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


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!



  1. zardoz says:

    Is the AI good enough to win tactical level battles?


    1. Joe & Jack says:

      It definitely is, it’s beaten me quite a few times in my other campaigns, and come close serveral times here… I’m chalking my win streak here up to my experience with the game and a bit of pure luck.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. zardoz says:

        You’re talking me in to getting this game.


      2. Joe & Jack says:

        I have over 350 hours in it, it’s my current favorite wargame. It has the Jack stamp of approval for sure. If you have the patience to sit and read the manual and figure things out at the start of a campaign, I can almost guarantee you’ll like it.

        – Jack


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