Frayser’s farm: wasted opportunity

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frayser’s farm:

wasted opportunity
Map Errata: The compass rose is off; it should be rotated 45 degrees clockwise.
DESIGNER'S NOTE: There were issues regarding the speed of movement of the Union Trains unit and the capacity of (Confederate) entry hexes. Errata has been added to the appropriate Standard Rules sections.
Exclusive Rules

16.0 Introduction

17.0 Set Up

18.0 Victory Conditions

19.0 Special Rules

20.0 Folio Notes

21.0 Orders of Battle

16.0 Introduction

16.1 Historical Background

Just five days earlier, George McClellan’s Union Army of the Potomac had been poised to capture the Confederacy’s capital at Richmond, after a long campaign up Virginia’s James-York Peninsula. A small Federal assault had taken place on 25 June, designed only to seize a good artillery position to support the major attack. It succeeded, but it was too late.

The defending Confederate army–newly renamed the Army of Northern Virginia–had been greatly reinforced, and had received a new commander, Robert E. Lee. On the 26th, Lee opened his own campaign, designed to drive McClellan away from Richmond. In two days, Lee forced McClellan to retreat and to shift his supply base from the northern to the southern shore of the peninsula. That shift was accomplished by moving an enormous column of wagons. All of those wagons had to roll through a crossroads known as Glendale.
Lee surmised McClellan’s intent and route, and planned accordingly. The bulk of his army was to converge on Glendale at mid-morning on the 30th, wreck McClellan’s wagon train, sever the Union army, and possibly trap half of it. McClellan anticipated the attack, concentrating two-thirds of his army around the crossroads, but he absented and appointed no field commander in his stead.
In the end, Lee’s overly-ambitious plan fell apart in inexperienced hands (including his). The greatest failure was by Stonewall Jackson, who lapsed into lethargy (he actually went to sleep for several hours) and made almost no impact on the battle. Only one of the converging columns made it to the intended battlefield, and that column was halted after a ferocious fight west of Glendale, on a farm still known for its previous owner, a man named Frayser. The disjointed Federals held their ground, barely, then stole away that night.

16.2 Course of the Game

The game starts on the morning of 30 June 1862 and runs through the evening of the same day. The Confederate player has superiority of numbers, but must get those numbers moving in concert. He is hindered by rough terrain that separates his force into three parts, one of which is isolated north of the nearly impenetrable White Oak Swamp (note: the compass rose on the map should be rotated 60 degrees cockwise). The Union player, lacking an HQ and therefore relying on die rolls to move his units, must pay close attention to the Confederate progress and begin shifting reserves early. One lapse by the Union player, or a lucky break for the Confederate, will see the Union position collapse before sundown ends the fighting.

16.3 Folio Components

This folio includes a booklet of Standard Rules, these Exclusive Rules (including the Combat Results Table and Terrain Effects Chart), a 17x 22” map (including the Turn Record Track), and a die-cut sheet with 100 counters. The Confederate units have gray backgrounds, the Union units blue.

If any parts are missing or damaged, please write to:

Decision Games, PO Box 21598, Bakersfield, CA 93390-1598.

You can also register this game purchase on-line at: .

Player Note. The limited number of disruption markers is a result of limited counter space; players are free to make any mutually agreeable substitution should additional markers be needed.

17.0 Set Up

17.1 Getting Started

Determine which army each player will command. Lay out the map and sort the units by side and formation. Each player deploys his units on the map or as reinforcements according to the instructions in 17.2 and 17.3 below. Units placed on the map are identified by Formation, ID, and a 4-digit hex number. The notations “w/1” and “w/2” indicate placement within 1 or 2 hexes, respectively, of the specified hex.

Reinforcements are identified by Formation, ID, and an entry location (entry hex or box). The turn of arrival is indicated by a “T” (for example, “T2” means the specified unit is available at the start of the owning player’s movement phase on Turn 2).

The Confederate player is the first player. The game starts with the First Player’s Movement Phase of Game Turn 1. Place the Game Turn marker in the Turn 1 box of the Turn Record Track. There are 7 game turns; at the end of Game Turn 7, determine the winner according to section 18.0.

