Alright, so, moving on. We have Turn 5 intel across the eastern department...we'll start in the Northern VA/MD theater.
Again going from North to South, you can see my opponent has a pair of cavalry regiments near Chambersburg, PA, more than likely there to prevent me from raiding. I'll not oblige him for the time being.
Hooker's division was uncovered, not so much by my cavalry recon, but more by my cavalry recon gaining the services of another regiment and Hooker's command somehow losing a point of Hide Value. A mystery for certain, but I am happy to be able to see what Hooker's strength is. 355 at full strength...and that's at an expected 10% penalty.
McDowell, looks like I was wrong about that division under Burnside. My opponent is deffinetly up to something in his rear and I want to know what it is before it's too late.
Runyon, weakly commanded, but in a strong position at Alexandria. An attack here would be ideal, either that or an attack on Hooker.
I believe this show of force is meant simply to hold me in place along my defensive line so that whatever the enemy is doing in the rear can be done without a second thought. This is certainly alarming, and irritating at the same time. How convenient it would be for the enemy just to launch himself into Virginia as was done historically, but I don't believe this is what he intends to do. I am convinced he wishes to dig deeply into his trench network, build a strong defensive line from Fredrick to Alexandria and start working the left hook into our rear areas. Given time, I believe he will be able to do this easily. So....I believe it is time to steal the initiative and hopefully put him on the ropes.
I don't believe either Fredricksburg or Richmond are under DIRECT threat right now...I'll show you later....but the time to make something happen is here. It's either now or never because snow is coming fast and it's already getting muddy. Currently, I have approximately 1760 power in the Army of the Potomac...I think it's time to throw some of that weight around. So I will mass the army at Mannassas a prime position to strike at any of the locations along my opponent's line. More on that in a minute.....
As for Fredericksburg...here's a look.
I beleive he is merely trying to blockade the Rappohannock River with shallow draft brigs to prevent any crossing there by my troops and making Culpepper a VERY important region, being that it would effectively become my only link to Richmond. As long as I hold Fredricksburg I am ok though.
And the eastern seaboard
While the California Brigade IS elite, I don't believe it will be able to do much other than land and secure a supply source for reinforcements. I see two locations ONE in particular that I believe my opponent may be looking at. Georgetown, isolated, not in any rail network so somewhat protected from a quick counterattack, at least enough so that defenders could dig in prior to one.
OR...he could be looking to assault either of the forts protecting Southport and Wilmington or Southport itself. I have a brigade and some cavalry ready to react in North Carolina should he decide to land the Calif. Brigade, but I believe had if he intended to do so, we would already see it parked outside one of our ports. Now this is a threat all along the eastern seaboard as well....he could very easily make it to any location from here to Florida. this is the problem as the rebs...we haven't the naval supremacy needed to counter this kind of move...hopefully Core's frigates can catch this guy. I can only hope that they're harmlessly on their way to Ft. Pickens.
OK....So overall. I will concentrate the main army in Mannassas, leaving Ewell's Brigade to defend Harper's Ferry along with a small militia detachment from Winchester, VA and the cavalry...which will remain stationed there to counter the federal cavalry in Chambersburg. The rest of the army will concentrate in Mannassas. Just for fun I'll take a look at the number of men and guns available for the campaing, the number of men in the AoP is pretty impressive...all told nearly 60,000 troops, 15,000 cav and more than 140 guns. From Mannassas, Beauregard will reorganize the army, using conscripts to fill some gaps in the early brigades and hopefully form another division with Bushrod Johnson once he arrives.
From here the army will be in, as they say in basketball, "Triple threat" position. I could strike at either Alexandria, Montgomery, MD...OR....strike Hooker's lone division, flanking the enemy's line....this would be the riskiest choice, for it would leave a relatively open road south, but with my opponent's lack of any REAL army and corps structure...it could be just what we're looking for. Now of course all of this depends on the weather being favorable. But like i said, it's time to steal the initiative and take some risks and let the chips fall where they may. If all else fails....General Kirby Smith's division will be in a good position to counter any enemy move south. Paying close attention to protect Fredericksburg.
And a pretty look at my plan: