ACW Gamer Winter 2014 issue now released!

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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

Categories: Civil War wargaming | Leave a comment

New book on Custer in the Civil War released

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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

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RF&F labels for Salem Cemetery ACW scenario

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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.

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

New ACW wargaming ezine to debut

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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”
 
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Steve Miller’s diorama of Fort Phil Kearny

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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?
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Osprey has been busy recently!

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Osprey has recently published several new books of various genres covering several periods of military history.  Napoleonic Heavy Cavalry & Dragoon Tactics is self-explanatory, and is a useful treatise on the uniforms, armament, and tactics used by the Imperial troops and their many adversaries. Like most of Osprey’s past titles, this is lavishly illustrated with original artwork. Plates show the typical heavy cavalrymen, as well as illustrating their tactics on the battlefield.

The French Musketeer 1622-1775 covers the period made famous by Alexander Dumas in his classic book with the tale of Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and their young friend D’Artagnan. Again, color plates show examples of uniforms. The books details the formation of the Musketeers, their rise to prominence, and their eventual downfall.

Manzikert 1071 details a critical battle between the Byzantine Empire and the Seljuq Turks at the start of the second millenium.  In a pitched fight, forces under the sultan Alp-Arslan defeated the troops of Romanus IV Diogenes in what is now modern Turkey,

Another of the recent publications is an army list for the popular rules set Bolt Action, written by Alessio Cavatore and Rick Priestley.  This new book covers the Armies of Imperial Japan.

Ronin is a new rules set covering skirmish wargaming in the age of the Samurai,  For more information, see Osprey’s webpage for the book.

Daniel Mersey’s new book King Arthur is the latest edition in the Myths and Legends series .

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Two new Civil War books from Osprey

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The good folks at Osprey continue to pump out new books with regularity, including titles focused on the American Civil War. Clayton James Donnell is the author of a new book entitled Shenandoah Valley 1862, an excellent entry-level treatise on Stonewall Jackson’s brilliant operations in the Valley in the spring of 1862. Other than a loss to Nathan Kimball early in the campaign at Kernstown, Jackson confounded a myriad of Union commanders and eventually cleared most of the Valley for the Confederate cause. Connell gives a sweeping overview of the movements, the battles, and the strategic and tactical implications of the fighting. Augmented with Adam Hook’s usual fine illustrations and maps and an array of period photographs and illustrations, this book is a useful addition to the Osprey lineup.

Long-time author and historian Ron Field is back with his latest work for Osprey, Lincoln’s 90-day Volunteers 1861.  This is a concise account of how the states responded to President Abraham Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers for three months to put down the rebellion, a seemingly easy task at the time. Field uses period newspapers, letters, diaries, and other first-person accounts to describe the response, the numbers of men, their armament and uniforms, and their early days as soldiers. As with Donnell’s book, Adam Hook has provided original graphics with some excellent plates of the early war uniforms (often gray for many of the Union fledgling regiments, which created some confusion at Manassas/Bull Run).

Here are a few photos of selected pages from the two new books, which are great additions to the ever growing Osprey lineup.

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Categories: Civil War books, Osprey | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Farewell to Charge!

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After 10 years of publication, Debi and I have printed the final issue of Charge!, the official newsletter of the Johnny Reb Gaming Society. We published more than 100 American Civil War scenarios over the years, terrain tips, painting guides, and articles of interest to the ACW gamer.

It was a great run, but after 40 issues, it was time to stop and move on to other things. I will be focusing on writing more ACW books (I have 10 in print, with 3 more in various stages of pre-publication).

Farewell.

Categories: Civil War wargaming | 1 Comment

My 15mm wargame demo at the Chambersburg Civil War Seminar

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On Friday, July 26, 2013, I presented a demonstration of a wargame layout to the attendees of the Chambersburg Civil War Seminar at Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA.  Many people stopped to comment on the terrain, figures, and structures, and several expressed a desire to learn more about the hobby of miniature wargaming.

Here are a few more photographs of my 15mm ACW game.

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Categories: Civil War wargaming | 5 Comments

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