Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) AAR Diary, Part Seven

ED. Note: If you missed the start of this AAR, don’t worry! You can catch up from the beginning here.

Last time, the Army of Indiana managed to fend off a massive Confederate attack into Ohio. This time around, we have a problem in Virginia.

JUL 1, 1861

First however, we have a problem back in the Union.

Our prisoner camp is overflowing. That’s not good optics, and will cause the South to hate us more. I set to upgrading the camp’s infrastructure, while pardoning the prisoners currently in the camp. Some may re-enlist, but I don’t want to weaken the Union cause by increasing anti-Union sentiment for when we begin to push south, it’ll make it more difficult.

But on to more pressing matters.

The Confederate Hampton “Division” (there’s way too many guys there for a division, Hampton!) is still sitting on Cumberland, Maryland, opening a front that leaves open the crucial steel mills of Pittsburgh. If they get any further, they could seriously inflict damage on my ability to continue to arm my forces, they need to be dealt with immediately. Scott’s Army of Pennsylvania is being recalled from Winchester, and is being tossed aboard trains to bring the fight to the Hampton Division.

Tangentially, remember Patterson’s Army of Frederick?

I had sent them on an expedition into West Virginia as a diversionary measure, in which they succeeded at drawing the ire of a larger army, but in the end, the only material gain from the invasion was that single prisoner.

Now, presumably much to the chagrin of those soldiers, who only just reached the safety of Wheeling a few days ago, they’re being ordered back down to seize Grafton again. Now that the Hampton Division is occupying Cumberland, this is the perfect opportunity for the Army of Frederick to press the advantage here, with no enemy armies in sight.

Further to the west, the victorious Army of Indiana, the army that managed to fight off the strong Confederate thrust at Cincinnati, is holding its ground. Some of the Confederate forces peeled off, but there is still a sizable presence in the area.

Zooming further out, here’s the situation in the “western theater” of the war.

Since we gave up St. Louis, we haven’t seen any action on the far western front, both armies have entrenched and are eyeing each other warily. Meanwhile, in northern Indiana, the recently formed Army of the Tennessee is slowly marching towards Indianapolis. Currently, it’s only mustered about 2000 men out of the eventual 17000, and is largely ineffective as a combat unit. I’m placing them in Indianapolis so they have a decent base to supply from, and it will be easy to deploy to the front once they’re at full strength.

JUL 2, 1861

The Army of Pennsylvania has arrived at Cumberland from the south. Both sides have begun digging in and skirmishing with each other. Scott only arrived at around 7:30 PM, we will launch an assault in the morning.

Or… I meant to launch the attack in the morning, but the game decided I began the assault at 7:33 the night before.

JUL 2, 1861

7:33 PM

Here’s the starting situation.

The enemy is entrenched somewhere around Winchester (Cumberland-ster? Reusing battle maps can make things confusing sometimes), and attacking at night will at least give us the ability to gain some ground and perhaps probe their defenses before we engage fully tomorrow. I’m sending my cavalry division to the left of the town, they’ll have a decent vantage point in the hills. The rest of the army I’m marching towards the stream that separates us from the town, if we can get there tonight, they’ll provide a decent base for an attack.

8:12 PM 

The army column is approaching the stream, no sign of the Confederates yet.

We’re deploying forward skirmishers to look around, see if we can track the rebels down. We outnumber them by a large margin, but the mentality of having more men can lead to mistakes, and I want to make sure they don’t catch us with our pants down.

8:24 PM

My skirmishers found Hampton’s Division in the middle of town, it appears as they’re still setting up their lines as well. There won’t be a battle tonight.

The end of the Union column. The hill my pointer is highlighting is the hill my skirmishers are camped on, several miles down the road.

JUL 3, 1861

5:00 AM

Here’s the situation in the morning.

The Confederate lines are, puzzlingly, pointed to the west, while I’m approaching from the south. My skirmishers may have confused the enemy as to what angle I was coming from, but now I can flank their entire army… hopefully. I’m ordering a general assault forward, my left two infantry divisions up the hill, my rightmost towards the town, and I’m swinging my cavalry wide, trying to find the end of their line, at which point we can start harassing the opposite flank.

5:34 AM

My first division, the Division of New York (so named for the home state of most of the units in the division), is the first up the hill. Their guns have begun shelling the Confederate left from close range, the Confederates haven’t yet been able to respond.

6:01 AM

We’re shoving back their left, they’re pulling back where possible but we’ve heavily disrupted their plans, clearly.

6:13 AM

A Confederate force of cavalry attempted to rush my artillery, but were stopped by my reinforcing units.

On the right, my forces have been slowly advancing through town. The Confederates have largely been pulling back before offering any resistance, and are setting up on the opposite end of town.

On my far left, however, my cavalry flanking maneuver ran into some enemy units, are are going to pull back and regroup.

6:32 AM

We’re forcing them further back off the hill, and have managed to claim both objectives, the hill and the town itself.

My cavalry weren’t able to retreat, but have managed to form a strange quasi-square formation that has discouraged the Confederates from jumping on them, so that’s fine, I suppose.

Overall, here’s how the map looks now.

What you’re seeing here is the early steps of a double envelopment of the Confederate left, hopefully. Those brigades at the top of the hill will swing around and hit the middle of the Confederate line, hopefully killing or capturing those units.

6:33 AM

As I reloaded into this game’s save, my closest unit to the Confederate line in town completely disappeared, apparently captured. I’m chalking this up to the load exploding the buildings they were in. In any case, I’m now down 2900 men I wasn’t before. This is a real blow.

6:50 AM

That situation in town has really put a damper on the whole operation, not to mention the fact that my cavalry are breaking from their attack.

The Confederates seem to be pulling back in relatively good order, but there’s some units walking in any which direction, it seems like confusion reigns on both sides here.

This unit walked right into range of my brigade and ignored them for the first few volleys. Did someone switch on the Orb of Confusion?

7:00 AM

This has been pretty terrible so far. Total casualties between the two sides amounts to over six thousand, and we’ve only been fighting for 2 hours. We’ve lost a whole brigade due to what I can assume is the computer planting bombs in the town when I loaded the save, and my cavalry have all taken to flight. The flanking action I embarked on was successfully delayed. If it wasn’t for the fact that the Confederates *must* be forced to retreat, I would likely withdraw myself. They can’t be allowed further north.

I have, however, seized the objectives. Maybe now that they’re regrouping, they’ll retreat? I hope?

7:18 AM

They have elected not to retreat.

