Wilson's Creek - The West's First Fight

Great Battles of the American Civil War, Volume 3. (August 10, 1861)

While it is listed as volume 3, Wilson's Creek feels earlier in the GBACW development cycle. I suspect that is due to the outside designer credits, and the fact that Thomas Hudson did the development, rather than Eric Lee Smith, who did most of the GBACW games.

While many of the GBACW games are meeting scenarios, Wilson's Creek is a very different game, simulating the surprise attack of the numerically inferior Union forces on the sleeping rebels.

The game features special rules to simulate the effects of surprise, and the reality that McCulloch and Price were not communicating. It also uses numerous entry options for the Union forces, allowing players to stick with the historical division of Union forces, or to try non-historical (but perhaps better conceived) plans.

Special thanks to Greg Laubach for the following photos and remarks, which captures the heart of a recent Wilson's Creek battle. 

(And special thanks to Greg for the revised counters for the artillery format and a corrected counter for McCulloch's 3rd La - all available on the Free Downloads page!)

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Double-click on any photo to see a larger view.

CSA Turn 6

In this game, my opponent chose the historical entry points. This is after the Confederate alert. I got lucky on the Confederate cavalry panic.

CSA Turn 7

This is a shot from the end of CSA movement on turn 7.

CSA Turn 8

The situation at the end of the Confederate turn of turn 8.

CSA Turn 9

McCulloch is closing the trap on Sigel.

The Arkansas cavalry is doing a 300 Spartans reprise at the northern fords. They're still holding off Andrews and Deitzler even though two regiments beat feet last turn. Help is on the way.

Price finally has his division on the move. There is a slim chance of pulling off a mini-Shiloh in a few turns if Lyons can't get across the creek.

CSA Turn 10

McCulloch attacks Sigel with help from two MSG cavalry regiments.

The fight for the northern fords continues. Deitzler and Andrews expand the bridgehead.

Price forms up his division. It looks like Lyons may have time to cross the creek which will put Price on the wrong side to defend Ray's House.

CSA Turn 11

McCulloch continues the attack on Sigel. Pearce's frontal assault on Backoff's guns was repulsed (handily and bloodily). 3rd La is trying a flank attack.

The 2nd Ark cav was finally wiped out by Deitzler in the fight for the fords. The last of the Confederate reserves are committed to a counterattack.

Price sends the nine regiments at hand forward. Six more are in reserve or moving toward the fight. Lyons is astride the creek with his retreat path nearly cut off. If Price can get an hour's worth of fight out of his troops, this one may be over.

End of Hostilities

Price's attack drove in Lyons' pickets and caused chaos in the Union rear. Also caused Lyons' morale to break and he threw in the towel.

So in the end, Price only needed 20 minutes of fight from his troops. It would have been interesting to see the Union counterattack. Thornton is in the wrong hex and a little shove could have caused a Confederate cascade rout.