TERRAIN PLANS.I'm halfway through my second Reb regiment now and my thoughts are beginning to turn towards terrain building already. I looked up the old scan (below) of some boards I built back in the Eighties! I was pretty pleased with that as I recall. 6 x 2 foot square boards from plywood. The trees were made from garden twigs and lichen and I thought back then looked pretty smart. My figures were all Minifigs, in 24 figure units and my games were played to 'Circa 1863' rules. We had some great games on that table.
OK, so fast forward a couple of decades and things have moved on. K&M trees are pretty much standard so I intend to use them and I will be looking for more flexibility in terms of layout from my new table. I'm also going to try my first cornfield (maize) using the 'mini Christmas tree' method, should be fun. Buildings once again will be the excellent 'Hovels' range.
I'm re-reading some of my old ACW books, and 'The Blue and The Gray' is right a the top of my list. I love this book, the cover caught my eye soon as I saw it, but it really is a goldmine of personal memoirs and accounts as seen from both sides. What I love is that you can take a small slice of action from a major battle and read both the Union and the Confederate soldiers perspective. Here's a snippet from Dawes "Service with the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers" entitled"Wisconsin Boys Are Slaughtered in The Cornfield". It gives a vivid account of the terrain features at Antietam well as the intense fighting.
"At the edge of the cornfield was a low Virginia rail fence. Before the corn were open fields, beyond which was a strip of woods surrounding a little church, the Dunkard church. As we appeared at the edge of the corn a long line of men in butternut and gray rose up from the ground. Simultaneously, the hostile battle lines opened up a tremendous fire upon each other. Men, I can not say fell; they were knocked out of the ranks by dozens. But we jumped over the fence and pushed on, loading, firing and shouting as we advanced. There was, on the part of the men, great hysterical excitement, eagerness to go forward, and a reckless disregard of life, of everything but victory. Captain Kellogg brought his company abreast of us on the turnpike.
The Fourteenth Brooklyn Regiment, red legged zouaves, came into our line, closing the awful gaps. Now is the pinch. Men and officers of New York and Wisconsin are fused into a common mass, in the frantic struggle to shoot fast. Everybody tears cartridges, loads, passes guns or shoots. Men are falling in their places or running back into the corn. The soldier who is shooting is furious in his energy. The soldier who is shot looks a round for help with an imploring agony of death on his face. After a few rods of advance the lines stopped, and by common impulse, fell back to the edge of the corn and lay down on the ground behind the low rail fence."
Dawes later reports that of the 280 men present before the action, 150 were killed or wounded.
The Civil War Collectors Encyclopaedia is useful for information on items of uniform and equipment as well as personal items carried by Civil war soldiers. Identity discs were common and recruits made them from old coins etc, in fear of being left unidentified if killed. I find such items very moving. I'm not sure if ID discs were carried before this period?
(Double click the old scan pic go enlarge it.)