10 August 2011


Two bad photos of a pretty mediocre looking unit!

11 July 2011

Side Project (not ACW)

I've started yet another blog to document my current side project: Solitaire Arthurian RPG play. I know this won't appeal to most of the people who have read other stuff here but... it's what I'm working on now so...
But I'm also working on ACW units still and hopefully I will be able to take some of what I'm learning in this other project and apply it here. We'll see...
My new blog is called The Giant's Moor.

27 April 2011


My favorite CSA flag, the Van Dorn pattern. Good for the Trans-Mississippi 1862,
Corinth/Iuka 1862, Vicksburg campaign 1863, Atlanta Campaign 1864,
Hood's invasion of Tennessee late 1862.
I ordered some ACW flags from GMB in the UK last week and received them today! I don't think I would have received an order from someone in the US any quicker so... they've got my business.
I got 2x generic US Volunteer flags, 1 set of Illinois Volunteer cavalry standards & guidons, 1 sheet of CSA Van Dorn flags, 1 sheet of Louisiana State flags and 1 sheet of SC State flags.
As you know the CSA infantry unit I am completing has been planned as a representation of a well to do SC volunteer regiment beginning to go to pot. But they could represent any similar unit from all over the Confederate States.
Since we are planning to follow up the last 28mm Pea Ridge game with at least one more Trans-Mississppi game it would make a certain amount of sense, but the chances of my CSA figs hitting the table is negligible since I will be playing the Union.
So anyway which flag should I give my cadets? I'll let you vote. In future I will probably buy some First pattern Confederate National flags since they're a good generic. So as they say in Chicago: vote early, vote often!

24 April 2011

More Pea Ridge game photos

 Here are some photos that Gary took of the recent Pea Ridge game. I only lifted the ones that show Shiny's Brigade. They seem to be in roughly chronological order and mostly show the later part of the early game. At that point several regiments were deployed screening both Shiny's regiments and some of Jeff C. Davis' (Gary's) on the right. As you can see, Gary does a much better job at photographing the minis than I do. Thanks Gary for documenting this stuff. I'll add captions as time goes by but I'm going to go ahead and post so you can enjoy.

23 April 2011


I've been devouring the book Pea Ridge:  Civil War Campaign in the West by William Shea & Earl Hess. The Trans-Mississippi has not interested me at all in the past, but after Jim ran that Pea Ridge scenario for GaG the seed was planted. Soon after-words the book came into my work and though it was going to be recycled since it was heavily mildewed, I saved it, cleaned it up and began to read. Excellent. Definitely the best ACW battle history I've yet read. And a super resource in wargaming terms.

Also I finished another stand worth of figures for my SC Cadets unit. They may become Louisiana Cadets if my current enthusiasm for the Trans-Mississippi has any staying power.  I placed an order with GMB flags (which is now on it's way) so I'll have to decide.

The book has also spurred me to place an order with Sash & Saber. I'm going to put together 2 Squadrons of Union Cavalry both mounted & dismounted. Pea Ridge is, so far, the only ACW battle that I've read about where you could really justify the use of Mounted cavalry and Infantry on the same table.

I've received a really interesting book on ACW guerilla warfare called A Savage Conflict as a B'day present and also bought several other recent ACW releases. It's beginning to heat up out there in Civil War land due to the sesquicentennial having arrived. Lots of good lectures available all over the web, though I'm sure the "Lost Cause" crowd is frustrated since that falsehood has lost all traction and is consistently ridiculed.

31 March 2011

Recent Figures

 Two figures I have painted recently. At left, Don Carlos Buell, who led the Army of the Ohio until after the Battle of Perryville. At right, an as yet nameless Union Officer. Buell has not had a Gloss Coat, the Union Officer has.

The figure is from an Old Glory Union Generals pack which includes many of the famous leaders from the Western theater (including Grant, Sherman, Thomas and McCook). I'm pretty happy with all these figs. Buell would be the General that Shiny is ultimately answerable to during this time. 

