Double Line use in the East – 1863

Reviewing the battles of The Army of Potomac and the trend for Brigade Double Line to be used more often.  The use of Double Line provided a quicker response time to movement, better command and control in the heavy woods found on many of the battlefields.   It was used as a defensive formation when facing the unknown or when in close support.   Within the Firebell rules this is how the system models Double Line.

Example – Battle of Chancellorsville on the first day, May 1st.  Union/Sykes Division has all three Brigades in Battleline for an offensive probe (Ayers/Burbank/O’Rorke), Union/Hancock Division is in rear support, he has his two Brigades (Caldwell/Zook) in Double Line within the woods as a strong defensive second line.    On the southern flank, Willams Division also is holding a defensive position, he has the Brigades (Ruger/Knipe) in Double Line within the woods.

Chancellorville[Clip of Maps from the Civil War Trust]

A review of Gen. Lee’s advancing Rebel’s, the front Brigades are in Battleline for max. offensive impact, a Brigade lead by Kershaw is in support positioned in Double Line to allow for a quick response/movement.  McLaws is leading his Division onto the field, he is moving to the northern flank, he forms up with his central Brigade in Battleline, with a supporting Brigade in Double line on each flank, also in woods (the use of Double Line to protect against a possible flank attack).  ======================================================================

Now we look at Gettysburg on the Morning of July 3rd Dawn.   Gen. Ewell/Corps has moved additional Brigades into the renewed fighting at Culp’s Hill, reorganized now with Johnson’s Division.    Within the Woods below the steep Culp’s Hill, the Rebel Brigades (Jones/Williams/O’Neal/Walker) are attacking in Double Line in the difficult terrain.

Culp's HillOn the lesser hill, two rebel Brigades (Steuart/Daniel) attacked in Battleline, with Smith’s Brigade on the Division flank in Double line as a strong anchor.   The action around Culp’s Hill is one of the few places during the three day’s of fighting around Gettysburg that the formation of Double Line can be seen.   With the gentle slopes and open fields, Battleline was the most common formation used.

1 thought on “Double Line use in the East – 1863

  1. ccm2361

    Hi John
    It was great to get to see you & Andrew at the Muster! been a long time. I wil lbe following your blog, as I am planning on getting back into ACW gaming.



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