The Battle of Shiloh was fought in southwestern Tennessee between Albert Sydney Johnston’s Confederate Army of Mississippi and U.S. Grant’s Union Army of the Tennessee, reinforced during the fighting by Don Carlos Buell’s Union Army of the Ohio. In February 1862, Grant had captured Forts Henry and Donelson (the latter including 15,000 prisoners), opening the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, respectively, to the Union Navy. One armada of boats deposited Grant’s army at Pittsburgh Landing on the western bank of the Tennessee, just 20 miles from the vital rail town of Corinth, Mississippi. Before he could advance on Corinth, Grant had to wait for Buell, whose army had taken Nashville (24 February) and was proceeding overland toward Pittsburgh Landing. Grant also needed time to incorporate a stream of new regiments into his army. Layers were added to the encampment as men arrived. Ominously, the newest units were placed farthest from the landing and closest to the Confederates.
The Confederates were growing stronger as well. Alarmed by the Union advance–the loss of Corinth would sever the only through-rail connection between the Mississippi valley and the Confederate heartland–they were pouring men into the town. From all over the South, especially the Gulf coast, units hurried to join Johnston. His concentration incomplete, Johnston’s hand was forced by the imminent arrival of Buell. Hoping to strike before the Union armies combined, he planned a lighting descent on Grant to begin 3 April.
Johnston’s approach march was a disaster. It took three days for the raw Confederates to cover the distance to Grant’s outer perimeter. Convinced Grant must have observed the arrival, Johnston nearly called off the assault.
At dawn on 6 April, however, a Union advance led by a nervous brigade commander made contact with the Confederate front line. The decision made for him, Johnston ordered his first line forward.
The battle that followed was sloppily fought by both sides: the generals were as new to their tasks as the soldiers were to theirs. The recruits in the first Union line collapsed quickly, but a second line was formed along a ridge behind Shiloh Church, protected on one flank by an impassable creek, and on the other by a strongpoint centered on a sunken road.
A series of frontal assaults made little headway; the horrendous losses included Johnston himself. Eventually, superior Confederate numbers told. Grant’s line collapsed in mid-afternoon, but by then he had built a new line around his last division, belatedly arriving from a subsidiary base at Savannah, and Buell’s first division, just reaching the field. The exhausted Confederates could make no headway against the final line.
In the morning, the new arrivals spearheaded a Union counterattack. Several slashing Confederate assaults limited the advance, but by midday the Confederates withdrew. The armies were back where they started, minus 23,000 casualties–by far the most ever lost in a single day’s battle on the North American continent. Corinth would fall seven weeks later.
16.2 Course of the Game
The game starts at dawn on 6 April and runs through the afternoon of 7 April. The Confederate player begins the game with superior numbers in position to attack scattered and unready Union forces. He must hurry to seize Grant’s base at Pittsburgh Landing before Union reinforcements arrive to tip the balance. The Union player has to hang on through the first day, then try to crush the Confederates on the second.
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 22У map (including the Turn Record Track), and a die-cut sheet of 80 counters. The Confederate units have gray backgrounds, the Union units blue.
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. Reinforcements are identified by formation, ID, and a 4-digit hex number or an entry hex. The turn of arrival is indicated by a ТTУ (for example, ТT2У 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 Confederate Movement Phase of Game Turn 1. Place the Game Turn marker in the first box of the Turn Record Track. Place the Confederate Fresh/Fatigued marker in the Turn 6 box on the TRT with its Fresh side up. There are 17 game turns; at the end of Game Turn 17, determine the winner according to section 18.0.
17.2 Confederate Set Up
Confederate HQ (Active): 0422
Johnston (Effective): 0422
Beauregard (Effective): 0422
Bragg (Effective): 0422
Formation 1: Arrives T1 at Entry Hex ТCУ (0125)
Anderson, Artillery - 0320
Gibson - 0521
Pond - 0420
Gladden - 1021
Chalmers, Artillery - 0722
Jackson - 0822
Cleburne, one Artillery unit - 0619
Shaver - 0720
Wood, one Artillery unit - 0820
Formation 5: Arrives T2 at Entry Hex ТCУ (0125)
LOC Hex: 0125 (see also 19.1)
Replacements: one replacement step every turn the Confederate HQ begins the movement phase active.
