The Battle for Fort Phil Kearny: Part 2

#3S2AllUnderControlInQMY(tillNow)

Steve Miller has been kind enough to send us a running narrative and images of a miniature battle for Fort Phil Kearny. In Part 1 of this series he set the stage for the action, giving a description of the fort and the unrest with the local Native Americans. Several wagon trains of wood cutters have been attacked and now the natives are eying the big fort. All has been quiet, so far.

Here is the second installment of Steve’s work:

Scene 2

Then just before noon, a large band of Sioux surge toward the QM gate.

#2S2Wagon impactingnexttoGate Continue reading

Categories: Civil War dioramas | 2 Comments

The Battle for Fort Phil Kearny: Part 1

Civilians@QMYwall

 

Steve Miller has produced a fascinating illustrated story of the Battle for Fort Phil Kearny set in the Plains Indians Wars. Here is the first installment of this series.

INTRODUCTION

What follows is a battle scenario that I will be creating as I go along. It may be thought of as “Alternative History” in that everything is as it was as the start of the “Deer Rutting Moon” to the Sioux, or November 1866 as we would know it. It is not a war game in the sense that it has no rules and right now I do not know how it will end; I will be making it up as it flows. I would expect it to have some seven to eight scenes or “episodes”, each of which will be accompanied by one or more photographs although it may turn out to have somewhat more. I hope you will enjoy following along.

Setting the Stage

The scene of the “battle” is Ft Phil Kearny, Dakota Territory (currently in northern Wyoming. The date is November 3, 1866. Four companies of the 18th US Infantry Regiment arrived at this site and began construction of the fort in mid-July of this year, its purpose to guard the Bozeman Trail which ran from southeast Wyoming at Fort Laramie to the gold fields in western Montana. Almost from the start, Sioux under Chief Red Cloud (who had vowed to close the Bozeman Trail) began harassment attacks on details assigned at the various “satellite” sites, the pinery (located about 5 miles west of the fort and the hayfield site, about 4 miles east of the fort. In addition, the Sioux launched frequent raids on the herds of cattle, horses and mules that grazed daily in the fields surrounding the fort. When raids succeeded in driving off livestock, a patrol of mounted infantry (since no cavalry troops had been assigned to Ft Phil Kearny to this point) would pursue, usually unsuccessfully. Until this day, however, Red Cloud had elected to avoid making any major attack on the fort itself, husbanding his strength as he gathered more bands to his banner.Now with over 2000 warriors nearby, that is about to change.

At 0900 hours that morning, the wood train had departed the fort for the pinery; the train consisted of 25 wagons, each driven by a civilian teamster, and was escorted by a platoon of roughly 20 soldiers. Already at the pinery was the weekly work party of 20 timber cutters, also escorted by a 20-man platoon. Remaining at the fort were 9 officers, 3 surgeons and the remainder of the 4 infantry companies and the regimental band, altogether about 320 men. In addition there were about 100 civilians, some of them quartermaster employees, some contractor personnel and some just en route either up or down the Bozeman Trail. Continue reading

Categories: Civil War wargaming | 2 Comments

New AWI board games from Two Buck Games now available from Gettysburg Miniature Soldiers

AWI North

Gettysburg Wargamer Bill Molyneaux has designed several new board games recently, including a series of easy-to-learn American War of Independence (AWI) games which are now available at Gettysburg Miniature Soldiers and other outlets. Click here for more information.

AWI North

The AWI Campaign sets share a common rule set with battle specific changes so it is easy to learn. Most of the 9 battles can be finished in under 2 hours regardless of your wargaming experience. Experienced players will comfortably finish most battles in under an hour.

 

The battle scenarios included in this campaign pack are:

Concord-Lexington -19 April 1775.

Bunker Hill – 17 June 1775.

White Plains – 28 October 1776.

Trenton – 25 December 1776.

Paoli – 21 September 1777.

Hubbardton – 7 July 1777.

Germantown – 4 October 1777.

Valley Forge (hypothetical) – Winter 177.7

Saratoga (Freemans Farm and Beamis Heights combined).

PRICE SOON TO BE RELEASED

Price:

$17.00

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Categories: AWI gaming (American Revolution) | Leave a comment

James Vinski’s vintage Airfix army

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Charge reader Jim Vinski is looking for help from the wargaming hobby. He need many more vintage Airfix figures to augment his army.  Specifically, “The Airfix Civil War marching infantry at the ‘right shoulder arms’ pose are the ones I am looking for. I prefer Airfix’s Union blue marching figures but would also accept Confederate gray at that pose. I’d prefer to trade other poses that I have in exchange for right shoulder arms, but if someone wants to sell them I could negotiate that. I’m looking for as many as possible. I appreciate any help you and your friends can give me. If they don’t have those figures, maybe they know of others who might have them.”

