David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Wednesday 22 May 2024

The Battle of Watson's Farm, 1863

On Thursday of last week Paul travelled up to GHQ for what has become our more or less regular monthly game. As he has a much better camera on his phone he has agreed/been coerced into becoming official photographer. Bar the first picture all images are Paul's work. Rather than giving a blow by blow, turn by turn account they convey we hope a sense of being down there in the action through this anotated photomontage ~

My general view of the battlefield {taken at the conclusion of Turn 1} on then to Paul's take on the game ~
The 'Good Ol Boys' from Tennessee stepping off smartly towards 'those people'.
Watson's battery gallops forward into action!
Pausing at the fence line to dress ranks the Tennessee Brigade is alongside the battery deployed to support their advance! 
Paddock's Brigade on the Union right makes slow progress initially, some confusion of orders I expect.
Beecher's Battery in an exposed forward position takes a hit from counter battery fire. Luckily their morale holds up and they return fire with determination!
On the Union left the small Regular Brigade takes post to counter the Rebel threat. These steady troops should prove more than enough to hold the flank securely...
...from the gathering storm of Rebs to their front.
As the Irish Brigade hurries into position in the Union centre the New York Light Artillery fires it's first rounds into the advancing dense gray masses!
The Richmond Battery takes aim at the 20th Massachusetts as they move forward into their position in the Union line.
Further units in the Irish Brigade are making slow progress in maintaining contact with their advanced colleagues. More Union artillery adds to the weight of iron pounding the advancing Rebs!
The Union left is consolidating it's position, the Pennsylvania Bucktails take centre stage here.
The Tar Heels of North Carolina advance on the US Regular Brigade, supported by artillery on their right flank.
US Sharp Shooters advance in support of the Union left, taking careful aim against gun crews and senior officers with mixed success.
Some Disorder is evident amongst the Regular Brigade but they take heart from the support of the Oirish rushing to reinforce their flank.
A mid battle conference of senior Rebel generals seem satisfied with the conduct of the battle, so far. 
Meanwhile the Union commander takes comfort from the strains of the Union anthem played by his HQ band.
Rebel officers observe the movement of troops on the Union left and are handily situated to report to the army command conference nearby.
At last the pressure exerted by the Union left brings results and the Rebel advance is first halted, then driven back.
In the centre, Rebel brigades continue to push forward in the face of an ever strengthening Union position.
The Boys make a fine sight as the attack goes in, but will it succeed?
Heavy fire from the Irish Brigade and supporting artillery take a heavy toll on the lead units of the Rebel assault!
Battle now rages right across the front with victory or defeat firmly in the balance still.
The first Rebs break in the centre, though things are still very far from clear to either commander.
More Disorder grips the Reb centre even as the attack is being pressed home.
Not everything is going the Union's way though. This New York brigade has reached its limits and flees broken to the rear despite the attempts of US Bykleigh to stem the tide!
Despite losses and hold ups the Rebs' position looks far from lost as more troops advance towards the action.
A battery of Union rifled artillery hurls it's weight of iron into the massed gray ranks despite itself being under fire. 
The tide of battle is ebbing away from the Rebs as Disorder spreads and morale weakens. The impetus of the assault is falling along the front.
It all began so promisingly for Paul's Rebs too, but as the battle developed fortune and opportunity slipped through his fingers at critical moments.
For the Union despite set backs early on morale held up well and my boys did what was necessary to seize their opportunity.

A grand battle fought in the best of spirits with Black Powder 2 delivering as ever. After Turn 7 Paul conceded with half his force broken by falling morale and mounting losses. Significantly his Reserves failed to arrive and might well have swung the outcome had they appeared! There'll be a bit of an hiatus for us now for our monthly games as summer plans and health issues intrude into GHQ. More on this as and when.


  1. Another beautiful and inspiring game there David:). Frankly the sort of game I would be more than happy to see at Partizan!

    1. Many thanks SteveJ. Sadly my days of manning a Display game are gone: a combination of age, deafness and arthritis!!! I'd like to see a few more sort of 8'x4' /6'x4' games for the average gamer to aspire to.

  2. That was a cracking game, Paul is a Matthew Brady of the ACW tabletop.

    1. Very true on both counts Phil!

    2. Thank you Phil, but more luck than judgement I must confess! The camera and post production does all the work 😉

    3. No need for false modesty Paul!

  3. What a lovely looking game, the Dixon ACW range is absolutely brilliant, not to every ones taste but when you see them like this what's not to like!! Quite superb.

    1. Dixon Miniatures range for the ACW is unsurpassed in my view, so I have to agree with you!

  4. It was indeed a splended day! Hard fought by both sides, and provided entertainment and enjoyment of the highest quality! We both had our fair share of luck, and frustrations, but the Union firepower and decisive leadership came through in the end.
    One of the most memorable and enjoyable games to date in my view, and with such a splended collection of toys... certainly a game to remember!
    Thank you again Dave for such a great day, and of course, Well played sir! 😊

    1. As you say, a grand day pushing the toys about on the table! Let's hope circumstances permit many more in the not too distant future!

  5. A splendid looking game indeed David…
    And with the correct result 😁

    All the best. Aly

    1. Many thanks Aly, much appreciated as usual!