The Battle of Why City: June 22, 1862

The Sleepy Hamlet of Y-City, Early Morning June 22, 1862

The Sleepy hamlet of Why City, Early Morning June 22, 1862. The peace would soon be disturbed by the thunder of cannon. They really should take better care of their fences.

Hullooo hulloooo hullo! This is post number one-hundred (100!!), here at Arkiegamer central. It’s crazy to think that I’ve been maintaining this blog for this long (since November 2011), and have come up with 100 things of value to talk about. Actually, I doubt I HAVE come up with 100 things of value to talk about, but please don’t hold it against me!


In any case, I wanted the 100th post to be about something other than some sort of recursive loop about it being the 100th post. The Scarlet J (my regular opponent, who will remain mysterious on this blog) and I had a rousing game of Regimental Fire and Fury on Sunday. Said game is the second meeting of our ACW campaign, which fuses RF&F (our tactical set) with Longstreet (our campaign rules). We’re only taking one brigade through the campaign, but for today we decided to look at a larger action, of which our campaign brigade was a part.

We fielded two three regiment brigades apiece. Losses to our campaign brigades persisted from the last game, as did TSJ’s preponderance of artillery (I think he’s up to five guns vs. my three). The additional brigade was made up of three fresh regiments of ten stands each. Despite our initial clash of May 1861, all troops were still green.

The scenario was Scenario 7 from the Longstreet rules: an attack on a crossroads. The table was fairly heavy with terrain, including three hills, multiple woods, some rough ground, and a couple of fields full of standing crops. The Confederates (moi) won the scouting roll (which determines who gets to be attacker or defender), and being the over-confident, over-aggressive commander that I am, I decided to attack.



Major General Lew Leverett commanding Leverett’s Division

General Eustace B. Tillman commanding campaign forces (Rank: 2 ‘eagles’)
4th Arkansas Infantry– Green, Reliable, 8 stands
3rd Missouri Infantry – Green, Reliable, 9 stands
15th (Northwest) Arkansas Infantry– Green, Spirited, 10 stands, Brave Colonel
6th Texas Cavalry – Green, Reliable, 6 stands
Yell’s Arkansas Battery – (2) 6 pounders, (1) light howitzer. Trained

General T.X. Nielsen (Tex to his friends) commanding Nielsen’s Brigade.
15th Arkansas Infantry – Green, Spirited, 10 stands
6th Mississippi Infantry – Green, Spirited, 10 stands
2nd Tennessee Infantry – Green, Spirited, 10 stands


Major General Gordon Granger, commanding.

Brigadier Edward H. Ripley commanding campaign forces (Rank: 2 ‘eagles’)
27th New York (spirited, green)
5th Rhode Island Infantry  (spirited, green)
11th Illinois Infantry (Zouaves)  (spirited, green)
9th Kentucky Cavalry (spirited, green)
8th Battery Indiana Lt. Artillery (2 10pd Parrotts, 1 12pd howitzer)
Battery B 2nd Regiment Illinion Lt. Artillery (2 10pd Parrotts)

Brigadier Thomas Sweeny commanding Sweeny’s brigade.
8th Iowa Infantry
15th Iowa Infantry
7th Illinois Infantry
8th Ohio Battery (2 6pd smoothbores)

The full Union order of battle will have to wait until The Scarlet J gets back to me with the details of his forces. For now, suffice it to say the armies were pretty even in terms of infantry and cavalry, with a slight advantage in cannon for the Union.

Disposition of Forces

Disposition of Forces as the Confederates march on to the battlefield. The damned fool photographer got the labels wrong, though. The 3rd Missouri is in the 4th Arkansas’s place (and vice versa). This shot is taken from the southwest corner of the board, looking northerly.

The Union defended the north side of the board (naturally), and could occupy any ground up to the south edge of the east-west road. The valiant rebels came on board from the south side, and were tasked with wrenching the vital (one supposes) crossroads from the bluebellies.

General Leverett knew he’d never be able to drive the Yanks from behind the stone walls of the small hamlet at the road junction in a straight ahead assault, so he came up with a simple plan to mass his forces like a clenched fist, and hit the Union right with a strong hook, while forces under T.X. Nielsen screened the Confederate right. Leverett knew the fight for the center, in particular, would be bloody, but battles are not won by the timid! With a little luck, he hoped that Tillman, commanding the regiments in the west would be able to move aggressively, and quickly punch through the Yank right, catching the bluecoats out on the wrong foot.

