The London Wargames Section

My recent bit of wargaming ‘detective’ work rekindled my memories of the rules produced during the late 1960s and early 1970s by the London Wargames Section. I certainly owned copies of some of them, and used them for a time.

From what I can find out, they produced rules for the following:

  • Modern
  • Napoleonic
  • American Civil War
  • Greek Naval
  • Napoleonic Naval
  • Samurai
Image © Noble Knight Games.

The writers included John Tunstill, Bish Iwaszko, Ed Smith, Sid Smith, and Ken Smith, and were quite innovative for their time.


Shades of Morschauser

Despite all my good intentions, I was not able to mount a large play-test of the latest draft of my heavily revised PORTABLE WARGAME: COLONIAL rules yesterday … but I did manage a small skirmish!

It so happened that I found my green 3-inch square gridded felt cloth whilst looking for something else (isn’t that always the way?) and remembered that when Joseph Morschauser had written his original ‘Frontier’ rules, he had used 54mm-scale figures and a 3-inch squared grid. My collection of 54mm-scale Britains American Civil War figures was to hand … so I decided to use them. The resulting battle was a bit different from the one I had planned to fight, but nonetheless it was great fun!


ScenarioTwo small forces of Union and Confederate troops are scouting ahead of the main bodies of their armies. The countryside they are traversing is flat and featureless, and both sides are expecting to run into enemy Units during their reconnaissance.

The Union and Confederate forces are each comprised of four Infantry Units, a Cavalry Unit, and Artillery Unit, and a Command Unit. This means that both sides have a Strength Value of 24 and an Exhaustion Point of 12.

The Union side has been allocated Black as its Unit Activation Card suit colour, and the Confederates have been allocated Red.


The BattleBoth sides advanced with their Cavalry Unit covering one flank and their Artillery Unit the other. Both the Union and Confederate Artillery Units engaged the enemy’s Cavalry Units, and eventually destroyed them, although in the case of the Union Artillery this only happened as a result of the depleted Confederate Cavalry charging them and engaging them in Close Combat.

The Unit Activation Cards turned over were: Black 3, Red 4, Red 2, Black 3, Black 3, Red 4, Red 4, Joker. At this point the battlefield looked like this:

The Union side threw two of its Infantry Units forward, and they engaged the Confederate line with musketry. In reply, two of the Confederates Infantry Units fired back and then charged forward to engage the Union troops in Close Combat. In both instances both sides suffered casualties but the Confederate troops were forced to withdraw.

The Confederate Artillery Unit also fired at the closest of the Union Infantry Units, but missed their target.

The Unit Activation Cards turned over were: Black 2, Red 4, Joker. At this point the battlefield looked like this:

The Union troops were unable to make much progress before the Confederates launched a number of further Infantry attacks using musketry followed by Close Combat …

… not all of which were successful.

When the Union troops copied the Confederate example their choice of tactic proved to be costly, and ended up with one of their Infantry Units being destroyed.

At this point the number of Union casualties reached the Exhaustion Point, and the Union troops were no longer permitted to carry out any further offensive actions.

The Unit Activation Cards turned over were: Black 2, Red 4, Black 4. At this point the battlefield looked like this:

The Union troops continued to suffer casualties …

… but eventually they were able to extricate themselves from the battle and withdraw …

The Unit Activation Cards turned over were: Red 3, Black 3, Red 3. At this point the battlefield looked like this:

The final Unit Activation Card turned over was Black 4. This allowed the Union troops to withdraw.

… leaving the victorious Confederates in possession of the battlefield.


Lessons learntThe main object of this play-test was to see if the revised Close Combat system worked … and it does.

A by-product of this particular play-test was the fact that I now realise that it is quite possible to use the rules with much larger scale figures than I originally intended to use them with (my plan was to use them with 15mm and 20mm-scale figures) … and that playing wargames with traditional toy soldiers can be great fun. As I have quite a collection of them, I can foresee using them in PORTABLE WARGAME battles as well as in FUNNY LITTLE WARS wargames.


Saving General Lee’s HQ at Gettysburg

Whilst I was away I received the following email message from one of my regular blog readers:

Bob,

A while back you let people know about the campaign to save some Waterloo Campaign-related property in Belgium.

There is a similar campaign going on in Pennsylvania–to save Lee’s Headquarters at Gettysburg: http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/gettysburg/gettysburg-2014/

I know a LOT of people in the hobby follow your site–would you please consider letting people know about this?

