“Give me a brigade, and I will take that hill. Give me a regiment, and I will take that hill!” Fantasy words from fiction, attributed to Ike Trimble as he vents his frustration to Dick Ewell about not being allowed to launch an early evening assault on Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863. Shaara’s words are dramatic, and the acting in the movie Gettysburg crisp and compelling in this segment, but it’s all make-believe. True, there were a number of leading generals who openly (and privately) disagreed with Ewell’s assessment of the tactical situation and clamored for an attack. However, the outcome was far from certain, as there were a lot of Yankees in the area and in reserve.
Now, you can try your hand at this mythical attack! Come to Gettysburg from November 9 through the 11th for the annual FALL-IN! miniature wargaming convention, one of the largest gatherings of wargamers in the country. Held at the Eisenhower Resort and the adjacent All-Star Sports Complex just south of Gettysburg on the Emmitsburg Road, this convention has a faithful following of some of the country’s best gamemasters, with excellent miniature terrain and soldiers.
I am hosting the game of Trimble’s Assault at 9 a.m. on Friday, November 9 using the popular Johnny Reb 3 rules set. Stop by and watch for a while! Free admission to the nongaming community, so take some time to come out and get a first-hand look at the visually appealling hobby of miniature wargaming.
With all the media coverage of the bridge collapse in Minnesota, I could not help but recall the many times I have driven over that very same bridge during frequent business trips to the Twin Cities over the past two decades. It’s a reminder that life is short and fleeting, and we need to live each minute to the fullest. Life is a gift, not an entitlement.
With that said, I turn my attention to another Mississippi River tragedy, one that, had CNN existed in 1865, would surely have been the major news story around the world. The steamship Sultana exploded and caught fire not far from Memphis as it was carrying released Union prisoners of war, many from Andersonville Prison. Few escaped the swirling waters, with their fast currents. Most of the former prisoners were emaciated and weak, and it’s doubtful that few were strong swimmers. Most probably did not know how to swim.
Among the thousand plus victims were hundreds of Ohio soldiers (my native state). The dead Buckeyes are commemorated with a series of plaques and markers in Cincinnati, their intended destination.
Today, the remains of the Sultana are in a field well from where the river runs today. The river has dramatically shifted course over the past century, isolating the rusting relics to what is now dry ground (privately owned – do not attempt to relic hunt or otherwise trespass).
The Johnny Reb Gaming Society is making available two scenario books for regimental-level miniature wargamers. Crossed Sabers: Gettysburg in Miniature includes a dozen original scenarios for cavalry fighting during the Gettysburg Campaign, including three scenarios related to the Battle of Brandy Station. Other battles covered in the scenario book include Aldie, Middleburg, Goose Creek, Upperville, Wrightsville, Hanover, Hunterstown, Gettysburg East Cavalry Field, and John Buford’s initial fight at Gettysburg on Day 1.
Touched With Fire is a compilation of infantry and cavalry scenarios from both the Eastern and Western Theaters. Note that every scenario in this latter book has previously appeared in the hard copy Charge! newsletter.
Each scenario book is digitally printed on 20# high brightness bond paper and comb-bound for ease of use. They are $15 apiece, plus postage (international or domestic). Please contact Debi Mingus at the Johnny Reb Gaming Society for more information.