June 15, 1862 - The house was still burning when John's detachment rode up to the farm. There were two bodies in front of the house. A boy, maybe 12 years old, was kneeling beside a woman. "What happened, son?" John asked.
"They came in the night. Called out my paw to the porch. Asked him to swear on a rebel flag that he was for the rebels. Paw told them to go to hell, that he was a Union man to the death. One of the men said, 'So be it,' and shot him right there. My maw run out with a pistol and started shooting and they killed her, too. Maw had told me to hide, but I run out to get the pistol and one of them just hit me and when I woke up they was gone."
"Come with us, son. Gus, have someone bring up a spare horse. Son, do you have any family nearby?" John asked.
"No sir," said the kid. "My uncle is fighting for the Union. He sent his family away when the war started. And the hell if I'm going with you, you damned rebel."
John looked sadly at the boy. "We're going to bury your mom and dad, son. You can help if you like or just stay out of the way. We'll say some words over them. Then you can come with us or stay. Do you know which way those men went? We're going to try to find them."
The boy looked at John and collapsed onto his mother and started sobbing.
Operations in June -- Halleck's army of 135,000 defeats Davis's army of 120,000 in southern Georgia. The retreat continues. McClellan and Banks try to close in.
July 15 - The man had been caught trying to burn Confederate supplies. John had been called in by the local militia to judge the case. The trial went swiftly. The man admitted his guilt and said he would be proud to die for the Union cause. John found him guilty and ordered the militia to hang him.
Operatons in July - Davis fights separate battles with Banks and with McClellan. Halleck turns and takes Ft. Morgan and Gaines at Mobile, Alabama. Twiggs defeats a small army attempting to relieve New Orleans. A Union brigade reaches Dallas, Texas, and destroys it. The Confederacy sues for peace, offering to pay reparations and to cede two regions. Lincoln does not reply.
Aug. 15 - "You are relieved of duty searching for deserters and are report at once to the headquarters of Gen. Clanton in Gadsden for further orders. Your detachment is to report with you." So read the telegram. John said a silent prayer of thanks. They were going back to the war. The detachment stopped briefly in John's town so the men could talk to their families. Everyone's family was still okay, though some had moved in with other families for protection, and raiders of both sides had burned some barns and stolen crops and animals. Then he rode to Gadsden.
Operations in August. - The siege of New Orleans continues. Three armies are now chasing Davis: Halleck, Banks, and McClellan, but can’t bring him to battle.
Sept. 15 - "John," said Colonel Livingston, commander of the newly organized 8th Alabama Cavalry, "You are the most experienced new officer I have. You are to take command of Company G. We've been ordered to northern Florida. It is one of the few areas that hasn't been taken or ravaged by the Yankees. It is no use trying to get through to the main army. Get your men together and get them ready to move."
Operations in Sept. - The siege of New Orleans continues. The attempt to catch Davis continues. Davis moves into North Carolina. He may be trying to retake Richmond. Gen. Scott, overall commanding general of all Union forces, personally gathers units from Washington and other areas and reinforces the defensive force at Richmond in case Davis breaks through.
Oct. 15 - "John, we are pretty much out of ammunition. There is barely any food, and Union cavalry is everywhere. The horses need rest. We aren't fit for a fight, John," said Augustus.
"We've been ordered to ride to Gainesville," said John. "There may be food and supplies there. Just keep the men going. And keep an eye on Isaac. You know this war is nearly over, Gus."
Operations in October - McClellan catches Davis and wins the battle of The Piedmont. Three armies have closed in on Davis now. Another battle is fought with the combined forces of Halleck, McClellan, and Banks facing Davis at Raleigh. It is the last major battle of the war.
Nov. 30 - John gathered the company around him informally. No need for ceremony. "Men. President Davis has surrendered in North Carolina. He tried to fight his way through but lost. The war is over. He has ordered all Confederate forces to surrender. You have fought honorably. We have to go home now. We will be able to keep our horses and personal firearms. You will be expected to sign a parole not to fight again unless you are exchanged. But there won't be an exchange because the war is over exept for a few holdouts here and there. You are giving your word as men. Go home. Live in peace. Rebuild. It has been an honor riding with you."
Operations in November - New Orleans surrenders. The Confederacy surrenders. Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in Confederate areas. The war is over.
