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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:51 am

The information on what was produced by the farms of John and Isaac was fascinating. My guess is that small, mixed use farms was the rule rather than the exception at the time, except for the plantations specializing in cotton, and the diversity of plant and animal production maintained the fertility of the farms.

Traditional nutrition is an interest of mine. George Catlin, the famous artist who visited and painted many Indian tribes, repeatedly mentioned Indian corn as a staple of their diet, but I was not sure what it was until I read your post.

Well written report, as always, and I am eager to read the report you will do after the civil war is concluded. I am particularly interested to know if armies are generated by event, and if historical leaders such as Lee, Jackson, Grant, McClellan, etc, appear.

Thanks again for the work and thought you have put into this AAR, which I am enjoying.



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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:26 am

Vaalen, just search Youtube for videos on Indian corn, growing and processing it. I am not very familiar with it at all, but people where I grew up and live in Louisiana grow small amounts of it mostly for ornamental usage now. I was surprised to see it being grown by my g-g-grandfather, but there was actually a column in the census file for "Indian corn, bushels of." There was no column for "corn." I didn't know they were growing it as a staple crop. Also that portion of northern Alabama is very hilly, as opposed to the flatter plantation lands. We have a similar situation in northeast Louisiana where the land is nearly flat for about 70 miles from the Mississippi River to the first ridgeline. The land use is completely different in the floodplain of the river and the (very low) hills past the first ridgeline.

Since you wondered, I decided to display the starting situation overall and in the East. This is a mixture of the Civil War event and the existing situation, with units placed by event, some units in their starting position, and some units moved from the South to the North by the event. Of course all the CSA units are created by the event.

The units I had deployed in the South have been moved to the North rather than removed from the map, along with some garrisons. For example, the Ft. Jackson and St. Phillips garrison (Ponchartrain region in Louisiana, the Mississippi River forts south of New Orleans) have been moved to southern Illinois, complete with their heavy artillery. I imagine they are very surprised. Many of the US corps are on the map already but locked, along with river gunboats meant for the rivers of the West. I don't know if I will get any reinforcing units or not other than the locked units, and my replacements have been zeroed out to start.

For the South, Longstreet, Stuart, and GW Smith are with units at Fredricksburg and Jackson is present in the Shenandoah Valley. A couple of other minor Confederate leaders are present. I don't see Lee or any other major CSA leaders from later in the war. He may be present and locked or coming later.

For the North there are two packaged groups of generals, one for the East and one designated for the West. They are sitting in Philadelphia with a lot of new units and some old ones.
East - McClellan, Banks, Butler, Hooker.
West - Halleck, Fremont, Butler
Grant and Sherman are not on the map at all yet. I assume they will arrive later.
The existing generals such as Jesup are still on the map. Historically he died in 1860 at age 72, so Jesup is feasible. Jesup's force is in Virginia in the northernmost region adjacent to Washington DC. I had them there for unrest control. They were not moved by event.

So now I am going to post this and then start fighting the war, but not tonight. I am probably going to make a mess of it just like the USA did historically but it looks even now as if I can win with brute force.

Now to figure out how to post an image. Attached are images of the overall situation at the start of the war and a closeup of the east. In the unit panel in the picture of the east are the designated eastern generals. I made the files real small, so you can't really read anything. I guess I can make them bigger. Someone want to tell me the max size for posting a file?

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east.jpg (188.4 KiB) Viewed 4980 times

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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:18 am

Lke Vaalen, really liked the combination of the real census data with the game data - nice touch.

I am so glad to see the CSA forces actually spawn ... most of your locked units will unlock in a few turns, its an attempt to stop the Union moving too quickly when they were more involved in organising their new armies etc

images - this forum seems to force the display into a small area, so I tend to do a lot of cropping as a large image just gets squeezed to the point it is unreadable

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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:15 pm

Thanks, loki. Just testing resolution with a crop. Now you can see McClellan sitting in Philadelphia with the other generals designated for the East, and see his stats, etc. IT appears that these generals can be moved anywhere though even though they are listed as Eastern Generals. So I can move McClellan west if I want.

