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

Last time, the Union dealt the confederacy a crushing blow along the Ohio River, the first step towards stabilizing the borders after a hectic July and August saw the rebels swarm north.

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

AUG 27, 1861

First, however, a brief diversion to the economic side of things.

What you’re looking at above is a graph showing the overall budget surplus of the union and Confederacy. Currently, we’re both in debt. I had been spending a ton of money on the various subsidy fields, which are used to fund projects and buildings, but recently cut back everywhere but the military. I had, as you can see, gone into considerable debt, but the economic strength of the Union should pull me out. The Confederacy, on the other hand, doesn’t have the large economic base the Union does. Given the effort they put into early-war massive armies, I’m skeptical about their ability to continue funding their armies a year from now. 

In short: the name of the game is now, I believe, attrition, as the Union armies can’t currently match the rebels in size, but I believe we can outlast their ability to fund an army.

On a related note, here’s the overall Summary page:

Note the large gulfs between the Union and the Confederacy in terms of men fielded and casualties. We’re currently winning tactical engagements, but like I said last time, the rebels have the manpower to make strategic gains, simply by being where I don’t have any men.

Speaking of which, there are supposedly four rebel armies somewhere in West Virginia. The Army of Frederick and the Army of Northeastern Virginia are still on the way to take a look-see.

The long suffering Army of Pennsylvania is also being re-routed to Wheeling, just shortly after beating back the rebels at the Battle of the Ohio River.

Back east, the Army of New York is preparing to attack the rebels entrenched against the Chesapeake yet again. This time, we have a secret weapon: reorganized artillery.

With a recent military innovation, our artillery units can now be formed into battalions, increasing the amount of guns per unit. In three days, the army will have fifty-five more guns, and we’ll use those guns to blow the rebels into the Bay.

AUG 30, 1861

Out west, the Army of Indiana, having sat out the Battle of the Ohio River, has chased down one of the roaming Confederate armies that made it north in the chaos of the last two months.

With luck, we’ll crush them completely with our larger numbers.


They ran immediately, a wise move.

6 captured this time? War’ll be over by Christmas!

Meanwhile, near Wheeling…

We located one of the smaller rebel armies in the area, starving and unthreatening. There are still three other armies in the area unaccounted for though. Where are they?

As the men scout for the other rebels, the Army of new York has begun another push to rid Maryland of the Confederate Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of the Shenandoah.

The Army of New York now has over 100 guns, far more than either of the Confederate armies. With this much firepower, I expect to turn them into crab food.

AUG 31, 1861

The Army of New York made contact and began skirmishing with the rebels. Though I want them out of Maryland quickly, a few days of bombardment should soften them up for a full assault.

SEP 2, 1861

We finally entered September, and the month is opened with a battle not in West Virginia or on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay; instead, we find our men attacked out west, in Illinois.

SEP 2, 1861

7:34 AM

Here’s our starting situation.

A very strong defensive position with a lot of open ground ahead and not much room to flank us. I plan to just let them walk into my guns and trenchworks.

9:17 AM

After over an hour of twiddling our thumbs, a rebel cavalry regiment appeared down the road. Our guns began shelling them, but at this range they don’t have much effect. I expect them to wait for reinforcements before attacking.

9:40 AM

More cavalry regiments arrived. Their plan is likely to try to flank and overwhelm me. Well, we’ll see about that.

I sent out skirmishers to harass their units and make them think twice about engaging. The cavalry regiments are only about 500 men strong apiece, and altogether don’t have the mass to force through my lines.

9:51 AM

Dear lord, they have a lot of cavalry.

As long as we keep our lines tight, we should be able to fend them off.

10:01 AM

The rebels have begun launching a forward assault with their center cavalry regiments… on foot. They gain a bonus to shooting when on foot, but lose their melee advantage and the speed of being on horseback.

Most cavalry units, especially at this point in the war, tend to not have very decent firearms either. If they attack from the front like this, we shouldn’t have a problem batting them aside.

10:08 AM

The advance by the cavalry was a ruse. They used the pinned defenders as an opening to attack one of my batteries, and then rushed more cavalry in to engage my left in melee.

Things are suddenly looking much more tenuous than a moment ago.

10:08 AM

The charge on the left was broken, but more Confederate cavalry wait on the flank. On the right, a Confederate infantry brigade has gotten in close with my much smaller brigade.

10:20 AM

The left routed after the flanking cavalry pushed in, but the center threw out the cavalry that had penetrated. The right is still holding strong, their rifles and cover giving them a distinct advantage over the Confederates in the open.

10:26 AM

The two remaining Union brigades are now practically fighting back to back, holding off pushes from the left and right simultaneously.

10:38 AM

Through intense firefights, the Confederates have slowly begun to give ground. Col. Lyon’s weakened brigade, now below 500 men, laid down in the trenches and fired blindly over the parapet, the mass of fire enough to drive the rebels backward.

10:51 AM

Lyon’s men turned around and again repelled another cavalry brigade.

On the left, BG. Abercrombie threw back the several cavalry regiments that had been flanking us. The failure of this assault broke the Confederate morale entirely.

It was a hard-fought battle, but we managed to get through it. I wish I could give officers medals, Lyon deserves one for holding the right.

Near to the east, another battle begins to break out, as the Army of Indiana chases down the other rebel army that made it so far north.

SEP 2, 1861

6:20 PM

Here’s our starting position.

We have some ground to cover, but I doubt there will be any action tonight. We majorly outnumber the rebels, so hopefully this shouldn’t be too difficult. I’m planning to send the army to at least the Howell River tonight, maybe further if they’re quick.

7:07 PM

We found the enemy defending the river, entrenched on the far side.

My men got here much faster than I expected; I’m now deploying my left to harass the small northern ford, the rest of the army will begin pressuring the bridge when they arrive.

The rest of the evening was spent getting the men moved up to the river, no contact other than shelling of either side.


SEP 3, 1861

7:00 AM

Here’s our starting position on Day 2.

We dug trenches on our side of the river overnight. Our heavy 12-Pound Howitzers are pummeling the rebels at the bridge…

While the left ford is completely open. We’re going to push across here, threaten the enemy’s flank, and then push across the bridge when they turn to react to this.

7:25 AM

The flanking maneuver is going well so far, the largest enemy contingents are turning to my left, which is opening up the bridge to a forward assault.

7:43 AM

The Confederate right is crumbling, thanks to the only rifle-equipped unit in my army leading the charge. They picked off the enemy from long range, and the rebels started running before even really getting into contact.

7:55 AM

A heroic charge across the bridge led by Col. Corcoran routed the remaining Confederate defenders, leading to them fleeing the field entirely.

I will close things here for this diary, as we’ve finally gotten the west settled down somewhat. Join us next week as we finally take the fight to those rebels clinging to Maryland…


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