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The Battle of Brawner's Farm: 28 August 1862

...as it was remembered.

"It was a stand-up combat, dogged and unflinching, in a field almost bare. There were no wounds from spent balls; the confronting lines looked into each other's faces at deadly range, less than one hundred yards apart, and they stood as immovable as the painted heroes in a battle-piece...and although they could not advance, they would not retire. There was some discipline in this, but there was much more of true valor. In this fight there was no maneuvering, and very little tactics--it was a question of endurance, and both endured..." -- Brig Gen William B. Taliaferro, Commander, 1st Division, Jackson's Corps (Left Wing), Army of Northern Virginia

***

"Washington Star
March 16, 1913

Plan Monument of site of most Deadly and Dramatic Battle of the Civil War

August 28, 1862, within forty miles of Washington occurred one of the most dramatic and deadly battles of the Civil War yet one almost unrecorded and unmarked by public park or monumental stone. Cross the Potomac and follow the Warrenton Pike out past Annandale and Fairfax, past Centerville and the Stone House, and just beyond the picturesque little hamlet of Groveton on a ridge to the right of the road is the prosaic ground of a battle as valorous, as deadly as any that history records. On that August day of the gloomy summer Gen. John Pope's Army of Virginia was moving eastward from Warrenton to Centerville in a vain endeavor to bag Stonewall Jackson. The blue-clad columns were tolling along the Warrenton Pike, the railway and all possible roads leading toward Centerville where Jackson was supposed to be and was not. That wily leader had disappeared in the woods about Bull Run and no one in the entire Union army knew where he and his 25,000 lean followers were concealed.

On the extreme left and rear of the Union army moving down the Warrenton Pike was King's Division of McDowell's Corps, four brigades , fifteen regiments, some 7,000 men in all. This division left Buckland Mills early but was delayed by Sigel's interminable wagon trains and again in the afternoon, near Gainesville, by Pope's orders. Now late in the evening, the head of the column, Hatch's brigade, was coming abreast of Groveton while in the rear, Patrick's brigade, was leaving Gainesville. Behind Hatch was Gibbon's brigade and behind Gibbon was Doubleday with three small regiments, mere battalions. The evening was calm and beautiful the men had had a good rest and coffee in the middle of the afternoon and now cheery with pipe and soldier talk, marched with easy swinging stride to cover the few miles that separated them from camp and supper. As the dying sun sank behind the western mountains it shone on the long sinuous column of men and was reflected back by many a spear tipped flag and sloping rifle along the old Warrenton Road. The bands played and why not? No enemy was near; they had Pope's word for that.

A mile west of Groveton the road dips into a swale, some tributary of Young's Branch. All along the southern side of the pike are dense woods but on the northern side, the country is clear, rising to low rolling ridges, save one wood which borders the road in the swale; a wood some 500 yards long and extending as far up the slope to the north. This wood has received from Gen. Charles King the name of the Douglas Wood. Beyond it is a long ridge and well back of that, further north, other woods that extend all the way eastward to Sudley Ford. In the southern border of this long wood is an old railway grade, in places an embankment, in places a trench. A quarter mile up from the pike near the northwest corner of the wood is a house, the Douglas or Brawner house, the only landmark in the whole area.


Gibbon_1.jpg

[Leader portraits by Bedbug]

It is almost sundown. Hatch's advance has passed Groveton and is rising the ridge where the Confederate monument now stands. Behind it marches a brigade not heard of then but destined with that solemn hour to win immortal fame, the Iron Brigade of the West, commanded by Gen. John Gibbon. It was the one distinctive western brigade in the eastern armies made up of the 2d, 6th and 7th Wisconsin and the 19th Indiana, four regiments that were never separated from October 1861 until they were mustered out of service. The 2d had been through First Bull Run and swaggered a bit as veterans, in consequence. They rather patronized the others, put on veterans airs, swore by their own officers, O'Connor, Fairchild and Tom Allen but had little use for any one else. The 6th 7th and 19th had not had the 2d's opportunities but were sure that when the time came they could fight as well and stay as long. It was this that accounts in a large measure for the stirring feat of arms that followed. The 2d having talked so much could not be the first to fall back. The others would not budge while the 2d stayed.