17.2 Confederate Set Up

HQ: arrives T1 at Entry Hex “F” (3410)

D.H. Hill (Inactive): arrives with Formation 9

Jackson: roll one die at the beginning of each Confederate Movement Phase beginning with Turn 2; on a result of 1, the enters (Active) at Entry Hex “C” (0822)

Longstreet (Active): arrives with Formation 1

Magruder (Inactive): arrives with Formation 4 (along with his brigade)

Formation 1: arrives T1 at Entry Hex “F” (3410)

Formation 2: arrives T2 at Entry Hex “F” (3410)

Formation 3 (except Ransom): roll for each unit on the turns noted; units arrive at Entry Hex “E” (3022)

T1: arrive on 1-2

T2: arrive on 1-4

T3: arrive automatically

Formation 3 (Ransom): roll each turn starting with T3; on a result of “1”, the unit arrives at Entry Hex “D” (2123)

Formation 4: arrives T3 at Entry Hex “F” (3410)

Formation 5: arrives T3 at Entry Hex “F” (3410)

Formation 6: arrives T3 at Entry Hex “F” (3410)

Formation 7: roll for each unit on the turns noted; units arrive at Entry Hex “C” (0822)

T1: arrive on 1

T2: arrive on 1-3

T3: arrive automatically

Formation 8: roll for each unit on the turns noted; units arrive at Entry Hex “C” (0822)

T2: arrive on 1-2

T3: arrive automatically

Formation 9: arrives T4 at Entry Hex “C” (0822)

Formation 10: arrives T3 at Entry Hex “C” (0822)

Trains: None

LOC: Entry Hexes C, E, F & G.

Replacements: none.

17.3 Union Set Up

[Note: Formations 5, 6, & 8 are not present.]

HQ: none (treat as permanently Inactive)

Sumner (Active): with any unit of Formation 2

Formation 1: w/1–0817

Formation 2: w/1–1410

Formation 3: w/2–1406

Formation 4: w/2–1915

Formation 7: 1101, 1201, and/or 1301

Formation 9: w/2–1611

Formation 10: w/2–2419

Formation 11: w/1–0618

Trains (Wagon Train): T3 at Entry Hex “B” (0117)

LOC: Hex 1101

Replacements: none

18.0 Victory Conditions

18.1 Confederate Victory

The Confederate player wins if any one of the following conditions are met:

1) the Union wagon train fails to reach hex 1101;

2) a Confederate combat unit enters any hex of Malvern Hill (hexes 1101, 1201, 1301, 1302, or 1401) at any time;

3) at the end of Turn 7, a Confederate unit occupies any road hex between 1101 (Malvern Hill) and 1512 (Glendale) inclusive; or

4) at least six Union brigades are destroyed or captured (not just off map due to elimination or panic).

18.2 Union Victory

The Union player wins if Huger (Confederate Formation 3) and Jackson (Confederate Formations 7-10) are not under command of the Lee HQ at the end of the game (see 19.2).

18.3 Winning a Drawn Battle

If neither player achieves the conditions set forth above, or both do, the battle is drawn and the game is won on victory points (VP). Each player receives the following points.

1 VP for each enemy unit destroyed (see 11.2); do not count eliminated steps or routed units on the TRT.

1 VP for each leader casualty.

2 VP for each unit or leader captured.

4 VP for a captured enemy HQ or train.

The player with the greatest total wins, but if the total point count for the winner is less than 10, consider the game a draw.

19.0 Special Rules

19.1 The Union Wagon Train

The logistical apparatus of both armies was in turmoil; the Confederates because of their rapid advance, the Union because of the transfer of bases. As a result, neither side has a train unit.

The Union wagon train counter represents the tail end of the massive wagon train involved in McClellan’s change of base (and one of Lee’s targets in this battle). As with a normal trains unit, it moves, fights, cannot stack with any units, and produces FOW after Confederate attacks; however, it provides none of the usual trains benefits for the Union player. It is included solely for victory purposes (see 18.1 and 19.3). It can exit the map only from hex 1101 by expending one MP.