This is a mess, a total mess. We’ve managed to form something approaching a cohesive line to repel the attacking formations, but more are on the way. The rebels, however, seem to be nearly as disorganized as the Union is at the moment. We can still swing this our way, I believe. I hope.

7:29 AM

Well, look at that.

They’ve neatly put a division right into the weird jaws of my army. I had intended merely to shore up my defenses by using their breastworks, but I won’t complain when handed this situation.. Here’s payback for Mansfield’s Brigade, that exploded or whatever back in town.

An honest to god cavalry charge that broke my brigade. You don’t see this happen too often.

8:10 AM

The last forty minutes were an absolutely brutal affair, several units routing on both sides, walking into an utter maelstrom.

Fortunately, that trap the Confederates walked into dealt them a powerful blow, and they’ve been losing ground since then.

Oh thank god.

A… “Major” victory, huh.

Feels more like I got my nose broken. The Army of Pennsylvania will not be combat effective for some time after this, but at least the Confederates should run back south now.

Before I go any further, I’ll offer a brief diversion. You may have noticed the units in the last battle had relatively short ranges, that’s due to their usage of the Springfield Musket, rather than the Springfield Rifle-Musket (if I refer to rifled units, they’re typically using this). The game fully models to production of weapons, and unfortunately, the best I can do for much of my army at the moment is equip them with muskets, rather than rifles. For those readers that don’t know, what makes a rifled musket better than a musket is that muskets are essentially just tubes that explode a bullet out the end, which makes them not very accurate. But rifling a weapon means that the barrel will be shaped in a way as to spin the bullet, so that it will more reliably fire in the direction it’s pointing. In practice, this means that rifles have both better range and accuracy than muskets.

All this to say that I ordered more rifle muskets for my army, 15k to be exact, but they won’t arrive for another two months:

Which means that the armies who don’t already have the improved rifles won’t see them for some time, unless we get lucky and capture enough Confederate rifles we can use against them.

JUL 4, 1861

The rebels are again launching a river invasion of Maryland.

That’s nearly forty thousand men. No rest for the weary soldiers of the Union.

Further westward in Virginia and Maryland, the Army of Pennsylvania is catching its collective breath from that nasty battle. The Army of Frederick sits on Grafton, again trying to capture the city, and may have to be pulled off again to hunt down the Hampton Division, which disappeared somewhere into the mountains of western Pennsylvania.

On the Ohio-Kentucky border, both sides are entrenching opposite sides of the river, the victorious Union forces shoring up their defenses but licking their not insignificant wounds. The Army of the Tennessee is still gathering men, and will likely not be combat effective for some time.

Lastly, the Department of the West still sits in southern Illinois, watching the Confederate army sitting in the Department’s old barracks in St. Louis. This has been by far the most quiet front, but taking back the city and the river is critical for the long-term economic health of the Union for the war.

On this note, before we plunge back into battle in Maryland, I’ll end this AAR here. Thanks as always to all you readers out there, hope you catch us next time!

-Jack

Scourge of War Games Will Be Removed From Online Stores

Yep, you read it right: starting September 1st, all Scourge of War games will be removed from digital stores, according to a news post on the Matrix Games site. “The games will no longer be available for purchase,” they write, “and we will consequently stop all support and assistance.”

They listed out which titles would be redeemable on Steam, but it only looks to be the most recent Scourge of War: Waterloo, and its associated expansions. The older games that cover American Civil War battles, Scourge of War: Gettysburg, Scourge of War: Chancellorsville, Scourge of War: Brandy Station, Scourge of War: Antietam, and Scourge of War: Pipe Creek, will only be available for purchase on Matrix. That is, for the next week.

Puzzlingly, there is no associated sale, meaning that if you want to grab one of these games that, for all we know, we’ll never be able to legally acquire again, you have to pay full price.

I’m personally not sure how much cost there is in maintaining these games online, but giving a week’s notice before yanking them offline for good leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Archivists have said that stringent copyright laws and strict digital policies have made it difficult to preserve video games as a medium, and in the wake of last week’s announcement that HBO Max will be removing over 30 shows from the service, meaning that most will be inaccessible, it’s a dark time for content online.

Hopefully, this is the only time we see this sort of content removal of a major wargame series, but given the fact that many wargame publishers opt to stay off modern gaming stores in favor of old, outdated websites that rely on email codes being manually sent to you (looking at you, NWS Wargaming), I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the last time we suddenly lose the ability to purchase classic wargames.

-Jack

Regiments: Review

I so desperately want to like WARNO. I like Cold War Gone Hot scenarios. I like army building/deck building in competitive wargames. I like pretty graphics and funky 80’s music. But, try as I might, I just can’t get the hang of it. Every time I try and play multiplayer, even when playing with friends, I find the inability to stop and assess the situation frustrating. If I were quicker, sharper, and a better commander, I could probably handle the micromanagement to a point where WARNO could be incredibly rewarding.

In fact, when playing Eugen’s latest entry in their wargames series, that feeling is so tantalizingly close that I find myself more annoyed than I think I have the right to be. I was wondering if I just had to decide that WARNO, and games like it, weren’t for me. Then Regiments appeared on the horizon, sun shining at its back, and it bellowed, “less micro!” and my heart sang.

Pausable real time with a fascinating scale and little micromanagement. Sign me up!

Regiments is as (you guessed it) regimental scale 3D real-time wargame about a fictitious Cold War Gone Hot scenario in 1989. Players take control of platoon-sized units and support assets to take control of linked capture points on a large map over several ‘phases’ of an operation.

The comparisons with the Red Dragon in the room are unavoidable, but I’m going to try and stick to talking about what Regiments does and how it feels. Which is ‘better’ will be up to your personal preference and desire for multiplayer.

This is a single player only experience, and it is kind of refreshing to see that angle taken with a game of this type. Real-time strategy style wargames often prioritize the competitive multiplayer aspect. That can be great fun, but it is nice to see the focus placed on making the game work for single player with the ability to give orders while paused and a scale that reduces the number of units you need to individually order.

Removing the HUD can make for some great images. Our dug in West Germans repel an assault across a farmer’s field.

Operations are the main method of playing Regiments. Operations see players equipping their regiment with additional resources by spending points to increase deployment size, defenses, or add divisional assets. They are then tossed into a large map with a series of objectives that need to be completed over a few ‘phases’ or individual battles. The situation can change from phase to phase, but generally you’ll be engaging enemy forces to capture and hold key strategic positions, though there is some objective variety and even a bit of a narrative throughout the operations to keep things fresh.