I was thinking it would be nice in a PON II to have various scenarios for the Civil War, ranging from it never happens to limited secession in the deep South to historical to all the border states side with the South, and with decisions available to influence how secession happens or if it happens. But that would be asking a lot, and I am looking at this one event from an America-centric viewpoint. :)

east crop highest.jpg
east crop higher res
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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:09 am

JWW, i very much appreciate your laying out the start of the Civil war for us. The images you posted did give a good view of where the troops were deployed, and the narrative gave me all the information I wanted to know.

Like Loki, I was very happy to see the deployment of the new units for the Union, and, especially, the Confederacy. This had been a long standing bug in the game, and the changes Loki made look like they have fixed it.

Loki, thanks for once again making an important contribution to my favorite game.

JWW, I must say, your AAR is getting me to think of abandoning my current British game to return to my own country, and see what I can do now that the Civil War has been so greatly improved.

I hope we do see a PON 2, and I like your ideas for the Civil war variants.

And thanks for the further information about the Indian Corn, and I will look it up on Youtube.

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Jan. 4, 1862

Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:25 pm

January 4, 1862

"Wake up, John. Captain McCaskill wants to see all the officers and sergeants."

John rolled over. It took him a moment to remember where he was and why he was lying on the cold ground wrapped in his cloak. The company had ridden in to camp late in the evening. Everyone was exhausted from the long march on horseback. After taking care of the horses they had all collapsed onto the ground in their uniforms to get some needed sleep.

John looked up at his brother Augustus in the dim pre-dawn light.

"What is it, Gus?"

"Meeting in 15 minutes. Here. Have a sip of coffee. The captain has orders. We'll be on the move again soon."

"Where's Isaac?" John asked.

"Still asleep," Augustus replied, pointing to the dim shape of their brother curled up on the ground nearby. "I'm about to get him moving, and once you officers are all up then I'll wake the men, so get up and get moving, sir," Gus said, smiling. "The men need to see you officers up and about when I wake them."

John sat up, took the coffee from Augustus, drank a couple of sips, and thought back on the events of the last year. Was he really in Tennessee? Was he really on the eve of going into combat with the army of the Confederacy? Just ten days ago he had said goodbye to his wife and children. Christmas Day, 1861. The world had gone mad. Yet he had to do his duty. How had it come to this?

The year 1861 had begun under a dark cloud with the election of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln's election had been followed by the secession of most of the slave-holding states and the formation of the Confederate States of America. The first capital had been Montgomery, Alabama, before it was moved to Richmond, Virginia. Alabama had been full of hotheads calling for secession and war. In the hill country of north Alabama, sentiment for war and secession had not been so great. In fact, there had been a rebellion against secession in Winston County, not far from John's home. Some had gone so far as to meet and to declare that Winston County had seceded from Alabama and had proclaimed the Winston Republic. Some had been jailed.

John understood their view, and he knew some of his own neighbors held that view. But John saw a duty to support his state of Alabama. God could sort out who was right and who was wrong later. John had joined a home guard unit upon secession along with his brothers Augustus and Isaac and had been elected as an officer in the unit.

The war had started in May with fighting at several of the coastal forts held by Union forces including Ft. Sumter and Ft. Gaines. The first real battle had occurred in Missouri, with Union forces defeating a small Confederate army at what was now called the battle of Jefferson.

Two Union armies had then moved out from their base in southern Illinois, captured Ft. Donelson and moved on both Memphis and Nashville. General Halleck led an army against Nashville and had defeated a Confederate army in the battle of Nashville in July. Nashville had fallen. Meanwhile another Union army had taken Memphis.

As 1861 ended those Union armies were still there, reinforcing, building up supplies, while the Confederates maneuvered and organized.

Meanwhile in the east things were even worse. Gen. McClellan had chased Gen. Jackson out of the Shenandoah Valley without a fight. And Gen. Jesup had led a huge Union army straight at Richmond. President Jefferson Davis himself had led the main Confederate army into battle before Richmond. The result had been another Confederate defeat, and now Jefferson's army was besieged in Richmond and starving. Reports were that the defenses had been breached and that Richmond might fall any day.

