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Rainbow Brigade Ep. 2, March 1862

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  • Rainbow Brigade Ep. 2, March 1862

    Having had all winter to rest, recuperate, and train, Rainbow is itching for a fight come spring. Colonel Sennef is still away, this time in Raleigh, when the telegram comes ordering Rainbow to march to New Bern. Arriving there after three days of miserable spring roads, Rainbow is finally in North Carolina's first Capital on March 9th.

    Meeting them is Brig. Gen. Branch. He advises the officers. "I'm in command of four thousand militia and recruits. They have more smoothbores than rifles, and don't know how to march in a straight line without constant correction. I guess you were sent here because of your stellar reputation. I do indeed hope that you can continue to live up to it. Our intelligence is that General Burnside is coming up the Neuse. He wants to capture the coastal cities that allow our blockade runners to continue bringing in vital supplies. Also, New Bern is a juncture for two important railroads for supplying the Confederacy, and loss of the city and the railroads would mean a loss of much needed supplies for the campaign defending Richmond."

    General Branch appears to be quite deferential to Rainbow, but doesn't seek out any company and has no interest in a joint operation. His men already have breastworks in close to the town, covering his anticipation of an assault using gunboats and small ships predominately to take the town by storm from the river, which is over a mile wide approaching the city.

    Instead, Rainbow is directed to where the General's men had started building a second ring of defensive works, along the railroad track beside the river. Fort Thompson, a basic earthen fort of breastworks, trench, and gun platforms has been constructed near the river to the North. To the South is a swamp which many of the locals say is impassable to a large group of men. It has been raining, and the ground is somewhat muddy. Across the river is an extensive swampy area before the ground rises, and that area is flooded. There is no noticeable elevation change, and like always for NC there are groves of trees. The only other piece of terrain is the railroad running East to West. The buildings are from a brick making operation, drying rooms, warehousing, and such.

    General Burnside has a Division, his "Coast Division" made predominately of New Englanders from coastal towns. They captured Roanoke Island relatively easily in February, and have been preparing for this attack, the next logical step on a move to capture Beaufort, which is defended by Fort Macon and some outlying defensive works far more formidable than what New Bern could boast.

    Rainbow has no idea when Burnside will attack, though outlying scouts and river boats should give some advance warning. Until he's shooting at you though, you can dig in......(OOC: Khyses has access to the main map and can edit in dark grey 4pt lines for trench/breastworks, or a small fort or other strongpoints. Rainbow can build an aggregate of 300yds of breastwork per day, or 150yds worth of battery/strongpoint/fort wall which is higher and thicker.

    East of New Bern
    Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

  • #2
    Captain Holden tells his second in command to gather all his men together for a little pep talk. The men line up in formation and ordered at stand by. Holden wrote his little speech on a small note, which he takes out of his pocket. But he didn't need to read it, he knew it by heart and had been waiting for this chance to say something meaningful since the war started.
    My fellow brothers in arm, I am happy to inform you that we're going into combat! Listen, listen, I know we got to the battle late last year, but fear not, we're not going to miss any action on this one. Now, I want you to remember what we trained in last few months. I want us to be the best sharpshooters ever. Remember our motto, Aim small, miss small! Make me proud and I pray that you shall do well in face of adverse conditions and certain death that awaits some of us. God be with you all, boys!

    Holden dismisses his men for the day and went into his tent to await for the orders from the highers that be. His men are ordered to make inventory of their rifles and equipment, to make ready for the coming battle.
    Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

    "Aim small, miss small."

    Comment


    • #3
      Command Council
      Rainbow Bde HQ
      Fort Thompson

      Lt. Colonel Harold Fawcett (temporarily) in command.

      Alright my friends, let's have a brief discussion as we look out across the field from our command post.

      The enemy is expected to come up this road in force as part of their attempt to reach New Bern. They reportedly have some 10 000 men in all, New Englanders for the most part and with some gunboat support. It is possible they will try to outflank us and land men behind our line, though I think it unlikely. It is probable they will bring their gunboats in for close support against our line if they feel it is safe to do so.

      To that end I recommend positioning Gardner's heavy battery here in the fort and preparing our dispositions accordingly.

      As you will see here, (gestures to map) the woods are outside effective support range from Fort Thompson. If we try to hold them forever we will lose - but I feel it would be a mistake to yield this ground too readily.

      I propose an initial light defense here along phase line red, which will naturally funnel them between the wood and the river unless they are actively focused on the wood.

      At a time the forward commander deems fitting, they will begin the brigade's withdrawal to phase line blue.

      This second line incorporates the Fort, and inclines the enemy into a fire bucket separating them from their gunboat support.

      Despite the disparity in numbers I propose that we uphold our proud tradition from Bull Run and break the New Englanders rather than simply running them off to fight another day. With fire from the fore and the flank, and the temptation of the woods to their rear we will see the enemy fade, then rout.

