer, re-enactor, and student of history a feel of what warfare and command in the 1861-65 period must have been like.
They may be played as part of a campaign, or as straight one on one engagements. They may also be played in a tournament format. The rules provide the framework. The results depend on you.

Like those in the past who studied "Hardee's Tactics" or "Casey's Tactics" then, now you are able to come and study these rules and learn about regimental maneuver and combat in the ACW and have fun. Your counter-parts did not-
Stephen Phenow, Terry Gore


Since MLW has been published, I have received many favorable (and some not too favorable) E-mail about the rules.
Here are a few:

From Graham Cookson in England: "It was great when your rules came along as I bought them without telling the others in my club, rebased my ACW figures which were in tool boxes at the back of the garage (where I thought they would never see the light of day again) and sprung a game on them. The response was great, everybody is now buying figures and rebasing their old ones for MLW. I want to understand the rules fully as they have filled me with so much enthusiasm to get back into a period I never thought I get to grips with."

From Jay Haygood, Atlanta GA: "I wish to thank you for the ruleset. Being an ACW reenactor myself for many years, I feel that MLW fits the bill for regimental actions the way I see it on the battlefield. Fire and Fury has always been my brigade level solution, but Johnny Reb's I,II,III never quite got there. Good Job!"

From Paul Bernardino, USA: Steve, Bought the rules, and played it twice. Overall give the rules a 8 on 1-10 (10 being great). Any chance for an Mex-Am War variant?

So, the first omission from the rules has turned up in the QRS.
In the Morale Modifiers there should a -2 for units in a Distressed state.
I have hopes that this is the only one, but somehow I doubt it.

Orders Changing Orders through Morale test.
That mandatory 1/2 move means that a unit will move right over that stone wall or through that fence and not stop. That is kind of strange. So when a unit gets to the cover, and the brigade commander wants the unit to stop, that unit's morale is checked. If the result is good, the Brigadier's courier got the order through. Unit's order chit is replaced to "Hold."
Now in order to get them started again the Brigadier must give them a new order chit.

If the unit fails the Morale check, the boys have "their dander up" and continue to advance.

Now let's say the Brigadier wants the unit to advance to the fence line, and STOP!! Just announce this fact the when orders are revealed.

"Wait!" I hear you cry, "That means my no good so&so enemy knows my intentions!"

Well yes. And it gives the enemy an advantage. That's why I suggest either a gamemaster be present or go to the testing option to hold a unit.

Units that fail morale
Any unit that fails morale follows the chart's instructions, and after finishing movement has their order change to HOLD orders, unless otherwise indicated. (This was left off the QRT. Thanks to Phil Roberts for pointing this out.)


I have always been irked that a realistic and comprehensive set of tactical ACW rules, does not exist. While there are many published rules sets today, there was always something lacking. I believe that a rule set should teach the player about the period - realistic tactics should be rewarded with success while unrealistic tactics should cause problems.

My own set of rules was beginning to take shape in a series of notes when Terry L. Gore, distinguished author and historian, advertised for play testers for his set of ACW rules: "Mr. Lincoln's War". I became involved in the play testing, and we combined our two systems into this revised version of Mr. Lincoln's War.

We each went into this project with a set of unique needs. Terry wanted a simple game, that would be suitable for playing in tournaments. I saw no use for a tournament ACW game, believing that it would have little to do with history. What I wanted was a teaching aid for The Drum Barracks Civil War Museum, to instruct civilians about regimental maneuvers. When one executes a MLW maneuver in miniature, one can better understand what those cryptic ACW battle reports refer to! MLW uses the division as the highest level of command. Brigades are at the middle level, while the lowly regiment becomes the maneuver unit. There are no arbitrary costs for changing a unit's formation. The 5 minute turn allows the player to watch his and the enemy's maneuvers unfold.

Stands of infantry figures (any number) represent companies of 80 men. Artillery batteries are in sections of two guns (one model per section). Generals are important, not only for giving orders but to help inspire the men, to ignore adversity, and lead them to glory! To simplify the issuing of orders, order chits are placed per unit like other popular rules. But the difference is that a dice roll for initiative is also used.

Is this system redundant? Not really. In the ACW divisional combat reports, one reads about one side moving, then the other side moving to counter that move. But both sides usually had a master plan that they would attempt to follow. The feat was to "get the jump" on the enemy and disrupt his plan while carrying out yours. Meanwhile your enemy would be trying to derail your plan, and get his back on track. So the rules use placing orders coupled with a move counter-move procedure to represent this.

Second, the game lasts 20 turns (representing 1 hour in the ACW). This short playtime means that this system can be used for tournament play. Just think, now the Iron Brigade can take on the Stonewall Brigade or the Orphan Brigade, Syke's U.S. regulars can fight against the Texans, or Wilder's Lighting Brigade can stand against Cleburne's boys. The possibilities are endless.