At the same time McClellan had swung south of Richmond, captured Petersburg, and was waiting for any Confederate attempt to relieve the city.

So it was that in December the call had come out to enroll the home guard units into the active Confederate Army. And on Dec. 25, 1861, Captain McCaskill had come to town. Thirty-five men had answered the call and had become part of Captain McCaskill's Company, Alabama Mounted Volunteers. John was appointed 1st Lieutenant of the company, Isaac 2nd Lieutenant, and Augustus 1st Sergeant. John and all the men who enrolled that day brought their own horses. John's was valued at $160.

They immediately began the move to Tullahoma, gathering other men as they went, falling in with other units, infantry, cavalry, artillery, moving north, answering the call of Alabama and the Confederacy.

On Jan. 4 they were mustered in at Tullahoma.

At the meeting of officers and sergeants Captain McCaskill informed them that they were now Company D, 3rd Confederate Cavalry, under the command of Colonel J. R. Howard. They would be part of General Wheeler's cavalry division of the Army of Tennessee. The generals were making plans for the next move, and the cavalry would be out scouting soon. McCaskill told them to make sure the men and horses were fed and provisioned. He said he would return after a meeting with Colonel Howard and tell them more.

The war had been going on since May. John's war was just beginning.



In the game, the USA forces have generally overwhelmed the CSA forces so far. As the USA I first took care of the CSA unit in Missouri. That was easily done. Then I formed two armies in southern Illinois. I took Ft. Donelson with little opposition. I then advanced Fremont's force into Memphis and Halleck's into Nashville. Both were met by what appeared to be larger forces, but there were no battles. I retreated both forces one region and reinforced them. I then advanced Fremont into Memphis again with 34,000 men, and he took it with no opposition.

Halleck's army advanced into Nashville again and fought the only battle of the war thusfar fought on fairly even terms, 40,000 against 30,000. Halleck defeated the CSA army which had no named commander and took Nashville.

Meanwhile Gen. Twiggs advanced from Missouri and took Little Rock with no opposition with a force of 40,000 men.

In the east I did just what I described in the narrative, moving Jackson out of the Shenandoah with McClellan, suprisingly without a fight, and advancing head on to Richmond with Jesup's huge army. The battle of Richmond resulted in very few casualties on either side, and the CSA army under Jefferson Davis himself retreated into Richmond. I laid siege to Richmond and used McClellan to cut Richmond off from the rest of the South via Petersburg. I don't think Jackson is in Richmond with Davis. I think he is somewhere to the south and am wary of a new CSA force forming.

I am wondering now where the main CSA force in the West is. I plan to advance Fremont down the Mississippi to Vicksburg and then I think New Orleans. I plan to try to find and defeat the main CSA force with Halleck and then advance toward Atlanta.

Dallas is also a CSA objective. I will divert some forces from Little Rock toward Dallas.

I was disappointed in the reaction of the CSA in the East and surprised at the size of my armies. But then I did a buildup before the war that was not historical. Maybe I should have role played it historically, but I also wanted to be able to put troops in regions with unrest. And I wanted to win the war I knew was coming.

The battles for Ft. Sumter and a couple of other coastal forts was interesting. Some coastal fort units were evicted and sent north where they showed up in my cities. But a couple were evicted from their forts and began the war outside their forts fighting to get back in, for example, Ft. Sumter. They were slowly defeated and I did nothing to try to help them since I didn't see what I could gain by it. I'm not sure that worked quite the way it should.

Of note, USA National Morale dropped to ONE upon secession. It is now up to 78 and climbing. Satisfaction has also climbed from the 50s to the 60s. I have had little trouble with the economy. It is humming right along. I have not bought any reinforcements or done any construction except a couple of depots, saving my money because I didn't know how the war would go or what would happen with the economy. I thought I would have much greater problems than I did.

We lost a lot of Prestige Points upon secession, maybe 1000. We are now back behind Russia in PP. In early January 1862 it is Britain 23,265, France 13,663, Russia 10,698, USA 10,380. We had dropped below 10,000 on secession.