      That is when we have them, and if we unleash our cavalry onto their tail when they try to run, we will deal with this Indianan post haste.

      To that end and if my notional plan is accepted, I recommend any permanent works be laid along phase line blue.

      Captain Finch, you lead the pioneers. What are your thoughts on this?

      https://i.imgur.com/VUxcJKh.jpg
      Captain Khryses, Silver Star Omnilift Wing

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree. My guns should be positioned in the fort, along with a small contingent of infantry to prevent it from falling should the enemy close to take it. From the fort I should be able to provide a reasonable amount of fire to as much as 2,000 yards, if we have the view. I would suggest we lay in some additional rounds for the guns beyond what would be provided in the field. I make the edge of the forest away from the fort at about 1500 yards. If some range stakes could be placed out it would help the gunners immensely.

        I have assigned a good gunner to each piece and have only taken new men as crew who could demonstrate they can read, write, and do basic maths as they should be able to understand how to read the tables of fire and properly set fuzes. They have had some drill, but need more.

        If time permits, I can have my carpenters with the battery direct a more perfect erection of the fortifications strengthening the position, using work parties if some may be provided.

        On other matters, my company has recently acquired patents on my new design Minnie ball ammunition for muskets and rifles and is now supplying the two grease groove, solid base, improved type to the Fayetteville arsenal for our state and country to use. (ooc: There was actually a Gardner patent ammunition as described... as opposed to the questionable Gardiner "exploding" bullet that was quite controversial). We are now making it in .577, .58, and .54 caliber.
        Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 24 Oct 17, 22:46.

        Comment


        • #5
          OOC

          To detail a bit more (and I'll deal with details with K offline):

          Rainbow can build 300yds of breastworks/trenches per day.

          Breastwork/Trench = A trench approximately 3ft deep and the same width, with the dirt mounded up in front using logs or timbers as necessary, to form a breastwork approximately 2ft high for a total of 5ft.

          Strongpoint/Fort Wall, Rainbow can build 150yds per day.

          Strongpoint/Fort = A dry moat approximately 6ft deep, with the dirt mounded up behind/inside to form a wall approximately 5ft high, with logs, packed dirt, or timbers forming rifleman walks or artillery embrasures for field-size guns.

          ======

          Rainbow can also expend the same efforts per day to improve existing fortifications, adding a similar-level of protection on top of the existing entrenchments......and also overhead cover/ammo bunkers and such...which can be again increased. In short, Rainbow could expend all efforts on Fort Thompson for several days and wind up with a very strong little fortification. Thank some of the players for insisting on carrying a lot of entrenching tools with them.
          Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

          Comment


          • #6
            Offer

            General Branch does offer a small olive branch to Rainbow. He offers to send one of the 65lb Columbiads from the heavy artillery battery to wherever Rainbow would like to emplace it (will need a fortification of some sort to simply hold it)(Crew is provided but they're otherwise not combatants to you). OR, he will send a company of 300 militia to augment your forces. You can get only ONE of the two, and he must know before you build your first day's fortification increase.
            Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

            Comment


            • #7
              Fawcett thanks General Branch and unilaterally accepts the first offer; a 65lb Columbiad in Fort Thompson will be very useful both in keeping the gunboats out of range and in counter-battery fire.

              300 unsteady militia with smoothbores, their own commanders and no real cohesion to Rainbow would be at best more targets and at worst a weakness that could shatter our defense.

              ...Fawcett keeps the latter comments to himself.
              Captain Khryses, Silver Star Omnilift Wing

              Comment


              • #8
                Done and added to the Map (Yellow Arrow)
                Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

                Comment


                • #9
                  Captain Holden realizes that he is neither a master strategist nor a brilliant tactician, so he's reluctant to make military suggestions that would make himself look decidedly stupid in front of his fellow officers. His reluctance notwithstanding, he puts forward his informal suggestions:

                  1.) If going with the colonel's plan, Holden suggests that his men be positioned at the junction of red L-shaped line to open fire on the enemy marching either north or south of woody area on the map, picking off the officers and sowing chaos as they try to reorder the lines. Once they get into the range, his men can be pulled back to keep out of their range and be moved to another area where long range fire support is needed.

                  2.) Go with the augment of 300 men-strong militia. They can be used to draw in more Union troops, to make them go where we want, then when the time is right, we can spring a trap on them using our best men. If the colonel's intention is to break General Burnside's men, then I like to think this plan has some merit. After all, you know good defense is sometimes going on offense. Let's keep up the spirit of that mentality, it'll do wonders for our men and yours as well.
                  Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

                  "Aim small, miss small."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    1. Fawcett concurs, this sounds like an excellent use for Holden's command - provided he doesn't stay too long before falling back to phase line blue!