The Yankee Despoilers

Yankee Despoilers in extended line formation at Yancey’s farm. Is that the panicked bleating of sheep I hear coming from the barn?*

Yanks cower behind fences and walls.

Yanks cower behind fences and walls as they await the rebel attack.

Brightly caparisoned Union men.

Brightly caparisoned Union men form the eastern extents of the Yankee line.

Looking west, towards Y-City

Looking west, towards Why City

Preparing to advance through Old Man Yancey's wheat field

Preparing to advance through Old Man Yancey’s wheat field

Brave men of Arkansas and Mississippi itching for a fight.

Brave men of Arkansas and Mississippi itching for a fight. Major General Lew Leverett watches the advance-his aide must seize the white stallion’s reins to  prevent the gallant general from joining the assault through the wheat field!

Those people. What they lack in elan, they make up for in numbers.

Those People. What they lack in gallantry, they make up for in numbers.

The view from Yell's Battery's position down to the Y-City junction.

The view from Yell’s Battery’s position down to the Why City junction. 3rd Missouri in the mid-ground.

The battle develops...

Murderous fire on the eastern flank.

In its very early stages the battle developed according to plan, but the green troops had trouble maneuvering through some of the more difficult terrain on the battlefield (green troops are disrupted in rough terrain in RF&F. Crossing fences, marching through woods, things like that), and the attack began tending towards the piecemeal, rather than the strong strike Leverett had envisioned back at his command tent.

Then the Yanks had the temerity to advance against Nielsen’s brigade on the right! Didn’t they know they were on the defense?! This called for a change of plan, and suddenly (and ironically) the Confederates were, themselves, caught out on the wrong foot.

The valiant men of the 2nd Tennessee (Nielsen's Brigade) hold a wooded hilltop against three times their numbers, repelling a cold steel charge by zouaves.

The valiant men of the 2nd Tennessee (Nielsen’s Brigade) hold a wooded hilltop against three times their numbers, at one point repelling a brave (yet foolhardy) cold steel charge by Zouaves. The 2nd was to eventually shoot themselves out of ammunition, but were never driven from their critical position.

Fortunately the 2nd Tennessee occupied a wooded hill on the threatened flank, and though badly outnumbered, repelled all assaults against their position.


Say anything

The beleaguered 2nd Tennessee repulses Zouaves, as skulking union cavalry consider a flanking maneuver around the right.

Yanks advance through a densecopse of woods.

Yanks advance through a dense copse of woods, making a stab at the Secessionist center.

Still the Yanks poured into the gap that developed as the Confederate center pushed forward, and the 6th Mississippi had to be pulled out of the advance through the wheat fields north of the Why City road to meet this new threat.

4th Arkansas catches hell as they emerge from the wheat field. They gave a little back, too.

4th Arkansas catches hell as they emerge from the wheat field. They gave a little back, too.

The 4th Arkansas advanced through the wheat field alone, knowing they would be meeting twice their number in blue, waiting behind a strong stone wall. No matter! Onward, men!

The boiling cauldron at the crossroads.

Meanwhile, a wider view of the boiling cauldron developing at the crossroads.

Predictably, the 4th took casualties as they emerged from the tall wheat to take up positions behind a rail fence, whose presence gave more moral support than any sort of physical protection. Still, they caught the full attention of two Yank regiments, which gave a little room for maneuver around the left flank.

Brave boys from Missouri advance across open ground.

Brave boys from the 3rd Missouri (Tillman) doggedly advance across open ground in the face of multiple enemy regiments.

Still, the 4th’s casualties were nothing compared to their sister regiment, the 3rd Missouri, who had to advance long yards through the open in front of a Union battery and waiting infantry regiment. The 3rd would eventually take 40% casualties, but they never fled the field!

15th Arkansas, under T.X. (Tex) Nielsen, prepares to defend the seam between the two brigades.

15th Arkansas, under T.X. (Tex) Nielsen, prepares to defend the seam between the two brigades. Thankfully they can easily whip twice their weight in Yankees.

Bouncing off the determined resistance of the 2nd Tennessee on the far right, the Yanks tried to punch through the seam that was developing in the center. The 15th Arkansas and 6th Mississippi met them head on, and soon rebuffed the spoiling attack.