Either way, best regards as always,

Chris

I am more than happy to oblige, especially as this seems to be a very worthwhile cause. Once a building like this is lost, it is gone forever … and cannot be brought back afterwards. As a historian, I appreciate the need to preserve our heritage from the ravages of ‘progress’, and I am more than willing to do my ‘bit’ to help.


The Shed: The rest of the contents of the box of mainly painted figures

I have finally finished sorting out the rest of the figures that were in the box that I found a couple of days ago … and a mighty odd collection they are.

Firstly there are some of the lovely figures produced by Les Higgins. These include some English Civil War pikemen and gunners, some Malburian standard bearers, and some interesting-looking infantry figures.

There are some Rose Miniatures American Civil War figures painted in an odd-looking brown uniform. I think that they were intended to be used for an abortive South American imagi-nation project.

The rest of the figures are 15mm-scale American Civil War Minifigs painted to represent Union Infantry … and three Confederate gunners.

There is a story behind these figures. Back in the early 1980s I became very ill as a result of stress, and undertook six weeks of treatment as a day patient at a local mental health unit. Each night I came home and painted figures. I started with some Confederate Infantry and Artillery, and when they were finished I gloss varnished them and based them. I then began work on the Union forces … but by the time my treatment was over and I was deemed fit enough to return to work, they were still unfinished. I put them away … and forgot about them … although at some point it would appear that I did paint some additional details on some of the figures, probably so that I could use them as French Garde Mobile in a planned Franco-Prussian War campaign that never came to fruition. I never used the Confederate troops, and some years ago I passed them on to an old friend.

When I saw these figures again for the first time in over thirty years, it was a bit of a shock … but now I want to finish them as it will – I hope – enable me to draw a line in my mind under that unhappy time. I already have a couple of ideas about possible uses for them … but I think that they can wait for another few weeks or months until I get around to turning my ideas into something practical.


An oldie but goldie …

I am old enough to remember when the number of uniform reference books available for wargamers to use was extremely limited … and then Blandford began publishing their very useful colour series books.

The first one I bought was MILITARY UNIFORMS OF THE WORLD IN COLOUR (Written and illustrated by Preben Kannik, translated from the original Danish by John Hewish, edited by William Y Carman, and published in 1968) …

… and over the years I bought many more of their books, including:

  • WARRIORS & WEAPONS 3000BC-1700AD
  • INFANTRY UNIFORMS BOOK 2 INCLUDING ARTILLERY AND OTHER SUPPORTING CORPS OF BRITAIN AND THE COMMONWEALTH 1855-1939
  • CAVALRY UNIFORMS OF BRITAIN AND THE COMMONWEALTH INCLUDING OTHER MOUNTED TROOPS
  • UNIFORMS OF THE SEVEN YEARS WAR 1756-63
  • UNIFORMS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
  • UNIFORMS OF THE NAPOLEONIC WARS IN COLOUR 1796-1814
  • UNIFORMS OF THE RETREAT FROM MOSCOW 1812
  • UNIFORMS OF THE PENINSULAR WAR 1807-14
  • UNIFORMS OF WATERLOO IN COLOUR
  • WORLD UNIFORMS AND BATTLES 1815-50
  • UNIFORMS OF THE IMPERIAL RUSSIAN ARMY
  • UNIFORMS OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR
  • ARMY UNIFORMS OF WORLD WAR 1
  • GERMAN UNIFORMS OF THE THIRD REICH 1933-1945
  • ARMY UNIFORMS OF WORLD WAR 2
  • NAVAL, MARINE AND AIR FORCE UNIFORMS OF WORLD WAR 2
  • ARMY BADGES AND INSIGNIA OF WORLD WAR 2 (GREAT BRITAIN, POLAND, BELGIUM ITALY, USSR, USA, GERMANY)
  • ARMY BADGES AND INSIGNIA OF WORLD WAR 2 BOOK 2 (CANADA, SOUTH AFRICA, INDIA, BRITISH OVERSEAS TERRITORIES, FINLAND, FRANCE, JAPAN, NETHERLANDS, YUGOSLAVIA, CHINA, DENMARK, CZECHOSLOVAKIA)
  • AIR FORCE BADGES AND INSIGNIA OF WORLD WAR 2
  • ARMY UNIFORMS SINCE 1945
  • UNIFORMS OF THE SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE
  • ARMY BADGES AND INSIGNIA SINCE 1945 BOOK ONE (GREAT BRITAIN, POLAND, USA, ITALY, GERMAN FEDERAL AND DEMOCRATIC REPUBLICS, USSR, BELGIUM)
  • MILITARY FLAGS OF THE WORLD 1618-1900

Of these WORLD UNIFORMS AND BATTLES 1815-50 is proving very helpful at the moment.

