Saturday, June 2, 2012

Gaming Report - Battle of Chantilly

       This morning I served as referee as my sons and two of their friends re-fought the Battle of Chantilly, also known as Ox Hill. Never heard of it?  Not surprising, as it was historically a minor skirmish between the 2nd Battle of Bull Run and the Battle of Antietam. Look it up. Then Examine the map.
     Right from the start, this battle was a toe-to-toe slugfest.  The Confederate forces, attempting to stop Pope's retreat back to Washington, took up positions on and around Ox Hill, near Chantilly. The game objective for the Union was to force the Confederates off of Ox Hill, and the Confederates had to hang on to the hill for two hours, the game's stated length. 
      The Union forces, occupying some covering stands of trees, pushed forward aggressively, both sides charging into melee every turn. The Confederate artillery on Ox Hill quickly silenced the Union guns in a classic artillery duel, but Union reinforcements were able to replace the guns and knock out the Ox Hill batteries. The Confederates, fearful of being pushed off the map by morale checks in melee, advanced into the Union lines, and brigades got mowed down like wheat. 
     After two hours of close in fighting the remnants of the Confederate forces re-grouped on Ox Hill, consisting of several brigade-less commanders, a third of Stafford's brigade and Gen Kearney's staff. One of the last three intact Union brigades charged up the hill to push the Confederates off. The whole battle came down to one die roll - whichever side rolled higher would hold the hill and win the game. Much to our surprise, the tottering Confederates held on by a fingertip, and forced the Union back as time ran out. There was much cheering and some weeping, but everyone had a good time. We hope that there will be more events like this over the summer.

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