Thursday, March 19, 2020

42nd Virginia Infantry

Believed to be a picture
of Daniel Langhore when he
was a student at the Virginia
Military Institute in 1845. He went
on to graduate 7th of a class of 20.
Time for a change...too much single project makes jack a dull I thought, why not a swap from one civil war to another?

The weather isn't getting any better but it's doing wonders for my painted output so here for your delectation are the latest Rebs to join the ranks of the Confederate forces these represent the 42nd Virginia Infantry - some more of Jackson's famed 'foot cavalry'..

The 42nd were first organised at Staunton, Virginia, in July 1861, and recruited in Henry, Floyd, Bedford, Campbell, Roanoke, Patrick, and Franklin counties.They were commanded by Colonel Jesse S. Burks, assisted by Lieutenant Colonel D. A. Langhorne and Major Berbeck P. Adams and assigned to (J.R.) Jones's Brigade.

In the following February they were assigned to the 2nd Brigade of the Army of the Valley - Burks took command of the brigade and Langhorne assumed day to day command of the regiment.

Langhorne, or rather Dr. Daniel Allen Langhorne, was an interesting fellow..  born in Cumberland County, Virginia, in July 1825 which makes him 36 or 37 at Kernstown - so he was young...!  Also interesting in that he had trained in medicine, graduating at the Philadelphia University in 1848. After graduating he opened a practice locally but after two years returned to his home town in Lynchburg where he was resident physician at Warm Springs, Healing Springs, and Greenbrier White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. He was married in 1850, to his first wife Sarah who died the same year they were married, so the return home may have been related?

He was married for the second time in 1853, to a Virginia P. Kent, and they went on to have a son (Maurice) born in December the same year, but who died in April 1864.

Langhorne entered the Confederate States army in April of 1861 with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He served as post commander and mustering officer at Lynchburg until assigned to the 42nd in July.

He and the regiment served in the Valley Mountain and Sewell Mountain campaign under Lee, and the Bath and Romney expedition and in the Shenandoah Valley campaign under Jackson. At Kernstown they were a part of the reserve, arriving too late to make a material difference to the battle outcome but still reported 70 wounded/casualties, with Burks (the brigadier) was wounded and disabled.

It is a particular weirdness of the war that the Virginia regiments retained the right to elect their own officers [this is worth a read on the phenomenon], and in May 1862, for some reason Langhorne (and Adams, the major, and nine other officers) were voted out.

Unusually, as a lot of officers who were voted out were simply put in charge of newer regiments raised in the interim, Langhorne returned to Lynchburg where he performed local military duty until the close of the war. I have not managed to find any information on why he was voted out

He died in 1908 and his wife 2 years later..  there's a lot of detail missing but I find his life rather sad..  first wife died within a year, only child dead at 10, first and only command a mere 8 or 9 months...

Finally - the following is fascinating - research gold.....  

"Report of Lieutenant Colonel D. A. Langhorne, Forty-second Virginia Infantry.
--, 1862.
SIR: I beg leave to submit the following report of the part borne by the Forty-second Regiment in the engagement of the 23rd, near Winchester:

The regiment had been held in reserve until late in the day, when ordered to the scene of action. They marched by flank, right in front, very rapidly, nearly the whole way in double-quick time. While on our way we were exposed to the fire of the enemy's artillery, many of whose shells burst near us, but without effect. We were ordered to form on the right of the Fifth Regiment. The guide led my right up near the right of the Fifth, which immediately commenced to advance. I had, consequently, to bring my regiment into line faced by the rear rank. We formed under the fire of the enemy, who were in line of battle just over the crest of the hill, with skirmishers behind trees on the top.

After commencing our fire we gradually changed our front forward on one of the interior companies without any formal movement, in order to adapt ourselves to the position of the enemy, who otherwise would have gotten around our right flank. Our firing, though a little too hurried at first, was afterward delivered with becoming deliberation, and, I trust, with effect.

The men fought with great bravery and most industriously. The officers all, as far as I observed and have been able to learn, bore themselves gallantly. Among so many it might be deemed invidious to mention any except those whose devoted courage cost them their lives. I refer to Captains Morris and Rector, who fell while gallantly discharging their duties.

Our men stood bravely up to their work until ordered to withdraw by Colonel Burks, whose presence and activity greatly inspired the regiment. The order to retire being imperfectly heard, we fell back very much scattered and in haste, but rallied within 500 yards of the enemy, who advanced only to the edge of the woods. A small portion of the regiment while falling back was separated, and joined us under their officers after reaching the main road; the remainder was placed under charge of Captain Hale, and we entered the main road where we had left it and awaited orders.

Colonel Burks ordered us toward Newtown. So far as I could ascertain we were the last regiment to leave the field.

Respectfully submitted.

Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding Forty-second Regiment Virginia Vols.
Colonel J. S. BURKS,
Commanding Third Brigade.
P. S. - Accompanying the above you will find a report of casualties, a summary of which, I append below. There were 19 commissioned officers, 52 non-commissioned officers, and 222 privates in the engagement".

Figures by Newline Designs (love them) - 20mm - painted March 2020


Friday, March 06, 2020

Tactics, rules and stuff...

For those that didn't see it on MurdocK's excellent blog [clicky] I make no apology for repeating the following here:

An excellent summation of the post I put up ages ago [clicky], and probably a whole lot clearer than my post, on how the Dutch tactical system developed and evolved ..   I shall seek out some more of this chaps video's.. very informative..

There was a surprising* (and most gratifying) amount of interest in the last post on the "Skirmish at Chudley Bottom" and a couple of people expressed an interest in seeing the rules - I have put them up online so help yourself...

English Civil War Rules [clicky]

Comments are welcome by the way, and I will put a permanent link in the project page (listed in the side bar).

The rules originate from Will McNally's Seven Years War [clicky] set, which I guess in turn originate from his AWI Rules [clicky], so herewith I officially state I copied these wholesale and profligately from Will [clicky] and the Wrexham Wargames Club, but have treated them barbarously and turned them to use in the War of the Spanish Succession, and now the English Civil War.

I think I have been using the AWI rules for getting on for 30 years now, certainly 25... the Seven Years War rules I modified almost 14 years ago, so these rules have longevity...   I like them - they are clean - they have a (very) satisfying firing/morale mechanic, and I like the charge/melee mechanic...  the older I get the simpler I like my rules, while not losing period flavour 'natch...

*to be honest any comments are a surprise to me as I am constantly amazed that anyone would read my stuff, never mind take the effort to press the buttons and type a response...

Monday, March 02, 2020

Incident at Chudley Bottom...

Picture courtesy Sealed Knot
As the third storm in as many days batters the English coast, and the rain comes sweeping in, in solid lines, there's not many better places to be than up in the loft slapping on paint, watching Talking Pictures (Freeview channel #81 - currently showing the excellent "An Inspector calls" with Alastair Sim) and the job today (amongst other things) was to start working up some rules suitable for use with the English Civil War project...

The first game [clicky] the other weekend was with the rules in the One Hour Wargames book, they were good, a little basic straight out of the book for my tastes, but the strength of the One Hour Wargame rules lies in their ability to provide a framework that you can add things to and change around to your hearts content..

For this outing though, I wanted to see if I could do anything with the rules I have used for the AWI and Marlburian projects for years now - not the period specifics, just the firing/morale mechanism that caught my fancy years ago and I still think is clever..  the added advantage for me was that the mechanism I had for modelling British cavalry in the time of Marlborough would be ideal for modelling the same behaviour in galloper/cavalier cavalry in the English Civil War. Marlborough was clearly a disciple of Rupert and encouraged the British cavalry to always close with the blade as soon as possible..  possibly apocryphal but I seem to remember reading somewhere that Marlborough even limited their ammunition to encourage it. Either way, a handy thing in a set of rules..

Specifically, in these rules the moves sequence is:
  • A checks moral and moves, 
  • A declares charges at the end of the movement, 
  • B fires,
  • Melee/tests/outcomes
  • ...then B starts the cycle.. 
  • Once both have moved the turn is over...
..if a unit is charged but then withholds fire during the firing phase, the rules allow the unit to counter charge in some circumstances. If we assume the cavalry are following Rupert's tactical doctrine of closing with the blade and using pistols only in the melee, then not allowing them to fire (at any time) but factoring in the effect of pistols to the melee result forces them to charge/countercharge (providing the dice roll fair )

Anyway, an hour or two writing up the rules and we had v1. ready for a play test - so what better than a little skirmish? Table was 4' x 2', three infantry, two cavalry, one dragoons per side - all troops regular..  Parliamentary horse was classed as trotter (can shoot), Royalist as galloper (can't shoot), and off we went...

Deployment (follows)..  Royalist left, Parliament right..  from top to bottom, the cavalry formed up against each other on the open flank, infantry in the centre deployed Dutch style (two up one in reserve), and at bottom, the Dragoons are looking to secure the flanks by occupying Chudley Bottom*, or more specifically the inn (the Chudley Arms - the bigger of the two buildings).

You'll note that 'Scary' Mary (the landlady) is currently accepting a delivery  ("there's going to be a lot of thirsty throats by the end of the day, Alice"), while the local preacher, Israel Bickley harangues the local populace (who have all made themselves scarce) on the sins of drunkenness, whilst keeping a close eye on Alice the barmaid's all too obvious charms...

A view of the Royalist deployment..

..and the Parliamentary..

I diced to see who starts, which the Royalists win, and they trigger a universal advance..  a couple of moves later though, and one Parliamentary cavalry regiment has been seen off, and the second is about to depart the field..    shades of Edgehill!

