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Counters for Devens’ Brigade of the 1st Division IV Corps.  Right off, I should point out that the 2nd Rhode Island was not present for the battle.  They were off to the north blowing up trains between Mechanicsville and Hanover Station.
The other thing I want to point out is that I’ve decided to account for pickets to the extent it’s possible.  So many of the regimental histories (for the Union at least) mention that many of the units had multiple companies deployed this way.  Especially for this brigade, pickets were a significant fraction of the total strength.  I will include the units in the counter mix full strength, but the scenario will specify that a strength reduction counter should be placed on them as shown.  The pickets can rejoin as per the Bloody April rules.
Finally, these were some of the most interesting regimental histories I’ve read so far.  Especially the 10th Massachusetts.  One of the great stories that stands out is how the Union took Bottom’s Bridge.  I’ll let them tell the story:
Toward morning, ‘Toodles,’ who was on duty near the bridge, conceives the brilliant idea that it is the better part of strategy to surprise the bridge, the rebs, and the regimental commanders, by effecting a crossing before daylight. He came down to my post, which was next to his, loaded with his important decision, and we immediately agreed to it. Then each post was visited, and a signal adopted for a grand rally, near the bridge, on double-quick time.
The eastern horizon begins to show signs of approaching day while we await the signal to start on what may be a perilous adventure. “Hark! There goes the signal, a low whistle, which is sent down the line; a few moments of breathless suspense, and then there is heard a subdued tramp of hurried feet. Away we go in a long, trailing line for the bridge, yes, and right over it with our acquired momentum, where we rally in line, and are ready to fight any foe who dare to put in an appearance. The boys are in the humor for a free fight, for their enthusiasm is at fever-heat. There are no officers to interfere with them, and each man is his own captain and commander-in-chief. On the rising ground a few rods beyond us is a house ; and in the dusky morning light, forms are seen flitting about. 'Toodles,' who hardly ever opened his mouth without putting his foot into it, hailed with, 'What regiment is that?' And the reply came back, ' The Tenth.'  ' The Tenth, hey!' says Toodles. 'I didn't know that you got over here ahead of us.' He had addled his brain over the Tenth Massachusetts. ' What regiment is that?' now came from the whole rebel side. 'The 199th,' the answer. '199th what?'  'The 199th Massachusetts!'  ' Ha, ha! just the condemned sons of dogs we are after!' and with the exclamation came a pattering volley from rebeldom, shot wildly into the thin air, and about as random a volley was returned; that is, our guns were pointed somewhere in their direction. This shooting in the dark, squinting over invisible sights, is not conducive to good marksmanship. After emptying our 'pieces' a gallant charge was made with a rush for the Johnnies; but there was 'mounting in hot haste.' a clatter of hoofs, and the foe is up and away for Richmond to spread the news that the 'Yanks' have crossed the Chickahominy in heavy force. The discharge of musketry on the resonant morning atmosphere has stirred up the captain; and he comes over, rubbing his eyes in a bewildered manner, more surprised at our temerity than the rebs themselves. When he became thoroughly awake, and had recovered from his astonishment, he sent a man to apprise the colonel of the doings of the privates of Company A. Russell soon put in an appearance, and there was not a sleepy indication about his person. There was not a more pleased man in the whole Army of the Potomac. He immediately sent for the regimental colors, and planted them on the position we had so nobly taken in a bloodless charge:  then he made a speech to us, complimenting us upon our bravery and dash.
I have often wondered since what he would have said to the survivors had we run our noses into a snag, or fell into a trap, and had suffered a terrible loss, as we were liable to do had there been a large body of the enemy lurking in the vicinity. No doubt, the brilliancy of the foolhardy movement would have been dimmed by blood, and nothing gained thereby. But in war it is the foolhardy movements, when successful, that win the applause of men, and another laurel is added to the science of so-called military strategy. But if failure stamps it with its iron hoof of fate, the fool in it bulges into such prominence that there are none so low but feel above its contempt. View Larger

Counters for Devens’ Brigade of the 1st Division IV Corps.  Right off, I should point out that the 2nd Rhode Island was not present for the battle.  They were off to the north blowing up trains between Mechanicsville and Hanover Station.