Gameplay is very similar to the Wargame series from Eugen with a few key differences. Generally, you control a platoon of tanks, mechanized infantry, or support vehicles as the smallest game unit. You have the usual suite of commands like an attack-move, a quick move, a reverse to preserve facing, and the basic real time strategy game commands. Using these, you maneuver your forces to find, engage, and destroy the enemy.

In practice, it feels great, and the limited number of commands means you’re quickly learning the key binds and commanding the battlefield like a pro. And you’ll need to. The AI can be quite good at providing a worthy opponent. Often they have numerically superior forces, but you will also see them supporting attacks with artillery, bombarding your own artillery, flanking, using concealment, and concentrating force for a counter attack. Regiments tends to keep you on your toes.

Mechanized Infantry and their vehicles are a single in game unit, a decision I can readily appreciate.

The phased battles also make for an interesting change to the general RTS formula. After a phase is complete, there is time to spend newly acquired resources on fixing up units or acquiring new assets, then the battle is rejoined with the changes from the last phase in play. It reminded me of a similar mechanic in the excellent Ultimate General Gettysburg, which saw the battlefield change over time as the battle progressed. Here units will get resupplied, reserve units can occupy captured control points, and the time of day and battlefield conditions will change. It presents a real sense of progress.

The Skirmish mode is also fun, but I don’t believe I will be playing it as often as I redo operations. The basics of gameplay are the same, with the exception that you can add assets at predefined segments of time, and that objectives shift as the battle goes on. These are great ways of keeping the appeal of the operations alive, and playing two against two with an AI companion is still very entertaining. It does lead to the one request I believe everyone is thinking about.

Guess who’s going up that hill? You are, Mechanized Rifles! Don’t worry, we have a single Mortar Platoon to support you. Resources will be stretched, but its how you use them.

There is no multiplayer. Honestly, there doesn’t need to be, and there probably shouldn’t be given what that would do to gameplay balance. But we can dream. I find Regiments to be much more approachable and playable than WARNO, and while I would like to play with friends… well, WARNO is right there, waiting for me to finally figure it out.

In the meantime, I will be playing and replaying Regiments. It spoke to me. I’m willing to bet it will to you too.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

-Joe

Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) AAR Diary, Part Six

ED. Note: If you missed the start of this AAR, don’t worry! You can catch up from the beginning here.

Last time, we left the Union facing yet another combo of direct assaults, one large force rushing into Maryland in the east, the other attacking a vastly outnumbered Union army in Ohio.

JUN 26, 1861

Fortunately for the Union, McClellan’s Army of the Ohio was able to dart back across the river before the reinforcing rebel army could catch up. Unfortunately for the Union, our army is still vastly outnumbered.

Back east, McDowell’s forces cut and ran in the face of overwhelming Confederate numerical superiority. This is a bummer, but at least the army will survive to fight another day. The Army of Pennsylvania is coming over from DC to back McDowell up, I’m now planning on swapping their positions and having Scott’s Army of Pennsylvania stay in western Maryland, while keeping McDowell in DC.

I also made to move the Army of Indiana in the west to- what’s that?

JUN 27, 1861

Huh. Okay, cool! Sure. I’ll leave that fleet there for now, clearly they have a handle on things. Let’s go back and look at the developments on land-

… Okay, now I’m going back to look at what’s going on in the west.

JUN 28, 1861

The situation on the Ohio-Kentucky border is a mess.

The two Union armies have begun skirmishing with the Confederate Army of Alabama, the small army McClellan’s Army of the Ohio fought before. We have a majority of troops on the Ohio side of the river, but that other Confederate army is just looming there, menacingly. Before they can jump to the Army of Alabama’s rescue, we’re going to see if we can finish what we started… two AARs ago?

JUN 28, 1861

6:31 PM

We outnumber the rebels significantly, so this may be a very short account.

6:32 PM

Thrilling stuff.

In seriousness, the AI is now smart enough (as of the 1.07 patch, the one I’m playing this campaign on) to disengage from battles it knows it can’t win, so I consider it a good thing that I didn’t get a cheap victory here.

I’ve had about enough of this Lorena character.

As anticlimactic as that was, this honestly works out for the best. As you can see below, the remaining enemy army is quite large. They’re currently at 18000 men, and will be at 33000 when at full strength, nearly twice as many men between both of my local armies. Cool!

Out of a desire to create a unit that could potentially withstand the assault without running immediately due to the number difference, I took drastic measures.

The Army of the Ohio is no more, replaced by the single, stronger Army of Indiana. McClellan will get his shot at command another day.

Meanwhile, back on the policy side of things, we finally accrued enough subsidies to purchase something good: 

Cast Artillery! We’ll now be able to produce more effective guns with which to fight the rebels. Most of ours right now are hilariously howitzers, which will be historically more effective in about 50 years. Certainly good now, but we need something with a bit more range. My next project target will likely be larger artillery units, so as to take advantage of these bigger guns.

JUN 29, 1861

The rebel army that was heading for Maryland has pivoted entirely, thanks to the Army of Frederick swooping down into West Virginia.

This relieves some serious pressure off of DC, but is bad news for Patterson’s Army of Frederick, as they’re sorely outnumbered by the incoming Hampton Legion. Currently, they’re locked in fisticuffs with the severely weakened Army of Northern Virginia (remember those schmucks from the 2nd AAR?). I’ll engage them now, hopefully rout them, and pull back north to Wheeling. My overall plan wasn’t a success, but I’ve also avoided outright disaster so far.

—-

The enemy retreated right away again, being that it was 1300 against over 9000 10000. Chalk another one up for the good guys!

Wow, one whole guy captured? Somebody call Abe, the war’s over!

Looking at the high national morale of the Union (the 100 next to the heart at the top) and the arrow on the slider clearly favoring the blue Union, it’d be easy to think that I’m steamrolling them. That’s not really true. Take a look at the latest overview panel here.

While I have the Confederates handily beat in the naval game, they’re fielding far more troops than I am, and have high support in their states, even if the overall morale is lower. High support essentially equates to more available troops, and a better functioning economy under the stresses of war. Speaking of economy, note the bottom of the panel: they’re even with me in trade warfare somehow, meaning that I’m losing a lot of money due to their activities, and their overall economic strength is close to mine, meaning they’re likely pretty industrialized.

In essence, this means that while I’ve been able to counter and riposte the opening Confederate strikes, things are still just heating up, the presence of multiple Confederate armies that have more than 30k men should be proof enough of that.