The Union officer figure is from Old Glory Second Edition. I used a different paint for these figures Uniform Coats, P3 Exile Blue, and  a different paint for the trousers, P3 Trollblood Base. I think the Uniform color is acceptable but I still prefer the Testors Insignia Blue which is darker and tends toward an Indigo.  Maybe with an additional Blue Wash I can make the P3 color perfect.  I have given these figures a rudimentary base treatment to which I intend to add some patches of static grass. In an ideal world I would give all these figures a leaf-litter treatment as seen on Steve Barber's new ACW figures

22 March 2011

Obtaining better weapons, Mission 1

Shiny's Regiment, raised with enthusiasm in the summer of 1861, was, like so many mid-western regiments, issued poor arms (Model 1842 smooth bore percussion muskets)  at the beginning of the war. In fact during those first months some men drilled with muskets that had defective locks and could not be fired. When word came that Shiny's regiment would soon be crossing the Ohio into Kentucky, he determined to obtain better rifle-muskets for his company.

MISSION: Obtain better Rifle-Muskets
Deadline: Before the regiment is mobilised
Rewards: Obtain Springfield Rifles and  +1 Reputation: The Regiment for Shiny
Failure: Shiny will have to buy better rifles using his own funds -1 Wealth

  1. Write to friends in Columbus with hopes of Finding a store of better rifles [Measure: Influence + Reputation: Personal: Judge Matthews] [Each side had one Success, GM's Success was a higher number; Shiny Loses; Reputation Injured]
  2. Convince the Departmental Quartermaster to requisition these weapons for his company of the 59th [Quartermaster Skill][Neither side had any Successes; Shiny Fails]
  3.  Make sure that all the above do their bit in a timely manner ensuring the weapons arrive in time for the regiment to set out with them.  [Quartermaster Skill][Shiny has one Success; Shiny Wins]
  4. I have decided that the Regiment (as a whole) receives better weapons but Shiny receives no personal benefit. 
Notes: This is a little test mission to see how creative I can get with this idea. This is a very realistic, though boring conundrum for someone in Shiny's position in 1861.

Narrative Rewrite:
 Displeased with the quality of the weapons his company has been issued Shiny spends many nights writing to his Political acquaintances in Columbus. Unbeknownst to him several other officers in other Ohio regiments are attempting the same thing, one of them is the godson of a highly placed politician and is able to swing a requisition for some honest to god Springfield Rifles. Judge Matthews feels slighted in the entire affair and becomes mildly irritated at Shiny's "clumsy playin' at Politics". Shiny, though busy drilling his men in preparation for their impending mobilization, takes time to ride to his Departmental HQ and plead with the Departmental Quartermaster. The QM has heard it all before and is routinely unsympathetic to upstart "Volunteer" officers.  Shiny returns to camp, down in the mouth and spends a few days on the "sick-list" after drowning his sorrows. Even as his boys are about to set out Shiny hears that despite everything (and probably purely coincidental to his own efforts) a shipment of better Rifles is on it's way. Worrying that he will move out before the weapons actually arrive Shiny tears through the Ohio night to the Cincinatti rail head and personally oversees the transfer of equipment to his camp. His men are cheered, though not overjoyed, with their new Belgian Rifle-Muskets and disembark from their ferrying of the Ohio slightly more confident in themselves.

17 March 2011

Pea Ridge, 1862

At mid game Shiny's Brigade had
withdrawn to the woods edge.
You can see the two sides skirmishers
facing off near the top of the photo.
I've been attempting to write this for over a week and a half but major work interference has stood in the way..
I forgot my camera and so poor Shiny could not be properly documented (hopefully Gary will forward me a few pics). He was only a Brigade Commander in this largish Corps sized game.

Pea Ridge, 1862
Rules: Guns at Gettysburg
Players: Jim (Price, CSA), Scott Pasha (Curtis: Sigel: OsterHaus [Shiny],  USA), Matt (Greusel, USA), Gary (Jeff C. Davis, USA) & Mike (McCulloch, CSA)
Where: Yankee Peddler Wargames Club
When: 3-5-2011
Length of Game: 5 hours (around 11 turns?)
CSA Artillery deployed in Shiny's Front.
Initially Shiny dealt with the artillery fire by deploying as extended line
and pulling back into the woods a bit (netting a -2 target modifier).