Why only the 20 turns? Well, once a regiment got "stuck in," (British for "fighting") its operational life expectancy was about 20 minutes. By this time the unit had shot away most of its ammo, casualties had reduced its strength, and the men were tired, and in no mood to listen to their Commanding Officer.
Divisions usually lasted about an hour in combat.

Another good thing about "Mr. Lincoln's War", is that it works with any basing system, provided they are the same for both sides, with any size figures. (However for 25mm, we suggest increasing all measurements by 1/2", i.e. 8" adds 4" to make it 12.")

Since bases and sections are removed by "hits", any number of figures may be mounted on base. To show hits, gravel from an aquarium shop can be used. To show disorder, a cotton ball can be used; Two cotton balls to show a distressed state. Therefore there is minimum book keeping and order writing.

The key here, is ease of play, while trying to stay true to history.
Both Terry and I feel that "Mr. Lincoln's War" does this well.

If you are looking for a "hands on" set of rules, "Mr Lincoln's War" will fill that need (to use a quote from the period) "handsomely."

Stephen F. Phenow, Director,
Drum Barracks Battle Group,
Drum Barracks Civil War Museum
Any questions? E-mail me at the address below.


"Mr Lincoln's War" is now at hobby shops and game stores. Retail price is $19.95
Mail order @ "Wargames" 1-800-221-2011


Antietam's Cornfield.

At HMGS' Historican, summer of '99, Terry Gore staged the battle for the cornfield and the woods north of Sharpsburg, Sept 17, 1862.

This ob is prepared in the following way:
Infantry and Cavalry
1. Unit Name, 2. Strength, 3.# of Stands, 4.Morale Weapon Quality

1. Unit Name, 2. Number of guns, 3.# of Sections (1 stand per section,) 4.Morale

Generals. 1.Name 2 Command Class.

17 SEPTEMBER, 1862 6:30 A.M. On the Left of the field
General T. Jackson - Charismatic**

Ewell's Division (Lawton) Average

Lawton's Brigade (Douglas) Average

13th/26th GA 400 5 Raw Brigade armed with GRM*
31st/38th GA 320 4 Raw
60th GA 240 3 Raw
61st GA 240 3 Raw

Trimble's Brigade (Walker) Average

15th AL/12th GA 320 4 Avg Brigade armed with GRM*
21st GA/21st NC 320 4 Avg

Early's Brigade (Early) Good

13th VA 160 2 Elite Brigade armed with GRM*
25th /58th VA 320 4 Avg
31st /44th VA 320 4 Avg
49th /52nd VA 320 4 Avg

Hay's Brigade (Hays) Good

5th /6th /7th LA 320 4 Vet Brigade armed with GRM*
8th 14th LA 320 4 Vet
Division Artillery

Bedford VA Btty. 4 guns 1x 6# SB, 1x 12 #Napoleon. Avg
D'Aquin Guard Batty (LA) Arty. 4 guns 1x 3" Rodman 1x 10# Parrott Avg

Jones' Divison (Jones) Good

Winder's Brigade (Grigsley) Poor##

2nd /4th VA 240 3 Elite Brigade armed with GRM*
5th /27th VA 240 3 Elite
33rd VA 240 3 Elite

Jones' Brigade (Johnson) Average

21st /42nd VA 320 4 Avg Brigade armed with GRM
48th /1st Bn. VA 400 5 Avg

Taliaferro's Brigade Good

47th /48th AL 240 3 Avg Brigade armed with GRM
10th /23rd VA 240 3 Avg
37th VA 240 3 Avg

Starke's Brigade (Starke) Good

1st /2nd LA 240 3 Avg Brigade Armed with GRM
9th /10th LA 240 3 Avg
15th /Coppen's LA 240 3 Avg

Div. Artillery Maj L. Shumaker Average

Poague's VA Arty. 4 guns 1x 10# Parrott,1x 12 #Napoleon. Elite
Caskie's Hampton (VA) Arty. 4 guns 1x 10# Parrott, 1x 6# SB Avg
Raine's Lee's (VA) Arty. 4 guns 1x 3" Rodman, 1x 12# Howitzer Avg
Wooding's Danville (VA) Arty. 4 guns 1x 10# Parrott, 1x 3" Rodman Avg
Brockenbrough's Batty (MD) . 4 guns 1x 12# Blakley, 1x 3" Rodman Avg
Carpenter's Alleghany (VA) Arty. 4 guns 1x 3" Rodman, 1x 12 # Napoleon Avg


Hood's Division (Hood) Exceptional (Starts as the reserve)

Wofford's Brigade (Wofford) Average

18th Ga/Hampton's Legion 240 3 Elite Brig armed GRM
1st TX 240 3 Elite
4th /5th TX 400 5 Elite

