Wednesday, January 9, 2019
ACW Campaign - Part Twenty One.
Now attention moves to the Stockton Road/Clanfield Road/Crow Bridge crossroads. A pretty flat and featureless area with just the marshy area beside the Crow Bridge road of any real note.
My interpretation of the crossroads, the large amount of shrubbery is my attempt at depicting marshy ground. It can be entered on foot at a slow pace, but is impassible for horses and wheeled vehicles.
Rather than have a billiard table surface, I added a small hillock and a couple of low ridges.
The low ridge on the north side of the road, viewed from the summit of the southern ridge.
Looking down on the crossroads with the marshy ground at top, centre.
Looking east, turn left for Crow Bridge, right for Clanfield, straight ahead for Stockton.
Major General Daniel Hill rode ahead of his force to the crossroads. He could see troops already on the move south on the Clanfield Road. Colonel George Anderson, OC Anderson's Brigade rode forward to meet him.
I am pleased to see your brigade is on the move George.' Dan Hill said as he watched artillery limbers rumble across the crossroads. 'What's left of Sam's Brigade is about a mile behind me, with the enemy two hours behind them. They will be here by nightfall.'
George nodded, 'Sir, Brigadier Rodes is holding the bridge with 5th Alabama and 12th Mississippi to allow my brigade to withdraw in accordance with your orders. It is not much, but enough to hold the enemy for a time. We did manage to get the jump on them as our camp was out of their view. This allowed me to break camp, and prepare my brigade to move. The enemy only realised something was happening when our artillery batteries, in plain sight of them, began to limber up.'
Dan listened grimly, he had already lost Sam Garland, it sounded like he was about to lose Bob Rodes too. 'Very well George, keep your boys moving, I want the road clear for when my force arrives. As darkness falls I intend to make camp just north of Clanfield, after that I am still undecided, but we can discuss that later.'
At that moment the unmistakable boom of artillery could be heard from the north, the Union assault on the weakened defenders of Crow Bridge was getting underway...
4th North Carolina, 49th Virginia and Carter's Battery approach the crossroads.
27th and 28th Georgia lead the column heading south.
The column hastens by General Hill and Colonel Anderson.
The remainder of Garland's Brigade hove into view on the Stockton Road. 2nd Mississippi, 24th and 38th Virginia along with 12th Alabama of Rodes Brigade.
The sound of enemy artillery can be heard to the north above the crunch of feet and wheels.
Garland's Brigade can be seen arriving from the west, they will follow Anderson's Brigade to Clanfield.
The same location two hours later.
Union VI Corps commander General William Franklin, rode ahead of his troops on the Stockton Road, arriving at the Crow Bridge crossroads as the light began to fade. He was met by Brigadier John Newton, OC 3rd Brigade, 1st Division.
'Situation John?' General Franklin said as he returned the salute.
'Sir, the enemy were able to pull out the majority of their force, including two batteries of artillery before we knew what they were up to. Their camp was hidden from the sight of our pickets and so we were blind as to their movements. Once it became obvious that they were preparing to withdraw, General Slocum ordered an attack.'
'The attack was obviously successful,' Bill Franklin said watching a regiment of cavalry move off south down the Clanfield Road.
'It was eventually sir, the rebs fought like devils on that bridge, Brigadier Taylor was badly wounded, mortally I fear, leading the men of his brigade. Eventually overwhelming numbers told and once we forced the bridge, the enemy was forced to surrender. Their commander Brigadier Robert Rodes was killed during the fighting.
Bill was saddened to hear about both William Taylor and Bob Rodes, the latter had been a friend in earlier, more pleasant times. 'Where is General Slocum now?
'He is back at the bridge sir, he has taken personal command of 1st Brigade with Brigadier Taylor so badly wounded. he is organising the care of the wounded and also the transportation of prisoners.'
'Very good John, I will go and find him. In the meantime, I want you to make camp here on this crossroads, it is too dark now to move any further, beside which, the men of 2nd Division need a hot meal and a decent night's rest. When General Smith arrives with his division, inform him to also make camp here.'
Union 1st Division moving south to the crossroads.
General Smith's 2nd Division heading east for the crossroads.
6th Pennsylvania Cavalry move off south to scout in the direction of Clanfield. General Franklin and Brigadier Newton have their discussion as 18th and 32nd New York halt and await orders.
Pickets protect the approaches to VI Corps camp.
Artillery also deployed in the event that the enemy should return this way.
In the command tent there was much to discuss, a similar discussion was taking place in another tent, six miles south of here.
I now have to decide the strategy for both sides as the campaign continues. A couple of maps to allow you to see the remaining ground. Not a lot of obvious places for the Confederates to make a stand. The Union could use part of their force to chase down the enemy, whilst the remainder carries out the objectives of capturing the major towns.