The basics that I told you about John are mostly fact. I have a digital copy of the Dec. 25 muster roll showing John and his brothers enrolling in McCaskill's Company and other digital records. In fact I think the 35 men enrolled that day may have been the entirety of McCaskill's Company at the start. I also know that they mustered at Nashville, Tennessee on Jan. 4, 1862. Of course I couldn't put them there in the narrative since in the game Halleck holds Nashville. I know that in general members of McCaskill's company were a home guard before they were mustered into the army, though I don't specifically know John's role in the home guard.

I know that the company became Company D, 3rd Confederate Cavalry and that John served in Company D. I don't know exactly when that designation occurred, though it must have happened quickly. Most Confederate units were state units and part of the Provisional Army of the Confederate States. There were typically given designations like 8th Alabama Cavalry. Some were designated Army of the Confederate States units, such as the 3rd Confederate Cavalry. The intent was to create a permanent regular army for the Confederacy with the provisional units to augment the regular army in time of war. That was the intent, but in reality there was no real difference between the regular and provisional/volunteer units, as the war overtook those plans.

I know in general what the 3rd Confederate Cavalry did during the war and a few specific things John did. I will work them in or tell you about them in some form as the game goes on, though I will have to mix fact and fiction because of the course of the war. For example, I assume that McCaskill's Company would have been mustered into the CSA army much sooner if USA units had taken Nashville in the summer of 1861, though I chose to use the real dates.

Here is the situation in the West, Early January 1862

the west jan 62.jpg
the west Jan. 1862
the west jan 62.jpg (289.65 KiB) Viewed 4952 times

And the East with Richmond besieged, Early January 1862

the east jan 62.jpg
the east Jan. 1862
the east jan 62.jpg (320.36 KiB) Viewed 4952 times

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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:08 am

I have a dumb question now. I have the definite upper hand and can see the end of the war at hand. But how does it end? Since it was triggered by an event, is there a triggered scripted end? Do I get a popup saying the CSA has surrendered and the nation is whole again? Do I keep going until the popup comes up or I have taken all the objectives, captured every city in every region, destroyed every CSA unit? Do I use the peace treaty mechanism at some point? Thanks for answers.

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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:13 am

First, that was a great update. Really like the way you are combining things and to see the Civil War from a very specific perspective.

There are 2 types of war in PoN. One - either scripted or by game engine - can be ended at any time with an agreeable peace. The other is a 'war to the knife' and can only be ended by absolute victory or after a certain amount of time.

There are only a few of these and are designed to stop the AI making a peace too early (a few alliance style wars) or to make the war last a certain time or, as with the US Civil War to end with the destruction of one side. Since PoN cannot be played from the CSA side its designed to ensure that the Confederacy disappears in the end.

I don't have access to my event files at the moment so forget what you need to do to force this ending. I'd guess you need to hold all your objective cities in the former USA, you might need to take every province - most will be easy as you'll gain MC just by moving in.

Pity the AI didn't make better use of its armies, but if I recall there are more scripted reinforcements for 1862

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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:49 pm

Thank you, Loki. My strategic goals are (1) Take and hold every objective city. (2) Destroy all CSA military forces. (3) Occupy every CSA region. I'm assuming that somewhere along the way I will get a popup saying the CSA has been defeated. Otherwise, I will just continue until I've accomplished all three goals and the CSA ceases to exist.

Without giving anything away, I will note that I'm well into 1862 and the CSA AI is performing better but only after a lot of initial "poor decisions" and losses. I think though this was a result of my pre-war buildup coupled with the scripted reinforcements giving me an overwhelming initial superiority in numbers.

I think it would be interesting to play a game as the USA and deliberately not build up the USA military before the Civil War, to replicate history more accurately.

I will note that the CSA has sued for peace three times now, offering reparations and territory. President Lincoln opted not to reply. Not that I plan to do that, does that mean it is possible to let an AI-controlled CSA survive? Would it survive to 1920?