Union Forces 2 Divisions of around 2 Brigades each + a possible reinforcing Brigade (Carr) with small amounts of attached mixed batteries.
Confederate Forces as best I remember they outnumbered us by around 180%. Some of this was a reinforcing Brigade that came on  board early in the game.
Shiny's Lads await the oncoming Rebels just outside the woodlines (early Mid game)
Most regiments which had been deployed as skirmishers were recalled by this time.

Essentially the game can be summarized very quickly:
The Initial CSA Divisions moved onto the table and deployed before a light line of Union Skirmishers. Most Union Infantry was deployed just about 24" to 36" into the table. 
CSA had artillery on a hill to the front of the Union Right which commanded that part of the table. 
The CSA forces came forward across the table, but their right was hanging. Their strength intially seemed to be aimed to the Union center. The Union forces slowly fell back, screening the main regiments with skirmishers.
To neutralize the effects of the Rebel Artillery,
Osterhaus withdrew into the Woods out of sight. This forced
the Rebel infantry to move forward.
On the Union left Matt's (Greusel's) Brigade mainly deployed in skirmish formation and began to harry the CSA's exposed right flank. This turned out to be surprisingly effective as Mike had a hard time maintaining momentum, even after sending his reinforcing Brigade into this sector. As his units would fall back they would be vulnerable to nearby Union skirmishers, so Mike had to keep his flank refused, thus weakening the impact of his offensive.
Shiny kept 2 regiments out front as skirmishers, eventually recalling one. Mike had deployed 2 CSA batteries immediately to his front, but he took some significant casualties from skirmisher fire. Eventually Shiny withdrew into the wood line and engaged Mike's Center with Artillery and close order vollies. His brigade took a lot of casualties and eventually the Artillery was completely destroyed  and a regiment routed off the table, but the Brigade held strong. At game's end the Brigade had withdrawn out of the CSA Artillery's L-O-S
Jim and Gary faced off with each other in the woods to the Union right, but Jim never seemed to be able to cause the Morale failures that are necessary to win in these games.
It was a close run thing but in the end, as in real life , the CSA offensive puttered out as it became overextended and at 3:30 the game was called for the Rebs.
A very enjoyable game, I must say.

03 March 2011

The real James P. Fyffe

Photo Portrait of James P. Fyffe

Here's some relevant stuff James P. Fyfe who commanded the 59th OVI.
An excerpt from a letter he wrote to  his mother after Stone's River (he seems to have been a Brigadier by this point):

My old Regiment the 59th had its usual good fortune loosing very 
few men in all the contests.  I cannot hear of over five men being killed, 
about forty wounded, some few prisoners and a Missing, one thing remarkable 
about it is in the first days fight that Regiment was in the front line 
along side the 44th Indiana while the 15th Ohio and 86th Indiana were in 
another line away in the rear over one hundred yards, we were forced to fall 
back by being outflanked, and when the 59th Ohio and 44th Indiana began to 
fall back they were right close to the rebel lines yet did not have an 
Officer killed, and but few men, while the 13th Ohio had their Col. killed 
and three other Officers, they had 8 Officers killed and wounded out of 13 
all they had, they also had about 30 men killed and a great many wounded 
again in the last day fight in the great charge made by Breckenridges force, 
it just missed my Brigade, where it stood in a single line, without any 
Reserves, whatever, and fell about two hundred yards to then my right, where 
Col. Beattys with three Brigades in three lines were parted, sweeping them 
backward like fall leaves before a wintry wind, one after the other the 
lines were swept away, If it had fallen on me, in place of where it did, 
I do not see how a single man could have escaped of my Brigade, as it was, 
I only lost a few men, one of my Colonels was made prisioner as we fell back 
and a few others, but I was not going to describe the battle only to allude 
to what narrow escape my old Regiment had, but as I have told this much I 
will add that Breckenridges charge was intended to cut through our lines 
and get to the ford over Stone River and make prisioners of our Division, 
they succeeded in getting to the ford, turning our right but found themselves
in what the French call, a cul de sack, they found themselves in a bend of 
the river running around them as it were, while the opposite bank was lined 
with fifty pieces of Cannon, and dark with drawn masses of Infantry, I need 
not state what followed - A prisioner in Murfreesboro says when the 
retreating Colum reached the line of guards around the town that night, 
broke right through, and a confused mass went streaming through the town, 
refusing to obey any, and all orders, retreating South -
 See http://www.usgwarchives.org/oh/statewide/military/cw.htm for more

02 March 2011

SC Cadets Bad Photos

Just trying out the camera on my Dsi. Apparently not the thing for taking close-up photos of  miniatures. But here you go, the regiment thus far, missing the last 8 figs and a flag.

