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Rainbow Brigade, Episode 6: A Bridge on the River Patapsco

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  • Fawcett reminds the cavalry remaining at Rainbow's main position not to get heavily engaged, and to screen Finch's operations from interference by the Yankees.

    Rainbow's main line is to draw back a short distance into the lee of the hill, denying the Federal artillery a target. Fawcett passes the word that we will repulse the initial Federal effort, then fall back toward the hill where Gardner's guns are unlimbering even now. The men are reminded to conserve their ammunition, as there is a large portion of the day ahead of us.

    A rider is sent to Finch asking him how long he expects before the bridge can be dropped, advising him to expedite the process and to shift both himself and his cavalry screen to the northern bridges once the southern one is rendered tactically irreparable.

    Giving Bird local command on Mount Catons, Fawcett instructs him to maintain control of the northern end of the ridge, destroying the enemy's artillery capability where practicable - whether that means sharpshooters or the 20lber is entirely up to local commanders.
    Captain Khryses, Silver Star Omnilift Wing

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    • Originally posted by Khryses View Post
      (…)
      A rider is sent to Finch asking him how long he expects before the bridge can be dropped, advising him to expedite the process and to shift both himself and his cavalry screen to the northern bridges once the southern one is rendered tactically irreparable.
      Finch scratches his head, while studying the bridge.

      "Depending on what my foraging parties bring in in regard to tools, draft animals and explosives, anywhere between a couple of hours and an afternoon….....?"

      "Of course - when you blow up a bridge made of heavy timber and brick, you're left with a pile of brick and timber, which may still serve for the enemy to cross, especially the infantry."

      "Our best course of action is probably to break up the bridge, and then use the material to construct a roadblock on the opposite bank, and the timber for overhead cover, cover the crossing with our fire and then use the explosives as the enemy tries to cross."

      He looks at the rider and his horse.

      "Do me a favour will you…....try to cross the river on horseback, tell me if it's fordable without the bridge....?"
      Last edited by Snowygerry; 04 Jul 19, 09:23.
      High Admiral Snowy, Commander In Chief of the Naval Forces of The Phoenix Confederation.
      Major Atticus Finch - ACW Rainbow Co.

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      • 1000hrs, North to South:

        With a convenient fallback position being the wooded area on the far north portion of the ridge, Bird opts to remain in place with Freeman's men, under orders to fall back from a concerted infantry attack but serve their gun and attempt to disrupt enemy artillery. Lt. Rojik continues to maintain his position creating a line of communication, his troopers and horses now well rested and even watered. A ranging shot from the heavy siege guns goes flying over the position. Mortar fire is more effective, pounding the bombproofs that most of Freeman's soldiers are sheltering in. The return fire from the lone 20lbder is also effective, the shell bursting amongst the crews of the siege guns in what can only be called a 'lucky shot'. Temporarily silenced, the barrage of mortars continues, but most of the men are remaining sheltered despite firing and the shells burst mostly on the bombproofs and walls of the battery position. Return fire finds its mark again, and Freeman can see more men falling around the siege guns as they struggle to bring them back into action. For more than a half hour the gunners serve their weapons, firing to the point that most of the shots are simply laid at smoke and men pour water on the guns to keep them cool. Climbing atop the position to spot the fall of his shot and correct, Freeman gives out a correction before a 30lb shell bursts at his feet, disintegrating the captain in a burst of gore. The gunners fire one last shot from their 20lb Parrott, striking an ammunition wagon beside the heavy guns and setting it aflame as artillerymen flee from the impending explosion. Leaderless, the remnants of the Orleans Blues spike their gun and run back to join the Green Jackets, utterly spent and demoralized.

        Unwilling to surrender the strong fortification, Bird maintains his Green Jackets on the far side, with lookouts to alert him to any move by infantry to take the ridge. Sending the Badgers under strict orders to Major Holden to hold his fire, the skirmishers filter around the flank, staying low and inconspicuous. They are spotted before they reach the trees, however they rush to the small grove before the militia regiment to their front can react, and in response the militia only move to block any further approach. The movement has taken over a half hour, but once in position, the very skilled sharpshooters find rests for their fantastically expensive rifles and open fire at around 800yds, wholly ignoring the militia to concentrate on the gunners manning the mortar battery. The bark of over a score of rifles is punctuated with a dozen men falling around the mortars, sending the rest to ground and temporarily silencing the fire while Freeman's battered troops withdraw.