Unidentified Union major general takes his rest under the cool shade of an oak tree, while his boys die by the hundreds.

Unidentified Union major general takes his rest under the cool shade of an oak tree, while his boys die by the hundreds in the hot summer solstice sun. Scandalous.

Rapid firing Yanks

Rapid firing Yanks at the crossroads.

The 6th Texas cavalry makes an audacious move around the extreme western flank, only to find the ground too hot for comfortable travel.

With all infantry regiments fully engaged, the 6th Texas Cavalry (Tillman) makes an audacious move around the extreme western flank, only to ultimately find the ground too hot for comfortable travel.

Meanwhile on the left, the boys of the 15th NW Arkansas, with their leader, Brave Colonel Buford Dellinger, emerged from a grove of trees, and began firing with some good effect into the light Yank forces on that end of the battlefield. Tillman, personally commanding in this vicinity, saw the Union flank waver, and sent for his cavalry. He could be heard to intone, over the simmering battle, “Lord, if our cause be just, and the time seems right to you, I beseech you, in your divine wisdom, to deliver our enemies unto us, so that we may smite, smite, SMITE them!”

The 15th NW Arkansas drives back the enemy, but is unsupported, and unable to press home their hard won advantage.

The 15th NW Arkansas (Tillman) drives back the enemy, but is unsupported, and unable to press home their hard won advantage. Plus, the store was about to close.

Alas, the Yanks did credit to their families and homes, and recovered quickly enough to see off the cavalry (who had every intention of marauding among the unprotected batteries that awaited beyond this lone Union regiment) with a surprisingly efficacious volley. The 15th NW Arkansas moved into close range with these brave Yanks, but night fell before they were able to test the Yankee resolve with judicious application of the bayonet. The battle ended, unresolved!

Of course, we ran out of time. I had lost thirteen stands, and TSJ had lost eight. That’s 520 men to 32o, in RF&F terms. Sobering statistics, when you start talking about men, rather than stands. Despite the not-insignificant disparity in numbers, we both felt that the tactical situation at game’s end was a draw. That said, the Union held on to the crossroads at Why City, which was their mission. That makes it a minor Union victory! Well done, Scarlet J. Well done!



In the aftermath of the game, we had to figure out the results for the campaign. Poor Brigadier Tillman wasn’t chosen for advancement. It’s not that people think he’s a poor general, but the proper opportunity to show his true brilliance simply hasn’t arrived! The 15th NW Arkansas is now a regular (non-green!) unit. We found out that Tillman is a bit of a religious zealot. Whether he’s a lemon-eater or a relatively lackluster bishop type remains to be seen. Some reinforcements were had, but not enough to make a difference. TSJ is definitely ahead in the campaign, at this point. I really need to pull out a brilliant (or even just competent!) victory soon.


*I like sheep and Yankees and mean no offense. Except to The Scarlet J.

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  • grantdyck  On 06/22/2014 at 10:01 pm

    Reblogged this on soldat etain and commented:
    I thought this was a very spectacular ACW game, and a perfect 100th post by Arkie!

    Congrats and well done!

  • grantdyck  On 06/22/2014 at 10:02 pm

    Terrific 100th post! Great looking battle, and beautiful terrain. Liked it so much, I reblogged it :)

  • Frank Arey  On 06/23/2014 at 6:08 pm

    I concur: a very worthy 100th post!

    • arkiegamer  On 06/23/2014 at 8:32 pm

      Thanks, Frank. I probably went a little overboard on the cliches and misappropriated quotes, but hopefully the AAR was at least mildly amusing.

      Maybe you can come up in August, take over Nielsen’s brigade and help me finally beat these Yankees?

      • Frank Arey  On 06/23/2014 at 9:59 pm

        If you can stand the additional handicap, I’d be honored!

      • arkiegamer  On 06/24/2014 at 6:29 am

        Excellent. I’ll figure out a date and let you know.

  • tinpotrevolutionary  On 06/24/2014 at 10:09 am

    Excellent battle report Mr. Arkie! And congratulations on you 100th post, may there be many more to come!

    • arkiegamer  On 06/24/2014 at 10:16 am

      Thanks! Given my proclivity for taking up multiple new projects before finishing ongoing ones, I’m sure there will be plenty of new material.

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