Anyway, tangent over, let’s see what’s happening back on the map.

——

With the battle wrapped up so quickly, Patterson’s men packed up their gear (and their one prisoner I assume) and headed back up north to Wheeling.

Not sure where the big army that was moving west went, perhaps it sees that I’m shoving off and isn’t too interested in pursuing further?

JUL 1, 1861

July does not start well for the Union.

The giant army that had been chasing Patterson turned north, and has nothing between them and Canada at the moment.

Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, the Confederates brought a second army up the river, bringing their total forces in the area to likely near 30k effective men.

I’m immediately sending Scott’s Army of Pennsylvania to counter the Hampton Division currently sitting in Cumberland, Maryland.

Out west, the largely green Army of Indiana faces the combined threat of multiple rebel armies.

July sure is shaping up to be something already.

JUL 1, 1861

5:26 AM

Here’s how the battlefield looks in the early hours of July 1st.

We’re in a very solid defensive position, with the opportunity to defend several key river crossings. The enemy is most likely either going to come down the road to where my rightmost division is, or approach that fortified bend in the middle of my line. In either case, I’m well positioned enough that we have a fighting chance at this.

5:57 AM

I’ve located the general-ish whereabouts of the Confederate army, dust clouds give them away as advancing from the road my cursor’s pointing at below:

However, the two other armies are approaching still, and could come down a couple of other roads, so I’m not going to leap out of the trenches and pounce, I wouldn’t have time. No sir, this is going to be a day of skirmishing. At least to start.

NOTE: After this point, I played until about 7:30 AM in game time and found the enemy. However, due to a very long and crazy circumstance where a stray cat followed me into my house to avoid a storm and then the power went out a few times, I lost that save. So I know where the enemy is. I cheated kinda. I’ll consider it information I got from spying or something..

Anyway here’s Beans.

Moving on.

6:37 AM

My, ahem, thorough reconnaissance of the enemy led a detachment of skirmishers led by my cavalry to this creek.

All told, I’ll have *maybe* 800-1000 men stationed around the area, the enemy currently has 16000, with about 32000 more on the way. This unit is meant to act as a delaying force.

6:46 AM

While my cavalry was still getting in position, their cavalry rushed across the ford, taking 60 casualties in the process.

7:25 AM

Things are heating up as more of my skirmishers arrive, matched by whole enemy brigades. They haven’t pushed us back yet, but will be able to with a coordinated effort.

7:43 AM

Disaster! After only a few minutes of fighting, they rushed and overtook my cavalry, capturing them!

They threw my skirmishers back violently. By about 8 AM, there weren’t any skirmishers left at the ford. Additionally, another 5000 men appeared on the field in a new Confederate Army. This gambit didn’t pay off for me, I’m going to proceed more cautiously now.

8:26 AM

By this time, my skirmishers have largely pulled back over the ridge that sits in the middle of the map. The few that are still holding steady I’ve pulled back to the next line of rivers or hills to monitor the approach of the enemy’s lines.

9:04 AM

The enemy seems to be coming down the left road. So far, I’m unsure whether they’ll hit the river’s bend or the left first. In any case, I’m pulling the far right back to the objective to be held in reserve.

10:24 AM

The enemy army that showed up first deployed into battle lines when only facing my skirmishers. I think they’re preparing a mass attack.

11:44 AM

They got here *very* quickly. I had hoped to beat them to this railway, my cannons didn’t get the word in time to turn around..

12:00 PM

The cannons got away in time, the enemy hesitated before pouncing. I pulled another battery from the middle of the line to reinforce the flank.

12:34 PM

More brigades in reserve from the other defensive lines have been pulled to reinforce the crossing, it looks like they will try to force my left.

12:40 PM

The mill on the river caught fire as my batteries engaged the approaching brigade. The choke point is paying off so far, it’ll be difficult for them to dislodge me.

1:00 PM

The enemy is now throwing about a division at the bridge. They’re still massing troops in the background, I’m not sure where they’re pointed yet. For now, if we can lock this bridge down, we’ll have some breathing room on this flank for at least an hour.

1:24 PM

We’re holding them back, albeit with some casualties from their battery set up so closely.

We’re trying to force their cannons back to give us immediate artillery dominance in the area. So far, the enemy hasn’t launched another assault. I think the fact that the troops are largely green makes them hesitant to engage further.

1:33 PM

They’re starting to run! Hopefully the failure of this attack gives the enemy second thoughts about continuing to assault my lines.

I also brought the division that was on my extreme right to my now extreme left, setting up in case they try to flank me.

This means my former right is now wide open, but I think it’s unlikely they’ll swing back around. I’ll post some skirmishers to act as scouts, but the battle will likely be over these main three fords.

1:55 PM

After some light skirmishing, both sides pull back slightly from the bridge, the Union to our breastworks, the Confederates back to their main lines a few hundred yards back.

2:20 PM

The Confederate attack looks to be gearing back up; they’re deploying skirmishers to harass the line, but aren’t quite ready to commit yet. I doubt they have the artillery to be able to dislodge me with that alone, but they are shelling me from a greater distance than I can see.

4:33 PM

They’ve begun to commit to this crossing, sending what must be a whole army of men at it.

4:36 PM

Second line of defenses baby!

It’s trench warfare time! Breach that bridge and you’re still gonna have a bad time, Johnny Reb!

5:55 PM

Over the last hour, fighting was mostly reduced to skirmishing, but one of the full brigades that attacked us earlier and is severely damaged is again attacking the line.

If they’re committing units that have suffered strong casualties, does that mean they’re desperate, or does that mean they don’t care about maintaining these units if it forces me off the field?

Meanwhile, off to my right, a cavalry regiment attempted to flank me, but found two units of skirmishers awaiting them.

There won’t be any massive attack on my flank tonight, and even these harassers will likely have to call it quits.

6:38 PM

After nearly 40 minutes of fighting, the Confederate brigade pulled back, with both sides taking heavy losses in the fray.

The Confederate brigade was more experienced than Day’s brigade, but they held out. I’m pulling them back to the second line to recuperate, and pulling up one of the reserves to take their place.

Meanwhile, back on the right…

It looks like they rushed my skirmishers. I have no idea how this is going to play out.

6:49 PM

Caught between a rock and a hard place, the Confederate cavalry routs, ending their attempt for a flanking maneuver this far out.

7:04 PM

Mamma mia, that’s a lot of enemy troops.

