Morning Battle at Fox Gap, South Mountain
September 14, 1862
The spring and summer of 1862 had seen the Army of Northern Virginia defeat two powerful Union armies, one under McClellan in the Peninsular Campaign and one under Pope in the battles near Manassas in northern Virginia. The defeated union forces had fled back to Washington and the security of its fortifications. The victorious General Robert E. Lee was then faced with an important strategic decision … how he and his soldiers would maintain the initiative and set the stage for a Confederate victory in the war.
Lee and the Southern leadership agreed that the best course of action was for Confederate forces to carry the war north. So Lee took his soldiers across the Potomac and for the first time since the commencement of the war nearly a year and half earlier, led a Confederate army onto Union soil. However, almost from the start, things did not go as planned. The Union garrison at Harper’s Ferry did not flee in the face of the advancing Confederates, but dug in and waited for battle. Additionally, McClellan used his extraordinary administrative talents to quickly organize the demoralized Union forces near Washington into a renewed Army of the Potomac. He then also moved to counter Lee’s invasion with uncharacteristic alacrity.
After crossing the Potomac River into Maryland north of Leesburg, Virginia, the Army of Northern Virginia continued north and occupied Frederick. At this point, Lee divided his army with some troops marching to invest Harpers Ferry while others moved west across South Mountain toward Hagerstown … only D. H. Hill’s Division and some of Stuart’s cavalry were left to act as a rear guard. Unfortunately for the Confederates, McClellan and the Army of the Potomac were now in pursuit, and the Union forces marched toward Frederick and South Mountain in multi-corps strength.
On September 14, pitched battles were fought for possession of the three main South Mountain passes: Crampton, Turner, and Fox Gaps. By dusk the outnumbered Confederate defenders were driven back and McClellan was in position to destroy Lee’s army before it could concentrate. However, McClellan’s limited activity on September 15 after his victory at South Mountain condemned the garrison at Harpers Ferry to capture and gave Lee time to unite his scattered divisions at Sharpsburg.
This scenario is designed for use with the Gettysburg Soldiers rules and covers the initial morning engagement fought at Fox Gap between Garland’s and parts of G. B. Anderson’s North Carolinian Brigades (both of D. H. Hill’s Division), and General Cox's Kanawha Division of the Union IX Corps. Later scenarios will cover the afternoon action in the same area when both sides fed reinforcements into the fight.
This scenario requires a small playing area: 4’ x 3’. Terrain should be laid out as shown in the scenario map. Terrain effects for the scenario are as follows:
Woods. The wooded areas are dense and rated rough terrain for movement (rule 17). Shooting distances are limited to 6” (rule 37). Targets in woods cause a -1 fire modifier because of the cover (rule 51).
Cornfields. These areas represent mature standing stalks and are rated rough terrain for movement (rule 17). Shooting distances are limited to 6” (rule 37). Cornfields do not provide any cover.
Elevations. Elevations have a continuous slope, from the lowest to the highest level marked by a crest line. Elevations block line of sight for any stand over 1” beyond the crest line. The defender in hand-to-hand melee receives a +1 modifier for favorable ground if the attacker charged up slope (rule 69).
Walls and Fences. All walls and fences are obstacles for movement (rule 18) and do not block line of sight. In fire combat the firing stands suffer a -1 modifier when firing at any target aligned behind a wood fence, and a -2 when firing at a target behind a stone wall (rule 51). A defending unit aligned behind a stone wall in charge combat received a +1 modifier for defending favorable ground (rule 69).
Roads. Only units in column, limbered artillery, or generals receive the 3” road movement bonus when moving along the Old Sharpsburg Road (rule 16). All other roads are poor and the above units moving along them move at normal rates even through rough terrain.
Buildings. All buildings are wood construction and are obstacles for movement (rule 20). They have no effect on line of sight, but may be occupied by 1 stand of skirmishers. Targets in buildings cause a -1 fire modifier because of the cover (rule 51). Defenders in a building in hand-to-hand melee receive a +1 modifier for favorable ground (rule 69).
Order of Battle
Union Forces: Total Union units represent a force of approximately 2500 men and two guns.
1) Starting units and leaders are deployed as shown on the game map: BG Scammon and 3 infantry regiments; 1 cavalry unit (6 hidden movment marker).
2) Enter turn 3 at A: 1st Battery, Ohio Light Artillery (reduced crew) (2 hidden movement markers).
3) Enter turn 4 at B: 11th Ohio (2 hidden movement markers).
4) Enter turn 5 at A or B: BG Crook, 1st Battalion, 36th Ohio; 2nd Battalion, 36th Ohio (3 hidden movement markers).
Confederate Forces: Total Confederate units represent a force of approximately 2000 men and 6 guns.
1) Starting units and leaders are deployed as shown on the game map: BG Garland and 5 infantry regiments, Jeff Davis battery, 5th Virginia Cavalry, and Pelham’s battery (reduced crew) (12 hidden movement markers).
2) Enter turn 6 at C: brigade leader Tew and 2 infantry regiments (3 hidden movement markers).
The game is played in 12 turns. Do not roll for choice of maneuvering on game turn 1. The Union player automatically has the choice.
Winning the Scenario
Key Position. The Confederate defensive position along the Ridge Road between points X-Y is a key position. One side achieves victory if at the end of the game it was the last side to have only friendly units between X-Y.
Special Scenario Rules
Option Rules. Optional rules 97 and 98 are used in this scenario.
Hidden Movement. It is recommended that players use the Hidden Movement rules (page 19) for this scenario. If they do, the number of hidden movement markers available to each side is as indicated in the Order of Battle above.
Players are NOT required to use the historical setup. However, the starting locations of the hidden movement markers of the CSA player must be between X-Y and no further southeast than the Ridge Road.
The starting locations of the hidden movement markers of the Union player must be between and southeast of a line drawn between the Barn and the Coffman House