Kelly's Ford Minimize
 

A scenario for Stonewall's Last Battle

For the Great Campaigns of the American Civil War series

designed by Trevor Bender

NOTES: Because of the inability of the Federal outpost line to prevent Confederate reconnaissance of the Army of the Potomac during the winter of 1862-63, and due to the Union Cavalry’s utterly poor performance during the Hartwood Church affair on February 25, 1863, Hooker called for his newly formed Cavalry Corps to strike the foe. Simultaneously, Brigadier General William W. Averell, commander of the Second Cavalry Division which was bested during the Hartwood action, begged for permission to take the fight to the enemy. With orders to “rout and destroy him”, Averell initiated the first Union large scale independent offensive cavalry operation of the war as an act of retribution against his rival in the saddle and former West Point classmate, Brigadier General Fitzhugh Lee.

Upon approaching the Rappahannock, Averell received bad intelligence that caused him to divert two regiments to the north. His plans were further attrited by obstacles and stubborn opposition at the ford. It was noon before his three brigades were across and reformed. What ever advantage in maneuver he once had was now lost--this action would be determined by saber and pistol alone.

(For this scenario, the unit scale has been halved to 375 cavalrymen per manpower point; there is no impact on game mechanics.)

MAP: Use the map and counters from SLB.

GAME LENGTH: 1 turn; March 17, 1863

SPECIAL RULES:

  1. The sequence of play consists of the Action Cycle only (no leader transfer phase).
  2. The Union player automatically wins the first two initiatives. Initiatives three and on are determined normally. The scenario ends if both players pass consecutively or all units reach Fatigue Level 4.
  3. The SLB Brandy Station scenario Cavalry Charge special rule is in effect.
  4. When using this scenario as a teaching tool, treat all artillery values as zero and ignore leader activations, assaults and leader movement (Stuart remains with 3 VA whole game and applies tactical value to that unit normally).
  5. Neither side may transit the two fords on Mountain Run, though they may cross the creeks further upstream. Union forces may only cross the Rappahannock at Kelly’s Ford. Due to the swollen nature of the river, the presence of abatis on both banks of Kelly’s Ford, and the stubborn opposition of 60 sharpshooters in rifle pits, each Union unit that wishes to move southwest across Kelly’s Ford must roll a single die on the Hindered River-Crossing Table below at the instant of crossing. Results are applied immediately. If the hex is occupied by a Confederate unit(s), the rules for combat apply instead. Union crossing die rolls receive a +2 modifier for each previous crossing attempted. Once a Union unit receives a “success” crossing result, future units need no longer roll.

HINDERED RIVER-CROSSING TABLE

Die Roll Crossing Result
1 Rebuffed Unit may not cross, becomes disorg*, and receives an F and E result.
2 Stalled Unit crosses, becomes disorg*, and receives an F and E result.
3 Opposed Unit crosses but receives an F and E result.
4 Contested Unit crosses but receives an f and E result.
5 Slowed Unit crosses but receives an E result.
6 Hindered Unit crosses, receives an f result, but may continue moving.
7+ Success Unit crosses and may continue moving.

* A previously disorganized unit suffers no additional effect.

VICTORY CONDITIONS:

The Union player gains and loses Victory Points (VP) for the following occurrences.

  • +1 if a Union unit enters Elkwood (2215) at anytime during the game.
  • +2 if a Union unit occupies Culpeper (1418) at the end of the game.
  • +1 for each point of Confederate Manpower Value lost in combat or retreat (not in extended march, force march, or moving from one enemy ZOC to another).
  • -1 For each point of Union Manpower Value lost in combat, retreat, or cavalry retreat (not in extended march, force march, or moving from one enemy ZOC to another)

At the end of the game, the Union VP total is calculated and the players consult the chart below to determine the winner.

3 or more Union Decisive Victory
2 Union Substantive Victory
1 Union Marginal Victory
0 Confederate Marginal Victory
-1 Confederate Substantive Victory
-2 or less Confederate Decisive Victory

UNION SET-UP:

Hist Unit Counter Size Cmd Type Manpower Hex
Duffie Gregg Brig

2

Cav

2

3117 (Morrisville)
McIntosh   Brig

2

Cav

2

3117 (Morrisville)
Reno Sargent Brig

2

Cav

1

3117 (Morrisville)
Flank Gd diCesnola Brig

2

Cav

2

3307 (Catlett’s Station)

CONFEDERATE SET-UP:

Hist Unit Counter Size Cmd Type Manpower Hex
Stuart   Corp

Cav

Ldr

  1418 (Culpeper)
3 VA   Regt

Cav

Cav

1

1418 (Culpeper)
F Lee-A   Brig

Cav

Cav

2

2317

* All counters and the rules for this scenario come from Stonewall's Last Battle (SLB). In some cases the unit that participated is represented by a different unit as listed under the “counter” column.

HISTORIC RESULTS: The main action developed about 3/4 mile from the ford. Through a series of charges and countercharges, Averell was able to push the Rebels back a couple miles. Unable to develop the situation any further, and upon perceiving signs of Confederate reinforcements, the Second Division made an orderly withdrawal back the way it came.

Casualties were surprisingly light for an action of this intensity. Although the Federals came out ahead in this department, combined casualties did not even equal a strength point in game terms. It was the lack of any real Union progress that allowed the Rebels to claim a marginal victory Nevertheless, the horsemen in blue experienced a confidence level never before felt, which prepared them for the campaigns ahead.

WHAT IF? It is generally agreed that the battle would likely have been decisive had Averell not detached 1/3 of his force to guard his flank from an imaginary threat. To simulate how the battle could have gone, place the Flank Guard unit in Morrisville with the rest of its division. Now to understand how the achievement of Averell’s objective would have impacted the rest of the campaign, play the other SLB scenarios without the F Lee counter!

Copyright by Trevor Bender

March 12, 1997