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A scenario for Stonewall in the Valley

For the Great Campaigns of the American Civil War series

Designed by Trevor Bender

NOTES: In the Spring of 1864 General John C. Breckinridge received command of the Shenandoah Valley Department and was given the simultaneous charge of protecting the Virginia & Tennessee railroad, securing the crops of the valley for Lee’s Army, and guarding the Army of Northern Virginia’s left, which operationally was anchored on the Blue Ridge Mountains. Opposing Breckinridge was Union General Franz Sigel, a political appointee given the task of threatening all that his southern counterpart was asked to protect. The situation was ripe for another “Shenandoah side show.” In early May, 1864, Sigel moved in fits and starts up the valley, spreading his Army across 20 miles of turnpike and being harassed by Mosby and other raiders the whole way. Sigel’s lead elements bumped into Breckinridge’s concentrated army, which due to a desperate call for reserves included 258 VMI cadets, at the vital crossroads of New Market. Possession of the New Market Gap was critical to both sides if they were to coordinate their actions with the giants wrestling on the other side of the Blue Ridge.

MAP: Use only the middle map.

GAME LENGTH: 1 turn; May 15, 1864

SPECIAL RULES:

  1. Prior to play, each player tosses a die. High roller can either choose the side he prefers to command or automatically win the first initiative. His opponent is granted the unchosen option. Initiatives two and on are chosen normally.
  2. Do not determine random events in this scenario. Rain conditions exist with all their effects.
  3. The Union player begins the game with two substitute counters in play which are subordinate to Sigel. Neither side may create additional substitutes during the scenario.
  4. If any unit ends a march in hex M2227 or M2228, the player controlling that unit may destroy the Meems Bottom Bridge by placing a Bridge Destroyed marker on it. (Exception: The bridge may not be destroyed if an enemy unit currently occupies one of these two hexes.)

VICTORY CONDITIONS:

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

  • +1 If the Meems Bottom Bridge (M2227/M2228) is destroyed by the end of the game.
  • -1 If a non-demoralized Union Infantry unit occupies either hex of New Market Gap (M2433 or M2533) at the end of the game
  • +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)
  • -1 For each point of Confederate 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 Confederate VP total is calculated and the players consult the chart below to determine the winner.

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

UNION SET-UP:

Hist Unit Counter* Size Cmd Type Manpower Hex
Sigel Blenker Div B-M Ldr - M3018 (Woodstock)
Sullivan Sub 1 Regt   Inf 3 M3018 (Woodstock)
Thoburn Stahel Brig B-M Inf 2 M2424 (Hawkinstown)
123 OH Sub 2 Regt   Inf 2 M2226 (Mt Jackson)
Moor Steinwhr Brig B-M Inf 3 M2133 (New Market)
10 NY   Regt   Cav 1 M2133 (New Market)
15 NY 5 NY Regt   Cav 1 M2232
20 PA 2 PA Regt   Cav 1 M2229 (Dunkard Church)

CONFEDERATE SET-UP:

Hist Unit Counter* Size Cmd Type Manpower Hex
Breckinridge Jackson Dist J(V) Ldr   M1934
Echols Patton Brig J-V Inf 3 M1934
VA Milit   Regt V Inf 2 M1934
Wharton Taliaferro Brig J-V Inf 3 M2033
Imboden Ashby Regt - Cav 1 M2134

* All counters and the rules for this scenario come from STONEWALL IN THE VALLEY (SIV). In most cases the unit that participated is represented by a different unit as listed under the "Counter" column.

HISTORIC RESULTS: Rain hampered the action all day, swelling the creeks and rivers. After failing to prompt the Federals into an attack against him, Breckinridge saw an opportunity. If Imboden could get behind the Union lines and destroy the Meems Bottom Bridge, then a routed Union army would have nowhere to retreat and the Rebels could bag several thousand prisoners. Through a series of advances and charges, the Federals were indeed pushed back. The situation was not helped either through Sigel’s shouting of orders in German, to his staff’s dismay. As for the cadets, they showed extreme discipline under fire and managed to capture a Yankee 12 pounder which they promptly turned on the foe. The bridge was not put out of action until the Bluecoats had crossed thus preventing the Valley Army from converting a marginal victory into something more. Nevertheless, the Confederate victory allowed Breckinridge to retire from the valley and come to Lee’s aid at Cold Harbor.

Copyright by Trevor Bender

April, 22, 1997