        Back at the bridge, Finch discovers that it will take an additional hour to sufficiently weaken the beams to where he might be able to use gunpowder to blast a piling and cause a partial collapse of the center span. He estimates that it will create a 20ft gap at best, 10ft at worst in the bridge. The rider he sends to check the river reports that it can be easily swam by horse, but appears to deep for a man to ford. The current is relatively slow, and from early in the morning the 5 available boats are all drawn up on the Western bank, he estimates their capacity combined would be 40 men with kit.

        Obeying orders, the skirmish line of Tar Heels and JDL fall back to a small grove, giving them a sheltered position to protect Finch's battalion. Chiswell's more numerous riders cover the open field closer to Finch.

        With the cavalry suddenly departing from their flank, the bugle can be heard all up and down the main federal line. Marines, Sailors, Infantry, and Militia advance for the northern end of the saddle even as General Fawcett finishes giving his report to General Hampton. "I think I will stay to see this" General Hampton says before riding up behind the ragged but resolute line of Rainbow men. The urgency of the Federal attack all along his line pins Fawcett in place, unable to make his orderly scheduled withdrawal in the face of a strong advance, his men unwilling to leave their positions of cover for the open ground.

        The instant the Sailors and Marines advance out of the grove opposite the Grenadier Guards and Jaegers, they come under accurate and rapid fire from those worthies. Shots fired in return are generally ineffective and while a man is hit here and there the Guards seem completely unperturbed by the relatively light return fire as they just load, shoot, and change needles as fast as they can. Despite the fire, the sailors and Marines advance to nearly 100yds before their Captain and Commanders are systematically gunned down, and under the heavy fire they turn and run to the rear, although now those the Guards and Jaegers have emptied half of their cartridge boxes.

        In the open, Major Leroy orders his Tigers to wait until the range has closed to 200yds, then his own men open up on two larger formations. Choosing the militia first, his rapid fire breaks their formation and sends them fleeing to the rear. Return fire from the Union regulars downs two score Tigers as they turn their formation and fire upon them. With effective fire being brought on them and the militia now fleeing, the regulars countermarch and withdraw.

        The Rainbow Guards and Bates Irregulars are left to face off against a regiment and two battalions of regulars, the Marines to Bates front shifting behind their lines to shield the Union Left from cavalry. Despite their rapid fire and cover from the light trees, the volleys from the Regular Regiment decimate the already wounded Rainbow Guards, leaving few of them able to continue fighting as the Yankees now begin advancing to close combat. Bates Irregulars throw back one assault up the slope in disorder, but the second reaches them and they find themselves in hand to hand between the guns as the Yankees catch their first whiff of victory and push on with a shout.


        Last edited by TacCovert4; 08 Jul 19, 07:39.
        Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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        • Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
          Back at the bridge, Finch discovers that it will take an additional hour to sufficiently weaken the beams to where he might be able to use gunpowder to blast a piling and cause a partial collapse of the center span. He estimates that it will create a 20ft gap at best, 10ft at worst in the bridge. The rider he sends to check the river reports that it can be easily swam by horse, but appears to deep for a man to ford. The current is relatively slow, and from early in the morning the 5 available boats are all drawn up on the Western bank, he estimates their capacity combined would be 40 men with kit.

          Obeying orders, the skirmish line of Tar Heels and JDL fall back to a small grove, giving them a sheltered position to protect Finch's battalion. Chiswell's more numerous riders cover the open field closer to Finch.
          Map here :

          https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1...f0WeNJTi0/edit

          Finch orders his men to work then, one rank rests and maintains the skirmish line on the East bank, while two others work on the bridge.

          No explosives are fixed as of yet, Finch estimates his position not threatened for the moment (with turns between 40-60 minutes and little or no forward movement on the part of the enemy).

          Given more time we may destroy the bridge entirely, or at least do more damage to it.

          He thanks the rider for his efforts and sends him back to report, and gives him a dry pair of boots.

          Edit, He repeats his request to Chiswell for the prisoners to be marched off the map, I'd hate for them to still be there when the enemy comes for the bridge....
          Last edited by Snowygerry; 09 Jul 19, 06:41.
          High Admiral Snowy, Commander In Chief of the Naval Forces of The Phoenix Confederation.
          Major Atticus Finch - ACW Rainbow Co.

          Comment


          • Sir, I wish to take my men and cut up the routed unit behind, then wheel right and hit those people from behind. I wish to stop one reforming and the other to leave Bates men alone.
            Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the cheesemakers

            That's right bitches. I'm blessed!

