Shenanigans in the Shenandoah: Scottsville

Continuing on from the report on the battle Franklin in our group’s American Civil War campaign, we now turn our attention to a splendid fight between the Union General Shields and General Ewell of the Confederacy near the town of Scottsville over on the east of the Shenandoah Valley.

Richard Bird

1/3/202412 min read

General Shields under orders from Blenker had advanced swiftly towards Scottsville pushing back a Confederate brigade to the positions shown in the map above. Many of the rebels were hidden from view, some of whom were just coming into position. Ewell surprised by Shields’s aggression gathered his forces including s ome of the local militia who would arrive later in the afternoon.

The map above, shows positions around 1pm. Kimball’s brigade has been pushed to the Union left supported by Brodhead’s cavalry. He sees nothing but is aware that a Confederate brigade is positioned in the centre. meanwhile the rest of the Union division is being deployed. Trueman’s brigade will push towards the farm supported by two batteries. Sullivan and Tyler will deal with the rebel centre. The Confederates wait, mostly hidden from sight.

Opening movement and deployment.

The Initial Moves from 12.40 to 1.20pm
  • 12.40 the Union heavies moved at the double quick and deployed in readiness to bombard the Confederate positions.

  • The Rebel guns were facing the wrong way initially but redeployed to face down the road.

  • The Union guns fire at Carrington’s battery on the road with no effect.

  • 1pm. Carrington’s battery fires against on the Union artillery deployed on the road near some buildings with little effect but the Union gunners have their eye in, and their first salvo wrecks a gun. 3rd brigade under Tyler, march up the road and spot what remains of Carrington's (Rebel) battery deployed within effective range. Their attached guns unlimber but are fired upon by the Reb battery who silence and damage a section. They quickly respond silencing a section of Carrington's despondent battery. Carrington has had enough and limbers his remaining guns and retreats. The heavy guns have done their stuff. A cheer goes up. First blood to the Yanks.

  • Campbell’s 2nd brigade was shifted right along the fence on the ridge to allow 3rd Brigade move up to deploy to defend the farm area and the left flank which looks likley to come under attack. They must hurry. Orders were sent to Clarkes (Rebel) battery to move to a position at the fork in the adjacent to the Building there.

  • Winder’s 1st brigade, over on the right flank behind a small village. Apart from one unit the brigade is hidden from view.

  • Munsford’s cavalry is brought up to support Ashby.

  • The Union brigades begin their movements. and final adjustments to their deployment.

  • Taylor’s 4th brigade advances swiftly towards the farm complex. on the Confederate left. Little is seen but are aware that Rebels have been spotted in the vicinity of the farm.

  • Over on the Confederate right Kimball's 1st Brigade emerges from the woods on the Confederate right flank. They spot Ashby's troopers across the fields and detect movement in the buildings ahead of them. Ashby dismounts his 2nd Virginia and lines the snake fence on his right facing Kimball’s advancing brigade.

  • Having pulled his battery back, they unlimber and commence firing on The Union A battery silencing a gun battery, the return fire is without effect. The duel goes on for a while the A with little effect other tha

  • The Union side spot a Reb infantry unit supporting Carrington.

  • Back over 4th brigade having deployed, now advances swiftly towards the farm complex. Little is seen but are aware that Rebels have been spotted in the vicinity of the farm.

The area on the Confederate right flank showing the woods at the top right through which Kinball’s brigade approaches. The small village on the right is garrisoned by a rebel unit.

Ashby’s dismounted cavalry line the fence. In the distance Kimball’s men appear from the woods

The Union 2nd and 3rd brigades continue to deploy in the centre

2.00pm: Advance to Contact
  • Kimball’s 1st Brigade advances across the sunlit meadows to engage Ashby's dismounted troopers and the Rebs in the BUA on the Union left flank. Sullivan’s 2nd brigade advances to engage Ashby. It is going to be a hot day for Ashby.

  • Ashby pulls back 9th Virginia Cavalry who are being threatened by Union cavalry to their front, to the cover of the building. The 7th Virginia cavalry follow suit. It may be better to dismount and hold the line until support arrives. That support comes quickly. The 21st Virginia appears at the edge of the woods preparing to align themselves on the rail fence. They come under fire from 39th Illinois fire which causes some loss amongst the Virginians.

  • Ashby's now dismounted troopers let rip on 62nd Ohio causing some loss and disorder. The return fire from the two leading regiments of 2nd brigade is equally devastating resulting in disorder and men lost on 2nd Virginia Cavalry.

  • On the road in the centre Union battery A is now joined by battery B. Carrington's battery fire is poor and is immediately answered by the two Federal batteries which wrecks another section and silences another. No point in sticking around any longer.

  • Meanwhile Trueman’s 4th Brigade is in position but no enemy fire from the farm. Cunning fellas these Rebs. A line of grey infantry occupies near the small building opposite the farm on the other side of the road.

2.20pm: Kimball Finds Trouble
  • Kimball orders 8th Ohio advance into the woods to engage the Rebs in the small village. They are fired upon from the buildings which disorders them with loss. They spot another unit of Rebs nearby appear to be just watching them.

