|The opening conditions|
Hardtack pushes very slightly forward with the 11th and 16th Massachusetts regiments, into the cornfields - the Confederates respond by moving forward themselves. Hardtack is satisfied the 'lure' has worked, and pulls back his regiments. The three rebel regiments are all tightly bunched in the centre, so whatever else happens there won't be much in the way of awkward maneuvering or flanking this day!
|"The perfect 'Arc of Death', Sir! Shame we can't see them..."|
|A close-up on one of the rebel regiments, hiding ignobly - but undeniably effectively - in the field|
|"I refuse to accept there is any problem to which more cannon is not the answer!|
|"Where are the enemy? I can't see them anywh - Aargh!"|
|"Advance rearwards! Keep firing!"|
Finally visible, the Union lines begin blazing away at the Confederate horde rushing onwards at them, yelling as they come. This one's gonna hurt!
Crashing into the 6th Massachusetts and the 15th New York, the recruits are driven back with heavy losses by the concentrated rebel mass! In return however, they fire frantically into the oncoming graybacks. The Confederates are a heroically determined bunch and take their losses as they keep coming, however - one rebel regiment is led forwards by a hero, who is then shot down, only to be replaced moments later by yet another hero stepping out of the ranks!
Despite taking heavy losses, all Hardtack's regiments manage to stay on the field. The much-battered 16th Massachusetts is kept going by the Colonel, Hercules Spatchcock - clearly a man to rely on in hard times! The union regiments even manage a counter-attack at the last minute, charging into the depleted rebels with their even-more depleted forces - what a show of fighting spirit! Even so, Hardtack is in no doubt that with the farm lost, the sooner the day ends, the better. The day ends with a stroke of luck: while the rebels are poised to charge yet again and wipe out several union regiments, a sniper shoots the enemy commander's horse out from under him! By the time the dazed commander is recovered and the Rebel assault prepared, Hardtack has slipped away in the gathering dusk.
So, Hardtack has been defeated, pretty much like the rest of the Union army in the Seven Days Battles. Time to take stock: he's lost 15 bases in combat, but inflicted about 10 in return. Decent, but not enough to convince the War Department to give him that promotion he's been after. All regiments recover, more or less, although the 16th Ma and 15th NY are rather light with only around 200-odd men left. Time for reinforcements, so Hardtack starts lobbying away at army HQ and gets two new infantry regiments transferred to his command - the 27th Pa and the 8th NJ. He also keeps on with his favourite hobby-horse, and manages to rig a ridiculous boost to his artillery park: the 6-pounders are replaced with Napoleons, and the number of Light Rifles are doubled from two to four sections. Hardtack has a rather mediocre infantry force (still no veterans!) but enough artillery to put the moon out of orbit.
Hardtack's time in the field has strained his nerves, and while in the rear he advertises for, and finds, a personal physician to help look after his humors. Dr. Hackett is added to his personal staff, and provides the great man with his own patented cure-all, 'Hackett's Nerve Elixir' (Ingredients: 2% Tar, 98% Cocaine Powders).
Surely the next battle shall go better, with this marvel of modern medicine at his disposal?