Rodes’ Division at Gettysburg
As discussed in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I’ve been building 10mm Confederate and Union armies for the American Civil War, using the orders of battle for the first day of the iconic Battle of Gettysburg as my immediate ‘to do’ list. On that day, the leading elements of General A. P. Hill’s Confederate III Corps encountered Buford’s Union 1st Cavalry Division near the Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg. The battle rapidly sucked in the rest of the III Corps, as well as Ewell’s Confederate II Corps, Reynolds’ Union I Corps, Howard’s Union XI Corps and Slocum’s Union XII Corps. Over the next few days the battle would suck in the rest of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac.
My ACW armies are organised for Brigade Fire & Fury rules, which are now in their second edition, whereby each unit or troops represents a brigade, each stand of troops represents 200 men and each gun model represents eight guns.
Major General Robert E. Rodes had rather unusually, never served in the regular pre-war U.S. Army. He had been educated at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and upon graduation had been given a place on the VMI teaching staff. However, a senior professorship was denied to him when Thomas Jackson (later to be immortalised as ‘Stonewall’ Jackson) was selected for that post. Leaving the VMI, Rodes then embarked on a successful career as the senior civil engineer for the Alabama and Chattanooga Railroad Company.
Upon the outbreak of war, Rodes was commissioned into the Confederate Army as Colonel of the 5th Alabama Infantry in Ewell’s Brigade, but very quickly found himself promoted to Brigadier-General, commanding a brigade of D. H. Hill’s Division. Badly wounded at Seven Pines, he returned to action at Gaine’s Mill, but was again hospitalised due to the effects of wounds and sickness. Once recovered, he returned to D. H. Hill’s Division, as part of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Quickly proving himself as an excellent brigade commander, he successfully held one of the hottest sectors of the bloody battlefield Antietam, the Sunken Road, though was wounded once again.
In 1863 Rodes was appointed to command a division in Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s Corps, becoming the very first one of Lee’s divisional commanders who had not graduated from West Point. At Chancellorsville, Rodes’ Division led the devastating flank attack that broke the Union XI Corps. Mortally wounded at Chancellorsville, ‘Stonewall’ Jackson ordered from his death-bed that Rodes be promoted to Major General.
On 1st July 1863, Rodes’ 3rd Division was the first formation of Ewell’s II Corps to arrive on the field of Gettysburg, emerging from the wooded Oak Hill to attack the right flank of the Union I Corps along the railroad cut and the Mummasburg Road. However, Rodes was uncharacteristically cautious during the pursuit of the broken Union formations and they were able to successfully disengage and reform on Cemetery Hill. Rodes’ Division then remained largely idle for the rest of the battle.
After Gettysburg, Rodes continued to have a successful career as a divisional commander, though at the Third Battle of Winchester in September 1864 he was struck in the head by a Union shell fragment and was killed instantly.
Above: Rodes’ 3rd Division of II Corps on parade. For this formation I used all Pendraken’s ‘marching’ poses, including the ‘Right Shoulder Shift’ pack.
Above: Brigadier General Junius Daniel’s 1st Brigade was the strongest brigade in the division, being formed from the 32nd, 43rd, 45th & 53rd North Carolina Infantry Regiments and the 2nd North Carolina Battalion (I’m not sure why this last unit was identified as a ‘Battalion’ – a reserve/replacement unit, perhaps?). This brigade arrived on the right of Rodes’ Division and was immediately thrown into some bitter fighting along the railroad cut, consequently suffering high casualties. Starting the battle with 2,160 men (11 bases in Brigade Fire & Fury), the division suffered 950 casualties, equating to 44%.
Above: Brigadier George Doles’ 2nd Brigade was formed from the 4th, 12th, 21st & 44th Georgia Infantry Regiments and started the Battle of Gettysburg with 1,325 men (7 bases in Brigade Fire & Fury). The Brigade suffered proportionately light casualties during the four days of the battle, losing 220 men or 17% of its strength.
Above: Brigadier General Alfred Iverson’s 3rd Brigade was formed from the 5th, 12th, 20th & 23rd North Carolina Infantry Regiments, totalling 1,385 men (7 bases in Brigade Fire & Fury). Being placed in the centre of Rodes’ line and thrown into the ‘angle’ between Cutler’s and Baxter’s Union Brigades, the brigade suffered proportionately heavy losses; 900 men or 65% of their strength.
Above: Brigadier General Stephen D. Ramseur’s 4th Brigade was yet another formation from North Carolina, comprising the 2nd, 4th, 14th & 30th North Carolina Infantry Regiments. The brigade started Gettysburg with 1,025 men and suffered the loss of 280, or 27% of its strength.
Above: Colonel Edward A. O’Neal’s 5th Brigade was formed from the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 12th and 26th Alabama Infantry Regiments (as mentioned above, Rodes had been Colonel of the 5th Alabama in 1861), for a total of 1,688 men (9 bases). The brigade suffered relatively high losses; 695 men or 41% of its strength.
Above: Lieutenant Colonel Thomas H. Carter’s Divisional Artillery Battalion comprised four batteries, each of four guns:
Captain Reese’s Jefferson Davis Alabama Artillery (4x Ordnance 3-inch Rifles).
Captain Carter’s King William Virginia Artillery (2x 12pdr Napoleons & 2x 10pdr Parrott Rifles).
Captain Page’s Morris Virginia Artillery (4x 12pdr Napoleons).
Captain Fry’s Orange Virginia Artillery (2x Ordnance 3-inch Rifles & 2x 10pdr Parrott Rifles).
In Brigade Fire & Fury, each gun model represents a ‘battery’ of eight guns, so the sixteen guns are here represented by two models; namely an iron 10pdr Parrott Rifle and a brass 12pdr Napoleon. In game terms these are classed as a battery of ‘Light Rifles’ and a battery of mixed ‘Rifles & Napoleons’.
Anyway, that’s it for now. All the models are by Pendraken. More ACW stuff to come, including A.P. Hill’s Confederate Division, Confederate cavalry and the Union XII Corps.