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Battle at Salem Church (January 2016)


ACW Game.

The Battle of Salem Church, also known as the Battle of Banks' Ford, took place on May 3 and 4, 1863, in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, as part of the Chancellorsville Campaign of the American Civil War.


Location:                  South-west of Fredricksburg
Date:                          May 3rd, 1863
Time of Day:              Late Afternoon

From: The Library of Congress collection.  https://www.loc.gov/item/99446791


Historical Background

As part of Hooker’s grand plan at Chancellorsville, General John Sedgwick was to advance the VI Corps down from Fredericksburg Heights, Sedgwick’s three divisions moved south towards Salem Church and Chancellorsville.  By late afternoon, at Salem Church, Wilcox’s Confederate Brigade, which had been fighting a delaying action, was joined by reserves from McLaw’s division and the Rebels became determined to hold.


After a cautious advance, the lead Federal division, Brooks, deploying from march-column, attacked with two brigades but was driven back by Wilcox and Semmes.  The rebels, having been reinforced by additional brigades from McLaw’s and Anderson’s division, counter-attacked across the valley but were themselves checked by the arrival of fresh Union troops.  At this point, the battle ended with neither side desiring to commit additional forces.  The next day, having received news of Hooker’s defeat at Chancellorsville, Sedgewick ordered the VI Corps to fall back to the Rappahannock River.

We used the Blackpowder rules as most of the players were familiar with this set of rules (even though a number of players do not like them).

We did make an adjustment to the rules, if the command roll is a fail the unit (be it a battalion or brigade) will get one free move irrespective of formation, etc. This took away an annoying aspect for some of the players and helped others (the commander John E of the Confederate Brigade on their right could not get his brigade to advance except one regiment).


Modifications for This Scenario


This scenario assumes that the Federals were more aggressive, advanced quicker, and were willing to fully commit the lead division of IV Corps—under General W.T.H. Brooks—to push the Confederates off Salem Church ridge before the Rebels could bring up additional troops.  
Blackpowder rule modification for the game: on a blunder move (throw in this case of 10, 11 or 12) your opponent gets to move the unit/s 3 inches in any direction.



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