Saturday, April 25, 2015

ANZAC Day - 100 years since Gallipoli

To my friends / readers in Australia & New Zealand...


World Penguin Day - April 25th

Go and hug a penguin today!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Guerrilla Warfare in Civil War Missouri Pt 4

As promised in the last entry...
An unauthorized campaign / raid

The Enrolled Missouri Militia (EMM) was never designed to be the point of the spear.  It was a part-time force that was mainly used for guarding key points or responding to local emergencies, sort of a Home Guard like what Britain had in WWII.  They were also used for local guides for other military columns.  This was the case with the 68th EMM under Col. James Lindsay out of the 'Boothill' region of Missouri.  Col. Lindsay had recently been used to repair some local roads & bridges as well as providing guides to Brig. Gen. John W. Davidson's "Army of Southeast Missouri."  This duty was not very interesting to Col. James Lindsay, so he decided to be more pro-active with his command.  So on January 27, 1863, he lead his command of 140 men and two home-made cannons manufactured from a local forge, against Bloomfield, MO, which is the county seat of Stoddard County.  This action was not consulted with the regional Union authorities.  In Bloomfield was a rebel force of six companies of Col. William L. Jeffers' newly raised regiment under Captains James A Cooper, Jesse Ellison, and other unnamed officers.  Never expecting a raid by the EMM, the rebel officers broke and fled.  Col. Lindsay's men captured 52 rebels and there were no deaths on either side.  

The mutiny 
Post-Civil War group photograph, circa 1890, of either a Grand Army of the Republic encampment or a reunion of the 6th Missouri Cavalry (US)
Bloomfield, MO, was garrisoned by several different Union formations throughout the war.  In the fall of 1863, the garrison in Bloomfield was the 2nd Battalion of the 6th MO Cavalry (Co's A, D, E, & L) and the Battery E, 2nd MO Artillery.  In command of this garrison was Major Samuel Montgomery of the 6th MO Cav.  

Lt. Herman J Huiskamp, 6th MO Cav, Co. D, early 1863

By late October, there was much ill feeling about Maj. Montgomery by his men.  Several of the officers were starting to believe that Maj. Montgomery was going to betray the garrison to rebels.  There was several legitimate reasons for them to be concern that the Maj. Montgomery's loyalties might be questionable.  1) He was allowing returning Confederate soldiers to return to their homes without swearing an oath or posting a bond to not take up arms against the Union; 2) He was associating with locals of south sympathies, including being romantically involved with one; 3) He spoke harshly when referring to President Lincoln, Missouri Governor Gamble, or other noted northern leaders; 4) He also allowed the sales of contraband items to "notorious secessionists".  

On the night of October 21, 1863, several of the officers finally decided to take action against Maj. Montgomery.  So on the morning of the 22nd, they arrested Maj. Montgomery while having the whole artillery battery drawn up and aimed the post headquarters and placed armed guards with the telegraph operator to prevent a message for help to be sent.  Later that morning the mutiny finally cooled off and everyone stood down.  

Two captains and two lieutenants of the 6th MO Cav. and 2nd Lt. V.B.S. Reber of the 2nd MO Art. were arrested for the mutiny, tried, and then discharged with dishonorable discharges.  However with the invention of radical northern leaders, including President Lincoln, Gov. Gamble reinstated the officers from the 6th MO Cav., but not Lt. Reber as he was determined to be the ringleader of the mutiny.  Maj. Montgomery was not questioned by authorities regarding to the mutineers' charges of dis-loyalties.  Within weeks of the mutiny, Maj. Montgomery did married the local pro-southern lady. But things had become so critical with the morale of the garrison of Bloomfield, that the 6th MO Cav. was relocated to Pilot Knob, MO, and another unit was relocated to Bloomfield.  

But the story does not end there.  In November, the Union command had become aware of a large Confederate force from Arkansas might move on Bloomfield and a warning went out to the new garrison in Bloomfield of 250 men and two small mountain howitzers under Captain Valentine Preuitt of the 1st MO Cav.  On November 29, Confederate Col. Lee Crandall of Arkansas, with a newly formed unit of 350 men, surrounded the town of Bloomfield.  Capt. Preuitt fell back from their fortifications outside of town to quick barricades around the courthouse in the town square.  The Union fired a few rounds from their howitzers at the rebel positions in the surrounding hills and forced them to seek cover.  About an hour later, Col. Crandall sent a request for the Union forces to surrender or be fired upon.  Capt. Preuitt replied that they can open fire whenever they pleased and the Union troops would be ready to receive it, then he open fired with his artillery again.  The rebels decided not to attack but to lay around the town and wait for reinforcements.  On the morning of Nov. 30, the Union received reinforcements from two forces, Major Josephus Robbins and two companies of the 2nd MSM Cav. from Cape Girardeau, MO, and the other force from Pilot Knob of the 2nd Battalion of the 6th MO Cav. under...Major Samuel Montgomery.  As Col. Crandall realized that now the Union had the upper hand, he retreated to the St. Francis River on the Arkansas border.  

The senior ranking Union officer now in Bloomfield was Maj. Montgomery.  Allegedly, he suffered a case timidity fearing that the rebels would be laying a trap for the pursuing Union forces.  So he only allowed Capt. Preuitt's force of 250 men to purse the retreating rebels, while he held the remaining 400 men & two howitzers in Bloomfield.  After several hours of arguing with Maj. Robbins, he finally decided to use the rest of the command to pursue the retreating rebels.  However it was too late and the rebels slipped through the Union lines back into Arkansas. 

The steamer named HOPE
CITY OF ALTON in St. Louis in the 1860's.  The HOPE was about 50' shorter.
The HOPE was a side-wheeler steamer of 238' in length and weighing in at 595-ton.  It was used during the Civil War to run supplies up and down the Mississippi River out of St. Louis, MO.  Sometime during her port in St. Louis, a rebel saboteur placed combustibles in one of her staterooms.  Then on Sept. 12, 1863, there was a fire almost got out of control, but the steamer was saved.  Shortly afterwards, the HOPE sailed down to Cairo, IL, carrying government supplies destined to go further south, probably to Memphis, TN.  While in Cairo, the rebel saboteur Robert Louden, who successfully destroyed the RUTH on Aug 4th, 1863, also placed an incendiary bomb on the HOPE.  About 5 p.m., on Sept. 16th, near Lucas Bend just a few miles south of New Madrid, MO, the incendiary device caught the HOPE on fire.  The crew was able to get the HOPE to shore and get the cargo of government horses and some of the ship's furniture off the ship with no lost of life, but lost the 1500 sacks of oats and 84 bales of hay on board.  By scuttling the HOPE, the water successfully put out the fire in the hull of the ship.  The crew worked until midnight pumped out the water and sail the HOPE back up to St. Louis.  
Lucas Bend should be somewhere between the star fort west of New Madrid and before the next fort on the map downstream.
But the story of the HOPE does not end there.  The HOPE was built on the hull of a previous steamer, the T.L. McGILL.  The T.L. McGILL was partially destroyed by a fire in St. Louis on Oct. 27, 1862.  The owners just replaced the upper structure on the hull.  Due to legal issues, the owners of the HOPE were forced to rename the HOPE back to the T.L. McGILL in 1864.  The T.L. McGILL survived the war only to be lost in 1871 in Memphis...due to a fire.

And as Paul Harvey would say, "and now, you know... the rest of the story"


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Guerrilla Warfare in Civil War Missouri Part 3

George Caleb Bingham's, 'Order No 11' - 1868

This will not be a very heavy review of the second volume of Guerrilla Warfare in Civil War Missouri, (1863), but I am well over half way through the main body of book (excluding the index, bibliographies, etc.)  In 1863, for the most part, the guerrillas are now fairly veteran (although there are some newly raised and green units too) and there is less and less accounts of Union forces catching them by surprise while at rest. However, the violence to non-combatants by both sides has really ramped up.  Citizens of both sympathies are being robbed, exiled, tortured, and murdered by both sides.  I just finished the chapter that covered the Lawrence, Kansas, raid and the Union’s “Great Guerrilla Hunt” immediately after that.  The author is very good in trying to be neutral on all of this and tries to explain why the events happened the way that they did.  A good example is the much hated General Ewing’s General Order Number 11.  He shows why Ewing ordered it and what would have probably happen had it not been given.   Most likely, there would have been a great massacre of civilians by Kansas troops in the western Missouri counties.  The author also explains why the Order was so brutal and hated at the time and why it still affects the opinion of some people today.  I was quite impressed with his very neutral tone.

Sgt. James Blake - 4th Missouri State Militia Cavalry
In the first half of 1863, certain units of the Union forces where either well respected or well hated by the guerrillas.  There were several examples of mercy given by both sides, but only to specific units or individuals.  Two examples of this are the following:  1) a well-known former guerrilla leader was caught at his home by members of the Union forces.  As they started to burn his home and to shoot him, he gave the Masonic hand signal for distress.  Probably the Union leader or at least several Union men were also Freemasons, so spared his life and his home, but took all of his weapons – this was probably only so as the guerrilla leader allegedly gave up being a guerrilla months earlier.  Had he still been active, I suspect that they would had instead arrested him, but not shoot him on the spot; 2) Several guerrilla bands, including Quantrill’s, had a respect for the 1st Cavalry, Missouri State Militia (MSM), because they rarely harmed the southern civilians and their prisoners, whereas they had a great hatred for the 5th (old) Cavalry, MSM, as they were normally very brutal to civilians and prisoners alike.  In one case, a steamer was captured that had unarmed soldiers on it.  The guerrillas sorted out those that they believed were from the 1st Cav., MSM, and those they believed to have been from the 5th (old) Cav., MSM.  The guerrillas paroled the soldiers from the First and executed those from the Fifth.  Also in this same event, the guerrillas murdered a number of black men that were escaped slaves trying to get to Kansas.

