The Battle of Seven Pines May 31, 1862
This is the battle of Seven Pines, running from May 31st through June 1st of 1862. The Union has two corps that are deployed just to the north of the White Oak Swamp. The Federal 4th Corps commanded by General Erasmus Keyes is defending Seven Pines and has General Silas Casey’s 2nd Division deployed in the redoubt along Williamsburg Road. Fair Oaks Station is just the north of General Casey’s position. Meanwhile General Joseph Hooker and Brigadier General Philip Kearney are stationed east along the Williamsburg Road. General Samuel Heintzelman is in charge of the action.
The Confederates are led by General Joseph Johnston, who sees an opportunity to catch the Union forces in a weakened position, south of the Chickahominy.Johnston’s headquarters is set up at the Old Tavern on the Nine Mile Road. General D.H. Hill is deployed amongst the woods along the Williamsburg Road with orders to attack the Union position to the east and capture Seven Pines and then press onward to the next crossroads.
General Huger’s Division has orders to defend Charles City Road.
General Anderson’s Division has divisional goals. Pickett and Kemper have orders to move to the railroad along Gillies Creek near the Long’s place. Prior, Colson, and Wilcox have orders to join Huger in defending the Charles City Road.
Hampering all of the potential for the Confederate attack, is the fact that it has rained all night. Streams are going to cost a lot more in time to cross, plus 5 movement points. Additionally, the bridge over Gillies Creek has been washed out.
Meanwhile the Left Wing, led by General G.W. Smith, has orders to attack the Union position at Fair Oaks Station and then to move on to capture Orchard Station. These orders are in delay because of the waiting for Huger’s Division to trigger the action.
Victory points are awarded for enemy losses, wrecked formations and terrain features. The Main features that will be fought over are Fair Oaks Station and Seven Pines. The Union gains 2 VP each for holding them, while the Confederate player collects 3 VP for capturing and holding them.
1:00 pm 31 May, 1862
Confederate. General Pickett’s Brigade pulls out in column and marches up the road toward the Long plantation. Colson’s Brigade heads south and leads a force along the Charles City Road, to meet up with General Huger, who is just northwest of White’s Tavern. Colson is followed by Wilcox, who in turn is followed by Prior’s Brigade, all in column.
In the center, D.H. Hill’s Division advances toward Seven Pines. His men are in line formation, with extended lines so the march is slow. His forces remain under the cover of the woods on either side of the Williamsburg Road.
General Johnston wants Huger’s men to move, so he sends orders out to capture the Portuguese Road at the crossroads south of Seven Pines. This is a VP location. (3 VP for the Union, 1 VP for the Confederates). A courier rides out to Huger’s headquarters. It is expected that the orders will arrive at about 2:30 pm. Huger’s Division is over seven miles southeast of the Army headquarters.
Union. Meanwhile the Federal 3-3 Division advances toward the defensive position at Seven Pines.
I am using extension markers to show how spread out the brigades become when they enter column formation.
1:30 pm 31 May, 1862
Confederate. Colson, Wilson and Prior’s detached troops march in column along the Charles City Road. Colson’s unit makes it as far as the crossing with Miller Road. Pickett’s Brigade also continues its march in column and arrives at the railroad at about 1:30. There he shifts his troops into line formation.
On the Williamsburg Road, General D.H. Hill sends the artillery forward and unlimbers it. Garland’s Brigade deploys in the center with the artillery battery, while Rhodes’ men cover the right flank. Meanwhile, Rains and Featherson’s brigades continue to march forward through the woods.
General Hill orders the artillery to fire on the Union position on Williamsburg Road. Palmer’s Brigade is the unlucky recipient and the troops are hit. They fail their morale check and become shaken, falling back one hex. Now, the Confederate Army has only 44 Ammo points left.
Union. While the Confederate artillery is firing away at the 2nd Division, the Federals’ 3rd Division (3rd Corps) advances toward the redoubts. Palmer’s brigade, although shaken, moves back into the redoubt on the highway west of Seven Pines. Then it recovers its morale.
This photo shows Hill’s Division on a divisional goal, attacking toward Seven Pines. The US 4th Corps holds the position using the redoubts which provide a little more protection. Hill is cautiously using his artillery battery to hit the target, before sending the infantry rushing in.