So, dear Charge readers, please contact Jim at jsvinski@gmail.com if you have any of these figures to trade or to sell.

And now for some more photos of his wee warriors in action…

Continue reading

Categories: Civil War toys | 2 Comments

ACW Gamer Winter 2014 issue now released!

ACW Gamer 2

Pennsylvania-based wargamer and e-publisher Stephen M. Huckaby has released the second issue of his new e-zine for American Civil War miniature wargaming, ACW Gamer.

Topics include:

  • Review: Trident Miniatures’ “Nation Divided” 40mm ACW Range
  • Battle Report: Crossroads at Seven Pines
  • Weapons: Weird Weapons of the Civil War
  • Scenario: The Morning After
  • Battle Report: Return to Castleman’s Ferry, Part 1
  • Review: Infantry Flags, Longstreet’s Corps, Gettysburg 1863

 

For more information, or to subscribe to this excellent new addition to the Civil War gaming hobby, please contact Stephen at info@acwgamer.com

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New book on Custer in the Civil War released

GloriousWar_cover_Final

Thom Hatch, a long-time and award winning writer of Old West history topics, has ventured into a Civil War topic, writing a biography of Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer during the tumultuous war years. His latest work is entitled Glorious War: The Civil War Adventures of George Armstrong Custer (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2013).

“Autie” Custer has become an almost mythical figure thanks to a very bad afternoon on the heights above Little Big Horn, and too often writers ignore or downplay his Civil War career in order to focus on his highly publicized encounters with Native Americans such as Crazy Horse, Black Kettle, and Sitting Bull. Much of the so-called “Custer’s Last Stand” historiography and media coverage, particularly in the 20th century, dives into speculation and conjecture, and at times is incorrect or mistaken.

Although not as prevalent as his Indian fighter years, Custer’s Civil War experiences have also become clouded in myth, misconceptions, and exaggerations. For example, over the past few years, most scholars of the battle of Gettysburg, including knowledgeable Licensed Battlefield Guides and park rangers, have discounted the theory proposed by Thomas Carhart and other writers that J.E.B.  Stuart precisely timed his attack at East Cemetery Hill to coincide with and support George Pickett’s ill-fated assault on the Union center. That controversy has been frequently re-fought in Civil War chat rooms and message boards, as well as in printed reviews and rebuttals.

Other legends and myths about Custer in the war years include a long enduring local one here in York County, Pa., regarding General Custer tying his horse to a maple tree on the town square in Hanover during the June 30, 1863, battle of Hanover during the Gettysburg Campaign.  This too has been debunked over the years (see this link to the Hanover Evening Sun). Few manuscript sources were used and definitive well-reasoned secondary sources on the battle such as John Krepps’ excellent book or Wittenberg & Petruzzi apparently were not consulted or used.

Author Thom Hatch has fallen into these common traps, as well as a few others, in this new book. Parts of the new book are of interest, but with me being a tour guide for York County’s Civil War history, perpetuating the Custer maple story is something to be avoided. He also writes that “Kilpatrick had no knowledge of Stuart’s ambitious ride toward Carlisle.” Not quite accurate… A party of Kilpatrick’s men dogged Stuart all the way through York County, engaging his rear guard (Wade Hampton’s brigade) in several small and relatively bloodless skirmishes in Jefferson, Dover, Rossville, and other York County sites. They did not peel off until Stuart was almost to Dillsburg, about 10 miles from Carlisle. Throughout July 1 it was quite clear to Alexander and the Union scouts that Stuart was not turning west but was continuing northwesterly on the Carlisle Road.

There are a few other nits, such as the misspelling Karle Forney as Carl Forney and the mention that the “terrified citizens” barricaded the streets (the soldiers did that, and several definitely not terrified citizens were up in their second story windows firing at the oncoming Rebels). Other residents rushed into the streets and were helping the wounded (Yank and Reb alike) while bullets flew.

The author also states that Custer departed for Abbottstown on the York Pike (today’s PA Route 116). Umm… no. I work nine miles from Hanover on the York Road (it was not a turnpike by the way), and it’s definitely the wrong direction  to head to Abbottstown. Custer first encountered the Rebels westward toward Littlestown; this is not mentioned and perhaps should have been addressed as this was his very first actions in combat as a brigadier general.

Glorious War: The Civil War Adventures of George Armstrong Custer

366 pages, annotated with a bibliography, indexed

10 glossy, coated-two-sides pages of photographs, no maps

ISBN 978-1-250-02850-1

Categories: Civil War books | Leave a comment

RF&F labels for Salem Cemetery ACW scenario

SalemMap

Pascal Toupy from Bordeaux (France) was kind enough to send me the attached file with labels for the scenario for the December 1862 battle of  Salem Cemetery which was published in a past issue of Charge!, the now defunct newsletter of the Johnny Reb Gaming Society. The rather small battle was fought near Jackson, Tennessee, but the tactical situation makes for a nice tabletop two player game.

