My grandson and I enjoyed a morning out together visiting the encampments in back of the Bonham House, a part of the York County Heritage Trust. The mini-cannon is the perfect size for the little guy!
Today, June 28, marks the 145th anniversary of the “surrender” of York to Confederate Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early, Lee’s “bad old man.” York, Pennsylvania, was the largest town north of the Mason-Dixon Line to fall to the Rebels. The last weekend of June marks York’s annual Patriot Days, which honors the town’s heritage from colonial days through World War II with reenactors, drama plays, Victorian dances, musical groups, panel discussions, and other events.
A group of reenactors stand in front of the Bonham House in downtown York. This period house was open to the public to view. Filled with 19th Century furnishings and decor, the home is among York’s finest restorations.
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On the third day, the Union takes the offensive – Slocum’s Corps advances past the Wheatfield.
As we approach the 145th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg this upcoming week, there are a myriad of activities planned for the Gettysburg area, including two (not one as usual) different organized reenactments, book signings, concerts, talks, ceremonies, battle walks, period balls, etc. Unfortunately, there are no scheduled public wargames in Gettysburg to my knowledge. So, we have to be content with looking at wargames done by other folks, including these shots of a Gettysburg game from Donogh McCarthy from Dublin, Ireland – very appropriate because of the Irish Brigade’s heritage in the actual battle!
Something the real general didn’t try at Gettysburg – a miniature Alfred Pleasonton leads a saber charge at oncoming Rebels by the Gettysburg Railroad.
The above photo was sent in by John Wagner, a 13-year-old toy soldier collector. The figures are a part of his collection of 54mm Civil War figures. Thanks for sharing these with the Charge readership, and keep up the terrific work, John!
Here is a series of photographs submitted by Lord Ashram of his layout. For much, much more, see his excellent wargaming blog, which has some really great photos and advice. And, check out his fantastic gaming room and cabinetry to store his figures. That really gives me some ideas on what to do in my gaming room! As usual, click on the photos to see slightly larger images in a new window.
A brigade prepares for action…
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Today, June 23, marks the 143rd anniversary of the surrender of the last significant Confederate army – that of Brigadier General Stand Watie at Fort Towson in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). He and his men were still in the field well after the passing of Robert E. Lee’s army, that of Joe Johnston, and those of the Western Theater, including Dick Taylor. His forces were primarily comprised of Creek, Seminole, and Cherokee warriors, and marked one of the most significant concentrations of Native Americans in the Confederate ranks. He first came to national prominence at the Battle of Pea Ridge, where his men seized several Union artilery pieces and helped cover the Rebel retreat. He led his cavalry in numerous battles and engagements in the last two years of the war.
From a wargamer’s perspective, there are a number of options in 15mm and 25mm, and a few in 10mm. I have several stands of 15mm Indian infantry that I use for Pea Ridge and other battles. These are older Musket Miniatures figures, mixed in with some Ral Partha / RAFM figures. While they may certainly not be historically accurate in terms of clothing, hair styles, etc., they are good enough for me to at least represent Native Americans for the Western / Trans-Mississippi fighting. I use regular CSA western cavalry figures (slouch hats, etc.) painted with a copper skin-tone to portray Watie’s horsemen, as all I could find at the time at local hobby shops were Plains Indians, and those war bonnets looked out of place under the Confederate flag.
What do you use for your Native American Civil War stands? Does anyone have Union units as well – for example, those Cherokee troops of Opothleyahalo that fought at Round Mountain and other battles? Do you use any special rules for Native American troops in your game play?
I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who bemoaned the fact that there seems to be far less people willing to play wargames these days. In my own case, I certainly know that I play perhaps 10% as much as I used to when I lived in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Some of it is related to my past health issues, some to my incredibly busy work schedule, some to my other interests that have taken a priority (playing with my little grandson, book writing, publishing Charge hardcopy, blogging, etc.), but some of it is also due to a shifting in my interests as I enter my early 50s. After decades of hauling massive boxes of baseball cards to countless conventions and flea markets, and then toting wargaming materials to conventions, I no longer have the desire to set up and exhibit at public shows as much as I prefer to walk around and see what others have lugged with them.
In looking at old HMGS-East convention programs from the early 2000s, I was struck by how many gamemasters in the Civil War genre who used to be regulars or semi-regulars in presenting JR3 and other rules games repeatedly are now missing from the ranks of recent conventions (myself included, as I have only presented two public games in the past two years). Luckily, there are some talented new gamemasters who have appeared to fill in some of the slack caused by the cessation of gamemastering by the “old guard,” and this new blood offers hope for the future.
How about in your area? Is there a new generation of younger gamemasters who are not only keeping the hobby of Civil War miniature gaming alive, but prospering and growing? Or, is wargaming in general slowly falling by the wayside in your community? What efforts are underway (if any) to attract new peope to the hobby of miniature wargaming?
Note how all the farm fields add color and variety to this gaming tabletop, which represents my 15mm depiction of the fighting on Day 1 of the three-day Battle of Gettysburg. Specifically, this is the area between Blocher’s Knoll / Rock Creek and the Adams County Almshouse. The Schultz mansion is the white house in the upper right corner of the photograph. The actual house still stands, although the barn, fencing, and outbuildings are long gone. This house served for some time as Dick Ewell’s HQ and conference room.
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Long sweeping lines of Yankees prepare to engage the Confederates in the early morning light as the fog lifts. Within hours, the lush farm fields will be trampled and the sturdy wooden fencing torn down or otherwise destroyed. The scene was a familiar one in some places in the South, particularly in the Shenandoah Valley, where the town of Winchester changed hands more than seventy times and saw at least five major battles fought nearby.
Charge reader Keith Williamson has submitted a photograph of one of his recent 15mm Civil War miniature wargames. Note how the use of the fencing breaks up the tabletop and adds more interest. Also, note his terrain squares..
Thanks for sending the JRGS this photo, Keith!
The 3rd Michigan Volunteer Infantry on the dusty road en route to an unknown fate at the next battle. The men and boys are confident, knowing that they are in the capable hands of their beloved Colonel Gentile, who has been carefully preparing them for action.
Antietam Park Ranger Mannie Gentile is a long-time fan of toy soldiers, a passion we share. He lived for many years in Michigan, where I am sure he had plenty of cold winter nights to produce and paint his own customized 54mm ACW toy soldiers.
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Holding the village (click photos to enlarge)
Here is the second entry to the Johnny Reb Gaming Society’s contest for Civil War miniatures. This one comes from Larry Reeves of the Jackson Gamers in Mississippi. He was the gamemaster this past April for a club game conducted at the HobbyTown USA store in Jackson. The 15mm Confederate figures are all from Stone Mountain, while the Yankees are from Musket Miniatures, two venerable manufacturers with their origins in Colorado.
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