Brother against Brother – First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas) AAR Part 2

By Wargamer Staff 23 Apr 2015 0

As we left the battle at the end of part 1 the Union’s assault and attack on Blackburn's Ford had stalled, however, everywhere else the battle was going well taking and crossing the stone bridge, and also getting past Buck Hill and across the stream in front of the stone house. The plan is to wait for a turn or two and rally the men, before carrying on the attack and trying to link up with the troops across from Lewis and Ball's Fords, before moving down to Blackburn's ford. Will this plan survive over the next few moves? Read on to find out.



Turn 10, at 1pm - I keep whittling away the CSA defenders on Bucks Hill while at the same time try and push on to Henry's Hill mindful of my rear being almost unprotected. So I replace my cavalry scouts on Buck Hill with a gun battery then move them off to scout my rear.



Turn 10, at 1pm - end of turn report. I can see the reinforcement for CSA arriving with my scouts and need to hold these positions until reinforced myself from Henry's Hill.



Turn 11, at 1.20pm - with my morale dropping, I order Brigade Hold and Rally orders to almost my whole force and think maybe I have attacked or assaulted enough today. So for now I will recover my morale with rally and rest them with the hold orders and give ground where possible looking for better defensive ground to limit my casualties from going up any further.

I'll only push on where the odds are in my favour, unless I see a gap or get an easy chance of attack, and then I’ll again take it.



Turn 11, at 1.20pm - end of turn report. With the CSA holding me everywhere at heavy cost to themselves (and me to be honest), and my morale dropping, some of my units rout from my lines. Whilst they are not all from the same area at once, it isenough to make me change orders and rest and rally some of my units and start to rotate the front lines while I hold the CSA and lick my wounds.



I start a withdrawal from Balls Ford as the CSA are just too strong there for the units I have in the area at present, therefore, I change brigade orders to Withdraw while I retreat but keep my facing correct so do it in good order. I hope anyway …


Turn 12, at 1.40pm - with all orders changed, there will be less action from my part so I hope the CSA will also lick it's wounds and not press on and attack me, only time will tell. If they push I’ll give ground rather than lose more men.



Turn 12, at 1.40pm - end of turn report. The action carries on while I shorten my lines and go mainly on the defensive.



Turn 13, at 2pm - lucky for some turn 13, but maybe not so for me as I’m attacked at 2 places by the CSA while I withdraw to rally my men.



With combat slowing down there is a lull in the fighting and we both recover some strength while we rest and rally the men. Who will attack first after this is any ones guess ...

I see clearly with my scouts that they mean to hold the last few VL while they rest.


Turn 13, at 2pm - end of turn report. With only minor probes and skirmishes going on, it's time now to rest and get the morale back up and only do positional moves for better defence while I sit and wait for my units to recover some morale.

While my scouts are out they spot a CSA unit trying to get into my rear, so again I move units to counter.



Turn 14, at 2.20pm - again I get attacked while I withdraw for better positioning.



Turn 14, at 2.20pm - end of turn report. While most troops rest, the odd CSA unit probes as it also moves for better positioning, but on the whole it's going quieter - so the CSA must also be in the same state as me, which is good as I don't think I could manage an attack for long with some units. Two are still routing near the edge of the map and haven't recovered as yet, while others are way behind my advance and will be out of action recovering for quite a while and maybe even then next to useless in combat but may hold ground better than attacking.



Turn 14, at 2.20pm - end of turn report. Again I’m attacked at the ford, seems they want it back. As I’m recovering my units I give ground and pull back.



Turn 15, at 2.40pm - CSA probes me on Henry's Hill. They seem more than happy to move the odd unit into a better position like me.



Turn 15, at 2.40pm - end of turn report. Same again, small scale probes only to see where I am and in what strength.



Turn 15, at 2.40pm - units from both sides lose morale for walking or resting in grounds where there are dead lying on the ground.



Turn 16, at 3pm - as some of my commanders rally their men, my morale goes up and I am almost ready to change some units back into move orders. This should happen in a turn or two.

I start the move to defend my rear at Blackburn's Ford, as the CSA has managed to get some troops behind my lines, so I’m forced to give up ground to attack them. Not the direction I wanted to be going in, so I reform my defences around the ford and counter the troops that are just appearing behind me.



Turn 16, at 3pm - end of turn report. As I edge nearer to the troops in my rear, I change orders again from Advance to Attack to see off these troops, and hope it's only the 3 units I can see and not any more.



Turn 17, at 3.20pm - again my commanders rally my troops as I reposition almost everywhere on the battlefield ready for the next push on the fords and VL behind them.



Turn 17, at 3.20pm - end of turn report. With all calm, and the last few moves made to get to better ground, I feel the chance to move is now and I change orders to suit. With all but two of my routed units recovered and no longer lost and retreating I begin to make a fresh attack plan.



Turn 17, at 3.20pm - end of turn report. Whilst it's slow going getting to the troops in the rear, next turn hopefully I will have removed the threat and be able to once again get back on plan.



Turn 18, at 3.40pm - while most units did as ordered the 5th brigade failed to follow orders so I will need to try and change them next turn.



Turn 18, at 3.40pm - end of turn report. I start off carefully and probe a few units in front of my lines and right away get probed back. I guess we have both rested enough for now so the battle restarts again in earnest.



Turn 19, at 4pm - I catch the CSA off guard with my quick change of orders and they pay for being too eager or just being in the wrong place .



Turn 20, at 4.20pm - I may have caught them off guard for a while but it doesn't take them long to return the fight back to me as one of my units rout's under the pressure as it gets caught off guard.



Turn 20, at 4.20pm - seems now that both sides are back into the attack so I reform my lines and again head off for the VL, while defending the ones I already own. With my troops rested my morale is OK for now. Three routed units are on the slow march back to their brigades, so it's almost back on track.



Turn 20, at 4.20pm - end of turn report. I turn my attention back onto Blackburn's Ford and now that I have the unit's in my rear under control I again go on the offensive.



So there we are. Battle proper is again underway. We will conclude this AAR next week when you can see what the final outcome is.



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