                    2. I may have been biased by the historical record of the battle, and by the specter of Union gunboats firing into our riverine flank. Gardner could do a decent job of keeping the blighters off, but I still feel that even a single slow-firing gun that outranges everything else on the field would be more useful than a shaky tripwire. If Sennef had decided on the militia I'd have argued for placing them in the clear part of the line of phase line red, with a Patriotesque order.

                    "Fire two volleys at the enemy, then fall back. That's all you need to do - fire two volleys. Do not fall back after the first. Fire one more volley to rock them on their heels, then you can go home."

                    ...but I'm still inclined to trust in a big gun here. It's less likely to rout and shake our large (but green) new battalions.
                    Captain Khryses, Silver Star Omnilift Wing

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Cpt Leroy knows that his men would excel at killing men from afar from the protected woods but he has a thought of using his men to lure the Yanks along the shore. We can line up like regular looking infantry and make it appear that our numbers are weak, and when the Union boys advance we can run as if we are too cowardly to fight them, but not before letting off deadly accurate shots at their formation. Hopefully, this feint will inspire them to chase because they underestimate us. Then the regulars can come out of the woods and unleash devastating volleys on their flanks. Kind of a risk, but we have a strong point at our backs and an advantage of speed. Otherwise we can harass them all day long from the woods or provide marksmen cover from the fort.
                      The Europa Barbarorum II team [M2TW] needs YOUR HELP NOW HERE!

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                      • #12
                        Looking at that map, I understand the red lines are proposed entrenchments. I THINK the little blue line is a ditch or creek. Is there any chance of getting some Slaves from the neighboring are to help us dig? Is there any North Carolina artillery in the Fort or Militia?

                        I would suggest our best long range troops, the Badger Militia, dig rifle pits in front of the "Fort". I don't understand why we would dig a trench in the woods. I would advise it to be dug behind the woods where our artillery can hit them as they leave the woods. I suggest a long line in front of the Fort and down to the wetlands South of the road.

                        We can put our Infantry in this line to stop any advance from downstream. I would put Tremayne's Battery down by the buildings where they can fire down the road and do a crossfire towards the river. They might even be able to fire on Yankee Gunboats.

                        We should place the Cavalry behind the buildings so they can be shielded from Gunboat fire and effect a Flank Attack on a Yankee advance. If the main attack is next to the River we can loop around the woods. If the Yankee main push is up the road we can loop around by the River.

                        Captain Pruitt sends three Platoons to help form the line. A new Platoon takes a Platoon's place every two hours. Captain Pruitt is seen using a shovel and helping put trees into the line.

                        Captain Pruitt, Tarheel Legion, Cavalry
                        Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                        Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                        by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The 10 Pound Rifles and Blakelys in the fort should be very good at shooting up Gunboats or Yankee Infantry. I would put the other Battery down by the Road by the buildings. If we put a line behind the woods we can support each other. I would put a rifle pit line of Whitworths in front of the Fort.

                          Captain Pruitt, Tarheel Legion Cavalry
                          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Captain Holden nods his head at Fawcett's remarks. He asks Fawcett for permission to begin erecting the breastworks along the edge of the wood. Before heading out, Holden makes one final suggestion:

                            I won't stay long at the junction, so I wonder if it is a good idea to stay long enough to entice Union troops into heading for our position when they see us breaking for the rear area, thinking there's a gap barely wide enough for them to enter. Once they get into woods, that will negate the gunboat support and we can have men stationed out along the edges of the wood to shut the trap on a portion of our enemy. I doubt this will break the enemy's back completely but hopefully we can take out a portion without suffering serious casualties on our part. I like to think fighting defensively in the wood will help us more than Union troops as they struggle to get out and back to the safety of their gunboat support and front lines.

                            Maybe all this thinking is too much for a lowly captain, so I shall make my exit with all haste and get right down to setting up Badgers' position all ready.
                            Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

                            "Aim small, miss small."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Khryses
                              I propose an initial light defense here along phase line red, which will naturally funnel them between the wood and the river unless they are actively focused on the wood.

                              At a time the forward commander deems fitting, they will begin the brigade's withdrawal to phase line blue.

                              ...

                              To that end and if my notional plan is accepted, I recommend any permanent works be laid along phase line blue.
                              Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                              Looking at that map, I understand the red lines are proposed entrenchments. I THINK the little blue line is a ditch or creek. Is there any chance of getting some Slaves from the neighboring are to help us dig? Is there any North Carolina artillery in the Fort or Militia?
                              1. The thin red and blue lines added on the map are mine - Fawcett's proposed lines. There is no ditch or creek N/S on the map.

                              2. Fawcett proposes no trench on the red line, any strongpoints, trenches or breastworks should be laid on the blue line in order to catch the enemy in the open once disordered from passing through the woods.

                              3. Gardner and a 65lb piece will be based in the fort, likely with some infantry support. Leroy may fall back into this position if he tries his daring gambit.
                              Captain Khryses, Silver Star Omnilift Wing

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