The melee's worked well - Royalists moved, declared charge, Parliament fired, threw low, didn't stop the charge to contact, and in the following melee, threw poorly again, and were routed...  job done.

The Royalist dragoons also won the race to the Inn - following - and occupied it (much to Alice's delight, if not Mary's )

Last of the Parliamentary cavalry departing the field (following):

Meanwhile the infantry battle had largely come up evens...  the Royalist regiments charged home, the Parliamentary regiments counter charged..  each side won one - in the following Charles Gerard's can be see retreating (red dice), the Parliamentary regiment was too close to the table edge and they have already departed the scene...

The Parliamentary commander knew all was lost and started to withdraw on the cover of Chudley Bottom, but as his dragoons had assaulted but failed to take the Inn, he declared good sense to be the better part of valour, and withdrew from the field leaving the Royalists triumphant..

"Come and get it, if you think you're hard enough", (following)..

Post match analysis:
  • I wonder if I need a mechanism to model Galloper cavalry getting carried away and not stopping? Something like the old mechanism for "knights" in DBA?
  • Are trotter type cavalry overly "weak"? I think probably not, but a few more plays are needed to confirm..
  • I would like to utilise the random movement mechanism I use in the American Civil War rules, but the move sequence in these rules doesn't allow it..   I sense a mashup of the two and see what comes out of the end..  
*If anyone is in any doubt as to the veracity of this encounter, I need merely to point out that Chudley is the home of the Chudley Cannons Quidditch team...

Monday, February 24, 2020

Sir William Balfour’s Regiment of Horse

"Look so that I might be looked at"..
..cornet of Major William Balfour
..son of Sir William a troop commander

in the regiment...
More than the other regiments I've researched so far, there was some confusion and detective work required for this regiment, as sources are slightly conflicting, and the OOB for the Parliamentarian army at Edgehill is sadly lacking a de Gomme to document their dispositions..

So what do we know?

Sir William was of Scottish descent and the son of Colonel Henry Balfour and his wife, Christian.  He entered Dutch service in the Dutch States Army during the Thirty Years' War fighting with the Scottish brigade until 1627 and rising to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and gaining the favour of the Duke of Buckingham.

 In October 1631 he was employed by the King on a confidential mission to the Netherlands, he also received the grant in 1633 of the right of making gold and silver money in the Tower (which was worth a lot of money) and on the death of Sir Allen Apsley in 1630, Sir William, who is described as one of the gentlemen of the king's privy chamber, had been appointed Lieutenant of the Tower of London.

Clearly a man high in royal favour at this stage of his career...

Sir William however, as you might expect from his Scottish upbringing, was a devout Presbyterian, and after the Bishops' Wars and during the Long Parliament, as sides began to form, he gravitated to that side that opposed the King - primarily for religious, rather than political reasons, as his concerns were about the pro-Catholic stance of the King.

When Strafford was sent to the Tower and entrusted to his keeping, Balfour rejected a bribe to look the other way (£2.5M in todays money!), and also turned away a column of soldiers attempting to remove the Earl by subterfuge. As a result the King persuaded, or more likely, "obliged" him to resign his post, which he did in December 1641.

In the next spring of 1642, Balfour was commissioned colonel of a cavalry regiment intended for service in Ulster, but before he embarked for Ireland civil war broke out in England. Parliament appointed Balfour a lieutenant-general to the Earl of Bedford, who was the nominal commander of cavalry in the Earl of Essex's army.

...and now the mystery...  while events on Essex's left flank are clearer, on the right flank, the position of his horse (of which Balfour's formed a part along with Fielding's and Stapleton's) are not .. most sources seem to agree Fielding's were at the extreme right of the line, but as for the other two...
  • Young puts up a (creditable) argument that they were positioned to the left of Fielding's but behind behind the infantry on the right flank (these were Meldrum's Brigade comprising Constables, Fairfax's and Meldrum's Foot) with gaps between the infantry for them to charge if needed..

  • Reid (All the Kings Men) comes up with another cunning explanation - that all three regiments were deployed in a refused line, Balfour on the right It's possible there may have been an overlap with the infantry, but he argues that the horse that the Royalists saw behind the foot was a separate composite unit formed of the detached cuirassier squadrons of Balfour's and Stapleton's.. 

