Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gen. Robert Emmett Rodes

One of the more interesting exercises connected with scenario design is the characterization of leaders. This is generally a requirement of rules’ sets, and if the scenario is “historic,” getting the characterizations right is important. Of course, the process is complicated by the fact that most historic leaders had their good days and their bad days (that is, splendid and not so much – think of “the” Stonewall Jackson of the Seven Days for a couple inexplicably bad days by a military colossus). Then too, there were others who were truly great at lower command levels but ineffective or worse at higher levels (for example, John Bell Hood – the epitome of the Peter Principle). Colonel, later Gen. Robert E. Rodes is an example of an enigmatic historic leader. As he figures in several of the scenarios I’ve been working up, I had to get a handle on him. Following is a list of biographical references for Rodes. I’ve only seen the first, which I consider sufficient, but I expect I’ll get around to the others.

Collins, Darrell L. Major General Robert E. Rodes of the Army of Northern Virginia: A Biography. New York: Savas Beatie, 2008.

Newton, Steven H., William Garrett Piston, Keith Poulter, Steven E. Woodworth, and Gregory J. W. Urwin. 2009. “Overrated Generals.” North & South : The Official Magazine of the Civil War Society. 11, no. 6: 14-22.

Covers: Philip Henry Sheridan; John Brown Gordon; James Birdseye McPherson; Joseph Wheeler; James Harrison Wilson; William Joseph Hardee; Joseph Hooker; Joseph E. Johnston; George Gordon Meade; Nathan Bedford Forrest; George Henry Thomas; John Singleton Mosby (not a general, of course); George Crook; Wesley Merritt; G. T. Beauregard; John Hunt Morgan; Franz Sigel; Robert Emmett Rodes; Winfield Scott Hancock; George A. Custer; John Alexander Logan

Swisher, James K. Warrior in Gray: General Robert Rodes of Lee's Army. Shippensburg, Pa.: White Mane Books, 2000.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Galiot de Genouillac

Galiot de Genouillac, Jacques Richard de, seigneur d’Assier (Assier, Quercy, July 16,1465-château de Végennes, Limousin, Oct. 15, 1546). The nephew of Jacques de Genouillac, grandmaster of the artillery under Louis XI, he was himself appointed grandmaster by King Louis XII on May 26, 1512. A highly-skilled artillerist, he participated in the campaigns of Charles VIII, Louis XII, and Francis I in Italy.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Confederate Gun Line at First Manassas

At the crisis of the Battle of First Manassas (Bull Run), July 21, 1861, the Confederate army, which had been driven in disarray from its initial position near Matthews Hill, rallied on the line of Gen. Thomas J. Jackson's Brigade on Henry House Hill. It was here that Jackson, and his brigade, won their immortal nickname of "Stonewall." It's worth noting, though, that the stabilization of the Confederate line was made possible not only by Jackson's infantry but also by a line of 13 guns assembled along the eastern rim of the hill. The position of these guns is marked today by the gun line in the photos above, taken a few days ago. The view is to the northwest, and if the Robinson House was still standing, it would be visible along the line of trees at the upper center.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Snake-Rail Fence

Fine example of a snake-rail fence on Manassas Battlefield.
Park Service marker at the fence.

I'm dog-sitting today, and it being Inauguration Day, I headed in the opposite direction -- to Manassas Battlefield. Once there, I (we) hiked the trail on the Henry House Hill (or plateau, if you like). The day was cold and overcast, although not so dour as the media made it out to be. Of course, none of this matters to dogs, and MBNP is truly dog-friendly. Horse-friendly too. Toward the end of the circuit, we came upon this superb example of a snake-rail fence just at the point where the 33d Virginia Regiment jumped-off for its attack on the Federal batteries of Ricketts and Griffin in the First Battle of Manassas. The story is well-known: How the Virginians in their pre-war blue militia uniforms were mistaken for friendly troops and able to approach the Federal guns on their flank and loose a devastating volley at close range that swept the batteries and killed men and horses in such numbers that the guns were rendered combat ineffective.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Painting U.S. Cavalry of the 1870s

