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Gettysburg Corps action #1

Remember when we did Grand Gettysburg back in August 2021? The biggest civilian online live Kriegsspiel run so far, with 34 players and about 50 participants in total. Those who participated remember it fondly, what an experience. You’ll find several recordings under videos.

That was of course not the first game we played on Damon’s beautiful map. We did several test games of Alex’s Brigade System which we used back in the day, and the teams ran drills to prepare for the big event.

Here are some reports of a 3v3 corps-on-corps game we played on 26 June 2021.

This is how LordHugs experienced the battle.

Report of Major General Andrew Humphreys, 2nd Division, 3rd Corps

Sir: These are the events that transpired at the battle of the Emmitsburg Road on June 26, 1863. My division was ordered, as you may remember, to march south of the town of Gettysburg along the Baltimore Pike parallel with 1st Division under the command of Major General David Birney. We knew the enemy was operating in the area though their whereabouts were unknown; caution was advised. In spite of this, my boys marched well and with great speed. 

We reached the School House Road at 12:20 but I knew we would need to be even faster to arrive on time as we heard the reports of musket fire in the direction of the Emmitsburg Road. I later found out it was an opening cavalry skirmish between Wolverine and Jenken’s Brigades. At 12:40, we arrived at the t-junction of School House and TaneyTown Road. To our immediate front we saw a brigade marching to the sound of the guns with a cavalry escort. 

You, General Sickles, were with my staff at this time, and we initially believed this brigade belonged to Mclaws Division; I received a report earlier from Birney that he was engaged with Pickett’s Division to his front shortly after the cavalry skirmish. I ordered 3rd and 1st Brigades to form line between the Fry and Cassalt farmhouses. Excelsior Brigade, my greenest, was ordered to form as a reserve. 

At 1:00 my Division was formed and we had ascertained that the brigade was in fact not McLaws, but the flank of Pickett’s Division! My men were ordered forward to engage with aggressive intent. 1st Brigade had taken the hill next to the Fry farmhouse so I attempted to position myself alongside them to view the field, but had instead found myself in the thick of it coordinating fire! 3rd Brigade had wheeled up artillery and the whole division poured hot lead into Garnett’s Brigade and Jenken’s dismounted cavalry. 

At 1:40, the Division advanced forward to give chase to the Brigade. As we came out onto the field, I was pleasantly surprised to see 2nd Brigade of 1st Division had joined us in the fray. I had also received a report that the whole of Pickett’s Division was on the run! 

At 2:00 the situation was precarious to say the least. 1st Division had made contact with McLaws Division at the Seminary Ridge on their flank, just west of the Emmitsburg Road. 2nd Brigade was pulled back to reinforce 1st Division. Sensing the situation was getting desperate for Birney, I ordered an all out assault on Pickett’s men; they had recovered and offered an engagement a few hundred yards north of the Trostle Peach Orchard.

Fighting was intense along the whole of the line. The enemy offered stubborn resistance, particularly on the right where 3rd Brigade had smashed into elements of Kemper’s Division. After 20 minutes of bloody hand to hand combat, the reb center completely collapsed at the pressure of my boys, but the right had given 3rd hell, and so the lot of them had fallen back to recover. I attempted to rally the men and stop them from overcharging, but to no avail, and we lost serious cohesion. 

I ordered the Division into a defensive posture on the ground we had just captured. Elements of the battered 1st and 3rd were placed on the ridge with artillery while the rest of them recovered in the rear to be sent forward once more. Excelsior Brigade, who had only seen light action so far, was transferred to your personal command while you observed this valiant triumph over Pickett’s boys. If you can recall you sent those men to the right along the Emmitsburg road and smashed into Barksdale Brigade to stall McLaws’s advance towards what was left of 1st Division holding Cemetery Hill and the ridge. 

With Pickett all but destroyed and Mclaws thwarted, Longstreet was forced to order a retreat from the area, resulting in a Union victory. Birney was awarded honors for his actions against both Pickett and Mclaws. While I am not denying he deserved it, I would like to mention it was my Division that annihilated Pickett and saved his men from complete disaster, ultimately winning us the battle; all accomplished with very light casualties as my Division fared the best out of any on the field that day. 


Major General Andrew Humphreys

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