17.3 Union Set Up
The Union units camped elsewhere than at Pittsburgh Landing arrive as reinforcements; the turn of their arrival varies with a die roll to reflect the uncertainty of their march speeds. The units around the landing were awake and under arms when the battle started, but only for morning muster, not for combat. Formations 5 (except 2/5) and 6 were in position, alarmed and shaky. This is reflected in by the Surprise rule (see 19. 4). The rest of the units were scattered around their individual camps and took time to get organized (i.e. to appear on the map in game terms).
To simulate this uncertainty, set all of Formations 1, 2, and 4, and the 2/5 counter, in an opaque container off to the side. At the beginning of the Union Movement Phase on Turn 1, roll one die and pull that number of units out of the container and place them on the map. Each unit must be placed unstacked on or adjacent to its encampment hex (see below for locations). At the beginning of the Union Movement Phase on Turn 2, roll two dice and place that number of units. Place any remaining units on the map at the beginning of the Union Movement Phase on Turn 3. If at any time a Confederate unit moves adjacent to an Encampment, any unit(s) associated with that camp still off-map are placed immediately; halt the Confederate movement while this takes place. Make a morale check for each unit so placed; if it fails, it is Disrupted. Placed units may move and fight normally on the turn of placement.
Union HQ: Arrives (Inactive) T3 at Entry Hex A (1910)
Grant: Arrives (Effective) T3 at Entry Hex A (1910)
Formation 0 (except Gunboat): Arrives T3 at Entry Hex A (1910)
Formation 0 (Gunboat): Arrives T7 (see 19.2)
Formation 1 (except 3/1): Arrives by placement at Encampment Hex 0810
Formation 1 (3/1 only): Arrives by placement at Encampment Hex 1014
Formation 2: Arrives by placement at Encampment Hex 1408
Formation 3: Roll for arrival on the turns noted. The Formation enters at Entry Hex B (1103)
T6: arrives on 1-2
T7: arrives on 1-4
T8: arrives automatically
Formation 4: Arrives by placement at Encampment Hex 1612
Formation 5 (except 2/5):
Sherman (Ineffective) - 0915
1/5 - 0715
3/5 - 0917
4/5 - 0915
Art/5 - 0914
Formation 5 (2/5 only): Arrives by placement at Encampment Hex 1818
1/6 - 1118
2/6 - 1318
Art/6 - 1216
Formation 7: Arrives T10 at Entry Hex A (1910)
Formation 8: Roll for each unit on T8. On a 1-2 the unit arrives on T8; on a 3-6 it arrives on T9. All units enter at Entry Hex ТAУ (1910).
Formation 9: Arrives T9 at Entry Hex A (1910)
LOC: Hexes 1103 and/or 1910
Replacements: one replacement step every turn the Union HQ begins the Movement Phase Active
18.0 Victory Conditions
18.1 Confederate Victory
The Confederate player wins if at the end of any game turn there is a Confederate unit in either hex 1809 or 1910.
18.2 Union Victory
The Union player wins if at the end of any Union combat phase there is a Union unit in hex 0125.
18.3 Winning a Drawn Battle
If neither player achieves the conditions set forth above, 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 fewer than 10, consider the game a draw.
19.0 Special Rules
19.1 Union Gunboat
The gunboat acts like an artillery unit in all respects except it moves by river. The gunboats can enter any hex with at least some river in it (not just all-river hexes - e.g. hex 1910). The gunboat can add its combat factor to any Union unit in the same or an adjacent hex. It may move any distance each turn (meaning the Union player may place the gunboats on any river or shoreline hex each turn).