The brigade was passing behind the Gibbon Wood which partly hid it from sight to the north, the 6th Wisconsin was just coming into view east of the wood and the 19th Indiana was yet west of it. Doubleday's little brigade was close behind but Patrick was well back towards Gainesville. At this hour of almost sleepy calm, when every one was thinking of camp and rest beyond Bull Run, bang! bang! burst forth - an iron-shotted salute from a deep-mouthed battery on the wooded ridges to the north. And the enemy had the range so accurately that shells were exploding directly over the column, while others passed close with terrifying screech to burst in the woods beyond the pike. For an instant, the ranks paused as if uncertain what to do. Then sharp stern commands rang out, the rear was hurried forward to the shelter of the wood and all dropped behind a low bank that bordered the fence. What was this that so suddenly plunged the lovely pastoral landscape into rude war? Within that screen of wood that closed the northern horizon less than a mile away was Stonewall Jackson with his 25,000 veterans watching this jaunty division as a tiger watches its prey..."
http://www.secondwi.com/wisconsinregiments/battles2.htm

Gibbon_2.jpg


The Union Commanders, their units...

and some trivia...

"Abner Doubleday was the first to be officially recognized as the creator of baseball. A turn-of-the-century national baseball panel awarded the honor to Doubleday on the strength of a letter from an old schoolmate claiming Abner devised the rules for the game in 1839 in Cooperstown, New York. Although his name has stuck with the public, Doubleday was long ago shorn of this honor by historians who examined the evidence." -- http://www.historybuff.com/library/refearlybase.html

"The Army's campaign [of 1876] against the Lakota and Cheyenne called for three separate expeditions-Gen. George Crook's force from Fort Fetterman in Wyoming, Col. John Gibbon's command from Fort Ellis in Montana and Gen. Alfred H. Terry's troops from Fort Abraham Lincoln in Dakota Territory. These columns were to converge on the main group of Indians concentrated in southeast Montana under the leadership of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and other war chiefs...The 7th Cavalry, numbering about 600 men, located the Indian camp on June 25...When near the Little Bighorn, Custer turned north toward the lower end of the Indian camp. Reno, with orders from Custer to cross the river and attack, advanced down the Little Bighorn Valley and struck the upper end of the camp. Outflanked by the defending warriors, he retreated in disorder to the river and took up defensive positions on the bluffs beyond. Here he was soon joined by Benteen...these seven companies entrenched and held their defenses throughout that day and most of the next...The siege ended when all the Indians broke their great encampment and withdrew upon the approach of columns under Terry and Gibbon." -- http://montanagroups.com/p20.htm

Confederate Commanders and units...

Taliaferro commanded the 1st Division and Ewell commanded the 3rd Division of Jackson's Wing. Only five of Jackson's 11 infantry brigades were seriously engaged in the fight around Brawner's Farm.

Gibbon_3.jpg

(Leader portraits of Baylor, Starke, Trimble, & Lawton by Bedbug)

From the report of Brig-Gen John Gibbon:

"...The division was marching on Centerville from Gainesville, my brigade following General Hatch’s, on the Warrenton turnpike, in the following order: The Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers, Colonel Cutler; Second Wisconsin Volunteers, Colonel O’Connor; Seventh Wisconsin Volunteers, Colonel Robinson; Nineteenth Indiana Volunteers, Colonel Meredith, and Gibbon’s Battery, 4th Artillery, Capt. J.B. Campbell. Hatch’s artillery was engaging the enemy in front, when from a point to his left and rear one of the enemy’s batteries opened on my column. I directed the men to lie down in the road, and ordered up Captain Campbell with the battery. It came up at a gallop, formed in battery under heavy fire, and opened with such vigor that the enemy’s battery was soon silenced and made to retire. In the mean time I found that two of the enemy’s pieces had been planted to our left and rear and were firing on Doubleday’s brigade, which was behind us. I had no information of the presence of an infantry force in that position, which was occupied by General Hatch in person not three-fourths of an hour before. I therefore supposed that this was one of the enemy’s cavalry batteries, and ordered the Second Wisconsin to face to the left and rear and march obliquely to the rear against the pieces to take them in the flank..."

Gibbon_4.jpg


(More to follow...)

v/r

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Gibbon_5.jpg


"...It was now just dusk, when Gen. Gibbons [sic] came out of a small piece of woods in front of our regiment and ordered it forward, that is toward the left flank of our position. As soon as we had passed through the woods and up a rise of ground we moved in line of battle. We could just discover the rebels coming out of the woods, regiment after regiment en masse." -- Sergeant Charles Jewett, Company F, 2nd Wisconsin
 

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This deserves it's own thread in the AAR subforum

*splitified!
 