The question is whether they’ll attempt an attack before nightfall sets in. The timing of nightfall changes throughout the year, longer in the summer, shorter in the winter. I’m not sure if they have until 8 or 9 to make their play, so I’m going to do what I can to bolster the battered line. We’ve lost a unit of artillery already, and while we still have superior firepower, that may change.

7:12 PM

Artillery off by itself away from the main fighting? Something fishy is going on. I’m sending skirmishers out from one of the two brigades still stationed at what I thought was going to be the lynchpin of my defense, but has ended up being a boring guard post.

7:32 PM

I believe the unit was sent out to support that cavalry regiment’s assault on my right, and didn’t have the courier reach them in time to rescind the order.

I like to imagine the skirmishers leave a big sign behind, saying “Thanks for the guns!” They’re lugging the cannons back to our trenches now.

7:51 PM

Not fast enough though, before we could send the appropriate tema out to grab the guns, an enemy brigade and battery appeared. So much for this area being dead quiet.

Disregard that Confederate general behind my lines, he’s running from where I broke the cavalry regiment. Generals’ staff units can’t be directly targeted, unfortunately, or else I could capture a decent amount of Confederate leadership right here.

8:07 PM

No answer to whether the Confederates will attempt an attack tonight, even at this hour. They’re shuffling their lines to my left, unsure if they’re looking for my flank, preparing for another assault, or beginning a general retreat. By this point in the battle, they’ve suffered over 3000 casualties, over 10% of their forces. I wouldn’t be surprised if they call it quits now.

And yet, they’re still engaging me with limited units on the left.

9:00 PM

Right as the sun finally began to set, the enemy forces started falling back in disarray.

Victory!

This was a difficult fight for both sides, with nasty losses in both camps. While I won, I lost my only cavalry unit in the army, equipped with fast-firing carbines, as well as a fair amount of my guns.

However, the enemy has been repulsed and has suffered greatly for his attempt to attack the Union in Ohio. It may not stop the invasion, but the battle certainly put a temporary halt to their plans, at least.

I’ll end this behemoth of an installment here, but catch us next time to see how the developments in the east unfold…

-Jack

Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) AAR Diary, Part Five

ED. Note: If you missed the start of this AAR, don’t worry! You can catch up from the beginning here.

MAY 29, 1861

Last time, we left things off with two victories against the Confederates, who tried to flank around the Union armies into Maryland. This time around, there’s no looming conflict hanging over us, this is more a time for maneuvering. 

McDowell’s troops have certainly earned a breather. They’ve punched above their weight and have inflicted heavy casualties on the armies facing them, but they’ve taken quite a few casualties themselves. Rather than attempt to pursue the rebels with them, we’ll give them a break for now.

Instead, we’ll direct our attention to the coast of South Carolina. One of our fleets has found two fresh Confederate fleets, and one largely disabled.

Well, don’t mind if I do.

Over the course of the next day, the rebels lost both fleets, with the Union fleet hardly scuffed. 

As you can see from the Navy Tonnage field, the sea is pretty much Union turf now.

JUN 2, 1861

We’re getting close to summer, peak campaigning weather. In the east, all’s been quiet since the battles of a few days ago. In the west, however, one of the Confederate armies in Kentucky is attempting to drive into Ohio. McClellan’s Department of the Ohio is close, and is sent to intercept.

In a first for the war, the Union army both outnumbers and outguns the rebels. Hopefully, we can force them back across the river.

JUN 2, 1861

5:28 PM

The battle starts in the later afternoon with neither side in possession of the objective.

The Union army is sent directly to the point and reaches it with no sight of the enemy.

6:33 PM

See those dust clouds? A neat way you can scout for the enemy on the map. Rain and other adverse weather conditions practically makes the clouds nonexistent, but on a dry day like this one, we can see them marching right at us.

6:45 PM

We’ve caught sight of them, and it’s quickly turned into a race for the ford.

Neither side has opened fire yet, as everyone is too busy hoofing it to the river.

Meanwhile, I’m engaging in a sneaky flank with my other division.

6:52 PM

I hadn’t realized that the Confederates had some more experienced soldiers here, denoted by the single star over their unit icons. My troops are all still green, but are so far golding up under fire.

7:01 PM

The men have flanked the ford, hopefully pushing the enemy over the edge- oh hell.

The rebels rushed my brigade. Things are suddenly looking much dicier.

7:06 PM

After a very brief but violent melee, two rebel brigades are running, we’ve taken the field, barely.

The rebels were unfortunately able to get away mostly intact due to the green nature of the Union soldiers, but it’s a victory nonetheless.

JUN 3, 1861

The retreating army decided to re-camp on the Union side of the river.

JUN 6, 1861

Hm.

For whatever reason, looks like they can’t fight each other. They’ve been standing on top of each other for 3 days. I’ll pull back McClellan to see if they leave.

Back east, I’ve re-ordered the forces to better account for Confederate thrusts.

To the north of West Virginia, I’ve posted the Army of Frederick.

Along the Potomac, the Army of Northeastern Virginia guards Frederick, while the Army of Pennsylvania now sits in DC itself. 

When they catch their breath from all that hiking, I’m going to order them to construct a fort on the Virginia side of the river, which will at least slow any future Confederate surprise attacks.

Since action is currently so slow on the map, it’s time for a diversion to everyone’s favorite thing, the bureaucratic side of the war!

Above is the economy panel, the lines represent our overall economic state. I’ve increased funding to agriculture, as it appears that there isn’t enough forage for the Union’s horses. Every army with cavalry is currently suffering. I suppose that the South controls most of the oat and hay factories, or something to that effect. I also noticed that the CSA’s finances took a bit of a blow lately, I’m not sure whether to chalk that up to my blockades or some major expenditures on their side of the house.

Meanwhile, in the policy tab, we finished up our early policies covering the economic and industrial subsidies, and we’re now pushing for the Militia Act II; this will extend soldiers’ contracts to 12 months rather than 3, giving us a chance to train and use veterans rather than quickly losing them.

Lastly, let’s take a quick look at the war overview.

As we can see here, the Union is clearly ahead, though the difference in total men fielded is alarming. I have a feeling the South may be gearing up for a knockout blow.

JUN 18, 1861

It’s been a pretty quiet month so far. Nothing interesting to report for the last few weeks except that the militia contracts have been extended to 12 months, and we have a new railroad!

Sure is a railroad.

I also created two new armies, one meant to support the eastern theater, one the west.