There are several good small level skirmishes and battles discussed in the book.  While they is are not very detailed, they do give you some information that can be gamed.  Again, one of the main things is the small numbers of killed on either side in the battles.  Generally, unless the guerrillas were conducting a raid, the guerrillas would run away after a few rounds from either an ambush or being discovered.  I think that the guerrillas act more in the terms as a “force in being”.  In other words, they only exist to be a threat and not to be engaged in actual combat.  If they are forced into combat except where they had planned, they must immediately withdraw to still remain a threat.  So in any games using the guerrillas, as soon as they meet any real resistance, they should break contact and escape.

Currently, I am still working away from home, so I am not sure if my Company D figures showed up yet or not.  Hopefully they will be waiting for me when I get back and I can post a review of them, plus a few pictures.  I order at least one pack of each of the items that they have available for the Missouri guerrilla war, but did order a second pack of mounted MSM and couple packs of horse holders for both sides.  I will also have to sort through my Foundry’s Border War figures that I have (I am fairly sure that I have one pack of each) and look at what size of a force that I will have for everything.  For example, the mounted MSM will have 20 men total (one command pack & two mounted packs), which will give me an average patrol at a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio from a lot of the engagements that I was reading, which is what I am basically shooting for in my theoretical future games.   Outside of doing the Border War and guerrilla, I am sort of tempted to looking at doing some USN raids in the spirit of Lt. William Cushing, but I must stay focused.

"Another stripe or a coffin" - Lt. William B. Cushing, USN
As for rules sets, I am sort of looking into two rules right now, Too Fat Lardies’, Terrible Sharp Sword (TSS) and Architects of War’s, American Uncivil War, (AUW).  Both TSS & AUW are card driven and have characters.  I want to have characters, but I really want to get away from cards (it is a pain to have to keep shuffling).  I might also give Smooth & Rifled by Dadi & Piombo a look over too.  But then again, I am working on modifying GDW’s, Soldier’s Companion for Ridgeway to reflect the fewer casualties and more morale failures in skirmishing, but there are no characters in this system.  FlyXwire (Dave S.) also recommended in the comments section on one of the previous entries about modifying Studio Tomahawk’s, Musket & Tomahawks.  I will have to look more into Musket & Tomahawks. He also mentioned H.G. Walls’, Brother Against Brother.  I have not played a game using these rules in over 15+ years and there is a reason why I have never played it again.  I found that system to be too unrealistic.

I will hopefully have another entry up by the end of the week on three accounts that I found interesting so far in this book.  A titillating hint for this next entry is that will cover about an unauthorized campaign, a mutiny of Union officers, and a steamer by the name of Hope.  

Be seeing you,


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Just a few pictures that I took

So, I am going through my collection of 30,000+ pictures that I have taken over the past 15 years (digital cameras are great!) I am deleting some bad or repeats photos, editing a few others, and renaming all of them so that I got them in the order that I took them.  I am slowing uploading them on to my Google + / Picasa account so anyone can look at them.

I came across these three that I took while on a boat ride to see Fort Sumter just few months over 5 years ago. I think I really liked these pictures and I was lucky to get a rainbow that day.  I hope you enjoy them.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Take My Money! 28mm Guerrilla War & 54mm Gangsters

This will be a short entry as I am typing up something for part three on the Guerrilla Warfare in Civil War Missouri.  As you can see over to the right, I finished the first volume and now in to the second volume.  
So why the title for this entry?  Well, I have spent too much money today.  First, I made an order to Company D for some miniatures of the Missouri State Militia & southern guerrillas in 28mm since he has just now released the command and horse holders for both forces.  Yes, I am getting into another gaming period...and in 28mm to boot (that should make Don & Blake happy.)  I exchange some emails with Phil Murphy, the owner of Company D, and he told me that he will be expanding his line for the 28mm Civil War in Missouri line.  Miniatures coming up will include Federal foot troops in the Western Theater look first, and following that, will be Native Americans troops on horse and foot (hopefully not in 'Hollywood' style),  Jayhawkers, Redlegs, and Enrolled Missouri Militia, which can also double for guerrillas, or even triple for the Kansas militias during the 1864 Price's Raid.

But also, I pre-ordered a few painted 54mm figures from Black Hawk Toy Soldiers.  Why, oh why, did they have to release these figures?  I think you can figure out the two figures that I ordered along with a certain 1932 Ford V-8, (even though it is missing the interesting hood ornament), especially if you have been reading my blog entries of old.  Unfortunately, there is no certain retired Texas Ranger figure to go with the figures that I ordered. OK, first a hint of which figures I order:
The same car that the Black Hawk toy car is designed on
Now here are the pictures of the new figures:

Yeah, there is no fooling you are a few pictures of the car and outlaws that I ordered:
A 1932 Ford V-8 B-400 that was stolen from Robert F. Rosborough of Marshall, Texas.  The thief is standing in front of the car.
A failed actress, gun moll posing at the grill of Rosborogh's stolen vehicle.
A couple of mad dog, small timers in love in front of Rosborgh's stole car.