The Confederates did not catch Union soldiers asleep, but the scale and intensity of the attack were a surprise to both the Union soldiers and their commanders. During the Confederate Movement Phase of Turn 1, make a morale check for a Union unit each time a Confederate unit enters its ZOC. The first time a unit fails a morale check, it is disrupted. The second time it fails, it routs; any adjacent Confederate unit may advance two hexes. In the following Union Movement Phase of Game Turn 1, all Union MA die rolls are halved (round up).
19.3 Confederate Fatigue
At the beginning of the Confederate Movement Phase on Turn 6, roll a die. On a result of 1-3, the Confederate army is fatigued; flip the Fresh/Fatigued marker to its Fatigued side. On a roll of 4-6, move the marker to the next turn. Repeat the process every turn until turn 10; if the Confederates do not become fatigued by then, remove the marker from play.
If the Confederates become fatigued, they remain fatigued until the end of Turn 10. Remove the marker at that time. The effects of fatigue are as follows.
1) Each Confederate unit must make a morale check upon entering an EZOC (units already in EZOC make no check). If the unit fails, it is disrupted (units already disrupted suffer no further effect).
2) After any Confederate attack yielding anNE, Ex, or any A result, the Union player receives an FOW (in addition to any awarded by the CRT or after a rout).
3) After any Union attack yielding anEx or any D result, the Union player receives an FOW in addition to any awarded after a rout.
20.0 Folio Notes
20.1 Designer’s Notes
The battle of Shiloh is a classic situation: one army gets the jump on another, which must fight for survival until rescued. The original Blue & Gray version was marred by poor terrain analysis, inaccurate deployment, and a truly terrible Union ‘Panic’ rule mandating Union retreats the first two turns (given the original rules, it was the only way the Confederates could get enough of a ТbulgeУ on the Union to make a victory possible).
Victory conditions were relatively easy to configure, as each player is pushed to do what each planned to do historically. It’s basically a game of ‘Capture the Flag,’ with the opposing LOC/HQ hexes as the flags.
The absence of cavalrymen in the game (though several thousand were present) is a result of two factors: the lack of counters, and the fact that the cavalry really did little, particularly the scattered Union troopers.
20.2 Confederate Player Notes
You have a couple of critical decisions early in the game about where to deploy your reinforcements. You will be tempted to avoid the Sunken Road fortress, but channeling all your forces onto the Shiloh Church ridge will constrict your front and leave you unable to employ your superior numbers. Stretch the Union line as much as possible, use your leaders, and charge. If you have not reached the Cloud Field area by Turn 6, you will have only a slight chance of grabbing the Union HQ.
If you fail to do so, do not despair–yet. If you have inflicted enough damage on the Federals, particularly if you have caused the Union HQ to displace, you retain a chance of winning in the early turns of the second day. Failing that, do as Beauregard did and hammer each Union advance. You will lose the battle in real terms (as the Confederates did), but may pull out a good draw (as was the case historically) by slowing the Union advance.
20.3 Union Player Notes
The combination of deployment and terrain make two events almost inevitable. The Union first line (5th & 6th Divisions) will not last long, but the remaining Federals will form a solid line. The question is where that line will be formed.
Sooner or later, the line should move toward the Sunken Road sooner rather than later. It is a strong position in itself, provides a pivot for counterattacks, and cuts the Confederates’ lateral mobility. However, it is vulnerable to a turning movement from the west, around Duncan’s Field. Holding that flank requires maintaining control of the ridge behind Shiloh Church. That will take careful play and a few good die rolls if the Confederates reach it in strength before Turn 4.
Eventually the line will be forced back, but timing is crucial. Wait too long, and you risk losing units along the front (as Grant did). Move too soon, and the Confederates will get into striking distance of the landing with plenty of daylight and some fresh units.
On the second day, slow and steady is your watchword, but beware being too slow. If you have not reached the Purdy Road by midday, you probably will not be able to reach the Confederate LOC hex.