19.2 The Confederate HQ

Lee (the HQ counter) traveled with the main strike force (Formations 1, 2 and 4-6). The other columns effectively operated independently. The Confederate HQ acts as the HQ only for those five formations. The others are treated as having an inactive HQ. This restriction is lifted the moment a Confederate unit enters the Glendale crossroads (1512); it does not matter if the hex is later left unoccupied or is retaken by the Union player.

19.3 The River Road Option

Lee’s biggest decision–and probably his biggest mistake–during the battle was the diversion of Magruder’s command (Formations 4, 5 & 6) to the River Road (off the south map edge) in an attempt to strike the Federal flank on Malvern Hill. The diversion did have the potential of hitting the Union wagon train as it crossed Malvern Hill, but Magruder’s departure gave the Union numerical superiority in the final clash at Frayser’s Farm. (Magruder got lost on the return trip and did not show up until after sundown.)

To exercise the option, any or all Confederate units of Formations 4, 5 and/or 6 must exit the map from hex 3101. Each unit must expend one MP to exit the map; they may use march movement. In each subsequent Confederate Combat Phase, as long as the Union wagon train is still on the map, the Confederate may attempt to strike. Count the total number of Confederate counters that have exited from 3101 (leaders, battalions, artillery all count as long as there are at least an equal number of infantry brigades with them). Roll a die, subtract the result from the number of Confederate counters. The result is the number of VP awarded to the Confederate player (representing a certain number of wagons destroyed and havoc spread).

Once the wagon train has exited the map, the Confederate units may return to the map. Roll for the MA of each unit. They may not use march movement on the turn they reenter the map.

19.4 The White Oak Swamp and the Ford Counters

The White Oak Swamp was a narrow river with wide, marshy banks. For the most part it was impassable to large units. However, with some diligence, crossing points could be (and were) found. The two ford counters are available to the Confederate player at the beginning of the game. They are used to identify “unknown” crossings on the White Oak Swamp. The Confederate player may play each counter every turn until it is placed. To use a counter, place it on any hex of the White Oak at the end of any Confederate Movement Phase. Roll one die. On a result of 1-3 a crossing has been found and may be used in any subsequent movement (by either side). On a roll of 4-6, no crossing has been found; remove the counter until the next turn. The counter may be played in the same hex more than once (failure represents a search of only a small portion of the river).

20.0 Folio Notes

20.1 Designer’s Notes

Frayser’s Farm (aka Glendale) is a particular interest of mine, one of the great “what-ifs” of the war. Had all the Confederates fought as intended, the Union 2nd and 6th Corps, and a division each from the 3rd and 5th, could have been cut off from McClellan’s new base, and possibly captured. Assuming the Union reinforcements had come up from the south to prevent that outcome, it would have been the biggest battle of the war to that time and eclipsed by few others that actually were fought over the next three years. As it turned out, only a few divisions on either side were involved, and the battle itself was overshadowed by the slaughter at Malvern Hill the next day.

The greatest challenge in the design was incorporating the disjointed nature of the Confederate approach and dealing with the diversion of Magruder. Without those events–in other words, if the Confederates could just charge right in–it would have been a different battle. (Players are free to experiment with the possibilities, but playing the Union side will be a lot less fun.) Rule 19.2 is based on the assumption that Confederate seizure of the crossroads would bring the fighting to such a state that Huger and Jackson would have no choice but to pitch in.

20.2 Confederate Player Notes

This is a frustrating game for you. You have the numbers to do real damage to the Union army, but have little control over large portions of it. Your biggest single decision is what to do with Magruder. If you just pile him up behind Longstreet it will improve the odds at Glendale, but allows the Union player to concentrate his defense. On the other hand, the River Road option almost certainly will yield some VP, but if you’re going to do it, do it right: send Magruder’s whole force and send it as soon as possible, then get it back on the map as soon as possible. Another option is to send it down the trail toward Malvern Hill. This will give the Union player something to think about and almost certainly will draw Hooker’s division away from Glendale. Whatever else you do, hit hard when you hit; you have to break open the Union line and force him to start maneuvering so you can exploit your speed advantage.