A fictional regiment painted in early 1862 uniforms (the initial finery of their Blue Gray Frock coats and trousers now giving way to a more grab-bag of clothing). Mounted for Guns at Gettysburg.

Unfortunately they won't be ready for the game this Saturday.

01 March 2011

Command Fifth Division, 11th Brigade & Fictionalization

Cards from Dixie: Shiloh by Columbia Games
Shiny will be serving, for the near future anyway, in the fictionalized 59th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Co. B. He serves under Colonel James Fyffe (59th OVI), Brigadier Jeremiah Boyle (11th Brigade), General Thomas Crittenden (5th Division) and General Don Carlos Buell, of the Army of the Ohio. 
Crittenden will definitely stay historical, but Boyle might not and Fyffe will definitely play a role that will little resemble his real career.  I will not attempt to keep the 59th true to it's real life counterpart except to have it follow roughly the same path through the war. 

I have made an initial attempt to use Duty & Honour. It's going to take some time for me to try and not "Wargame" it and let the narrative develop in the style that the game uses. It is making me have some interesting thoughts about developing a very quick very abstract wargame. Which, I'm sure, will come to nothing.

26 February 2011

Shiny's Stats

Here's Shiny's starting stats for Duty & Honour:

Captain Shiny O'Malley (early 1862)
Irish, Catholic, Merchant, Infantry Officer,
59th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Guts:          3 (+3 Cards due to Hard as Nails trait)
Discipline:  3 (+2 due to Born for Battle)
Influence:   3 (+3 due to Stiff Upper Lip)
Charm:       2

Skills: Awareness 2, Command 3(+3 due to Stiff Upper Lip), Courtesy 1,
Diplomacy 2, Engineering 2, Intimidate 1, Intrigue 1, Quartermaster 3,
Riding 1, Scavenge 2, Siege 1, Skulduggery 1, Soldiering 2

Personal: Individual: Judge Matthews: 1
Personal: Owed Favor  by Captain Heina: 1
Institutional: Officer's of the Brigade: 1
Institutional: The Regiment: 2
Institutional: The Rank & File: 1

Wealth: 4, Fine Binoculars (+1card modifier to Awareness)
Traits: Read & Write, Respect of the Men, Hard as Nails, Born for Battle, Stiff Upper Lip

Personal Experiences thus far:
1. Damned Rebel in Ireland
2. Befriends Matthews family in Ohio
3. Successful Businessman
Military Experiences thus far:
4. Non-Combat Role: Aide to the Brigadier
5. Participated in a wide ranging campaign: The Eastern Kentucky campaign including the Battle at Ivy Mountain

Regimental Honors or Failures:
Battle Honor: 1861: Ivy Mountain
Battle Honor: 1862: Shiloh

25 February 2011

Welcome to my Second Blog.

"At "em boys! Damn their hides, they'll taste steel before we're done with'em!"
Hello this will serve as the home of Shiny's exploits.
For those of you who do not know Shiny is a 28mm Irish-American Colonel in the Union Army. He was originally a Renegade figure with an extra glossy varnish coat, thus his nickname. Shiny is now represented by a Sash & Saber figure (seen to the right at the top of the column). He first appeared in several skirmish games as leader of a company of Infantrymen but has now become the Colonel of a Brigade of 4 regiments from Ohio.

I have just this weekend generated a semi-autinomous Shiny character for the Duty & Honour RPG. Even though this system is really intended as a multiplayer RPG I think it's unique Mission resolution mechanics could be used to flesh out a continuing narrative background for Shiny. So I'll give it a go. I hope to publish either a D&H session report or a Guns at Gettysburg battle report every couple of weeks so stay tuned. I'm not sure if I will post other ACW musings and painting logs on here or not. Let me know your preferences, that stuff could just as easily stay on the original blog.