  • Scott, Turton and von Arni ("Edgehill the Battle Reinterpreted") use a primary source (the account by Fiennes, himself a troop commander in Balfour's so he should know what he's on about!) that describes the three regiments as two up with Fielding's behind. They examine the roles of the various commanders in the army and (again creditably) argue Balfour was senior so must have been with his regiment. They agree the cuirassier troop was removed to bolster Essex's cavalry reserve

...take your pick..    I think on balance, for the excellence of the argument, I would probably go with the third...  and because a picture is worth a thousand words/theories... here you go

B is our boy, C is Stapleton's, D Fielding's - the cuirassier reserve is X and Y - pic courtesy and copyright the Scott/Turton/von Arni book...
So in order to support this cavalry wing that Essex already knew was on the weak side. he deployed two full regiments of dragoons amongst the broken ground in front (A in the map), he also deployed a number of his guns there.. with the cavalry standing on a steep incline there was every expectation that the wing was secure..

The man his'self..
Not so...  when the battle opened the Parliamentary dragoons were cleared by their Royalist opposite numbers (not without difficulty - this would be a cracking little skirmish within a battle scenario!) and the Royalist cavalry and infantry under Wilmot started their advance.

Balfour, realising his position was now more compromised withdrew his and Stapleton's behind the infantry (beginning to sound like Young's theory!)...  when the Royalist cavalry charged, for mainly terrain reasons (constricted frontage/charging uphill/boggy ground) they drifted right and missed Balfour's and Stapleton's completely, while sweeping Fielding's (and the already retreating dragoons) away and charging on.. one of the Parliamentary regiments, Fairfax's Foot, had fired in an effort to help Fielding's but being caught unloaded, were also swept away... 

....all in all it was turning out to be as much a disaster for Essex on this flank as the other, but like the other flank, the Royalist cavalry reserves, against all good practice, also charged and removed themselves from the equation...

In regimental terms things get even more confusing with Balfour's from this point - clearly the situation would have been confused to say the least, but with the regiment largely intact, it looks like Sir William moved to take command of his detached cuirassier squadron in the centre, he might well have taken a troop or two with him to bolster numbers, the rest of the regiment covered the flank where the Royalist dragoons continued to pose a threat. With his annexe to the regiment he first charged and utterly destroyed Fielding's regiment of Foot which formed part of the central brigade, and soon the rest of the brigade followed them leaving a massive hole in the Royalist front line of infantry.

Unlike the Royalist cavalry the Parliamentary cavalry remained in control and large numbers of standards and senior officers were taken prisoner - Balfour however, continued on, probably intentionally, and (successfully) charged the Royalist artillery (and incidentally, almost captured the Royal princes). To cap it all, they returned to the Parliamentary main lines just in time to assist with the destruction of the Royalist Brigade under Byron - quite a day!!

The regiment ended the day largely as they began - protecting the open flank...

Not a bad first effort...

After Edgehill the regiment went on to serve at the Relief of Gloucester and 1st Newbury (although Balfour himself was absent for health reasons). In 1644 they briefly joined Waller's Army of the Southern Association and fought at Cheriton, before returning to Essex's command later in the year and fighting at Lostwithiel, and innumerable other skirmishes. They were at 2nd Newbury, and in 1645 having refused to serve with Waller the regiment was disbanded/reduced into the New Model.

Balfour retired from military service when the New Model Army was organised,and was buried at Church of St Margaret, Westminster Abbey on 28 July 1660 - by any account a good life!

The books by Young, Wanklyn, Scott/Turton/von Arni and Reid - and the Osprey Edgehill were invaluable in trying to unravel the stupidly complicated sequance of events in a battle 380+ years ago...

Thursday, February 20, 2020

...and yet even more terrain...

 The last of the serendipitous purchases from 4 Ground in their new year sale..

This one is 15S-EAW-114 "The Shop 2" and is possibly the most complex of the buildings I've constructed so far..  the dormer windows on these kits are always a bugger to fit, and this one also has the bay window for the shop - which looks lovely, but is really fragile in 15mm MDF - if you look closely you can see one side of the window is damaged where a piece just fell away, and rather than fix it I went with the distressed look that I had already introduced with the fixes/bodges for the aforesaid dormer windows...

I toyed with the idea of filling the gaps with the usual blue-tac/greenstuff/filler (and the gaps are  inevitable I have found, as I had the same issues with the last one that had these windows), but for this one I decided I wanted 'run down' vibe..  the roof is leaking, but rather than a proper repair they have put tarpaulins over the dormers, and where the chimney is leaking.. I think it works...

The 'tarpaulins' by the way were pieces of paper towel soaked in PVA glue and then pressed down and worked into place with a brush, before painting a suitable tarpaulin colour and washing with Windsor and Newton peat ink..

A really nice addition with his kit is a sheet of advertising posters which I took advantage of..  all in all happy with that...  I decided to glue the roof level down for this one so it is a 2 story - ground and first floor only... I colour coordinated the roof tabs as well as I could (they're a bit darker in the pictures than they are in real life)..

..and here we go - all of them together... with a troop of French Somua tanks heading down the high street...

..maybe one more to make the street lengths equal - but I'm super pleased with these and have already thrown out the old terrace as being surplus to requirements now... post - more English Civil War loveliness...