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Gibbon_6.jpg

[Campbell leader portrait by Bedbug]

Campbell's Battery B, 4th U.S. Artillery (aka "Gibbon's Battery)

"After leaving its lunching spot, 'Battery B' fell into column behind the 19th Indiana of Gibbon's Brigade. As it entered the Brawner Woods, the column came under fire from Confederate artillery. Campbell's guns were immediately ordered to the front to open fire. The limbers and caissons rumbled down the macadamized pike at a gallop and, clearing the woods, turned left. The fence bordering the road was quickly torn down, and the six Napoleons were wheeled into battery on the grassy ridge just east of the woods, from where Gibbon had initially spotted the enemy. The guns instantly opened a stunningly effective fire. While dueling with this Confederate battery, a second opened on the rear of the column. Against this battery [Garber's right section], Gibbon ordered his infantry. Meanwhile, Campbell continued to fire on the first battery [Garber's left section] until he had silenced it."
-- John Hennessy, Second Manassas Battlefield Map Study, 2nd Edition, H. E. Howard, Inc., Lynchburg, VA: 1985
 

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Love the screen shots, it looks great.
Interesting read as well!
 

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ETF said:
Yes a very exciting read indeed!!

Wrangler what program did you use for the shots. Very Nice!!!
ETF,

Thanks.

The screenshots were made using the in-game (F4) screen capture function.

I open these with PhotoShop and cut out what I need for a particular shot. I paste that image into PowerPoint and create/add whatever additional objects I need to illustrate troop movements, point stuff out, and add the leader portraits. I also add any required text using Powerpoint. When done, I copy all this from PowerPoint and paste it back into PhotoShop, add a bevel layer and save as a jpg.

The leader portraits that I made were done in PhotoShop; I think Bedbug uses the same program.

v/r

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"I therefore supposed that this was one of the enemy’s cavalry batteries, and ordered the Second Wisconsin to face to the left and rear and march obliquely to the rear against the pieces to take them in the flank. As it rose an intervening hill it was opened upon by some infantry on its right flank. The left wing was thrown forward to bring the regiment facing the enemy, and the musket firing became very warm." -- Brig-Gen. John Gibbon

Gibbon_7.jpg


"It was Gibbon's plan to steal within musket range of these impudent Confederate guns, overwhelm them with a volley, then, while men and horses were in confusion, to pounce on them and score the first capture for this fiery brigade. But as he emerged from the northern border of the wood, another surprise awaited him, half way across the grassy field a long line of gray skirmishers rose to their feet and their volley, not his, crashed the opening salute of the bloodiest battle yet fought in that war. "Companies A and B as skirmishers" was the command as the 2d swung to the right to meet this apparition and out danced the the colonel [Edgar O'Connor] at their heels, speeding buoyantly to his death. Fairchild has told how O'Connor waved some signal to him them stumbled and pitched headlong forward in the grass. Now rank after rank of gray-clad soldiers came pouring from out their leafy lair and as the sun dipped behind the western mountains, it glinted on many a red battalion field and blue St. Andrews cross as battalion after battalion and brigade after brigade of the divisions of Ewell and Taliaferro sprang forward to the attack. Gibbon in amazement saw the peril and darted back to bring up the remaining regiments." -- Military History of Wisconsin, Quinter, 1866

Gibbon_8.jpg

"After going some distance to the west - veering [to] the north along the woods, we came to front and advanced straight up the slope. A few scattering shots from confederate skirmishers met us, and our two companies - right and left - were at once deployed as skirmishers on a double-double quick. The confederate skirmishers fell back and we followed them until we were able to look over the edge of the plateau. I was in this skirmish line and what I saw as I now remember it was the enemy advancing in four lines...The [2nd Wisconsin] skirmishers fell back and took their places in the line and the regiment advanced and took position on the edge of the plateau..." -- G. M. Woodward, First Sergeant, Company B, 2d Wisconsin.
 

