Great Campaigns of the American
Civil War: 1863
For the second year, part two of the Great Campaigns of
the ACW series featured scenarios from the 1863 and 1864
games: Stonewall's Last Battle, Roads to Gettysburg, and
Grant Takes Command. Four of the eight scenarios used
in the tournament came from recently released GTC, giving the
event a fresh look.
Rides South was first. Play was balanced (four Union wins, three
Confederate), with several games coming down to the final moves.
The next two rounds were longer GTC events, Strike Them A Blow
(North Anna campaign) and Bethesda Church (Cold Harbor). The
flexible scheduling used in this tournament (players pick four
of the six opening heats to play) helped immensely, as many players
needed time to adjust to the use of new scenarios. The scenarios
were balanced (five Union wins, five Confederate) and will become
quicker to play as familiarity increases. The final three opening
round events were the classics Salem Church, Brandy Station and
Meade Moves North. As the dust cleared at the end of the first
day, Chris Withers was the top qualifier for the single elimination
rounds at 4-0.
The quarterfinals brought the players back to 1864 to fight
the Battle of the Wilderness. All of the top-seeded players picked
the Union, and in the end, all four prevailed. Chris faced a
tough challenge from Steve Sandy. Parker's Store changed hands
several times and Steve was able to capture Wilderness Tavern
late in the action. Eventually his Rebels ran out of units, falling
short by just one combat loss. The other three players to bow
out in the quarterfinals were David Cross, Hugh Mater, and
Michael Metcalf. Hugh was the GCACW "Risen from the Ranks"
winner this year and Michael split "Rookie of the Year"
honors with Steve Sandy.
semifinals were fought over the same ground a year earlier, as
play moved to Sedgwick to the Rescue. Bruno Passacantando's flank
march with Jackson's corps routed Howard's corps, but was stopped
just short of Chancellorsville. Chris used Meade and Reynolds
to open the road from US Ford to Fredericksburg, but a huge delta
of 17 in combat losses won a narrow victory for Bruno. The other
semifinal was just as close, with Mark Booth's Rebels edging
out Mike Pacheco.
For the finals (Battle of the Wilderness), Mark sent Ewell
and Hill to quickly occupy Parker's Store, and had advance units
push to Widow Tapp, just one mile from the Brock Road/Plank
Road intersection. Bruno quickly moved to expel them, sending
Hancock around the rebel's right flank and attacking them from
the south and east, pushing the Confederate forces
first out of Parker's Store and then Widow Tapp. Parker's Store
remained the critical battleground, as the Confederates recaptured
it only to again be expelled. General Grant himself directed
one of the key grand assaults to dislodge the rebels. On the
second day of the battle, the Union quickly attacked to preclude
any Confederate attempts to regain Parker's Store. With high
casualties and only Locust Grove to show for them, Mark conceded.
The win represented Bruno's fifth Great Campaigns plaque in seven
Bruno Passacantando (right) on his way to victory.