Law's Brigade (Law) Good

4th AL 240 3 Avg PRM
2nd MS 320 4 Avg GRM
11th MS/6th NC 400 5 Avg Musket

[Attached] Ripley's Brigade (Ripley) Average

4th GA 320 4 Avg PRM
44th GA 320 4 Avg PRM
1st NC 320 4 Avg PRM
3rd NC 240 3 Avg PRM

Division Artillery (Not Present)

Jackson's Cavalry

Lee's Brigade (Fitzhugh Lee) Good

3rd VA 200 5 Elite MLC
Pelham's Horse Battery (Off Board) 4 guns 2x 12# Napoleons Elite

Jackson's Artillery Reserve Col. S. D. Lee Average

Woolfolk Ashland VA Batt. 4 guns 1x 3" Rodman, 1x 12# Napoleon Avg.
Jordan's Bedford VA Batt. 4 guns 1x 3" Rodman, 1x 12# Howitzer Avg.
Elliot's Rhett's SC Batt. 4 guns 1x 20# Parrott, 1x 10# Parrott Avg.
Moody's Madison LA Batt. 4 guns 1x 24# Howitzer, 1x 3" Rodman Avg.
Eubank's Bath VA Batt. 4 guns 1x 3" Rodman, 1x 6# SB Avg.
Parker's Richmond VA Batt. 4 guns 1x 3" Rodman, 1x 12# Howitzer Avg.

September 17, 1862 On the Right.


1st Division (Doubleday) Good

1st Brigade (Phelps) Average

22nd /24th NY 400 5 Avg GRM
30th /84th NY 320 4 Avg
2nd U.S. Sharpshooter 240 3 Vet BLR (Sharps)

2nd Brigade (Wainwright) Average

7th IN 320 4 Avg GRM
76th NY 240 3 Avg GRM
95th NY 320 4 Raw MUSKETS
56th PA 320 4 Avg GRM

3rd Brigade (Patrick) Average

21st NY 320 4 Avg ALL MUSKETS
23rd NY 240 3 Avg
35th NY 240 3 Avg
80th NY 240 3 Raw

4th Brigade (Gibbon) Exceptional

19th IN/7th WI 400 5 Elite ALL GRM
2nd WI 320 4 Elite
6th WI 320 4 Elite

Division Artillery

4th U.S. 'B' Campbell's 6 guns 3x 12# Napoleon Elite
1st N.Y. 'L 'Monroe's 6 guns 3x 3" Ordinance Avg.

2nd Division (Rickett's) Average
1st Brigade (Duryea) Average
27th NY 320 4 Raw ALL PRM
104th NY 240 3 Raw
105th NY 240 3 Raw
107th PA 240 3 Raw

2nd Brigade (Christian) Average

26th NY 320 4 Raw ALL PRM
94th NY 240 3 Raw
88th PA 240 3 Raw
90th PA 240 3 Raw

3rd Brigade (Hartsuff) Good

16th ME 240 3 Avg ALL GRM
12th MA 320 4 Avg
13th MA 240 3 Avg
83rd NY/11th PA 400 5 Avg MUSKETS

Division Artillery
1st PA Light 'F' (Matthews) 4 guns 2x 3" Rodmans Avg
1st PA Light 'C' (Thompson) 4 guns 2x 3" Rodmans Avg

3rd Division (Meade) Good

1st Brigade (Seymour) Good

1st /2nd PA Reserves 400 5 Avg ALL MUSKETS
5th /6th PA Reserves 400 5 Avg
13th PA Reserves 240 3 Avg

2nd Brigade (Magilton) Poor

3rd PA Reserves 240 3 Avg ALL MUSKETS
4th PA Reserves 240 3 Avg
7th PA Reserves 240 3 Avg
8th PA Reserves 320 4 Avg

3rd Brigade (Anderson) Average

9th PA Reserves 240 3 Avg ALL PRM
10th PA Reserves 240 3 Avg
11th PA Reserves 240 3 Avg
12th PA Reserves 320 4 Avg
Division Artillery

1st P.A. 'A' (Simpson) 4 guns 2x 12# Napoleons Avg
1st P.A. 'B' (Cooper) 4 guns 2x 10# Rodmans Avg
3rd U.S. 'C' (Ransom) 4 guns 2x 12# Napoleons Vets

*Because Jackson's wing had taken part of in the raid on Manassas depot and had replaced all his long arms with Springfield 1861 Rifled Muskets, all his troops has GRMs
** Jackson is rated Charismatic for morale bonuses ONLY. He may also command a single regiment. He is not allowed to issue order chits. It is assumed his divisional generals are carrying out his verbal orders.
## I know, I know. How can the commander of the Stonewall be rated POOR ? Read his battle reports and study the brigade's movements. I rest my case.
+Hooker: Hooker cannot issue orders. He may be used for morale purposes, only.

In Association with

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Mr. Lincoln's War system discussion list
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