Tuesday, June 15, 2010

John Brown's Body Lies a-Moulderin' in the Grave...

This is one of the posts you do when you don't have much to say on the central topic of the blog you are meant to be writing about.

I received two little items in the mail today. One was the Paul Stevenson title from the Wargaming in History series "The American Civil War" which Ross suggested I get. Without doing a formal review, I am just going to say that I'm very impressed. A 110-page A5 soft-cover that is bursting with every kind of information a complete new-comer such as I am could hope to buy, and a snip at GBP2.00 (plus shipping and handling to Australia).

The other was some sample 25mm Union infantry and a pair of Whitworth guns and limbers from Tradition. The former are really true 25mm and very much in the Stadden style. I was a little insure of them at first, but when I lined them up I think I was reassured to go with them instead of the Spencer Smiths - although my heart still gives a little pang when I write this! I'm not so sure about the Whitworths, they are 30mm scale and, while utterly lovely, really are too big to stand alongside the infantry and gunners I purchased.

I may have to buy some Lyzards' Grin guns instead - being more a "true 25mm" they may be more appropriate.

Please forgive the blurry shot, my camera is well and truly on it's last legs. You can see though a Grant Union battalion of 24 privates led by an Officer, a Standard-bearer and a Drummer. The latter three replace the "three officers" of the Grant organisation as I find this sort of setup easier on the eye. The mounted officer could be either a brigadier-general or the officer commanding an artillery battery.

Only remaining question is what unit ought they represent? Any suggestions? I'm not after a flashy unit of Irishmen or anything like that, just some ordinary blue-bellies. I'll add Fire Zouaves and Garibaldis and Berdans Sharpshooters sometime later. Zouaves are a bit of a necessity in this sort of setup - name one old school ACW army without them!

In other news, I've really squeezed the sources available to me until the pips have squeaked. The only other leads that might be able to be followed up would be to source some copies of The Wargames Digest ca1957-1961 (folorn hope) or to get onto CS Grant and see what he can tell me.


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

W.r.t unit can I suggest an approach I've always adopted for new projects?? Pick a battle - doesn't need to be a big one - and then paint the units present at the battle... I picked Kernstown for my ACW project (there's a link to this from my main blog) - I have no intention of fighting the battle but as a framework to paint and organise around it works very well..

Stokes Schwartz said...


I really like what you are doing here with your Charles Grant Sr. inspired Old School ACW project. The Tradition figures are lovely castings. You could always opt to have some of those and some Spencer Smith figures. Possibly in the opposing army? ANyway, I'm very eager to see how your project develops.

Best Regards,

Stokes schwartz

Mosstrooper said...

You have inspired me to place an order for Spencer Smith ACW , have ordered enough to do the Battle of Sawmill Village . Without some input from Charles Grant Jr I think you will struggle to find anymore about a set of rules 40 years old . Having used the Grant SYW rules for a couple of years I find there are gaps in these that you just have to make up as you go along ( its not helped by me playing solo ).

Anonymous said...

Steve - I very much admire your blog. Great work and a very worthwhile suggestion.

Stokes - I shall keep my nose to the grind-stone, never fear!

MossTrooper - I'm building to a similar organisation, though with the addition of cavalry.

Ross Mac said...

Nice looking figures! I wonder if they will mix with other OS 25's to fill in any blanks.

As for which units, Steve's OB idea is good or you could follow Grant's path and single out unit which catch your eye, 20th Maine or what have you or, given the whole idea of homage to his ACW games, perhaps you could do the units that appear in his battle reports?

Old School ACW said...

Ross, I am pretty sure the 6th Alabama will be there in the mix.

Ion A. Dowman said...

I also was about to suggest 20th Maine.

But perhaps you might want to consider whether you want your Union Army to be the Army of the Potomac, the Tennessee or some other - bearing in mind some Army Corps switched between armies.

The 20th Maine performed very well at Gettysburg on the second day - pretty nuch stymied a Confederate break-through on Little Round Top.

About 20 years ago I bought a copy of 'Battles and Leaders' (4 Vols.), which gives the OOB for all the large and quite a few of the smaller engagements of the Civil War.

However, I decided that for my own armies I would number all my units sequentially from 1 to 23 (CSA inf) and 1 to 34 (USA), and run through the list of States, all being represented, but with the smaller ones (e.g. Delaware, Florida) supplying one regiment, and the larger 3 (Virginia, New York), say. At that, the smaal numbers were also reserved for small States.

Though my CSA army is more modelled upon the Army of Northern Virginia, this really is just to provide generic flags (in this respect the Army of Tennessee is more interesting, with Hardee's White blot on Blue, Polk's Red cross on Blue (with 11 rather than 13 atars), and the more familiar Blue saltire on red with 13 or, often, 12 stars).

Those figure will paint up splendidly. Looking forward to seeing them thus,

Old School ACW said...

Hi Ion,

The 20th Maine have not escaped my notice either.

Time will tell, I suppose. it seems to me that were I to follow the Old School tradition, I'd just pick whatever units I fancied! Really, you just need to take a look at the Tradition 25mm catalogue to see what I mean.


Archduke Piccolo said...

Selecting units I like is my preference as well (my 18th Century armies are built that way, my Imperialists being modelled on the Austrian, and the Electoral on the Prussian). I found the ACW armies a bit difficult in this respect, though, as I wanted all States to be represented (having the numbers to do it!).

However, having Mark Boatner's 'Civil War Dictionary' gives me info on some of the better performed Union units (and those that lost heaviest numbers in battle). Included is the 20th Maine, along with most of the Iron brigade. Of the latter, 2nd Wisconsin had the highest percentage of K & W of all Union regiments. 7th Wisc and 19th Indiana get a mention, Surprisingly, 24th Michigan doesn't, though it took 80% casualties at Gettysburg whilst inflicting emormous losses upon its opponent 26th North Carolina.
The remaining 'truly' Iron Brigade unit was 6th Wisconsin.

At any rate, if you are interested I can supply info on the service records of a few USA units. Not all states are represented though - no Connecticut nor Delaware so far as I can see...