It is a source of inspiration with regard to the possible uses to which I can put my expanding collection of Napoleonic wargames figures.


The March To The Sea: An American Civil War Matrix Game – The Actual Events

5th May 1864: ADVANCE INTO GEORGIA
Sherman’s army group left Chattanooga. It included:

  • Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland, 61,000 strong
  • James B. McPherson’s Army of the Tennessee, 24,500 men
  • John M. Schofield’s Army of the Ohio, mustering 13,500.

In front of Sherman was Johnston’s Army of Tennessee, 60,000 strong. In his rear, from the Mississippi to the Appalachians, Confederate cavalrymen John H. Morgan and Nathan B. Forrest roamed, disrupting communications and attacking Union garrisons. Johnston – outnumbered though he was – skilfully opposed Sherman in a series of delaying positions. Sherman – equally skilful – outmanoeuvred him by turning movements at Dalton (9th May), Resaca (15th May), and Cassville (19th May). Each time the manoeuvre was the same: a holding force in front of the Confederates and a wide Union turning movement around the Confederate left. Then Sherman drove due south, by-passing Johnston’s position at Allatoona (24th May). Johnston, retiring to Marietta, placed himself directly in Sherman’s path.


27th June 1864: BATTLE OF KENESAW MOUNTAIN
After a series of indecisive combats near Dallas and New Hope Church (25th to 28th May), Sherman made a frontal assault on Kenesaw Mountain, which was the key to Johnston’s position. The attacks were repulsed and Sherman lost some 3,000 men. Johnston’s losses were only 800. Once again Sherman (2nd July) turned his opponents left, and Johnston (4th July) took up a powerful entrenched line north of the Chattahoochee River.


9th July 1864: CROSSING OF THE CHATTAHOOCHEE
Again Sherman turned the Confederate position. Johnston fell back on Peachtree Creek, just north of Atlanta, and prepared for a counterattack. He was then summarily relieved of overall command on 17th July. This could be viewed as an ungrateful administration’s reward for a really remarkable delaying campaign against very superior forces. For 2 months he had, with a minimum of losses, held Sherman to an average advance of 1 mile per day. He was succeeded by John B. Hood, who had a reputation for being somewhat impetuous.


20th July 1864: BATTLE OF PEACHTREE CREEK
Johnston had already foreseen that Sherman’s advance on Atlanta, on a 10 mile front, offered possibility for a successful counterstroke. Hood seized the opportunity, and attacked Thomas’ army. Although surprised, the Union forces were alert and the attack was repulsed. Some 20,000 men on each side were involved. Southern casualties were about 2,500 and Union losses were 1,600. The Union advance continued (21st July), forcing Hood to withdraw behind Atlanta’s defences. Sherman hoped to follow his enemy into the city and sent his left-flank cavalry division eastward to cut the railway. Hood, however, had retreated with the full intention to strike back.


22nd July: BATTLE OF ATLANTA 1864
William J. Hardee’s corps – the elite of Hood’s army – together with Joseph Wheeler’s cavalry division, hit the open left flank of McPherson’s army. Surprise was complete, but the veteran Federal troops reformed, despite the death of McPherson in the melee. The assault was repulsed with Confederate losses of some 8,000 men. Federal casualties were 3,722. Sherman – his strength insufficient for a siege – determined to swing entirely around to the western side of Atlanta and operate against the railroads. Sending most of his cavalry raiding south (27th July), he started the move next day.


28th July 1864: BATTLE OF EZRA CHURCH
An further assault by Hood was repelled – mainly by the Army of the Tennessee – with 4,300 Southern casualties against 632 Union losses.


28th July to 22nd August 1864: CAVALRY RAIDS
Part of Sherman’s cavalry – 6,000 strong – moving around both sides of Atlanta failed in its dual mission to cut the railroad and to liberate the Union prisoners at Andersonville. As a result Major General George Stoneman and some 2,000 men were surrounded and captured by the Confederates on 4th August. Meanwhile Sherman continued to build up the strength of his forces on Atlanta’s western side. Another Union cavalry raid was mounted of 22nd August but this also failed to cut rail communication between Atlanta and the outside world.


