On Friday night at the annual Cold Wars wargaming convention in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I helped my old friend Jim Kopchak run a 15mm game based on the second day of the 1862 Battle of Shiloh during the American Civil War. Jim’s visually stunning terrain and well painted figures and battlefield accessories always attract attention from passersby. Jim and I used to game together when I lived in NE Ohio east of Cleveland, and we have in the succeeding years at times tramped battlefields and Civil War sites together.
He has published his own rules set entitled Civil War Commander, but at Cold Wars the game he presented used Johnny Reb III as the rules, modified to make it usable for a brigade / demi-brigade basis. The modifications worked, and the game was fun. The Yankees took 2 of their 3 objectives by the game’s end and were declared to have won a minor victory (versus the historical timetable for Grant’s actual success at Shiloh day 2).
Here are more photos of Jim’s game. Click each one to enlarge it for better viewing of this very nice Shiloh presentation.
The Confederates were making good use of campsites captured from Grant’s army on the first day of the battle. Some reserve units were still lingering in camp as the scenario began.
The USS Lexington steamed near Pittsburg Landing and blasted away at suspected Confederate positions in woods on the Rebel right flank.
Nathan Bedford Forrest’s dismounted Rebel cavalry occupied the woods, and the huge explosions from the distant Yankee gunboat terrified the men, but caused no real damage in the game. It would be up to U.S. Grant’s powerful infantry brigades to flush out the Confederates.
Rebels prepare for the inevitable assault. The Yankee commanders decided to all but ignore the strong CSA center along the Sunken Road and instead focus on turning the two flanks. It proved a wise and victorious strategy. They left enough troops in place to pin down the Reb center while massed assaults thundered into the outnumbered Rebel flanks.
The Confederate right (Forrest and Hardee) collapsed relatively early, with three generals killed or mortally wounded, adding to the loss of cohesion and morale. The Reb left proved more stubborn, but eventually fell at the three-hour mark, giving the Yankees the win.
Peach orchards dotted the battlefield. Jim’s terrain is quite good, and quite a number of spectators paused to snap photographs and to examine the terrain to take away some ideas for their own gaming tables back home.
Nice job Jim!
For photos of some of Jim’s previous Civil War games, click on the links below to go to past Charge! blog posts.