My game at this year’s Cold Wars was a hypothetical scenario based upon an idea that came from my newly released book on Jubal Early’s Division / John Gordon’s Brigade and their invasion of Adams and York counties in southern Pennsylvania. Early’s target was Lancaster, the home of Cold Wars, but his plans were thwarted by the burning of the world’s longest covered bridge over the Susquehanna River (the old stone piers you still see today off to the south from the U.S. 30 bridge). (Photo by John Mayer of Round Top Miniatures of Gettysburg, PA).
The game was based upon the premise that the Rebel scout / spy Harrison was killed or got lost and never made it to inform Longstreet and Lee that the Army of the Potomac was near. Lee follows through with plans to move on Harrisburg, while he keeps Early at York to protect the vital roads north to Carlisle and Harrisburg. In reality, the Union V Corps on July 1 marched through Hanover, PA (15 miles southwest of York) before turning to Gettysburg. In this scenario, they are directed on to York, where Old Jube awaits. (Photo by John Mayer).
Early’s Division has to hold on long enough for Robert Rodes’ and Ed Johnson’s divisions to arrive from Harrisburg as reinforcements as Dick Ewell concentrates his Second Corps at York. Union Major General George Sykes deploys the three brigades of his V Corps division for the assault on Early’s positions west of York. (Remaining photos by Scott Mingus).
The main road (left/right) is the Gettysburg Turnpike (today’s Route 462 / Lincoln Highway in this area; it was formerly U.S. Route 30 until the York bypass was constructed in the 1990s). Gordon’s Brigade guards the intersection with East Berlin Road, while Harry Hays’ Louisiana Tigers were on Early’s left flank (out of the picture) with “Extra Billy” Smith on the right flank. Col. I. E. Avery’s Tar Heels were held as a mobile reserve. Hilary P. Jones’ guns are unlimbered on a few small rises and knolls.
The Louisiana Tigers have been devastated by a vicious flanking move by part of Stephen Weed’s Union brigade; remnants of the Tigers have regrouped in nearby farm fields. Weed regrouped in the trampled cornfield that will forever bear the name “Hays’ Field” for the Confederate general whose spirited defense of the area ended in the surrender of Harry Hays and the 7th and 8th Louisiana Infantry.
Trampled cornfields are from Battlefield Terrain Concepts.
Ayres moves to crush Gordon’s Georgians. However, the Yankees are now in disorder after wrecking the Tigers, and a countercharge will soon in turn push these bluebellies back. They were only 100 yards away from the vital road intersection (by the white house on the right top). So close to victory, yet so far… and the rumble of artillery and the crackling of musketry farther to the west along the turnpike announces the arrival of Rodes’ Division on the field.
Meanwhile to the west, the rest of Ayres’ men have destroyed Smith’s Virginians, but now face the three large brigades of Ike Avery, which have deployed along fence lines. The attack will gain territory, but not push the Rebels back to destruction.
Early has held on just long enough. Lee will get the decisive fight on Pennsylvania soil that he has desired.
Part of Gordon’s Brigade celebrate their narrow victory. However, James Barnes’ fresh Yankee division is now advancing, and the Battle of York is growing in intensity and size.
For the next three days, both sides will feed more and more troops into the fray, a battle that culminates in a dramatic charge led by George Meade in person that retakes the largest town in the North to fall to the Confederacy.