Wilder's Lightning Brigade -Part I Dismounted Infantry

17th Indiana
My ACW interests have always tended towards the Western Theater rather than the massive, and more famous, engagments in the East.  My 15mm collection was mainly aimed at creating the Federal Army of The Tennessee and the aptly named named Confederate Army of Tennessee.  It was, therefore, with some interest that I saw the recent release of Wilder's Lightning Brigade in 10mm from Cracker Line Miniatures.   I was able to sell off a large chunk of my Federal Cavalry last month, so I decided to apply some of the proceeds to pick up a brigade pack of these new sculpts.

72nd Indiana
The pack itself comes with 72 dismounted infantrymen and 36 mounted along with two artillery stands and a mix of command figures.  Did I mention the printed flag sheet?  Yeah, there is a color flag sheet for the Brigade as well.  The dismounted figures come in four different poses with a slightly oversized rifle that makes it obvious that they are carrying Spencer Repeaters.  Another nice touch is the addition of Hatchets on their belts as opposed to cavalry sabers. 

Pack Contents
My first challenge was to figure out how I wanted to organize the group.  Wilder's Brigade seemed interesting to me in that they were organized as true mounted infantry rather than traditional cavalry.  In addition, they were equipped with Spencer Repeating rifles rather than traditional muzzle loaders. (Wilder actually secured a loan for his Brigade after the soldiers agreed to purchase the rifles out of their own pay.  The USG retroactively paid for them rather than take the PR hit I suppose.)   They rode a mixture of horses and mules which they used like APCs rather than IFVs as it were. 

From what I read, it would appear they trained to fire at open order (3-5m between soldiers) rather than close order (1m) like standard infantry.  I decided to represent this by basing the units in groups of six rather than the four I use for cavalry skirmishers and the eight for infantry.  I also wanted to use two standards per regiment to make them look more like an Federal Infantry regiment than a dismounted cavalry formation.  This worked out well as the Crackerline figs have Oval bases that occupy a larger footprint than my GHQ minis and would look cramped on my existing bases if I tried to go to eight castings. 

This is where I ran into an issue.  Although you get all those flags, you do not get enough standard bearers to fly them.  The command pack includes four sets of dismounted command.  Three of them look like they are from the Plank Road miniature castings and come with a commander, trumpeter and standard bearer.  The other is from the Cracker Line range and includes a trumpeter with piping on his jacket and a more dynamic commander.  These Cracker Line figures will make a great command group for a dismounted cavalry regiment but don't have the right look for my vision of a mounted infantry unit.  A second issue is that the command groups all come with Forage hats rather than slouch caps like all of the infantry. A final issue is that the Plank Road castings are less bulky then the Crackerline ones and don't fit as well with the group.  To explain:

The Cracker Line sculpts I would classify as a 10H casting versus Old Glory's 10M or GHQs 10L.  i.e. they are more bulky overall.  I would describe them as analagous to Baccus 6mm figs in 10mm, (where I would call GHQ tiny Perry's.)  The Plank Road minis look more in line with something between GHQ and Old Glory.  The same is true with the Cavalry command figs.  (more about that with the next update) 

I considered trying to add some GHQ drummers, but they did not fit well with the look of the regiments at all.  I opted then to create two regiments of dismounted infantrymen and two others of mounted infantry to use to represent them while in motion. 

That gives me two more Infantry Regiments for the federal side, and I suppose I will need to add to it sometime in the future. 


  1. Your project is advancing nicely. Interesting bit of history about Wilder. Good stuff!

    I remember the trouble Wilder presented in a Chickamauga replay once.
    He held the Federal line and caused much damage to the Confederates attempting to sweep that through. My God, they put out a lot of fire!

    1. The open order formation coupled with the high volume of fire led some of his opponents to think they were facing a Division rather than a Brigade. It's another interesting point in the transition from Linear to maneuver warfare.

  2. Very impressive. You're certainly pumping these out in record time.

    1. Thanks, although it feels rather stately in pace. These 10mm go so much faster than the all the 28s I have been doing of late.

  3. Looking good, and a special unit!

    Optimizing the fit between our organizations and and aesthetics to the available miniatures and how they are sold is another side aspect of our hobby!

    1. It's the organization of these little formations that I think most appeals to the hobbiest in my brain.


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