Last week for co-op we learned about the first Battle of Bull Run. My kids had been eagerly looking forward to it because they’d spent a good hour or so building our battlefield, with much laughter and face making as you can see.
So, before I get into the battle I’d just like to advocate giving your kids time to make things that double as play toys and learning tools. My kids had a blast with this, and explained everything to me quite happily. There were a few ground rules because I needed certain things for the sake of the battle, but otherwise……..
So what really happened at the Battle of Bull Run? I mean this was the first major battle at everyone was sure it’d be over in a few weeks after this.
Well first, every unit had their own uniform, and sometimes the uniforms weren’t the same within the unit. There was a lot of friendly fire as a result because people didn’t know if they were shooting at enemies or friends.
Half of the casualties from our run came from friendly fire because they didn’t know who was on their side.
The Union had a distinct disadvantage because they had to run all the way up the hill. The Confederates were able to shoot them down from up above because they had line of sight and the Union did not.
The Union had a harder time getting reinforcements because they had to cross the river, whereas the Confederates only had to go back a short distance to get their reinforcements.
Battles get very confusing as you are in close contact and you can’t keep track of who you think is your friend and who isn’t.
Rules for our Scenario
This is a variation of the Battle of Bull Run scenario from Junior General.
- Each unit has 5-6 soldiers and a lieutenant. The soldiers could be killed, but the lieutenant could not. If the lieutenant was down to 1 soldier he needed to go back and get reinforcements.
- Figures can move 6 squares per turn. Moving across the river was a full turn. Spaces with trees in them required 2 moves to go through them, as did the different levels of the hill.
- Guns can shoot up to 12 squares away. They only hit when you roll a 6. If the person you are shooting at is in the square next to you then the gun can hit on a 5-6.
- You can not shoot the people at the top of the hill if you are not on it. You do not have line of sight. They can shoot down at you.
- Confederates have 4 groups of reinforcements. The Union has only 2 groups of reinforcements.
- Confederates start behind the hill, and their reinforcements are behind the forest.
- Union starts next to the river, and their reinforcements are behind the river.
- If Confederates hold the hill top at the end of 45 minutes they win the battle.
Go to Battle of Bull Run scenario for a map to create.
maryanne @ mama smiles says
I think turning this into a dice-run game is a good way of capturing the chaos that happened during the actual battle.
You should have seen their chagrin as they realized they were shooting their allies at the end of the battle. That and as their soldiers fell.
At least THIS time the boys didn’t cry when their soldiers died.
How awesome that you created your own game to recreate the battle. I have to admit that my knowledge of American history is lacking to the point of not knowing about this battle.
What a fun hands-on way to learn about history…this is something my family would really enjoy. Thanks!
I have pinned this post to use with my children later on in the school year since hands on history lessons always seem to sink in better than book work. Thank you for linking up to my Enchanted Thursdays Blog Hop (and for always showing everyone fun hands on ways to bring history lessons into our homeschool)
Hello, I’m over from all things beautiful. It’s always lovely to find another blog who schools hands on! We always reenact battles. The children remember so much more. We’re doing the Battle of Hastings (we live fairly close to Hastings) after Christmas and I’m so looking forward to watching it all come alive at the hands of my children! Ahhh…homeschooling!
I love your idea of a play mat- it’s such a flexible idea and could be used for so many subjects! I’m off before I write a whole essay!! Have a great week!