27th to 31st August 1864: FALL OF ATLANTA
Leaving one army corps to guard his own communications, Sherman swung his remaining troops forward in a great wheeling move towards the railroad lines south of the city, driving Wheeler’s cavalry before them. Hood sent Major General W. J. Hardee – with half of his army – to hold the railroads, but Hardee was thrown back at Jonesboro on 31st August. Hood’s communications line was cut now cut, and after destroying ammunition and supply stores, Hood evacuated Atlanta that night, moving east and south. Next morning Sherman’s troops marched in.


September to October: MANOEUVRING AROUND ATLANTA 1864
Sherman, turned Atlanta a military base, but found further any further advance almost impossible because of the need to protect his 400-mile line of communications to Nashville. In addition to the daring and successful attackes of Forrest and Wheeler, Hood had moved west and north with his entire army (1st October) to attack these lines of communication in the hope of forcing Sherman’s withdrawal from the city. After chasing Hood’s force through Allatoona (5th October) as far as Baylesville, Alabama (22nd October), Sherman came to the conclusion that further efforts to get to grips with the elusive Confederates would nullify Grant’s giant pincers concept.


14th November 1864: HOOD INVADES TENNESSEE
Reinforced by Forrest’s cavalry, Hood crossed the Tennessee River and moved rapidly northwards toward Nashville with 54,000 veteran troops. Thomas, building an extemporised army at Nashville around his own hard core of veterans, did not wish to withdraw garrisons from key points in Tennessee. He therefore played for time. Major General John M. Schofield, with 2 corps and Wilson’s cavalry division (about 34,000 men in all) was directed to delay the Southern advance. Schofield managed to avoid Hood’s attempts to box him in at Columbia (26th & 27th November), and he fought his way through the enveloping Confederate forces in a night battle at Spring Hill (29th November), and then moved into previously prepared defences at Franklin, 15 miles south of Nashville.


15th November to 8th December 1864: MARCH FROM ATLANTA
Sherman solved the problem – with the somewhat reluctant approval of Grant – by sending Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland back to Nashville and Chattanooga, whilst he abandoned his line of communications and marched eastward from Atlanta toward Savannah with 68,000 veterans. With him were 2,500 wagons and 600 ambulances carrying supplies (mostly ammunition); other that that, his men lived off the country. With practically no opposition he cut a 50-mile-wide swath of ‘scorched earth’ to the sea, 300 miles away. He was deliberately making ‘Georgia howl’ as he devastated crops and the war-supporting economy of central Georgia. He ignored Hood’s efforts to distract him when the latter mounted a full-scale invasion of Tennessee whilst – to his front – Beauregard, assisted by Hardee, tried to protect Savannah and Charleston.


30th November 1864: BATTLE OF FRANKLIN
Hood, impetuous as ever, attacked piecemeal with two-thirds of his army. He was thrown back after losing 6,300 casualties out of 38,000 men engaged. His opponent – Schofield – lost 2,300 out of his force of 32,000 men. Having successfully defeated Hood’s army, Schofield retired that night to Nashville.


15th & 16th December 1864: BATTLE OF NASHVILLE
Hood assembled his army outside the defences of Nashville from 2nd December onwards. In the meantime methodical Thomas, who was busy training his largely newly-recruited army – particularly Wilson’s new cavalry corps – would not be budged until he was ready. When he did finally attack, he destroyed the left flank of Hood’s army because it was exposed as a result of Hood’s decision to send Forrest away on a raid towards Murfreesboro. On the second day of the battle Hood found Thomas’ troops were enveloping both his flanks. In the end Wilson’s cavalry, which struck behind the Confederate left, delivered the final blow. Federal losses were 3,061 out of 49,773 men engaged. The Confederates lost 5,350 out of 31,000 on the field, and Hood’s army dissolved into a fleeing rabble. This was the most decisive tactical victory gained by either side in a major engagement in the war.


9th to 21st December 1864: OPERATIONS AGAINST SAVANNAH
Arriving in eastern Georgia, Sherman discovered that Hardee held fortified Savannah with 15,000 men. Sherman stormed Fort McAllister at the mouth of the Ogcechee River, 15 miles from Savannah on 13th December. After establishing communications with Union naval forces, Sherman’s army began an investment of the city. With his lines of communication about to be cut, Hardee evacuated the city and Sherman moved in at once (21st December), presenting the city (in a ship-borne and telegraph message to Lincoln) as ‘a Christmas gift’.