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Rojik View Post
              Sir, I wish to take my men and cut up the routed unit behind, then wheel right and hit those people from behind. I wish to stop one reforming and the other to leave Bates men alone.
              Just a quick note, with the large distances involved, if this is a request, then it won't be considered to be received and answered so you can take action within a 20m turn. If this is an order, then you'll be able to execute it within the 20m turn.
              Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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              • If everyone will get their orders in, I will attempt to get this update done over the weekend since things are sort of reaching a stride when it comes to this battle.
                Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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                • Major Pruitt holds his Tarheels where they are.

                  Pruitt
                  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


                  • If receiving Rojik's request, Fawcett returns his approval for the attack - gesturing grandly with his hat to encourage Dashwood's old formation to move at once.

                    Leroy is congratulated for the brisk defiance his men have offered the Northern aggressor, and directed to reorient his formation towards the north east, advancing along the back of Rainbow's formation and the RGC and then clearing Bates' attackers from the hill.

                    Bates is sorely pressed, and his men are instructed to fall back fifty paces once Leroy is in effective range, allowing Leroy's men to strike the foe with his full force. Bates' men can regroup and provide supporting fire as required.

                    The NCGG withdraw from the line and replace the RGC, who move at their own pace back to Gardner's hill to set up a supporting picket.

                    Word is sent to Bird's command on Mt Catons to withdraw the broken Blues to Gardner's hill where they can regroup. Bird is to continue to defend his position to the best of his capability and (if I haven't heard from Rojik), Dashwood's cavalry is directed to strike vigorously at the routed Yankees and then targets of opportunity, moving and avoiding getting pinned down without support.

                    We call Chiswell up to screen our right, remaining mobile if threatened by enemy foot but preventing the enemy from simply passing around our right.
                    Captain Khryses, Silver Star Omnilift Wing

                    Comment


                    • Lt.Col. Bird comes out of his hazy mind. So many things have happened and they seem to roll on with little direction from him. A good indication of the quality of his troops.

                      Reading Fawcett's orders, he sends his directions to the Blues to reform and ready to retire to Gardner's position. He will wait from them to reform properly, and with some form of direction, as the last thing he want to retire back is a mass gaggle of demoralized soldiers not stopping at their new position but panicky continuing to run away across the bridge. He walks among them giving them word of encouragement, as officers and NCOs reforms them.

                      He also directs the Badgers to the cornfield NE of Mt.Catons.

                      A sense of ease and some morale boosting happens in the GJ ranks, as they see their commander becoming lively again.

                      (Sorry for the absence - Time at the hospital and catching up with things at work and home kept me away for a while.)




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                      • Seeing the general's gesture Rojik draws his sabre. Boys! Now is our moment! You have your orders. You know your job! Sarn't, sound the bugle! Dashy's boys are going to make history today!"
                        Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the cheesemakers

                        That's right bitches. I'm blessed!

                        Comment


                        • 1020hrs, North to South:

                          Lt. Col. Bird gets a sense of ease and control over the remnants of the Orleans Blues, sending them in column to the Elysville Rd and on their way to Gardner's Battery. The Green Jackets settle down, for the first time today able to rest in ranks outside of the range of any fire.

                          Bird's runner reaches Major Holden and his Badgers, with orders for them to withdraw to the cornfield from whence they had only recently advanced. Hearing the orders, Major Holden looks to his front, where his skirmish line of skilled riflemen continue to steadily pour out fire at Yankees sitting at near optimal range. After a moment's consideration, he sends the runner back with his compliments that he will withdraw in due time. Firing from cover, the Badgers first focus on the militia cowering in the town, though their effectiveness is limited by their quarry also being in cover. The mortar battery moves to retrieve their pieces, and the Badgers calmly cut them down with precision fire. Momentarily not under fire, and with the fire being ineffective, the Militia push out, heading for the Badgers position to overwhelm them with numbers. Firing at the fast moving mob, dozens go down but they press on, reaching the grove as Holden bellows "Pistols" and the Badgers draw their revolvers, rapidly firing six volleys into the militia, causing them to shatter and run to the rear at the suddenness of the firepower.

                          With the fighting on the northern front is also a series of small detonations near the heavy artillery battery, as rounds or powder charges cook off in the flames. There is no great conflagration, however, and after a while men can be seen bringing buckets of water to extinguish the remaining fire.

