Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Distractions and Diversions: Or What I am doing instead of completing what I started

Once again, I have drifted off from my hobby to do list and ventured into something different. Since the release of The Coming Thunder, I have been aimlessly drifting between projects. A little work here, a little work there but nothing coming close to completion. Then I found myself on the most dangerous of websites - Google.

Taking a few minutes, I wondered, "Hey, what happened during the Civil War in my county (Gwinnett)." A quick Google search came up with the answer - not much. There was one action that occurred at the very edge of the county near a small town call Jug Tavern.(August 2, 1864) The name of the town alone caught my attention. But how big was this fight? Since it was a part of the overall Battle for Atlanta in 1864, surely it is WAY too big to game with Terrible Sharp Sword, right? Not entirely.

It seems that this battle took place following the dispersion of General Stoneman's force following his defeat outside of Macon. A Brigade of Cavalry under the command of Colonel Horace Capron was fleeing around Atlanta with Colonel Adams Brigade of cavalry. The two got separated in an attempt at attacking Athens. Capron had a local guide who led him astray. Capron's men raided the small town of Jug Tavern (now Winder, Georgia) and moved on to a spot called King's Tanyard to stop for the night.

So far, it looks too big. Capron's men included the 14th Illinois Cavalry, the 8th Michigan Cavalry and McLaughlin's Independent Ohio Cavalry Squadron. Plus they had some remnants from the 6th Indiana Cavalry Regiment with them. All had fled the Battle of Sunshine Church where General Stoneman was captured.

This seems like a huge force for a skirmish game. But how many men were in it? Well, the 8th Michigan had hacked their way through Confederate lines to escape from Sunshine Church.(Sunshine Church. Not really a name you would associate with battle is it.) They were down to 70 men lead by Major Buck. Colonel Capron's was not only the Brigade Commander but the regimental commander of the 14th Illinois Cavalry who numbered some 300 men on the 31st of July. The 6th Indiana cavalry had an additional 350 men or so. This gives Capron's force a total of about 720 men or there about. This is WAY to many figures to paint in 15mm and I am too lazy to even paint that many in 6mm. Things do not look good for a scenario here.

The Confederates that engaged them were another Brigade of cavalry under Breckinridge that had been pursuing them since Sunshine Church.(Each time I read this, I picture a brightly painted structure with a big yellow sun painted on the side with a smiley face and a large children's playground to the side. Not a site of blood and slaughter. But I guess that is just me.) He had the 1st Kentucky Mounted Infantry (I think. They may have been true cavalry), the 16th Georgia cavalry and Major Cook's Armory Battalion Cavalry.

But wait, there is hope!

From the description of the action, it seems that only about a company of the Confederates engaged Capron's Brigade. A company! That is doable. But wait, why would about 50 to 100 guys charge 700+ men? That seems suicidal? Well, it seems that the Confederates found the napping Yankees after they finished pillaging the town. They charged through a large group of camp followers and escaped slaves and made a huge noise that panicked the bulk of Capron's force. It seems that in their haste to flee, the stormed across a nearby bridge that collapsed dropping many into the river to drown. A small group did mount and form a line and engage the Confederates. In this smaller action, the Confederates beat those that chose to stand. Over the next day, hundreds of troops were captured and taken to the University of Georgia as prisoners. Capron, his son and five others walked back to Marietta four days later. Capron fled at first noise and hid in a ditch with his son. It seems he was not in command of those that stood and fought.

William Tecumseh Sherman with typical aplomb, wired Washington after their arrival stating, "On the whole the cavalry raid was not deemed a success." Sherman is normally a name, that as a resident of Georgia, I am not permitted to say without surrounding it with appropriate profanity has earned a little more merit in my eyes with that dry humor. However, Capron must have had some friends in high places as he was again given a new command almost immediately even though he lost his entire command and fled from battle not once but twice!

I think I can make a good scenario out of this action. Stay tuned for it and an associated action at barber's Creek.


  1. Hmmm sounds interesting???? So is it gonna 25 or 15??

  2. For skirmish games, I stick with 15mm. It is what my budget can afford. If I want to game something larger, I go with 6mm but I don't do that often. 25/28mm is definitely pretty but I don't paint well enough to justify the cost of the minis.