Umpire’s CommentsOne measure of whether or not the re-creation of a particular historical campaign works is to compare what happened in the game with what happened in reality, and it is interesting to see how close some of the events in the game mirrored those of the actual campaign. This may – in part – be due to the fact that several of the players were very knowledgeable about the period, but it is also due to the quality of the arguments presented by the players, most of whom took a very ‘cultural’ (i.e. historically correct) view of events as they unfolded. For my part I deliberately did not read up any of my sources about the Atlanta Campaign until I had typed in the last moves. This was in order to ensure that I did make any biased decisions as I ran the campaign. The result was a realistic and enjoyable campaign that was not a burden to the players – I hope – or the umpire. I enjoyed it very much, and I hope that you did too.

The March To The Sea: An American Civil War Matrix Game – December 1864

Messages SentFrom: General Joseph E Johnston CSA (Army of Tennessee)

The Army of Tennessee will winter in the Kenesaw Mountains, astride the Yankee supply lines thus restricting Federal freedom of action. This will be made possible because:

  1. My Confederate heroes will be able to live well on captured Yankee supplies.
  2. Confederate cavalry will continue to harry the Federals.
  3. The cowardly Yankee are exhausted following the long siege of Atlanta and will be too busy burning houses and molesting livestock to pursue us.

From: General Nathan Bedford Forrest CSA (GOC Bedford’s Raiders)

Bedford’s Raiders will destroy the railway lines from Nashville to the North, and utilise all available trains to send the plentiful captured supplies to the Army of Tennessee, with the result that the Union lines-of-communication will be cut and completely disrupted. We will be successful because:

  1. There are no Union troops for miles, and the Bluebellies in Atlanta will have their hands full dealing with the mess they have gotten themselves into there.
  2. We are the best led and the finest fighting cavalry in the war, who adore our successful and charismatic leader, and pour scorn on the Northern jackasses who profane the word ‘cavalry’.
  3. The people love us, and now that they can see Salvation is upon the South, they will do all that they can to facilitate General Forrest’s brilliant plans.

From: General John Hunt Morgan CSA (GOC Morgan’s Cavalry)

My forces will patrol aggressively and heavily reconnoitre the area between the Army of Tennessee and the Union troops down as far as Atlanta itself, with the result that they will protect the former from any Yankee raids and give them ample warning of any larger Blue-belly move northward. We will be successful because:

  1. We are very experienced in this sort of operation, having spent a tremendous amount of time earlier in the war on spectacularly successful long-range patrols through Kentucky and Ohio using these same skills.
  2. The situation in Atlanta is so confused that the Yankees could never control of their troops and re-organise for an offensive without us knowing well in advance.
  3. Our martial prowess and ascendancy over the Yankee Donkey-wallopers precludes their use as a worthwhile raiding force.

From: General William Tecumseh Sherman USA (US Army of the Tennessee)

Following the re-organisation attendant upon the capture of Atlanta, executive command of the Armies of the Ohio and the Cumberland will be rested with Major General Thomas. The Army of the Tennessee will remain under my direct command and force march to Savannah, capturing that City before Christmas Day, and cutting a swathe of devastation through Georgia twenty miles wide in the process. The Army will achieve this because:

  1. The Army is in great heart having captured Atlanta and thrown the Rebel army out pell-mell.
  2. They are following the plan of campaign already explained to their leaders which has succeeded in every particular to date.
  3. Returning Savannah to the Union will be an appropriate method of showing the Rebels that their cause is doomed, and hence will shorten the war.

From: General George Thomas USA (US Army of the Cumberland)

During the month of December, my forces will advance along the railroad to Nashville, seeking a decisive engagement with the enemy that will re-open the lines of communication to Atlanta. The reasons that this shall happen are:

  1. I am personally leading my men, so they will be inspired by my example.
  2. The complacent Rebel bandits will be surprised by this bold and decisive action, so soon after the fall of Atlanta.
  3. Uncle Billy’s strategy of ‘increasing pressure’ on Atlanta has ensured that the city fell without my forces having to be decisively committed, enabling them to be quickly redeployed.

