Brother Against Brother – The AAR, Part 2

frontier wars 728x90 KS

Matrix Games just released their new game of the American Civil War, Brother Against Brother. Here’s a play-by-email AAR of the First Battle of Bull Run.

by kwhitehead (of the Matrix Forums), 17 April 2015

Turn 16 – 1020

For a change I did more damage to the Yankees (213) than they to me (142). Hopefully a trend.

I finally got enough of my troops moving toward the enemy to expand the fight at Ball’s Ford to include their rear guard line. Longstreet is trying to get around their left flank and Holmes plus a couple of Longstreet’s regiments are striking their right. This should take some of the pressure off my defense of Ball’s Ford.


Turn 17 – 1040

Meanwhile back at the main line of defense along Young’s Branch things are getting hot. I now have Bartow, Jackson, Bee, Early and Hampton’s Legion deployed to stop the Union advance. For now they are doing well since I have more artillery up. But that will change when they get their big batteries deployed on those hills.


Turn 18a – 1100

I am losing the attrition war with 2723 to 1835 casualties, but I am finally getting most of my troops into the battle. Hopefully this will turn the casualties around.

At Ball’s Ford Bonham is finally getting most of his big brigade, some 4,000 men, into the fight. Ewell has added a couple of his regiments on the left. Early has arrived in the area but so far has only contributed a battery to the fight.


Turn 18b – 1100

But more telling my attack on their rear guard near the Harris house where the trail to Ball’s Ford enters the woods, is developing nicely. Holmes with some help has pushed in their right flank and Longstreet has finally gotten out of the woods and is pressing their left.


Turn 19 – 1120

Either their line broke badly are they withdrew to protect their artillery from capture. Only three “unknowns” are showing up. Longstreet and Holmes close in for the kill.


Turn 20 – 1140

Both sides are solidifying the main lines along Young’s Branch. Had some activation problems so still have regiments on the wrong side of the creek. I will soon have additional artillery up to give the line some bite.


Turn 21 – Noon

It’s high noon and while the Rebels have had the worst of it most of their army is now up and fighting. Casualty count favors the Union with loss of only 2405 compared to the Rebel 3281. This generates a Victory Point multiplier of 1.36 but that doesn’t count until the fat lady sings.

Below is a shot of the Status indicators. On the left you can see they still outnumber me 26416 to 23418 infantry. They only have a small advantage in artillery but they have better guns so those numbers are misleading. I will also soon get Elzey’s brigade in reinforcement which will help make up for some of the losses.

I have lost a lot of cavalry but that was expected. One advantage the Rebels have is lots of small cavalry units. This will make it much easier for me to hold all those scattered Victory Hexes which will be used to determine victory at the end of the game.

My Army morale is down to 1.99. I will have to watch that since it could end me early. But they aren’t much better since my spies report they have a morale of 1.90.

Maybe this last turn where I caused them 351 casualties to my 222 is an indicator things are shifting my way. For sure the battle is now getting bloodier.


Turn 22a – 1220

Not much activity as I wait for Longstreet to close up on the enemy and Bee and Cocke get back over Young’s Branch.

I now have my whole line along Young’s Branch under “Withdraw” orders. I like this order for defense more than the Hold order because it allows regiments to fall back one hex while maintaining their facing. This substantially reduces the risk of ending up with your rear to the enemy. It also reduces combat damage by 20%. If you have room to pull back if pressed it’s a good combat state.


Turn 22b – 1220

Over on the Ball’s Ford front I am beginning to force them back. Or rather, the appearance of Holmes in the very upper right of the screen shot is forcing them to fall back. But almost all of Bonham’s brigade is now deployed and advancing on the right of Bull Run as more troops come up to from a line on the West side.


Turn 23a – 1240

I have received my last reinforcement as Elzey’s Brigade arrives from Manassas.

Things are shifting my way as the Union’s Ball’s Ford line begins to break up under pressure from the south, east and north. Almost all the enemy regiments have withdrawn from my side of Bull Run. Those left are being pressed back against the creek.


Turn 23b – 1240

And, then the dreaded call goes up “the enemy is in our rear!”

A cavalry scout I sent out to check my far left along Sudley road runs into a large enemy force moving south along Dogan Ridge into my rear. Only a small regiment of Evans command sent back to the Stone House area to recover stands in their path to Henry House Hill.

Orders go out to Jackson (Denton now) to move his brigade quickly to stop them. The rest of Evans weak brigade also moves that direction. Elzey’s command is on the road north but still far away.


Turn 24 – 1300

While Jackson’s brigade is trying to disengage itself and move west to stop the still unidentified force in my rear, the small remnant of Evans plus some cavalry try to slow their movement.

On the other flank the Union left at Ball’s Ford is hit hard by Bonham, Holmes and Longstreet. They are in danger of being surrounded but I am having trouble getting my regiments deployed and into contact. Meanwhile, it looks like they are trying to shift their forces west to link up with their other forces.


Turn 25a – 1320

Denton (Jackson) makes an extraordinary move. It leaves the line facing Young’s Branch and redeploys around the Stone House justifying their name “Jackson’s Foot Cavalry”. The turning force still has not been identified but for some reason has been very slow to close on the critical road junction.

But this also means I have stripped the Young’s Brach line of four powerful regiments. Leaving the left of the line looking rather weak. I am trying to shift the center regiments over to help cover the weakened line. So far they seem to have a health respect for my artillery concentrated in the center and are only advancing on my left side.



Turn 25b – 1320

Meanwhile on the other flank I am closing in to trap the regiments that are not moving fast enough to escape. Longstreet has gotten behind them to the north and Bonham is pressing them from the east.


Turn 25c – 1320

You can see how severe the fighting is around Ball’s Ford by looking at the log for my half of that turn which caused the Union some 177 casualties.


Turn 26 – 1340

And, the fighting becomes even more intense as more of my troops close with the increasing isolated regiments near Ball’s Ford.


Turn 27a – 1400

In the now center the Union continues to advance along the Turnpike side but crossing Bull Run will take them a while. I continue to fall back on my left which gives me a nice slope advantage while my artillery in the center rips into them.


Turn 27b – 1400

On my left I am finally able to spot the enemy. Apparently Jackson’s men looked to formable for them and they have shift back trying to link up with the main forces to their east. I also now know they are Porter’s brigade but there may be other brigades supporting them.

Elzey’s brigade is almost in range of Jackson’s so I decide to go on the offensive. Unfortunately, Denton (Jackson) fails to change to assault but I advance the brigade on Buck Hill and move Elzey up on his left.

Come back for more all weekend!

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