Turn 5: Movement Phase
The advance on the left continues, with Backoff’s Battery taking up a position from which to fire on Pulaski’s Battery up on the hill to the south, and realizing that from that position the enemy is screened by trees (something I should have noticed before moving it there!). Trying a different tactic, Sigel sends the 3rd Missouri towards the head of a ravine that can be used to approach the battery. (Ravines are designed to let units move without being seen by any unit not directly adjacent. Wilson’s Creek has a number of ravines, and as in the actual battle, they can be used for hidden maneuvers.) The 60-man Co. C, 2nd U.S. Dragoons heads farther out, beyond the Wire Road and ravine so that it can scout out enemy positions from the Ray family’s orchard, which from its Hill3 position is 50+ feet higher than surrounding terrain and 100+ feet higher than the enemy battery. From there several more enemy units near the battery come into view, using the Wire Road and adjacent paths to move northward towards one or both of my main positions. (I can now see three regiments and two fog-of-war flags, which could be any type of unit. Right now, they’re just some men seen through dense foliage or glimmering bayonets – nothing from which a meaningful scouting report can be determined.) So, as these will greatly outnumber the 3rd Missouri I quickly send the 5th Missouri into the same ravine, just a bit closer to Pulaski’s Battery. (The battery is just four hexes away, but in addition to the ravine there are light woods directly behind it, so it is impossible for it to fire on my units.
Having taken care of Sigel’s men, I plot action on Bloody Hill. I move my key unit on the eastern side (i.e., the side overlooking Wilson Creek and the likely direction of enemy attack), Dubois’s Battery, farther south, so that next turn it can surmount the Hill3 (from Hill2) and hold the highest ground in firing range of the creek, Wire Road, the ford where road crosses creek, and flat area that the CSA units will need to pass through. I next position one of my best infantry units, the 1st Iowa, nearby in order to help anchor the position, and then send the 2nd Kansas to this area as well, now that it clearly doesn’t need to stand by as reserves for the fight with the cavalry.
Meanwhile, back where the cavalry have been fighting, I spot Hunter’s Cavalry hiding in some woods trying to regroup and send my 275-man Battalion of Regulars adjacent to it, along with the 1st Kansas. McCowan’s Cavalry is still stubbornly squaring off against the 1st Missouri, but my regiment is still in good fighting shape and I don’t bother with reinforcements. If I can defeat Hunter this turn then I’ll send my Regulars to help out, while sending the 1st Kansas towards the southern end of the hill.
Totten’s Battery is still on a height behind Hunter’s Cavalry, but at this point it seems like overkill to shell those troopers, and since in this terrain moving artillery can take time I decide to move it southward. I then advance other units in Sturgis’s 1st Brigade, which is now set up on a NW-SE axis along the edge of Hill4. If the enemy tries an indirect approach towards the hill this brigade will be ready for them, but by having the battery on the left it is in a position to shell other parts of the battlefield as well.
Turn 5: Combat Phase
The fighting this turn is still limited to those pesky CSA cavalry units, since Pulaski’s Battery still has no targets and the other enemy units are still too far away. After some vicious exchanges Hunter’s men finally surrender, but McCowan’s men stubbornly resist, even rallying and getting a bonus attack in. (I checked, and since there isn’t enough information to give Lt.Col. James McCowan historical ratings he has randomized ones. His “Leadership” rating must be pretty good, based on the rally and how his men are performing.)
And then, to my surprise, I see that Rives’s Cavalry, a 284-man force, has managed to climb the hill out of sight and position itself behind Sturgis’s Brigade. Fortunately, this turn it is unable to fire effectively, but next turn will cause problems. It’s possibly a suicide mission – though in defense of Rives, a lot of my units were screened by the terrain, so that probably wasn’t the intent – but it will certainly cause me some trouble getting those guys to fall on their bayonets. It’s a shame for Rives that the rest of the CSA army isn’t close enough to attack Sturgis next turn, because then he would have enemies on both sides.
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