  • 67th Ohio, now aware of the Confederates in the village wheel and align against the BUA from the other flank. Their fire causes some disorder on the troops in the building. 84th Pennsylvania line the fence facing down the road to protect the flank. A Confederate battery appears from the treeline down the road from 84th whilst a wall of grey appears from the treeline on the other side of the road. The 84th fire at the emerging guns silencing one of them. It is not long though before a crashing volley from the woods opposite, lays many of the Ohio lads to rest.

The fighting on the Confederate right. Kimball attacks the village.

The Union 2nd Brigade advance towards Ashby’s dismounted troopers

2.40 pm: It All Hangs In The Balance
  • The 84th Pennsylvania falls back out of close range, as does the 8th Ohio. The 67th is pulled back a short distance to align with the 84th, who come under withering artillery fire as they retire. The 4th Virginia is ordered to charge the retiring 8th Ohio, who fire randomly and are forced back with casualties.It is then the turn of 27th Virginia to pitchfork the 67th Ohio with heavy losses.

  • Munsford's cavalry appears on the far right flank in order to counter Brodhead’s 2nd Cavalry Brigade should they choose to intervene.

  • Sullivan’s 2nd brigade advances; he orders 39th Illinois and 62nd Ohio to charge. 5th Ohio hit Ashby's 2nd Virginia dismounted cavalry firing as they advanced. It is close combat, but the Virginian troopers manage to repel the men from Illinois. The 62nd Ohio is disordered by incoming fire but charges home. A desperate struggle ensues. The 62nd Ohio pushed back the 27th Virginia into the woods disordered. Hard-pressed and bloody indeed.

  • Tyler’s 3rd Brigade advanced up the slope towards the woods, determined to sweep the Rebs from the ridge, hoping to achieve the breakthrough that would unravel the Confederate line. They will be supported by Batteries A and B, who reposition to face the Reb brigade on the ridge.

  • It is the 4th Brigade that now advances on the farm buildings on the right flank. The 110th Pennsylvania enters the buildings next to the road. but are immediately confronted by two Reb regiments behind them. the building The 76th Ohio advances as ordered on the 110th Pennsylvania’s right flank against the battery (Clark’s) that just deployed there last turn. The 100th Pennsylvania and the 10th Indiana advance on the other building. The 110th Pa are disordered by defensive fire from the farm courtyard but give a telling fire in return

  • On the far right, adjacent to the farm, the Rebel fire on 76th Ohio is telling. Men go down, and they are disordered. Their return fire silences one of Clark’s guns

  • 37th Virginia emerges from the woods on the 4th brigade left while 23rd Virginia advances. 10th Virginia enters the larger farm buildings but is disturbed by the Union fire from 100th Pennsylvania and 10th Indiana. The response was abysmal.

  • It is the turn of 1st Virginia to charge 100th Pa in the other farm building. A telling fire drops men, but they charge home. It’s a lengthy and desperate struggle with great losses on both sides, but the Virginians are finally forced back.Both sides are in a close struggle around the farm.

    In the center, the thin grey line may buckle under a concerted charge by the 3rd Brigade next turn. 2nd Brigade are in depth too and could walk through Ashby with some luck, which has been fairly even so far. The Union guns will move up the road adjacent to the farm, where they will be most useful and are already on their way. It has become bloody and will get bloodier next time.

Left: Clark’s battery pummeling the Union right.

Right: The 62nd Ohio push back the 27th Virginia into the woods disordered.

The intense fight around the farm between the Union 4th brigade and Fulkerson’s Virginians.

3.00 pm: Crunch Time
  • Kimball’s 1st brigade falls back towards the woods to regroup but is followed up by elements of Winder’s Confederate brigade supported by Munsford’s cavalry. Rice’s battery pounds Kimball’s men relentlessly, but despite the increasing losses and disorder, Kimball’s gallant brigade keeps the Virginians at a distance with sharp, effective volleys.

  • In the centre, Sullivan’s 2nd brigade charges again. 5th Ohio tramp into 2nd Virginia Cavalry, who are bayoneted out of the building and thrust backwards. in disorder. The 39th Illinois plunges into 21st Virginia with cold steel but is disordered by effective fire from 21st Virginia facing them; undeterred, they drive into the Virginians who retire in disorder. Ashby cannot hold and orders his troopers to withdraw.

  • The 3rd Brigade was inspired by the 2nd Brigade's efforts. charge the ridge, the 7th Indiana and 29th Ohio leading the assault, cold steel again, no firing. Tyler attaches himself to 29th Ohio, a withering fire greets and the charge is checked, but tragedy strikes, Tyler falls dead from his horse. The Indiana boys charge home disordered and drive back the 48th Virginia disordered and with loss. The 42nd Virginia now charges with cold steel on the faltered 29th Ohio, who fail to stop them.

