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"1st Bull Run/Manassas Mathew's Hill Fight Terrain" Topic

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American Civil War

1,199 hits since 20 Mar 2016
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2016 2:56 p.m. PST

I am going to be running a game in 54mm using Rally Round the Flag by Scott Monsour. The scenario is the fight between Hunter's and Heintzelman's Divisions against Evans, Bartow and Bee's Brigades around 10:30 A.M. The map for the scenario is very vague, showing only one ridge line for the Confederate position with light woods at their rear. Other maps show the Union forces deployed on Mathew's Hill and the Confederates on Buck Hill with a depression between them. Can anyone more familiar with the terrain suggest what the actual ground looked like and whether there were any corn fields, hay stacks or fences to make the terrain more interesting.

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2016 4:07 p.m. PST

The Regimental Fire and Fury rules has the 1st Bull Run scenario---map is very good.

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2016 4:30 p.m. PST

Thanks, pzivh43. I have that book as well as the non-regimental F&F scenario book. The Regimental scenario map doesn't show enough of what I'm looking for north of Henry Hill.

fredavner Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2016 8:23 p.m. PST

Also include a strip mall and a convenience store

vagamer63 Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2016 11:35 p.m. PST

Check the National Park Service web site, as they used to have excellent maps of the action broken into phases, which also detail the elevations of the area.

davbenbak Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member21 Mar 2016 7:43 a.m. PST

Why 10:30am? My understanding is that by that time things were getting pretty dicey for the Rebs. Evans has been wounded and the Yanks have gotten their artillery deployed by then. Also Sherman will be crossing Bull Run soon to flank them and make the position untenable.

Personal logo John the Greater Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2016 10:15 a.m. PST

try downloading Google earth and looking at the battlefield. You should get a pretty good idea of the contours. The F&F map will show you where the trees were at the time.

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2016 12:23 p.m. PST

davbenbak, thanks for your input. The scenario is designed as a holding action.

davbenbak Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member23 Mar 2016 8:17 a.m. PST

I ran this a couple of times at conventions as a two part battle, sort of a campaign if you will. I used the computer moderated rules Carnage & Glory with does an excellent job of tracking fatigue and ammo usage from one game through to the next. The first game covered the 9am-11am time frame and the second was the 11am-1pm time frame. Essentially the whole game was a holding action for the Rebs with the victory condition for the Union forces of capturing Henry hill by 1pm. As a side note, in one in the first games the Confederate players chose to have Bee and Bartow remain on Henry Hill and spent several turns fortifying their positions. Kind of a rough game for the player who got Even's command but made it super easy for the players in the second game.

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2016 9:50 a.m. PST

davbenbak, very interesting. Thanks again for your input. At this point my buddy and I are mostly interested in trying out the Rally Round the Flag rules to see how they work with 54mm. The scenario came in the rules book and it seemed like a simple scenario and one which we had enough painted figures to cover. The ACW has not been one of my major periods of interest since I was a kid during the centennial. So it's fun getting back into the period and seeing all the new books, etc. available. You sound like you know a lot about the battle. I am still confused as to the location of the Confederate positions on Mathew's Hill/Buck Hill. Some accounts never mention Buck Hill at all, as though the entire fight took place on Mathew's Hill. I'm designing the game table and I need to know where the Confederate line was situated, on Mathew's Hill, Buck Hill or in between. In any case, it sounds like the slopes of the hills were pretty gentle so maybe I'm obsessing unnecessarily.

John Simmons23 Mar 2016 5:43 p.m. PST


If it would help you I could send you the .PDF copy of the battle map from the Civil WAr Trust.
Email me if of interest, John
jesimmons at chartermi dot net

davbenbak Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member24 Mar 2016 10:18 a.m. PST

At your ground scale I can see why the distinction would be important. I was using a ground scale of 50 paces to an inch so to put that in game terms a 600 man regiment would take up 3 inches and all of Matthew's Hill was 12 inches on the table. I had Evan's command straddling the road from Sutler's crossing and just counted all as being on Matthew's hill. At that scale it was only important for my purposes to show major terrain features. I did not even count structures like Matthew's farm, Stone House, Robinson's farm and Henry House as occupiable but served more as points of reference, strategic objectives, and disruptive terrain that blocked line of sight.

I have a nostalgic fondness for the "Rally 'Round the Flag" rules released by Heritage Models in 1976.

Dexter Ward01 Apr 2016 6:35 a.m. PST

We just played Matthews Hill using Longstreet (the scenario can be found on the Honour games forum)
Excellent game, and the first time we've used the rules for a historical refight. The rules work very well indeed for that purpose; lots of interesting command choices for both sides. The Confederate gunners deserved several medals, but it was a narrow win for the Union in the end.

DJCoaltrain01 Apr 2016 8:20 p.m. PST

I lived next to Manassas. I walked the battlefield many times. It's rolling hills, Youngs Branch is deep cut but not wide. Artillery and Cavalry would need a ford or a bridge to get across, infantry would have no problems. Bull Run can be crossed dry footed in the summer, but not just after a rain. Hill tops are easiy visible to one another. The valleys are fairly low but the ups and downs of walking the battlefield are not very strenuous because it's fairly mild rolling hills. East of 66 it's all strip malls. On the military crest the entire valleys are visible. Just below the thin layer of vegetation is a lot of red clay. Our brand new white carpet was rust colored in a a short time. The comments here are all good ones. :)

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