Once more Cpt.Shandy invited me over for a game of Sharp Practice. This time it’s a full proper cavalry affair!
The good captain once again had worked out a detailled scenario based on historical events. On this day we’d replay Mosby’s Rangers’ Raid on Seneca Mills which took place on June 10, 1863.
43rd Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, widely known as Mosby’s Rangers / Raiders / Men, were a cavalry formation who operated around Middleburg, VA, and into Maryland. Between January 1863 and March 1865 they performed numerous raids, employing lightning attacks and shock tactics, dispersing afterwards and melting into the local population and countryside.
They did wear uniforms of some sort, at least their clothes, according to one of Mosby’s men’s autobiography, had to be “something grey” as a prerequisite.
Confederate Forces: Maj.John S.Mosby (Status III), Capt. James W. Foster, Lt.Thomas Turner, Lt. George H. Whitescarver (all Status I), 4 Groups of Cavalry (armed with a lot of revolvers and the odd shotgun or carbine). Force Morale: 11
Union Forces: Capt. Charles W. Deane (Status II), Lt. Robert A. Moon (Status I), Lt.John S. Joslin (Status I), 4 Groups of Cavalry (armed with breech-loading carbines). Force Morale: 9
One of the groups has to be deployed at the forward picket camp deployment point. If Confederate troops manage to take the camp before this happens, one Union group is lost (surprised and taken prisoner), and it counts as a primary Deployment Point lost.
The overall goal is to reduce the opposing force’s force morale to 3 or less.
Things started a bit weird, in that we got two chapter ends pretty fast right in the beginning. So one could say that the game took a while to get moving.
Here’s an overview of the early phases of the game:
Cpt.Shandy quickly gets a group deployed on the forward Deployment Point. As they spot my first two groups approach they swiftly take off to take shelter behind fences and start peppering my boys with their horrible repeating carbines.
I do my dearest to have that not happen, and the Confederate Rangers manage to catch up to them right after they crossed the fence.
A whole lot of revolvers are unloaded unto the Union cavalrymen (dismounted at this point). The survivors (two troopers and Lt.Joslin) try to flee on foot, but are caught and taken prisoner.
As my boys triumphantly want to show the prisoners to their leader, Capt.Foster, they realize that he somehow got knocked to the ground and is out cold for the time being. On the one hand a great victory, having gotten rid of a full group of enemy cavalry with next to no casualties (I had to have one trooper lead the prisoners away), on the other hand one of my leaders got knocked out for a good while.
At this point my force morale is at 10, my opponent’s at 5(!).
At this point Cpt.Shandy has brought his three remaining groups on the table; Capt.Deane (his overall commander) with two groups of cavalry and Lt.Moon’s group.
At this point I’m in a tough position I absolutely do NOT want to get into a slug fest with these guys and their breech-loading carbines across the creek, so I have to keep on keeping up the pressure, get across the creek as quickly as possible and should get rid of Moon’s single group. If this worked this should reduce their force morale to below 3.
Somehow things grind to a halt on my side though, while the enemy dismounts, takes position and opens fire. Despite some light cover the damage is done by this and the subsequent salvos, killing a few troopers, and causing a lot of shock.
My (at this point) pretty beaten up troopers cross the bridge. They are in pursuit of the dismounted Union cavalry, but they are pretty adept at their fighting retreat towards the barn.
My opponent has his commander Capt. Deane order one of his groups to turn about to help out the dismounted cavalry, while his other group covers the other bridge (at which my still leaderless cavalry group is lurking, waiting for their knocked out boss to get back on his feet. Spoiler: He gets up again WAY later in the game and did not have any further impact on the game, same as his group).
Then, FINALLY, Mosby and his cavalry group show up. They spent two phases gallopping down the road, and quickly move up and try to keep the wavering attack going. At this point my force morale had slipped to 4, Cpt.Shandy’s troops barely held on to their force morale of 3 or 4.
For a bit Mosby takes the beaten up and now-leaderless group under his wing, but all the fire was too much, and the group retreats behind their comrades.
Sitting around, trying to rally shock points won’t help a bit at this point, so I have Turner’s group (what’s left of them) commence a desperation charge against the dismounted cavalry. They perform very well, drive the enemy off behind the barn and later-on follow up and the remaining members of that Union group surrender.
Meanwhile Mosby’s group charges right ahead towards the other group…
An overview of the late phases of the game:
The group charged by Mosby’s Raiders crumbles..
…and flees right into the back of their leader’s group, causing quite a lot of chaos on the way.
The game ends with Confederate force morale of 4 vs. Union force morale of 2, resulting in a very, very close Confederate victory.
Another fun game of Sharp Practice. First time I played an all-cavalry scenario. Lots of movement, less to worry about formations and getting those volleys in where they hurt the most, much to worry about breech-loading carbines. Way too often I end up being at the wrong end of those. 😛
It’s an interesting scenario and as so very often with Cpt.Shandy’s scenarios it’s based on historical facts, which makes it all the more interesting. Speaking of which, here are some detail shots of scenic items he uses to liven up the table.
So yeah, good fun. Extremely close game, which is to the credit of the scenario (and the rules) given the extremely different forces.
Thanks for reading this battle report. I hope that you found it interesting and entertaining. If you have questions or other messages, please use the comments section below or get in touch via the Tabletop Stories Facebook page, Battle Brush Studios, the Battle Brush Studios Facebook page or via e-mail!