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  • Writer's pictureBlaxkleric

"Briefly Serving As Commander Of The Confederate District Of Florida..."

"...James Patton Anderson returned to the field in July 1864 during the Atlanta Campaign."

This 15mm scale plastic Confederate Commander is produced by “Warlord Games” and came free on a sprue accompanying Issue 397 of "Wargames Illustrated". The mounted figure is from the Nottingham-based company's "Epic Battles: American Civil War" range and is actually supplied with a square stand. Nevertheless, as I wanted my officers to stand out a bit more on the tabletop, I decided to glue the single-piece model to a thin-lipped 30mm circular base instead.

Both the soldier and his horse were painted almost identically to that of my previously-pigmented Henry DeLamar Clayton using a mixture of “Vallejo” Heavy Blue, “Citadel” Drakenhof Nightshade, “Vallejo” Heavy Brown, “Citadel” Agrax Earthshade, “Vallejo” Steel Grey, "Citadel" Nuln Oil, “Vallejo” Sombre Grey and "Citadel" Abaddon Black. However. as I wanted this particular miniature to represent Colonel James Patton Anderson of the 1st Florida Infantry, I (doubtless quite wrongly) gave his broad-rimmed hat a mix of "Vallejo" Heavy Ochre/"Duncan Rhodes' Two Thin Coats" Skulker Yellow and "Citadel" Agrax Earthshade to represent the famous straw hats worn by those troops.

My Confederate forces are joined by even more Johnny Rebs to face a Union army

Somewhat deflatingly however, having now attended the Solent Wargamers Club in Portsmouth for a couple of trial games of ACW Epic Battles Black Powder, it has become clear that I don't actually need more than one mounted officer for my current force, as a single figure is able to command a seriously sized force. Indeed, having proudly set up my three infantry stands of the 1st Alabama Infantry Regiment, two infantry stands of the 1st Florida Infantry Regiment, and my cannon crew, I needed my extremely forgiving opponent to help bring me up to the minimum four three-stand regiments and three artillery bases with models taken from their own impressive collection of Confederates.

To make matters worse though, once my Johnny Rebs were finally lined up on the battlefield ready to face the Union, my first ever command roll failed leaving my entire battalion stood stationary simply watching the enemy. I'd love to say that this inaction was simply a cunning ruse to fool the North into overconfidently pushing forwards and inadvertently placing their Zouaves in front of their cannon. But that would be somewhat dishonest of me. Suffice to say though, President Lincoln's forces came straight at me, desperately trying to squeeze their infantry lines between a forest and wooden building.

As my Confederate line swings left, old Abe's blue-bellied boys start to take a pounding

Suprisingly, whilst this show of force absolutely terrified me. It also allowed my much more spread out army to pivot its left flank around the side of the aforementioned house, and threaten to rake old Abe's Yankees from two directions. For the next few turns this essentially is just what happened, with the Union's morale slowly being whittled away by some crushing Confederate firepower. Eventually, the blue-bellies by the house completely broke and disappeared from the battlefield, whilst the Zoauves, brutally battered by my cannon, started involuntarily retreating back behind their own artillery pieces.

Sadly however, not everything was going my way, as my freshly-painted 1st Florida Infantry Regiment started to buckle from 'a hard pounding' on my right flank. To be fair, this Confederate contingent was squaring off against the main body of Lincoln's boys. But I was somewhat gutted to see the Straw Hats slowly start moving backwards, and away from the sustained onslaught from which they had been suffering.

The Confederate line holds, despite the eventual loss of the 1st Florida Infantry Regiment

This perhaps inevitable loss did leave both my cannon crews and my right flank badly exposed, as I had deployed my 1st Alabama Infantry Regiment on the left to support my 'encirclement' of the North. Resultantly, I really needed my artillery pieces to do a lot of damage upon the enemy soldiers bravely strung out in line directly in front of them, and after a few more turns where both sides simply mercilessly fired upon one another it was clear that they could just that.

Repeatedly assailed from two sides and doubtless having beginner's luck on my side, the Zoauves and a second (normal) Union infantry regiment decided that a full-on retreat was most definitely the better part of valour. The Yankee's decision to deploy their artillery behind their soldiers had clearly cost them dear, and Johnny Reb had quite astonishing won the day with a surprisingly two-pronged attack which had only occurred because they'd failed their opening command roll...

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