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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:15 pm

This is handled by event (evt_nam_USA_CSAEnd_CivilWar). In short, to win the CW (earns you 500 VP), you must fulfill both conditions below:

1 - Control each of the following cities:

New Orleans

2 - In addition, there must be less than 100 elements of CSA troops on map

If you cannot do it, you have a "second" chance in 1870 that will force the reunification of the country, whatever the conditions in the field, at the cost of -1000 VP (because you did worst than historical)

NOTE: when you got the 'Anaconda Plan' event at the start of CW, all of the above was explained in the event text. :indien:

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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:40 am

I honestly don't think the Anaconda Plan event text fired. I think the event did, now that I see your post. I always scan every message every turn. If it were just a message I might have missed it, but I was watching very closely at the start of the Civil War. And I always read all red message/pop ups. I read the pop ups at the start of the war and didn't see it. I got no Anaconda Plan pop up. I would have to say it is possible I missed it, but I would be very surprised if I did.

Regardless, I saw that there were new objectives and assumed I might need to take all of them. I also noted the appearance of USA warship squadrons in all the commerce boxes with sea connection with the CSA. So I did see it in action.

And at this point in my game the war is over. The CSA is no more. It ended by event on the turn I captured the last CSA objective.. There were two major battles that turn and the CSA lost a lot of men, too, and I can see that taking them below the force minimum.

I will be writing about the end of the war tonight or tomorrow.

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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:33 am

John’s Civil War, Part I
Jan. 15, 1862 - A cold rain fell on D Company as they watched the Yankee cavalry move into Chattanooga. The 3rd Confederate Cavalry was the rear guard of the retreating Army of Tennessee. Gen. Hardee wasn't going to fight the Yankees in Chattanooga. He was pulling back. How far, no one knew. John watched the blue-coated cavalrymen in the distance. Then Capt. McCaskill gave the order to pull back, across the border into Georgia.

Jan. 30 - He had wondered how he would react in a fight. Now he knew. He had been scared, but after a minute he had forgotten to be scared. The skirmish in the woods near Dalton, Georgia, had been over in minutes. Yankee cavalry had run headlong into D Company during the continued retreat. A picket had seen the Yankees riding down the road. They had five minutes warning. It had been hard to dismount and deploy cavalry in that terrain, but they had done it a couple of hours earlier. The Yankees had not really been spoiling for a fight and had soon retreated. But it had still been enough for John to see the enemy, to see them firing, to watch one of his own men from his home county -- a man he had known all his life -- bleed to death there in the woods, along with several dead Yankees left down the road. In the end, it had been easy. Dismount. Form a skirmish line. Wait. Fire. Hold. Cease fire. But a man was dead and three more wounded. John realized he hadn't fired his pistol. He had been busy moving along the left side of the road keeping his men in line and firing. They had all been scared. But they had done well. They had held their ground, delayed the Yankees, and moved off after sunset. John knew it was just the beginning.

Operations in January -- US forces moves into northern Mississippi. Fremont took Corinth, and Twiggs crosses the Mississippi River from Arkansas and lays siege to Vicksburg, leaving a brigade in Little Rock. Raleigh, North Carolina, falls to the US. A huge battle takes place at Richmond, Virginia. 300,000 Union soldiers assault the defenses held by 94,000 Confederates. The Rebel lines hold and the US suffers 29,000 casualties, but the CSA loses more. Gen. Jesup falls and Gen. Banks takes command. Longstreet is captured.

Feb. 28 - Skirmishes, ambushes, scouting, patrols. Every day. And every day the retreat continues. John is tired. They are all tired. How long will the retreat go on. The Yankee cavalry is everywhere. There are more of them. They are better equipped. The news from other fronts is disheartening. And now there are new orders. The 3rd is to screen the move by part of the army into northern Alabama. It seems a Yankee force is moving across from Corinth to reinforce Halleck. The idea is to meet them and defeat them in Alabama and then turn back and defeat Halleck. John is going home.