He writes, “As we play Regimental Fire & Fury we’ve designed the labels for the units, and I thought it could be useful for other players. I’ve attached the labels for the Salem Cemetery battle scenario  published in Charge! #2.”

Merci, Pascal!

Click here to call up the .pdf file with the Salem Cemetery labels

Map is from the Salem Cemetery Battlefield Association. They are seeking copies of letters and documents from the battles, as well as artifacts or relics.

Salem Cemetery Battlefield Association:
367 White Fern Road
Beech Bluff,  TN 38313

Categories: Civil War wargaming | 2 Comments

Four new titles from Osprey Publishing

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Among Osprey Publishing’s recent releases in the autumn of 2013 are these four new titles of interest not only to wargamers, but also to general military history buffs. All contain Osprey’s usual excellent custom-drawn graphics, as we have become used to seeing over the years, as well as an excellent selection of vintage and period photographs and drawings. Each paperback book is printed on high quality, coated-two-sides enamel paper using fine offset lithography printing.

The two books at the top of the photograph are both part of Osprey’s popular “Combat” series, which examine opposing warriors across a wide variety of periods and armies.

David Greentree has written an interesting account of the opponents in the Mediterranean 1942-43 theater: British Paratrooper Versus Fallschirmjager. His book details three key encounters between the airborne forces in Tunisia and Sicily. The new book contrasts their organization, training, tactics used on the battlefield, experience, and weaponry. Greentree has drawn from first-person accounts, military records, old photographs, and contemporary strategic and tactical maps to give a useful look at the opposing units. Tennessee freelance artist Johnny Shumate nicely drew the modern illustrations. Chapters include The Opposing Sides; Pont du Fahs, Depiene, and Oudna; Green Hill, Primosole Bridge, and an analysis and conclusion. He also includes a useful look at unit organizations and a selected bibliography. $18.95. ISBN:  978170969244.

Continue reading

Categories: Civil War books, Osprey, Product reviews | Leave a comment

New ACW wargaming ezine to debut

ACW mag 1 cover

Stephen Huckaby’s new digital wargaming magazine (an “ezine”) is debuting this month.

“ACW Gamer: The Ezine” will be available on the 4th of October 2013. The cost for a 4 issue subscription is $12 and can be sent by Paypal at Ravenbannergames@yahoo.com. Please include the email address where you wish the PDF to be sent to. 
 
The Fall Issue features:
 
- An interview with Chris Hughes of Sash and Saber Castings
 
- A history of the 83rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry
 
- Pohick Church: An early war scenario
 
- Crucible of Valor: An American Civil War Ruleset for Warlord Games’ “Black Powder”
 
Categories: Civil War wargaming | Leave a comment

Steve Miller’s diorama of Fort Phil Kearny

FPK closeups with backdrop 001

Steve Miller was an Indian Wars reenactor off and on for some 20+ years during his Air Force career. He has also been a board wargamer, primarily WWII but with 8 or 9 Civil War titles in his collection.

Another of his interests is the Old West.  Back in the early 1960s he borrowed Dee Brown’s “Fort Phil Kearny, an American Saga” as a book from his high school library.  He also built a small perhaps 24 inch by 18 “cavalry fort” and “manned” it with HO scale Thomas figures purchased from K+L of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and with AirFix plastic Indians.  When he was commissioned as a 2Lt in the Air Force in 1968 and left for active duty, both the fort and the miniatures were left at his parents’ home. Over time they disposed of all of them.

Years later, Steve began Indian Wars reenacting in Tucson, San Antonio, and finally southern California, but never thought much about his boyhood diorama until this past January. He re-read Dee Brown’s book about Fort Phil Kearny again,inspiring him to try to build another diorama.  He had taken Terry Johnson’s “Northern Plains Indian Wars Tour” in about 1999 which included a visit to the Fort Phil Kearny HIstorical Site outside of Sheridan, WY. That museum contained a diorama.
Steve googled Ft Phil Kearny, found its web page, and saw a picture of that diorama and a note showing that it had been created by Bob Wilson, once the site superintendent but since retired. Steve was able to contact Mr. Wilson, compare notes, learn of some of the factual errors in Dee Brown’s old book, and begin planning his own diorama.
As for the layout of the post, “MIlitary Posts of the Powder River” was the most useful.  In it and in “Red Cloud’s War” Steve Miller learned that the fort was much larger that what was mentioned in Brown’s book (400 ft by 400 ft). It turns out that was the size of just the parade ground.  The actual size of the “main” fort was 800 feet by 600 feet, and attached to that was the Quartermaster Yard of 600 feet by 250 feet.  At a 1/72 scale, he was going to need a table 20 feet long and 8 feet wide.
Oops, he didn’t happen to have a room that would accommodate that.   What to do?
Categories: Civil War dioramas | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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