A roll of three means Colonel Munford and the 2nd Virginia Cavalry will advance up the valley.
To his rear, Major Gilmor and the 1st Maryland Cavalry, now relieved of prisoner duty, acts as a screen for Brigadier General Archers men.
The rebel brigade makes its stately journey across table 2.
A closer look at what is ahead and facing Colonel Munford.
My interpretation of the terrain.
The 2nd Virginia Cavalry survey the wooded slope on their right.
A low flat ridge leading to the rising valley side to their left.
Brigadier General Adelbert Ames, commanding the 2nd Brigade of 1st Division, XI Corps was not a happy man, he had a hundred and one things to do at Brigade headquarters, situated in the small town of Parksville, which sat beside the Hog River.
The message that had flashed down the telegraph line from his boss, Brigadier General Barlow, situated further north up the Crooked Valley had informed him that the Army of Northern Virginia was moving north, and reliable intelligence reported a force had broken away from the main army and could be heading for the valley.
Adelbert, had ordered the 41st and 54th New York infantry battalions to form up in march column, he would lead them south to the mouth of the valley.
Two battalions of 2nd Brigade, led by Brigadier General Ames begin the march south.
'Damned scouts and spies, they saw rebels hiding behind every tree and bush north of the Potomac. He had the southern end of Crooked Valley under his command, and nothing would move into it without him knowing. A battery of artillery and a regiment of cavalry would be there to greet any damned rebels, real or imaginary.' The brigadier general shook his head, he doubted there was a rebel soldier within forty miles of him.
At that very moment his movements were being watched through binoculars, held in the hands of Colonel Harry Gilmor, 1st Maryland Cavalry, CS Army!
Belatedly, Brigadier General Ames noticed riders ahead. He quickly realised that they were not Union cavalry.
An odd roll, so no Confederate reinforcements will arrive on table 1 this turn. The main force must have been delayed.
Further up the valley, the rattle of drums and blare of bugles sent men rushing to their battle positions. The Confederate cavalry making for the wooded hill, there they would dismount to harry the Union infantry from the cover of the trees. The artillery horses struggled and stamped their hooves as they dragged guns up onto the low ridge line. Infantry shook out into line of battle across the valley floor.
If General Ames had been an unhappy man earlier in the day, watching the rebels deploy cavalry, artillery and infantry, was not improving his mood.
Brigadier General Archer, on the other hand, was well satisfied. His cavalry colonel had kept him fully informed of the situation via dispatches and once his main force had arrived, Colonel Munford had worked out a battle plan which utilised the topography of this section of the valley. He saw no reason to change the colonel's plan.
No such plan existed for Brigadier General Ames, as he and his men watched with increasing concern as the rebels took up positions, at was as if they knew the valley and he didn't.
For all his faults, General Ames was no fool, he knew he was outgunned and outmaneuvered, he would have to conduct a fighting retreat back to the town of Parksville, where the remainder of his brigade was located. He scribbled a hasty message and sent it with a rider at full gallop.
I shall have to leave it there for tonight, as it is now quite dark, and with artificial light, the photos will not look very good. Also I see this battle scrolling up the valley toward the town and river on tabletop 4, that is going to take a bit of deft handling to pull off.
Please join me again for Part Four.