February in other areas -- McClellan moves from the Shenandoah to reinforce Banks. Richmond falls. Charlotte, North Carolina is captured. Union forces win a battle in north Texas as then advance on Dallas. Fremont moves east into Alabama. The idea is to possibly link up with Halleck and threaten Atlanta from the flank. (In the game, the Confederates have a force in Atlanta, and it doesn't move. The retreat from Chattanooga is imagined.)

March 15 -- John said goodbye to his wife and children. The company had stopped for the night in town, and the men from town had been given three hours to visit their families. There would be a battle in a few days. It would be near John's home. He would be literally fighting for his home and family. He, August, and Isaac met up at the general store and headed back to the company.

March 31 - The 3rd covered the retreat of the broken army back toward Atlanta. The gamble had failed. Now they were trying to reunite with Hardee near Atlanta and face the two Union armies headed their way.

Operations in March -- At what became known at the Battle of Calumet Mine in North Alabama 42,000 men under Gen. Fremont defeated 40,000 CSA soldiers who appeared out of the fog of war, perhaps the biggest surprise the CSA provided in the war. Fremont was killed and replaced by Gen. Buell. The CSA leader was not identified. Fremont/Buell lost 3500 men, but the CSA lost 11,000. The siege of Vicksburg continued. Banks and McClellan began moving into the Carolinas after the fall of Richmond. Union cavalry captured Montgomery, Alabama, on the flank of Buell's force. At the end of the month Halleck reached Atlanta with 38,000 men and defeated Hardee's 29,000, but Atlanta held.

April 15 - "John," said Captain McCaskill, "You have a new assignment. You are to take a detachment back into north Alabama. Things are in complete chaos there since the Yankees came through. Deserters are ravaging the area. There is shooting between Yankee partisans and patriots. You and your men know the area. Your mission is to hunt for deserters and to restore order where needed. Hell, half the men shooting each other on both sides are not much more than bandits. You will be operating independently. You will report to the Military Department of Alabama. Pick 20 men and leave at first light. And one more thing. You are promoted to captain effective immediately. Congratulatons."

"Gus, Isaac, we're going home. Things are a mess back home. Gus, pick about 15 good men. We're going to go hunt deserters," said John. Augustus stared for a moment and said, "There'll be hell to pay before this is over. I don't like it. I'll go find some good, reliable men from home."

Operations in April - Twiggs captures Vicksburg early in the month. Halleck captures Atlanta at the end of the month after one more battle. Twiggs moves to New Orleans (Ponchartrain region) to lay siege to the city. Buell turns toward Mobile with idea of supporting Twiggs. Davis turns up in South Carolina with another large army, another surprise.

May 15 - The five deserters had been hiding in an abandoned cabin. A farmer had told John about them. John had his men quietly surround the cabin, and he called for them to come out. "Why should we do that?" was the answer. "You'll hang us. Why can't you just move along? We're all fought out. Calumet Mine was enough for us. I saw my brother blown in half. Jacob here lost a cousin. And Will found out his house had been burned by Unionists and his wife molested. His wife knew one of them. Will just wants revenge. Come on, captain. A man has to defend his home. A man is entitled to revenge."

John felt for the men. But he had his orders. And Southern deserters had done their share of robberies and murders and rapes themselves. He never knew who to believe in these situations. "Gus, get ready. We're going to move up and burn them out. Be ready and take care. They aren't worth one of your lives."

"You sure you want to do it this way?" Augustus said quietly. "Let me talk to them a minute if you please. This really has the men on edge." John nodded his head in agreement.

In the end, all came out except Will. The man who lost his brother told John Will wasn't going to come out. The four were turned over to Department officials who bucked and gagged them for eight hours in the street in front of the Department headquarters building with a sign reading "Cowardly deserters" over them, and then they were sent back to their units to face more punishment. Will came out firing when the cabin was set on fire and was shot dead. John's men buried him by the smoldering cabin.

Operations in May - The siege of New Orleans continues. An attempt by a small force to relieve it fails. McClellan and Banks pursue President Davis's army into Georgia where it apparently links up with the remnants of Hardee's force.


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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:28 pm

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.

The Last Battle.jpg
The Last Battle
The Last Battle.jpg (574.13 KiB) Viewed 4895 times

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. ... 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. ... 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.