As a follow-on to yesterday's post, here are the instructions for painting U.S. Cavalry of the 1870s that were included with Bugle & Guidon, Inc.'s 54mm figures produced during the 1970s.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Painting Hostiles of the Northern Plains

On Nov. 9, 2001, I blogged on the postcard Bugle & Guidon, Inc., used in the 1970s to publicize its 54mm figures suitable for depicting the Indian Wars of the 1870s between the U.S. Cavalry and hostiles of the Northern Plains, including Custer’s Last Stand (depicted on the postcard). Bugle & Guidon furnished painting instructions with its figures, and I recently discovered copies of these instructions tucked away with a couple of the actual figures. As these instructions are comprehensive and informative, I thought I’d reproduce them here. The first covers the Indians – “Hostiles of the Northern Plains.”

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tsushima, 1905 (2)

As noted, Admiral Togo’s First Battle Division consisted of four battleships (BBs) and two armored cruisers (ACs). At the outbreak of the war (Feb. 8, 1904), the First Battle Division had consisted of six BBs, but the battleships Hatsuse and Yashima had been lost to mines. Togo had disguised this fact by substituting the powerful armored cruisers Kasuga and Nisshin for the lost battleships. These two armored cruisers were referred to as “counterfeit battleships.”

The photos above show my 1:2400 Panzerschiffe models of the Kasuga and Nisshin.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The 125th Pa. Inf. Rgt. at Antietam

 Above: Monument to the 125th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment at Antietam
Above: Placard outlining the combat of the 125th Pa. in the West Woods at Antietam (the placard is visible to the right of the monument in the topmost photo)

At the Battle of Antietam, the 125th, a new regiment belonging to Brig. Gen. S. W. Crawford’s brigade, wandered away from its brigade and, improbably, crossed the Cornfield and entered the West Woods just west of the Dunker Church. There, it was joined by the 34th New York of Gorman’s Brigade, Sedgwick’s Division, which, equally improbably, had somehow entered the West Woods nearby, well ahead of its brigade. The two regiments were the first federal regiments to enter the West Woods. According to the 125th’s regimental history, 76: “…it is sufficient to say here that the 125th Pennsylvania and the 34th New York had been in the West Woods and tried to hold them, before the main portion of Sedgwick’s Division reached them.”
For the 125th Pa., see Regimental Committee. History of the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1906. This history gives the regiment as less than 700 in line and gives BC as 54 KIA/MW and 91 WIA (an unlikely ratio!), with 84 lightly wounded not reported (p. 85). See also Huyette, Miles C. (Pvt.) and Smith, John P. History of the Antietam Fight (account of Pvt. J. D. Hicks).


Your HFC notes re: the 128th PA of Crawford’s 2d Bde, 1st Div, XII Corps list Ted Alexander’s book, but you give the title as the 126th PA, which would be in Tyler’s Bde of Humphrey’s Div (V Corps).  It looks to me like you slipped, but we can check and resolve the reference.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Tsushima, 1905

Above: Portion of a Map Showing the Location of the Battle (Center)
Above: Panzerschiffe 1:2400 Models of the Four Japanese Pre-dreadnought Battleships

Naval Battle of Tsushima (May 27-28, 1905). Decisive defeat and annihilation of the Russian Baltic Fleet (aka Second Pacific Squadron) under Vice-Admiral Rojestvensky by the Japanese Combined Fleet, commanded by Adm. Heihachiro Togo.

Japanese Combined Fleet (Adm. Heihachiro Togo)

First Fleet (Togo)

          First Battle Division (Rear Adm. Sotaro Misu)
          BB Mikasa (FF), BB Shikishima, BB Fuji, BB Asahi, AC Kasuga, AC Nisshin (F), dispatch boat Tatsuta 
(to be continued)