The eastern Army of New York is quite large, boasting 35k men, while the western Army of the Tennessee is smaller, with only 17k men. I plan for both to train for some time before sending them off to the “front,” especially due to the fact that they lack rifles; all have muskets.

It will also be some time before these units can muster, but it’s good to get them on the way early. With how slow the war has been in the last few months, and having been able to see the Confederates building something up in the South, I think we’re in for a rough fall. Not sure how the summer will play out quite yet.

JUN 25, 1861

I rebooted the game and that seemed to fix the rebels’ situation on the river, they seem to now be back in their ships, moseying away. I intend to let them leave, as long as I get to hold Covington.

My current plan is to mostly hold position, with the exception of the new Army of the Tennessee. When it’s finished mustering, I’m going to send them to the southeast to take Charleston. 

Taking Charleston and Grafton will officially split West Virginia off into its own state, and it will also effectively advance the Union lines to a point where the Confederates can no longer sneak directly into the industrial underbelly of the Union, something they’ve already tried before and will likely try again.

Trouble is brewing back on the eastern front however, I just spotted a large army making its way directly for DC.

Fortunately, the large Army of Pennsylvania is still sitting in the city, reorganizing before marching into Virginia proper. I’m not sure if they intend to come into the city or encamp and wait for me to come to them, I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

——

They turned westward, clearly gunning for McDowell’s much smaller force. I’m opting to leave them entrenched for now, as they will be a hard target regardless of the difference in numbers.

This also gives me a great opportunity to begin Operation West Virginia.

Patterson’s Army of Frederick will head down into the mountains and seize Grafton from the Confederates while they’re busy attacking McDowell. If McDowell can hold them for a few days, Patterson’s army here can swing in from the west and offer support, not to mention Scott’s Army of Pennsylvania in the east, though the larger army may take some time to redeploy.

Ah, beans. Looks like they’re executing offensives on both major fronts at once. I’m running McClellan back across the river as fast as possible, but I’m not sure he’ll be able to beat the rebels there.

The Army of Indiana is on its way to reinforce, but I have no idea if they’ll be there fast enough to help, and that’s not even taking into account the inexperience of the army, or its shoddier equipment. 

Things are fine. 

In fact, they’re so fine that I’ll leave things for here this week.

Join us next time as we fight off the CSA’s dual thrust, and maybe even survive it!

-Jack

Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) AAR Diary, Part Four

ED. Note: If you missed the start of this AAR, don’t worry! You can catch up from the beginning here.

MAY 27, 1861

Last time, the Union army repulsed a Confederate rush at DC, but now face two separate battles around Maryland. The first battle will deal with the Army of Frederick (Maryland), the former Department of Pennsylvania. Due to some sneaky maneuvering, the rebs snuck behind our boys who were camped in Virginia, and now stand between us and safety.

MAY 27, 1861

6:00 AM

Sure, we may have to attack across miles of enemy ground, and sure, we may be outnumbered, and sure, we have less guns than them, and sure, we have green troops, but we have something they don’t: a winning attitude.

I decide to play it slow at first, I’m going to advance to the creek and see how the situation looks before advancing further, of course deploying forward skirmishers to see what’s going on ahead.

7:10 AM

Well, my skirmishers advanced to Winchester itself, and the town’s empty. Kind of eerie. If I was them, I’d have set up cannons to make the approach through town difficult, but there’s literally no sign of them anywhere. I’m guessing they’re guarding the ford near the objective, perhaps?

8:18 AM

Hm. 

They must be sitting on the objective itself. I’m surprised they aren’t covering this crossing at all. I suppose they outnumber me by enough they feel confident in holding up there. My plan is to probe the area with skirmishers and find the weak point. If they’re as clustered as I imagine them to be, the numbers might actually not help them much.

Especially because my guns have quite a long range, the battery in the screenshot below has a range of over a mile! I doubt the rebels have anything quite that long.

I just hope they don’t decide to attack me before I get set up, but so far, they seem content to remain entirely hidden.

Even in the 1860’s northern Virginia has problems with traffic.

9:30 AM

Aha! Found them. Clustered up, just like I figured. I don’t blame them, it is a very nice position.

While my army is stuck in traffic in town, the rebels seem content to sit back and wait, which is bold, I’ll say.

After a few minutes, some of my scouts find the enemy right.

Looks like a single battery and brigade, unsupported by anything in the near vicinity. There’s our weak point.

As a fun way to harass them a bit, I captured both supply routes (the now blue arrows) around their location. If the battle lasts another day and they don’t capture any supply routes back out, they won’t be resupplied overnight. I doubt it’ll last that long, but I’d like to hedge my bets.

11:13 AM

No engagements yet. I’m getting much closer to them now, I’ve even managed to sneak a division up to the enemy left, just across where the supply route is.

I don’t think they saw me, at least. They seem unbothered in any case, but won’t be for long, I’m setting some of my guns up over there too.

11:23 AM

All at once, the enemy army decided to move. Maybe they caught sight of my division? In any case, ALL of them are moving. Yikes!

11:45 AM

Right around now is when things are starting to heat up. My skirmishers caught one of their batteries unaware and have it pinned, other skirmishers are moving forward to harass the enemy at the river crossing. My guns are even starting to get in on the action.

12:02 PM

My biggest enemy right now is my own army. They weren’t fast enough to take full advantage of the enemy’s flat-footedness, and they’re beginning to consolidate.

12:11 PM

But maybe not fast enough?

I’ve now got them surrounded, albeit mostly with skirmishers. If I was facing an experienced army, I’d likely be toast, but this is the early war, neither side’s troops have seen combat yet, and now the enemy’s greenhorns are caught in the Semi-Circle of Death™ (patent pending).

12:46 PM

Reinforcements! My division I had sent on the long walk around the enemy’s original position is finally arriving.

At this point, the enemy’s numerical advantage doesn’t matter when there’s so many bottled up in that patch of woods, they’re mostly surrounded. My guys hardly have to aim to hit them.

After about an hour and a half of brutal combat in the woods, the enemy decides to retreat.

Unfortunately, due to our lack of cavalry, we weren’t able to punish the retreat as much as we might’ve been able to, but I’m still chalking this one up as a big win. We were outnumbered by about 10k men, and still managed to put their army to flight.

Back on the campaign map, I’m directing Patterson’s Army of Frederick to execute a tactical skedaddle back across the Potomac before anyone else can show up and threaten them. The Army of Pennsylvania led by Gen. Scott that was sitting up at the north end of West Virginia is being emergency deployed back to DC now as additional reinforcements. Once the Army of Frederick has time to recuperate, I’ll send them west to take the Army of Pennsylvania’s place watching excursions from the mountains.