The other thing I want to point out is that I’ve decided to account for pickets to the extent it’s possible.  So many of the regimental histories (for the Union at least) mention that many of the units had multiple companies deployed this way.  Especially for this brigade, pickets were a significant fraction of the total strength.  I will include the units in the counter mix full strength, but the scenario will specify that a strength reduction counter should be placed on them as shown.  The pickets can rejoin as per the Bloody April rules.

Finally, these were some of the most interesting regimental histories I’ve read so far.  Especially the 10th Massachusetts.  One of the great stories that stands out is how the Union took Bottom’s Bridge.  I’ll let them tell the story:

Toward morning, ‘Toodles,’ who was on duty near the bridge, conceives the brilliant idea that it is the better part of strategy to surprise the bridge, the rebs, and the regimental commanders, by effecting a crossing before daylight. He came down to my post, which was next to his, loaded with his important decision, and we immediately agreed to it. Then each post was visited, and a signal adopted for a grand rally, near the bridge, on double-quick time.

The eastern horizon begins to show signs of approaching day while we await the signal to start on what may be a perilous adventure. “Hark! There goes the signal, a low whistle, which is sent down the line; a few moments of breathless suspense, and then there is heard a subdued tramp of hurried feet. Away we go in a long, trailing line for the bridge, yes, and right over it with our acquired momentum, where we rally in line, and are ready to fight any foe who dare to put in an appearance. The boys are in the humor for a free fight, for their enthusiasm is at fever-heat. There are no officers to interfere with them, and each man is his own captain and commander-in-chief. On the rising ground a few rods beyond us is a house ; and in the dusky morning light, forms are seen flitting about.

'Toodles,' who hardly ever opened his mouth without putting his foot into it, hailed with, 'What regiment is that?' And the reply came back, ' The Tenth.'  ' The Tenth, hey!' says Toodles. 'I didn't know that you got over here ahead of us.' He had addled his brain over the Tenth Massachusetts. ' What regiment is that?' now came from the whole rebel side. 'The 199th,' the answer. '199th what?'  'The 199th Massachusetts!'  ' Ha, ha! just the condemned sons of dogs we are after!' and with the exclamation came a pattering volley from rebeldom, shot wildly into the thin air, and about as random a volley was returned; that is, our guns were pointed somewhere in their direction. This shooting in the dark, squinting over invisible sights, is not conducive to good marksmanship. After emptying our 'pieces' a gallant charge was made with a rush for the Johnnies; but there was 'mounting in hot haste.' a clatter of hoofs, and the foe is up and away for Richmond to spread the news that the 'Yanks' have crossed the Chickahominy in heavy force. The discharge of musketry on the resonant morning atmosphere has stirred up the captain; and he comes over, rubbing his eyes in a bewildered manner, more surprised at our temerity than the rebs themselves. When he became thoroughly awake, and had recovered from his astonishment, he sent a man to apprise the colonel of the doings of the privates of Company A. Russell soon put in an appearance, and there was not a sleepy indication about his person. There was not a more pleased man in the whole Army of the Potomac. He immediately sent for the regimental colors, and planted them on the position we had so nobly taken in a bloodless charge:  then he made a speech to us, complimenting us upon our
bravery and dash.

I have often wondered since what he would have said to the survivors had we run our noses into a snag, or fell into a trap, and had suffered a terrible loss, as we were liable to do had there been a large body of the enemy lurking in the vicinity. No doubt, the brilliancy of the foolhardy movement would have been dimmed by blood, and nothing gained thereby. But in war it is the foolhardy movements, when successful, that win the applause of men, and another laurel is added to the science of so-called military strategy. But if failure stamps it with its iron hoof of fate, the fool in it bulges into such prominence that there are none so low but feel above its contempt.



  1. zhodanius posted this