The divisional and brigade commanders of VI Corps, had all gathered in the HQ tent of Brigadier General William B. Franklin.
'Gentlemen, you all know our task for the coming operation by the Army of the Potomac.' William Franklin scanned the face of each man gathered around the table. 'Many of you have contributed ideas, just as I requested you to.' Some of the men nodded, others just gazed down at the map spread over the folding wooden table. 'Taking all those suggestions, I believe we have a solid plan of action.'
His aide handed him a wooden pointer. 'Intelligence, for what it is worth.' a few smiles from some of the gathered officers, grunts from others. 'The enemy has no more than a reduced division to defend the whole peninsular.' his cane swept in a circle over the map. 'It will be a two pronged assault.' His pointer moved to the eastern coastal road. First Division, minus 2nd Brigade, will move down this road through Bourne, cross the Crow River and move against Stockton. This should stir up the rebels, who will be forced to react. That will take place on 31st May, the speed of advance, will of course be governed by what enemy forces First Division run into. The whole point of this thrust is to draw in the enemy.'
Now the pointer switched the western coastal road. 'Two days later at dawn 2nd June, the rest of the Corps will advance down through Paytonville and Meon. I expect the enemy to be either engaged with, or moving toward First Division over to the north east. Second Division should then be free to cross the Marsh and Owl Bridges, and make a rapid advance to capture Hampstead.' Once again he scanned the faces around the table. 'If all goes to plan, Hampstead and Port St. Charles will quickly fall, leaving us free to move north to support First Division and destroy the enemy.'
So the Union plan is now known, so we can switch to see the location of Confederate forces. The south of the peninsular is straightforward, the divisional HQ along with Garland's Brigade are at Hampstead. Their task is to defend the two towns of Hampstead and Port St. Charles and the approaches to them.
The north is a little more complicated. Anderson's Brigade is located at Clanfield, ideally placed to move in any direction. Rodes' Brigade has been broken up and used to man various locations. Starting in the north at grid reference B2 - B4 is the 6th Alabama, they are able to observe both coastal roads from that location. 12th Mississippi are located beside Crow Bridge. 12th Alabama and Carter's Battery are just south of Paytonville, Wise's Legion Cavalry are patrolling the road between Paytonville and Stockton. At Stockton is located Rodes' Brigade HQ along with 5th Alabama and 4th Virginia Battery. Finally, the Flying Cavalry Brigade is based at Meon.
I have added one or two more things to the map since these photographs were taken, such as naming the Crow River which runs from B4 to North Inlet at D6. I have also worked out road distances between locations, it will make it easier to judge movement and times. Union First Division will travel down the eastern road to Bourne, which I estimate to be ten miles from the entry point at A4. My computer skills are limited, so I hope my crude attempt using MS Paint to mark the location of units is clear enough to make sense. I am hoping to use this method throughout the campaign, rather than move coloured discs on the map.
I think I am now ready to commence the campaign, so gentlemen and ladies, allow me to transport you to a quiet little corner of Virginia, on the evening of May 30th, 1862.