20.3 Union Player Notes

This is a frustrating game for you. Your only real option is to hunker down and await the Confederate onslaught, as sorties would expose your units to isolation if they could not move fast enough to get back. Your line is long and thin, so you must keep a reserve. On the other hand, you cannot afford to concentrate it too much; it has to be spread to every point where an attack looms. Whatever else you do, keep the road clear for the wagon train; you’re not really safe until it is off the map.

21.0 Orders of Battle

Formations noted in [brackets].

Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia (part)

Longstreet’s Division [1]: J.R. Anderson, Archer, Branch, Field, Gregg, Pender, Walton (8,750 men, c.20 guns)

A.P. Hill’s Division [2]: R.H. Anderson, Featherston, Kemper, Pickett, Pryor, Wilcox, Walker (9,500 men, c.20 guns)

Huger’s Division [3]: Armistead, Mahone, Ransom, Wright, Huger’s Artillery (11,500 men, c.20 guns)

John Magruder’s Command

D.R. Jones Division [4]: G.T. G.T. Anderson, Toombs, Garnett (2,500 men, c.20 guns)

McLaws’ Division [5]: Kershaw, Semmes (4,000 men)

Magruder’s Division [6]: Cobb, Griffith, S.D. Lee (4,500 men, c.20 guns)

T.J. Jackson’s Command

Jackson’s (Winder’s) Division [7]: Fulkerson, J.R. Jones, Lawton, Winder, (7,500 men)

Crutchfield’s Artillery [7]: c.50 guns from all four divisions

Ewell’s Division [8]: Elzey, Johnson, Taylor, Trimble (8,250 men)

D.H. Hill’s Division [9]: G.B. Anderson, Colquitt, Garland, Ripley, Rodes, Jones (8,750 men, c.20 guns)

Whiting’s Division [10]: Hood & Law (3,000 men)

Total Strength: 75,250 infantrymen, 180+ guns

(The Confederate artillery was in the process of organizing from a chaotic collection of batteries. Many of the guns were obsolete or unfit for field service. The numbers given here are approximate at best.)

George B. McClellan’s Union Army of the Potomac (part)

[brigade ID = Brigade # / Division # / Corps #]

William Sumner’s 2nd Corps

Richardson’s 1st Division [1]: 1/1/2, 2/1/2, 3/1/2, Art/1/2 (7,750 men, 14 guns)

Sedgwick’s 2nd Division [2]: 1/2/2, 2/2/2, 3/2/2, Art/2/2 (8,750 men, 18 guns)

Samuel Heintzelman’s 3rd Corps

Hooker’s 1st Division [3]: 1/1/3, 2/1/3, 3/1/3, Art/1/3 (8,750 men, 24 guns)

Kearny’s 2nd Division [4]: 1/2/3, 2/2/3, 3/2/3, Art/2/3 (8,250 men, 24 guns)

Fitz-John Porter’s 5th Corps

Morell’s 1st Division [7]: 1/1/5, 2/1/5, 3/1/5, Art/1/5 (8,500 men, 24 guns)

McCall’s 3rd (Pennsylvania Reserve) Division [9]: 1/3/5, 2/3/5, 3/3/5, Art/ 3/5 (6,500 men, 24 guns)

William Franklin’s 6th Corps

Slocum’s 1st Division [10]: 1/1/6, 2/1/6 3/1/6, Art/1/6 (5,250 men, 18 guns)

Smith’s 2nd Division [11]: 1/2/6, 2/2/6, 3/2/6, Art/2/6 (7,500 men, 24 guns)

Total Strength: 69,250 infantrymen, 182 guns


Design: Chris Perello

Map: Joseph Youst

Counters: Larry Hoffman

Production: Callie Cummins

© 2010 Decision Games, Bakersfield, CA.Made and printed in the USA. [MSFraysersRules_V5]

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