  • The heavy guns are moved up and unlimber but cannot fire this phase. The colonel of 52nd Virginia spots them and leads his men in a wild charge at the guns into the teeth of a heavy battery, suffering casualties, but charge home with cold steel. The gunners are wiped out. Their blood is up and burst through onto the flank of the other heavy battery as they are about to blast the Rebs behind the farm. The battery loses a section and is forced to retreat in disorder.

  • The 4th Brigade has a poor Manoeuvre Check, and the disordered troops have to move back out of close range, but the 100th PA remains ensconced in the farm building. The 110th Pennsylvania with 10th Indiana in support, charge the other farm building. They can't be stopped, so they break into the building pushing out the 10th Virginia. They have control of the buildings, but the Rebs are still in force nearby.

  • Disaster strikes the retiring 76th Ohio, they fail to stop a charge by 37th Virginia and are decimated and dispersed. The rest of the brigade pulls back from the farm to readjust and recover.

Ashby’s men fall back with the Union 2nd brigade following up with Kimball’s brigade under heavy pressure

The situation on the Confederate left flank.

3.20 pm: It’s In The Balance
  • Kimball’s 1st brigade falls back to the tree line along with Brodhead’s cavalry brigade, hoping to hold the position against Winder’s veterans. troopers dismount and prepare to meet the oncoming Rebs. A destructive fire from Rice's battery follows them. Winder’s Confederate 1st Brigade followed up with Kimball, exchanging musketry at regular intervals.

  • Over in the centre, the Union 2nd and 3rd brigades engage in firefights with Campbell's 2nd brigade, with a few casualties on both sides. 23rd Virginia exchanges fire with battery B, with the gunners coming off the worst. Campbell falls back to reorder his line.

  • The Union 4th brigade indulges in some desultory firing with the Reb 3rd brigade. The 110th Pennsylvania rake Clark’s battery with accurate musketry from the farm buildings.

3.40 pm: The Boys In Blue Begin to Crumble
  • Kimball’s 1st brigade is now in the tree line along with Brodhead’s cavalry brigade, firing resolutely against the approaching Virginians. Winders brigde is now advancing against both Kimball’s and Sullivan’s brigades.

  • Winder’s 5th Virginia assault the 39th Illinois near a field by the central building, their fire too ragged to stop the Virginians who push the 39th back. The 33rd Virginia try to charge 67th Ohio who stop them in their tracks, both sides become disordered in the ensuing close range firefight. It is now the turn of 27th Virginia who giving a fearful yell plunge into 84th Pennsylvania who are cut down and dispersed in short order.

  • Sullivan’s 2nd Brigade are forced to retire. Kimball’s men are falling back protected by Brodhead’s cavalry.

  • There is a continuous but inconclusive firing in the centre near the ridge.

  • Ashby’s men remount.

  • Fulkerson’s 3rd Brigade continues its pressure on the Union 4th Brigade on the flank. Taylor’s men are beginning to waver

  • Kimball’s 1st brigade retreats out of close range, and Brodhead’s cavalry fall back and remount.

  • The 2nd brigade holds on to the ridge with the 3rd brigade now that Campbell's brigade has fallen back.

  • Desultory fire between the 4th brigade and the Reb 3rd brigade. Battery B is pulled out to join with the remaining heavies facing the flanking part of the Reb 3rd brigade.

  • On the Confederate left flank, the 23rd Virginia charge the farm building occupied by the 100th Pennsylvania, whose fire fails to stop them. The bayonet is the order, and the outnumbered zouaves are forced out.

  • Ashby's cavalry remount and move forward, supported by Winder’s 1st Brigade and a massed infantry brigade. Rice's battery, having moved forward, unlimbers on the flank of Sullivan’s 2nd brigade.

  • Winder’s regiments on the far right pursue Kimball’s demoralised brigade.

4.20-4.40pm: Shields Becomes Decides to Retreat
  • Taylor’s brigade is forced to retreat, they set fire to the farm buildings before they do. 100th Pennsylvania break in panic. All other Union brigades now retreat, now aware that Kimball’s flank has caved in and Taylor is now in full retreat.

The Confederate are moving up in pursuit encouraging Shields in his retreat

5.00–5.20pm: Shields Are Shovelled Off The Field
  • Shields rushes around to organize his retreat. He orders the cavalry to hold back Munsford’s cavalry. The 3rd brigade is told to hold the central building until the other brigades have fallen back. They do their job well, checking the advancing wall of grey.

  • Panic sets in with 4th Brigade and finally breaks. Sullivan loses control of his men, who break in panic, their morale shattered. The doughty 3rd Brigade hold fast and then steadily retire, turning every so often to keep the Rebs in check.

Shields had failed to achieve the quick victory he’d hoped for. He thought he was up against a couple of brigades unaware that Jackson was there with a strong division of veterans. As the Union forces left the field another Reb brigade arrived on the table. Lack of information plus Jacksons foresight in gathering his available forces together in double quick time won him the day.

In order: Clark’s battery pummeling the Union right.

The 62nd Ohio push back the 27th Virginia into the woods disordered.

The Union 2nd Brigade stand fast against the tide of grey, allowing their broken comrades to retreat to safety.