I am currently in the early stages of fighting another major battle, this time the aim is Antietam, so I thought some may find it interesting on how I go about the research and actually recreating a real historical battlefield on a table.
On this occasion I found a marvelous article in issue 253 of Wargames Illustrated from November 2008, the author, R. Neil Smith has done the hard work and created simple maps of the battlefield as well as the OOB of the forces involved.
Due to the piecemeal way the Union attack went in, it is possible to fight the battle in three distinct phases, allowing the table to be reconfigured for each phase of the battle. Events that happen in a previous phase, can and will, affect what happens in the following phase.
Taken from the magazine, the text is not too clear, but the maps are fine.
These maps and OOB will form the basis of my re-fight on the table top. I will be using a base to represent a brigade, this will stop my small table from becoming too congested. I normally try to represent each regiment of each brigade, that would be doable on a 6 x 4 feet board but not on a 43 x 28 inches table I currently have to use. But hey, who said big battles cannot be fought on small tables?
As in the earlier battle, mentioned above, I will photograph and write a commentary of events unfolding on the tabletop, and just like last time, extracts of letters and dispatches will also be included. So watch out, your name may appear as a Johnny Reb or a Billy Yank, writing down his experiences of the battle.