Dec. 25 - A year to the day after leaving home, John returns.
What I know about John’s Civil War service.
John enrolled in McCaskill's company on Dec. 25, 1861, with his brothers. They mustered again at Nashville on Jan. 4, 1862. The 3rd Confederate Cavalry took in many of the battles and skirmishes in the West as part of Gen. Wheeler’s cavalry division. They fought at Murfreesboro and Chickamauga and numerous skirmishes. I don’t have any specific information on John or his brothers during this time.
John was ordered to lead a detachment searching for deserters in northern Alabama during the period roughly January to May 1864. The Alabama state government asked for help from the Confederacy because of the total chaos in northern Alabama, and several detachments from Wheeler's cavalry were sent into the area. I have digital copies of several requisition forms for forage for horses signed by John during that period. All the requisitions were submitted at Jasper, Alabama, north of Birmingham. Jasper is in Walker County, which is just below Winston County, which is famous for "seceding" from Alabama and was the epicenter for resistance to the Confederacy in Alabama. John was a captain at this time, so he had been promoted at some point and possibly commanded a company. His requisitions were generally for forage for the horses, corn and hay usually. The horses numbered from 40 to 26, though one requisition is for two horses. Two of the documents specifically say "scouting in search of deserters." These are the only documents I have which John signed personally, and I assume they exist because he was operating as commander of an independent detachment.
All the incidents I write about during this period are fictional but reflect the things that he would have encountered based on my reading about the period in northern Alabama. I don't know how he would have handled the situations I put him in, but I assume he encountered similar situations. I assume he had to make some very hard decisions, and it may be I am being overly generous to him in my descriptions.
You can read a little about the guerrilla war in northern Alabama here if interested.https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2 ... n-alabama/
This area in which John's detachment operated is also within a day's ride of John's home. I assume John visited home during this period if not during other times. His wife Virginia had a son in 1864.
At some point in 1864 John was relieved of his duties in northern Alabama and was named commander of G Company, 8th Alabama Cavalry. The 8th Alabama cavalry was formed in Alabama in the spring of 1864 and took part in skirmishes in Alabama and northern Florida before surrendering in May 1865 at Gainesville, Florida. I have no direct records of John at that time. However, several soldiers later were awarded Confederate pensions from the state of Alabama claiming service under John's command in G Company. And his wife, Virginia, claimed a similar pension following his death.
The state of Alabama and some other former Confederate states paid pensions to Confederate veterans and their widows. Some were receiving pensions until quite recently.
The Civil War seems quite distant, but there were still Civil War veterans alive when I was born in 1953. My older brother remembers meeting a Civil War veteran as a child. And the United States government is apparently still paying a pension to the daughter of a United States Civil War veteran, as promised by Abraham Lincoln.https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/20 ... shot-fired
John's story is not over. He had much more to do in Alabama after the war.
The forces of the USA were simply too strong for the Confederacy. What happened in the game is roughly what happened in the war, just compressed in time. I do think my military buildup before the war tipped the scales a little too much, though. I was able to see in 1862 that the Confederacy received numerous new units, but by then they were too outnumbered and the USA controlled too many regions for them to recover. I never saw Lee, Grant, or Sherman. Perhaps the war didn’t last long enough or something didn’t trigger because of the progress of the war. I don’t know what happened to Jackson. I know Longstreet was apparently captured at Richmond, that is, at least his corps headquarters was. Union generals Jesup and Fremont vanished after battles. I assume they were killed in action.
I will mention one mistake I made. I lost a lot ships bombarding Confederate coastal defenses in conjunction with sieges. In one turn I lost four wooden frigates, a disaster for the US Navy. And I'm not sure if the bombardment was effective at all.
In early January, 1863, my National Morale is at 167. It started at 1 when the Civil War began and increased with every victory. My national satisfaction is at 68 percent. I see no problems with my economy except that an economic crisis has just broken out in Prussia and inflation has made that sudden and temporary jump to 5 percent.
I have numerous units I would like to disband but there is a game penalty for doing so. I’m not sure what to do with these units. Right now I have just billeted them in cities. However, some of the new units triggered by the Civil War event were disbanded by event last turn. So maybe more will be disbanded.
So now it is back to the colonial game and economic development. Or Maybe I should do something with my large army.