Things aren’t looking so good out west either. My scouts reported back that there’s FOUR whole Confederate armies lurking around Kentucky. I’m incredibly outnumbered over there, and I hope they don’t realize how much trouble I’m in.

I’m also reaching the limit of my recruiting pool at the moment. The overall manpower of the state grows over time, but I’m left now with only 18k men that are available to be assigned to new units or to reinforce old ones. I don’t have the ability to really raise anything else to challenge these armies at the moment, so maybe I’ll kick up a stir back east to draw their attention there. At the very least, it’s better guarded than the west.

MAY 29, 1861

McDowell’s Army of Northeastern Virginia arrived last night, just in time by the looks of it. The Confederates launched an assault to take the fort that hasn’t quite succeeded yet.

We’ll have to go save them, and kick the Confederates off the peninsula.

MAY 29, 1861

7:00 AM

We have to attack, of course, but fortunately we’re on familiar ground.

Good ol’ Manassas! The rebels also seem to still be a ways off, which will give us some room to set up first. These odds are much better than in that last battle, but I don’t want to get too cocky about things.

The army is swinging wide through Centreville, capturing a supply route and offering good sight-lines. It’ll be difficult for them to sneak up on us from here.

11:07 AM

After hours of hiking around the map, we’ve finally spotted their army, situated firmly on the heights around the objective. Fine, we’ll keep an eye on them as we close in.

1:55 PM

The army is almost wholly in formation, and the rebels haven’t really moved.

Not really sure what’s going on there.

2:24 PM

We’ve begun throwing up breastworks in the field in front of their lines. Some of our longer-range guns have started shelling them, though we don’t have many, and at this range they’re more of an annoyance than an effective weapon.

4:14 PM

We’ve finished our breastworks and have moved our most experienced division (now with new uniforms and the divisional name “Shield of DC” (note: give me a shout if you want to name any units or have uniform ideas!)) into the woods to our right.

5:10 PM

Oh?

It seems a feuding enemy officer has gotten tired of being bombarded for four hours, and is now moving forward.

Can’t say I much blame them, but…

As you can see here, sometimes officers of units will get fed up with their orders if they disagree with them and go and do something stupid. Most of the time, this manifests in changing the range at which their unit engages the enemy, but other times, they’ll march on two enemy divisions supported by artillery alone.

MAY 30, 1861

6:00 AM

Nothing occurred last night after that single attack. Here’s the starting situation the following morning:

I built trenches on the hill to the right, which overlooks the objective. My artillery there is in range, and can fire on them easily. I also moved Grant’s division (I promoted both him and Sherman as they had much better stats than the previous divisional commanders) into the woods, and Sherman’s division is again behind breastworks, but much closer to the enemy. I hope my superior artillery will force them to attack again, at which point my defenses and superior weapons (most of this army is kitted with rifles rather than muskets) should repulse them.

6:41 AM

After a few minutes of skirmishing, I’m moving the right half of my army up. The enemy pulled their line back out of range of my artillery, so I’ll just follow.

Interestingly, the center looks kind of weak. There are some skirmishers from both sides duking it out in there, but the enemy looks to be getting slowly pushed back. If I can separate their army, it’ll be easier for my left to collapse on them and hopefully rout the whole army.

6:59 AM

Grant’s division  managed to shove the enemy skirmishers out of the woods, giving my brigades a chance to advance and take the far edge of the woods, which is incidentally also letting them capture the objective. The enemy is advancing a brigade at least to try to push us out, but we have cover now.

7:17 AM

Things are heating up on the objective, two large enemy brigades have committed to the attack, but neither have yet come close enough to fire on my troops… while I can fire on them.

In the next few minutes, one of their brigades closed on us, but not for long before they were repulsed.

7:56 AM

Over the course of the hour, they started funneling more and more troops into the objective to try to force us out, but none of their attempts have succeeded yet.

Just after 8:00 AM, they broke.

Four remarkable tactical victories in a row, with this army involved in three of them!

I will close this installment of the AAR here, as my brain and hands need to recover from the hectic nature of these battles. Next time, I’m looking forward to consolidating the eastern defenses, and maybe we can do something about the massing Confederates in the west.

-Jack

Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) AAR Diary, Part Three

ED. Note: If you missed the start of this AAR, don’t worry! You can catch up from the beginning here.

MAY 14, 1861

After the Union victory at Alexandria, Gen. McDowell’s Army of Northeastern Virginia is too disorganized to continue to pursue the fleeing Confederate army. This is to be expected, early war formations with green troops and inexperienced commanders aren’t great at continuing to operate after a battle.

The Union army being on the Virginia side of the Potomac, however, will offer DC some breathing room, as well as providing a beachhead into a greater Virginia invasion at some point. At the moment, letting McDowell’s troops entrench in place is a small but important victory.

Elsewhere, things are going less positively. In Indiana, a Confederate army has begun making its way north from Kentucky, and the local Union army currently has an army of exactly one guy, the commander. The units are still being mustered, hopefully soon enough to blunt the oncoming assault, but likely not. We may have to pull a unit from further east to cut them off.

After some deliberating, I sent McClellan’s Army of the Ohio west to intercept, and am bringing Scott’s Army of Pennsylvania down to Pittsburgh in case the Confederates try to punch through the mountains of (future) West Virginia into Ohio. Scott’s army is quite large, and I’m hoping the Confederates don’t press them quite yet; armies will gain both experience and “training” when stationary, training being a measure of overall quality. Right now, most soldiers are largely untrained, with few exceptions. I don’t want to throw this relatively large (30k+) army into combat before they’re fully ready.

As an aside before I unpause and let the game play, here’s the current overview of the war.

Nothing too crazy yet, considering we’ve only had the one battle. I don’t think naval casualties are counted in the casualty field, but I could be wrong. In any case, things are still looking pretty even at the moment. I’ve been creating new units where possible, but currently the Union army only has 3 month contracts, meaning I can lose experienced soldiers only after a short period of time. The units don’t disappear, but their experience does, and if not enough soldiers re-sign, the units can also grow smaller.

MAY 18, 1861

That enemy force got suddenly much larger, then disappeared. Not on my map anymore, who knows where they are, other than a vague “somewhere in the south of Indiana, probably.”