                          Calling upon his old company, General Fawcett sends the Grenadier Guards to pass behind the Jaegers and replace the 'barely' walking wounded of the Rainbow Guards. The leftmost files of the Jaegers fire on the Yankee regulars as the Rainbow Guards ever so slowly make their withdrawal with what men are still capable of moving under arms, or using their arms to help them move. While the Grenadier Guards take yet a few more casualties to their riven numbers, the shock of steady men firing as they move up in the trees forces the Yankees to reconsider the strength there and they withdraw in good order.

                          Hearing orders to 'clear the yankees from the hill', Leroy orders his fresh battalion to load and advance at the double quick, passing behind the lines just as the Grenadier Guards begin firing upon their own foe with the Jaegers. Bates own force is beleagured and quickly losing ground, and eagerly run to the rear at the sound of retreat. The pressure suddenly slackened, the Yankees crest the hill and find themselves facing a steadily advancing battalion in ridiculous pantaloons. A hasty volley is fired, followed by Leroy's own halt and volley, and then with a guttural roar the Tigers charge as one, bayonets or cutlasses drawn, slamming into the still reloading Yankees and forcefully driving them down the hill until they are fleeing. This time, Major Leroy lets his men have their head, and the federal troops scatter, pockets surrendering or throwing down their rifles to run faster. After all the recent fighting, the Tigers are now a bit more ragged.....and visible gaps have appeared in their ranks as they reform.

                          Hooves are heard thundering up the road and down from the North as Chiswell's troopers begin returning to the lines, and Dashwood's remaining riders, Lt. Rojik at their head, ride down towards the sounds of combat. A few of Chiswell's riders escort the prisoners to the West, assisting the teamsters that had been nervously watching them all day. Major Finch returns to his duties, his men steadily cutting away at bridge supports and digging holes to place gunpowder. Before long, Finch knows that his efforts will make this segment of the bridge a dicey proposition to cross with heavy wagons or artillery, even before explosives are used.

                          https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1...it?usp=sharing

                          Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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                          • Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
                            (…) Major Finch returns to his duties, his men steadily cutting away at bridge supports and digging holes to place gunpowder. Before long, Finch knows that his efforts will make this segment of the bridge a dicey proposition to cross with heavy wagons or artillery, even before explosives are used.
                            With his position guarded, men well at work and no immediate threat from the East - Finch will ride out alone to inspect the northern bridges, as ordered earlier.

                            My skirmish line is told to sound alert if the enemy should move on the South Bridge, so he can return in time.
                            High Admiral Snowy, Commander In Chief of the Naval Forces of The Phoenix Confederation.
                            Major Atticus Finch - ACW Rainbow Co.

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                            • Bird's runner comes back and explains Maj Holden surprise to the counter order, but the Badgers will carry the new orders out.

                              Lt.Col. Bird understand the reaction. With the Blues moving back and little movement to the South, the counter order was necessary to ensure that the sniper company does not get isolated and away from any help. His intent is to bring the Badgers on top of Mount Cantons and offer a better and higher position for the long range rifles to score.

                              Rainbow cavalry seems to be busy SW of his position. And detonations to the South may be an opportunity to attack the enemy.

                              (Tac: How strong is Rainbow now? And what is the X NE of the town of Cantons? Thanks.)

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                              • Bird: From your position, you know that the Blues can deploy an oversize platoon or seriously undersize company. The Green Jackets are at approximately half strength, though they've had some time to recover their composure and fatigue. The Badgers are pretty much at full strength when they stepped off, and you observed that the militia were thrown back rather abruptly from their attack on the Badgers in the woods, so you'd presume they're not seriously reduced. Overall, you estimate your regiment has 300-320 men remaining in ranks from a starting strength of 580 or so. In ammunition, you can only presume that the Badgers have gone through around a third of theirs, and the Green Jackets have a basic load of 40 rounds per man with all reserve ammunition being handed out. The Blues have 20-40 rounds per man remaining in their cartridge boxes after all reserve ammunition has been handed out.

                                As for the rest of Rainbow, from your position you wouldn't know, but you can presume that Rainbow has taken some losses in the hard fighting around the saddle. You know Gardner's battery was almost out of ammunition when the wagon train got partially burned and wrecked his resupply, and you saw 4 guns withdraw from the 8 that he came onto the field with. Dashwood's Light Cavalry you estimate at around 50 or so when you watched them ride away.
                                Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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