Civil War sites
Talented wargame scenario designer Brad Butkovich is among the upper echelon of today’s generation of Civil War regimental-level wargamers. The Georgia-based Butkovich is well known to Charge! readers from his previous series of excellent scenario books, mostly based upon battles in the Western Theater.
Now, Brad has produced an interesting new booklet covering various actions at the July 1-3, 1863, battle of Gettysburg. It’s an area of keen personal interest to me! Some of you may recall a two-volume set, Enduring Valor: Gettysburg in Miniature, which I wrote for my friend and graphic designer Ivor Janci more than a decade ago. They have long been out of print, so Brad’s fresh look at the battle is much appreciated and timely.
Here is the table of contents for this book, which may be the first in a series (let’s all hope!). Brad’s research is compelling and accurate, and his take on how to break up the battlefield into bite-sized scenarios is of strong interest to Civil War gamers everywhere. The scenarios are adaptable for almost every major regimental-level rules set. They are designed for 15mm gaming, but of course can be modified for other figure scales. Brad also presents data for rules based upon 10-minute, 15-minute, and 20-minute time intervals per turn.
Years ago I wrote the text for a very popular wargaming scenario book, Undying Courage: Antietam in Miniature, which has unfortunately been long out of print. Long-time Johnny Reb wargamer Jerry Merrell has taken several of my scenario maps (drawn by graphic artist/publisher Ivor Janci of Wheaton, Illinois) and combined them into one large tabletop layout of Antietam for a heavily modified version of the late John Hill’s Across a Deadly Field rules. Check out his layout above! Impressive!
Jerry writes, “I photocopied the maps from each Antietam scenario & pieced them together (resizing where necessary) to create the mosaic shown. A few compromises were made, but not many & none where significant fighting was anticipated. We’ll be using traditional 4 stand JRIII regiments with simplified ADF rules. 15 players
with a total of about 600 stands. Hope you enjoy seeing that you work endures.”
Here are a few photographs Jerry sent to me…
2012 marks the 150th anniversary of the Second Battle of Manassas, one of a series of bloody engagements in the summer of 1862 in which the fortunes of the Civil War briefly swung in the Confederates’ favor. Here, as in the first battle in 1861, the Rebels triumphed convincingly.
Now, a portion of the battlefield is threatened by a proposed Washington outerbelt. While it is clear that the traffic in the DC metro area is horrendous (as I have found out painfully many times this summer, including a 4-hour delay coming through DC after my Florida vacation in June), locating an interstate on a battlefield does not make sense if there are other alternatives on less historic ground.
Stewart Schwartz is a descendant of famed Confederate horse artillerist, John Pelham, known as the Boy Major. He fought at both battles at Manassas, and now his descendant is fighting another battle. Schwartz is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, a lobbying group which is trying to spread the word of the threatened battlefield and help develop other plans. Click here to visit his website and here to sign a petition to protest the planned route.
Stewart writes, “Please see the joint press release below explaining the significant concerns of preservation groups about the proposed highway at Manassas. This is shaping up to be the biggest battle to protect Manassas since the Disney fight in 1994.
The joint comments on the draft Section 106 Historic Preservation agreement are attached along with VDOT’s letter and the draft agreement with the National Park Service that we find to be significantly flawed. Attorneys at the Southern Environmental Law Center and National Trust for Historic Preservation played a key role in drafting our response.”
Stewart Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are a few photos from my 15mm Civil War wargame at Fall-In 2011 on Saturday morning in Lancaster PA. This view looks south from the northern edge of the battlefield toward the Rummel Farm (top center) and Cress Ridge (top right).
We had 7 players for the game; all are long-time members of the Johnny Reb Gaming Society and are veterans of many Johnny Reb 3 wargames at HMGS conventions over the past decade. The scenario was adapted from my book Enduring Valor: Gettysburg in Miniature.
Click on each photo to enlarge it for easier viewing and more details. I apologize for the picture quality; lighting was not great and I did not have a tripod set up (and autofocus was off unfortunately). At least you get an idea of the table layout.
Here are some random photos I took in mid-August 2011 during a visit with three of my family members. The battlefield is beautiful in the late summer / early autumn!