But before I can worry about that too much, this pops up:

Hm. This might not go well. I’m outnumbered by a full 10k men, and if I lose, DC will be wide open. Here goes nothing!

MAY 18, 1861

4:20 PM

Good news, I start on top of the objective for the map. I entrenched my troops along a creek, and I’m sending out my smallest division’s infantry to scout ahead and hopefully delay the enemy somewhat.

5:02 PM

We’ve spotted the enemy, a bit closer than I hoped but that’s not so terrible a thing. I’m setting my skirmishers up in the woods on their approach to whittle them down.

6:32 PM

The Confederates seem as though they’re stopping their advance for the evening. There’s not much time left for fighting in the day, perhaps they just want to shell my skirmishers?

MAY 19, 1861

6:00 AM

Here’s the starting situation for the day:

I extended my fortifications somewhat, as just before night fell, I caught a couple of cavalry units off to the left. I don’t want to be caught unawares, so now I have two brigades watching the stream to my left. I plan to send out skirmishers to keep an eye on them; hopefully they come right down that main road, where all my guns happen to be facing. I don’t have many, but the guns I do have are fairly high caliber, so I expect them to do serious damage to any advance.

7:15 AM

We’ve spotted the lead elements of their army. They don’t seem to have shifted much from their positions the night before. I’m sending out a small unit of skirmishers to harass their cavalry. Cavalry tend to not have very long range weapons, and I’m thinking they don’t just rush my skirmishers, given that their unit probably wouldn’t maintain cohesion in a charge, being so green.

Those dinky blue dots next to Jost are my skirmishers. They’re a bit tricky to see, so I’ll try to point them out when relevant.

11:06 AM

I pulled my skirmishers back after they repulsed two separate cavalry regiments over the span of about an hour, but I haven’t seen any enemy movement since then. It’s got me nervous, frankly, so I’m sending more skirmishers out to take a look.

11:19 AM

Good lord. They’re coming through the woods.

Union skirmishers just at the right edge of the woods there.

Fortunately, I can see them coming, but I didn’t expect them to not take the road.

12:15 PM

My skirmishers ran off, and I can hardly blame them, being outnumbered significantly. They did quite a bit of damage to the rebels, however.

1:31 PM

Somewhat bizarrely, they’re heading off to the top of the screen in the screenshot below. Are they trying for a miles-long flanking maneuver?

I don’t think they’ve given up yet, but this change in direction is odd, to say the least.

2:52 PM

They’ve started advancing across the nice, big open field with no cover in view of my guns. How kind of them.

Not sure where the rest of the army is, but I’m watching the roads that could lead them around to my rear, so I’m not so worried about being flanked. For now, the question is whether they’ll commit to this attack, something that I wouldn’t do if I were them. But then, I also wouldn’t secede from the United States to keep the institution of chattel slavery intact, so comme-ci comme-ca I suppose.

3:27 PM

They are decidedly *not* me. A single brigade marched right up to the trenchline and started shooting at my artillery. Col. Grant, who somehow has managed to be relevant in both battles in a row, advanced forward from the trench to engage the enemy and sent them falling back.

3:49 PM 

MY GOD THEY’RE GOING FOR THE LONG FLANK.

5:31 PM

I sent a division to cover the road on the right, but now they’re sending men to my left. I can’t tell if their movements are brilliant or plain dumb. Maybe a bit of both? I certainly haven’t been able to anticipate these moves.

6:07 PM

Maybe it was a feint? There’s at least a division or more massing on my left now. I sent most of my guns to cover the right, so if it was a feint, well played, AI. Fortunately for me, I have defenses overlooking the stream crossing.

6:48 PM

With only a few minutes left of daylight, the rebs committed a brigade to rush my defenses. Unfortunately for them, I just managed to pivot my guns back to the left.

That advancing enemy brigade took 500 casualties in the few minutes between that screenshot and 7:00, when the day ended. Yet the Confederates stayed on, beginning Day 3 of this battle.

MAY 20, 1861

6:00 AM

Day 3 is going to be rough. This is the situation at 6:00 AM.

I haven’t been able to convince the rebels to quit yet, even after inflicting 1500 casualties on them. My hope today is to hold the left. I’m not expecting a major attack on my right, but I left some guns and my smaller division over there, just in case. 

6:09 AM

An enemy cavalry regiment charged my guns, they were only repulsed at the last second. The morning light is giving the battlefield an eerie glow.

6:38 AM

After enemy charges along the whole trenchline, the first wave was repulsed, but it looks like they’re preparing a second wave of attack. We inflicted heavy casualties on them, but I’m not sure it was enough.

We may be able to continue to hold, but I’m not sure for how long. Our trenches have been doing a fantastic job of keeping the left intact, but if they keep charging us, the cover won’t do much to make up for the overwhelming numbers the rebs have.

6:44 AM

The rebs decided they had enough and are turning around! That major attack caused over 1100 Confederate casualties, I suppose that was enough for them.

All of their guns, huh? Nice.

MAY 18, 1861

A fun quirk of this game is that since battles can last multiple days, when you finish and jump back to the campaign map, the battle will still rage on for multiple days. 

Just behind that newspaper, the two armies are still fighting and will be for a couple days. I’ll take advantage of the knowledge that I win that fight and deploy Gen. Scott’s massive Army of Pennsylvania to the top of West Virginia.

I’ve found West Virginia to be pretty significant strategically in my campaigns I’ve played so far, as leaving it in the hands of the South means they can walk right into Ohio or Pennsylvania, whereas holding it as the Union means you can have a backdoor into southern Virginia, cutting up one of the richest and most important states in the Confederacy, even without the capital there. 

My last campaign was decided almost entirely in the mountains of West Virginia, with the bad roads and winter attrition doing almost as much work to collapse the Confederate army as I did. Even though I won that time around, it’s brutal stuff, and I’d rather not leave campaigning in the mountains for winter.

Back east, I’m sending Patterson’s Department of Pennsylvania (soon to be renamed, I don’t care for “Department” as a unit name) down to Winchester to seize the town and local depot. 

MAY 27, 1861

After a few days of little action, two enemy armies jumped on me with little warning. The first forded the Potomac and is besieging Fort Washington, just south of DC. The other snuck behind the army I sent to capture Winchester, and now has them cut off. Outnumbered on both ends, with the fate of the capital in the balance of both battles…. Seems like a good place to leave off for this time.

Talk about a cliffhanger, huh?

As always, thanks for sticking with me to the end here, and if you want to know more about the campaign, give me a shout on Discord or Twitter.

-Jack