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"The Nineteenth Indiana was ordered up in support and formed on the left of the Second Wisconsin, whilst the Seventh Wisconsin was directed to hold itself in reserve. As the enemy appeared to be now heavily re-enforced, the Sixth and Seventh were both ordered into line, and I sent repeated and earnest requests to division headquarters for assistance. Two of General Doubleday’s regiments finally got into line, and the fight was kept up vigorously until after dark..." Brig-Gen John Gibbon

Gibbon_9.jpg


"And now the other regiments came hurrying forward in support; Indiana 19th on the left near the Douglas House, Wisconsin 7th moving coolly into alignment to the right, the 6th right-obliquing to their place on the flank, the incomparable adjutant Frank Haskell pointing the line. Now all were in full view of the coming gray host, and with a crash that awoke the twilight woods, the Iron Brigade opened savagely upon its foe, Ewell and Taliaferro who had thought to sweep the field were compelled to halt and open fire and that halt lost them a victory. Now ensued a combat worthy of the 10th Legion or the Grenadiers of the Old Guard. The opposing lines looked into one another's eyes at deadly range, less than a hundred yards. There was comer of woods in the rear of both but no one sought it. Out in the dying daylight they stood the volleys reddening the darkness that gradually settled over the scene." -- Military History of Wisconsin, Quinter, 1866

Gibbon_10.jpg


"How, in what way or at what time the 19th Indiana came into line on the left of the 2nd, or where, when and how the two regiments of Doubleday's brigade came in , I do not know. Being on the right of the 2nd I could only observe what took place to the right of us. Off to the right, and on a line with us, as I could see from the flash of the guns, our Battery B opened, firing with wonderful rapidity after we had been for some time engaged. After another interval musketry opened on the same part of the line. This, as I knew afterwards, was from the 6th Wisconsin. Then another interval and the 7th Wisconsin came up and formed on our right - a great new full regiment, which overlapped us by eight or ten files, so that we had to side step to the left to make room for them." -- G. M. Woodward, First Sergeant, Company B, 2d Wisconsin

Gibbon_11.jpg

Gibbon_12.jpg
 
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I really like the format you have used for this aar and your screenie editing is obviously a loving work of art.

I'm seriously considering buying this game.
 

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”I formed my line of battle in the road, marched through a piece of woods some three hundred yards, came out into open ground gradually rising from about 3 or 4 hundred yards. The regiment went at double quick from the time it left the woods. On arriving on the top of the hill, crossed a fence and marched about 2 rods, when I halted the regiment.” -- Colonel Solomon Meredith, 19th Indiana Volunteers

Gibbon_13.jpg


"At this time our lines were advanced from the woods in which they had been concealed [into] the open field. The troops moved forward with splendid gallantry and in the most perfect order. Twice our lines were advanced until we had reached a farmhouse and orchard on the right of our line and were within about 80 yards of a greatly superior force of the enemy. Here one of the most terrific contests that can be conceived of occurred." -- Brigadier-General William Taliaferro

Gibbon_14.jpg


Gibbon_15.jpg
 

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Gibbon_16.jpg


"As soon as we emerged from the wood the rebels opened upon us with a terrible infantry fire. We steadily advanced to the brow of the hill . . . While we were arranging ourselves in line we could see their line which looked like a black mass . . . not more than fifty yards distant. . . . My God, what a slaughter. No one seemed to know the object of the fight, and there we stood one hour, the men falling all around; we got no orders to fall back, and Wisconsin men would rather die than fall back without orders." -- Pvt. George Fairfield, 7th Wisconsin Volunteers

Gibbon_17.jpg
 

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Gibbon_19.jpg


"...Now came the crucial test - the two lines face each other at close range, and load and fire as fast as they can. Captain Noyes, a staff officer at Brigade headquarters, from which point he had a good view of the opposing forces, says in his work "The Bivouac and the Battlefield":

"All along the low ridge parallel to our position stood double lines of Rebel infantry. I saw a mile of lightening leaping from their muskets while a deluge of thunderbolts shivered like fiends among us and over us. Our boys fell like the leaves of autumn."

While the fight was raging the hottest, Charley Rounds, a young boy of probably sixteen, said excitedly to me: "Jo Grimes is shot through the shoulder! See there, his blood has run all down my arm!"

Jo Grimes was the oldest man in our company - enrolled as 45, he was perhaps ten years older. His wound was mortal. As I thought of him next day on the march and always as I think of him to this day there comes to me a nursery rhyme so familiar to me when a boy, so literally and tragically true in this case:

"Old Grimes is dead, that good ol' man
Well never see him more
He used to wear an old blue coat
All buttoned down before"


-- First Sergeant Uberto Burnham, 76th New York Volunteers

Gibbon_18.jpg