The story of Lieutenant Charles Edward Hazlett‘s death at the Battle of Gettysburg is well known, and appears in early newspaper accounts of the battle within days after the troops had left Pennsylvania. He commanded Battery D, 5th U.S. Artillery during the July 1863 battle. His men laboriously hauled heavy artillery pieces up the steep eastern slope of Little Round Top, positioned them near the crest, and then joined in the defense of the hill. His old friend and former artillery commander, Brig. Gen. Stephen Weed, fell mortally wounded and collapsed to the ground. As Hazlett bent over him, a bullet killed the lieutenant.
Family members buried Hazlett in Woodlawn Cemetery in Zanesville, Ohio, where his family lived. His brother would also die in the Civil War, perishing at the Battle of Stone’s River out in Tennessee.
On a recent visit to my hometown of Zanesville, I took a few photos of the Hazlett brothers’ graves, which have been nicely restored by the Zanesville Civil War Round Table.
On Memorial Day 2010, one of my sons and one of my grandsons spent the day at Antietam and Manassas enjoying the sunshine and fellowship. Here are a few photos.
I took the above photo from the observation tower at Antietam, and it shows the ground that my ancestors charged across as part of the 7th West Virginia infantry in Kimball’s Brigade.
Dennis Morris of New York is one of my cyber buddies on a popular website, http://www.militaryhistory.com, where he frequently posts photographs of his massive Gettysburg diorama. He sent me a couple photos of his latest diorama effort; it is a superb effort worthy of museum quality. He sells art prints based upon photographs he takes of his diorama layout; for examples from his portfolio and ordering information, please visit his website, Diographics.
Here’s his newest layout – what a magnificent terrain table!
Click on the photo to enlarge it for easier viewing!
What a massive layout! This is Dennis’s second layout; pix of his first effort have previously appeared here on the CHARGE! blog. Have a look!
To see all my previous posts on Dennis’s fantastic dioramas, please visit the links below!
Johnstown, Pennsylvania, authors James and Suzanne Gindlesperger have written what will surely become one of the more popular books for tourists to take home after their visits to the Gettysburg National Military Park. When I am sitting in Gettysburg’s bookshops for my frequent autograph / book signing sessions, I often overhear people discussing which book they should purchase to take home to show their friends and families what they had seen on their battlefield visit, and there have been a few good choices in the past that have been representative. Now, the Gindlespergers’ colorful new book, So You Think You Know Gettysburg? The Stories Behind the Monuments and the Men Who Fought One of America’s Most Epic Battles, has been added to the line-up of titles that I will point out to the inquirers.
Filled with visually appealing photographs of the battlefield, monuments, buildings, and town, the book is laid out in a format that facilitates taking it along on battlefield tramping expeditions. Detailed maps (with exact GPS coordinates) show the location where each picture was taken, making the book useful as a driving tour guide. Each photo is accompanied by a brief passage that explains the history of the subject matter. None of these story lines are detailed, nor are they supposed to be, but collectively they give the reader a good overview of the highlights of the Gettysburg experience.
While this book has obvious appeal to the casual Gettysburg visitor, there is some relatively obscure information that will be of interest to more seasoned buffs, such as the brief story of John Congdon of the 10th New York Cavalry, who in December 1861 fell from the roof of a train passing through the area, and thus became the first Civil War soldier killed at Gettysburg.
In a size, format, and price that are appealing, So You Think You Know Gettysburg? is a book that should be a part of your collection if you enjoy touring the Gettysburg National Military Park and the town. While not nearly as detailed or comprehensive as J. David Petruzzi and Steve Stanley’s landmark 2009 book The Complete Gettysburg Guide (which stands alone at the very top of the list of battlefield guidebooks), this new work will find its niche in popularity and appeal. It’s well worth the money, and is laid out well with some very nice photographs.
* CLICK HERE to read my recent interview with the Gindlespergers!
James and Suzanne Gindlesperger
So You Think You Know Gettysburg? The Stories Behind the Monuments and the Men Who Fought One of America’s Most Epic Battles
John F. Blair, Publisher, Winston-Salem NC, 2010
188 pages, soft bound, illustrated with maps.
$18.95 list price, discounted on amazon.com and other on-line retailers