From: General John M Schofield USA (US Army of the Ohio)

The Army of the Ohio will now commence a campaign to complete the destruction of the Rebel forces in this theatre. My troops will assemble sufficient supplies for both the Armies of the Cumberland and the Ohio, together with our wounded and the prisoners, to be transported north by road and rail. My army will then destroy all manufactories and surplus stores of arms, munitions, uniforms, equipment and means of transport, in Atlanta, that might have any military value to the Rebels. Having completed these preparations, the Army of the Ohio will advance along the railroad toward Nashville, in support of the Army of the Cumberland. I shall be able to accomplish this for the following reasons:

  1. Inspired by the Union capture of Atlanta, the now free black population will give us intelligence of stocks of food that we may gather, and the movements of the enemy.
  2. The Union morale is supreme following our victory over the Rebels, with such a low number of casualties.
  3. In contrast, the Rebel morale is very low, due to their inability to hold Atlanta and to engage us in battle, and to the fact that they do not know who is in command of their army. The Rebels will not stand before us, but will desert their homes in the face of our advance.

Campaign EventsEarly in December General Forrest, safe in Nashville, sent the following letter to General Sherman, using tried and trusted agents.

To: The Officer Commanding, Garrison of Atlanta

As you know we Gentlemen of the South are of good stock. I have some advice for you sir, which may be of assistance.

‘Prospice tibi – ut Gallia, tu quoque in tres partes dividaris’

I assure you sir that unless you surrender now, the warning will cease to be that, but will become a fitting epitaph on your tombstone.

Oh yes, I see that you are still there, but we of course are EVERYWHERE ELSE!!

I have the honour to remain etc. etc.

Nathan Bedford Forrest

General Nathan Bedford Forrest CSA (GOC Bedford’s Raiders)

In the meantime, General Johnston’s Army of Tennessee rested and regrouped in the Kenesaw Mountains, in preparation for the Union attacks they fully expected to follow, whilst Morgan’s Cavalry acted as his ‘eyes and ears’, aggressively patrolling the area between the City and the Mountains.

The Union forces seemed to have their hands full during the first half of the month. Not only did they have to deal with the aftermath of the siege, but in preparation for the next campaign, General Sherman re-organised the Armies of the Tennessee, Cumberland, and Ohio. The Armies now comprised the following units:

  • The Army of the Tennessee
    • 16th Ohio Infantry Regiment
    • 47th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment
    • 5th Indiana Cavalry Regiment
  • The Army of the Ohio
    • 42nd Indiana Infantry Regiment
    • 35th Kentucky Infantry Regiment
    • 24th Michigan Artillery Battery
    • 29th Michigan Cavalry Regiment
  • The Army of the Cumberland
    • 19th Illinois Infantry Regiment
    • 22nd Illinois Infantry Regiment
    • 38th Indiana Infantry Regiment
    • 15th Ohio Artillery Battery
    • 25th Illinois Cavalry Regiment

The reasons for this were more fully explained in two letters that Sherman sent to General Grant, the first by normal courier and the second by hand of a trusted senior officer of his staff.
The first letter was for public consumption.

To: Lieutenant General U. S. Grant, Virginia

Dear Sam,

Many thanks for your kind congratulations which arrived at the same time as the President’s. I am glad that the capture of this sad city has been of benefit to him at least. Lincoln will keep the war going until we have final victory.

However, the capture of Atlanta may not be of much gain in the long run. The city is in a terrible way and so are we. Our losses have been considerable and the cavalry raids have destroyed much of our store of foodstuffs. The country hereabouts is pretty much ‘eaten out’ and with Johnston on our supply line in the Kenesaw Mountains we shall be in a bad way by the New Year.

Our scouts report that he is in too strong a position for us to attack him with our present force. You must arrange for a relieving force to be assembled capable of forming a passage through to us by February at the latest. If this cannot be achieved the consequences will be awful.

Yours in distress

Bill Sherman

The second letter was confidential, and contained his plans for the immediate future.

To: Lieutenant General U. S. Grant, Virginia

Dear Sam,

There are those who read other men’s letters so I have taken pains to ensure that this one reaches you securely. There is another letter which other might read if they wish and much benefit may it bring them.

Many thanks for your kind words of congratulations for the capture of the City; it seem that I have done Mr. Lincoln a good turn in the recent election. At least we can proceed with the war.

Johnston ‘skedaddled’ out of Atlanta and is holed up in the Kenesaw Mountains. He took such supplies as his men could carry but was without any artillery or wagons as they have eaten their horses and mules! Kenesaw was pretty much ‘eaten out’ after we had fought over it in the Summer. They cannot last long there; the men were in a bad way before they left Atlanta. It never fails to amaze and humble me to witness the great goodness of our people. When the troops broke into the City after all these months a massacre was entirely likely. Instead the soldiers were moved by the suffering they found in the hospitals and among the common people. They gave their rations to feed the wounded soldiers of both sides and even some civilians.

Soon enough the impudence of the local citizenry re-asserted itself and I have been besieged myself with petitions from ‘prominent citizens’ for the alleviation of their woes! Since I pointed out that citizens who take up arms against their legitimate government have forsaken all rights to such consideration they have abated a little. I have now issued a proclamation – copy attached – which has given them more to worry about.

Our next moves are now in train. I have re-organised our forces appropriately. As we discussed so long ago, Atlanta must be made useless to the Rebel cause; we are dismantling anything we can use and destroying that which we cannot. The work is taking some time but the troops are working with a will. They are in great heart and despite the efforts of the Rebels we still have ample supplies.

By the end of the month George and John will be heading West along the railroad with our trains, baggage and everything else we can move. They will push Morgan and Johnston aside if they try to interfere; they can rebuild the railroad in front and dismantle it behind; there is no need for a Union Army to operate in this region anymore. I shall take my ‘whiplash’ and scourge the rest of Georgia, taking Savannah by Christmas. We shall move light and fast, and let any who wish to stop us, try!

Best wishes

Bill Sherman

The proclamation to which General Sherman alluded in his letter was printed in large numbers and displayed prominently throughout Atlanta.

NOTICE

TO ALL CITIZENS OF ATLANTA

EVERY PERSON NOT A MEMBER OF THE UNION ARMY OR ACCREDITED BY THIS OFFICE MUST LEAVE THE CITY BEFORE 1ST DECEMBER 1864

BY ORDER
W. T. SHERMAN (Maj. Gen.)
Officer Commanding the Western Theatre

The reorganisation of the Union Armies did not go without mishap, and when, in the middle of the month, General Thomas began his march towards Nashville along the railroad, he took with him troops assigned to the Army of the Tennessee and left behind units that should have gone with him. This confusion was reflected by a letter he sent to Sherman soon after he had marched out of Atlanta.

To: General William Tecumseh Sherman

Dear Uncle Billy,

I have just received your message – the young man you sent was delayed by a band of rioting Citizens as he tried to find me in the wreck that is Atlanta, only to find me gone from that burning vision of Hell as fast as I could re-deploy.

I have, as you will have already seen, given orders for my forces to advance to Nashville, with the aim of destroying any Rebel remnants that I find on the way. I think that this is sufficiently in mind of what you wished me to do, as to not require a change in instructions. I should, of course, be delighted if you would include a line in your instructions re-assigning to my command the specific Regiments you mention.

It was a pleasure and a privilege to serve with you once again, and I look forward to continue doing so in the future.

I remain, Sir, Your obedient servant

George Thomas

Sherman’s Chief of Staff immediately sent orders for General Thomas to halt his march, and despatched those units that had been left behind in error to meet him in the foothills of the Kenesaw Mountains. They also ordered the 16th Ohio Infantry Regiment to return to Atlanta to join the Army of the Tennessee. This confusion delayed the advance of both the Armies of the Cumberland and of the Tennessee, and led to certain young staff officers at General Thomas’s Headquarters to be heard whistling the tune ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ and referring to Sherman as ‘The Duke of New York’.

In the meantime, Schofield’s Army of the Ohio set about the task of destroying all the ‘military’ installations and storehouses in Atlanta, as a result of which a large part of the City was burned to the ground. This activity spared them from the confusion caused by Sherman’s reorganisation of the Union Armies, but it also delayed the start of their march towards Nashville to such an extent that they were barely outside the boundaries of the City of Atlanta before the end of the year came.

Please click on the map to make it larger.


Troop Strengths

N.B.

  1. As from the beginning of July, The Army of the Cumberland will have a +1 increase in its Combat Effectiveness when it is in Nashville.
  2. Any unit whose Basic Combat Effectiveness falls to -3 has a 50% chance of surrendering to the enemy at the beginning of the next month.
  3. Any unit whose Basic Combat Effectiveness falls below -3 is destroyed.

N.B.

  1. Any unit whose Basic Combat Effectiveness falls to -3 has a 50% chance of surrendering to the enemy at the beginning of the next month.
  2. Any unit whose Basic Combat Effectiveness falls below -3 is destroyed.

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