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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:15 pm

That was really impressive. The way you caught the realities of an army retreating and a state falling apart was very immersive. And to link it to real events ... :cool:

One solution to the Civil War might be to extend the period the Union scripted forces are fixed? I think its really hard not to expect a US player to prepare, even with the likely cash and manpower constraints that flow from low population loyalty. If the CSA can add its 1861 to its 1862 forces it might do a better job of things. On the other hand, PoN is often a poor simulation of particular conflicts, even if it really catches the broad flow of 19C operations and tactics.

As to naval bombardment. In the main, pre-steel battleships I'd avoid this. I managed to lose an expensive fleet with Italy that way. In effect, till you get coal ships and long range guns you will always lose a fight with shore based artillery.

Not sure how much of your army is disbanded by event. To avoid the prestige loss - which seems wrong when reverting from a large volunteer to a small regular army - you could gather them into one province and then remove them using the 'kill' function - you'll find egs in the US event files leading up to the civil war.

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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:00 pm

Thank you, Loki, for the compliments and the advice. I like to write and am just having a ball doing this AAR. I did not intend to write so much, but it is fun. The game is incredibly immersive, and the vague idea I had of working my ancestors into it has been fun. In my current life I'm a secondary teacher (ages 14-18 roughly). In my past life I was a US Army officer. I teach Standard American English (though we arrogant Americans just call it English) and journalism. And as an American teacher I have a long break during the summer, from June until mid-August. I would normally be reading and taking some short trips and playing games as my hobby. Doing this AAR is something different, but as I said, it is great fun. I've learned a lot about the game and appreciate the help.

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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:32 am

Upgrading structures for dummies: A little help needed on upgrading structures. I don't see anything in the manual. Maybe I missed it. I have structures eligible for upgrade using either F11 or the map itself. But I don't see a cost listed anywhere and don't know how effective it will be. I did a forum search but found only one thread on the subject, from several years ago, that expressed that people were uncertain if the upgrade process was working properly. Could someone enlighten me, please?
Edit - The notes for 1.02 say there should be a tooltip showing cost, but the tooltip on the map and on F11 doesn't show a cost for me.

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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Sat Jul 15, 2017 8:35 am

upgrades - must admit I can;t quite remember. One option is to order it and you'll see the impact on private capital etc - if this is too much you can always cancel. With Italy my logic was few but advanced production sites but that fitted a country with relatively few potential locations.

There are a couple of nasty pitfalls. I think its more with the level #3 stuff but some require electrical goods for their operation (this you can see from the pop up). Now given the vagaries of research and that electrical goods need their own factories you can: (a) at worst - the input has not been discovered so the factory stays closed; or, (b) really struggle to acquire the input and the factory runs at a reduced %.

Since upgrades are very expensive, neither is good news.

An alternative way to double check is to go the structures files. Upgrade cost is linear - ie cost of the new less the cost of the previous.

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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Sat Jul 15, 2017 6:20 pm

Thanks again, Loki. Let's consider coal mines vs coal pits. After looking closely at all the tables, I can figure out a lot about what I need. I don't have a tooltip showing me the upgrade cost when I hover over the upgrade arrow either on the map or in F11, even if I hit the shift key. But I can get the information I need by looking at the operating costs and output of existing coal mines on the map and then looking at the operating costs and output at 100% efficiency of a coal pit in the structures available. And you have a lower operating cost for the coal pit and a potentially higher coal output, which is what I would expect. Of course there is the initial cost to consider, which isn't that high. And there is also the cost of building a new coal pit, which is very expensive, compared to the cost of upgrading an existing mine, which must be considered, which I can no longer do since I can build coal pits.. So in theory it appears that upgrading key structures is a good idea and saves money over building new structures.. So I will do a couple of test upgrades and see what I get when the upgrade is done.

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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:49 pm

A Euro day break for the wife and me yesterday. Drove to Shreveport, in northwest Louisiana. Had an early dinner at Evi's Schnitzel Haus, which obviously specializes in German food. We spent five years in (West) Germany during the Cold War and love German food. And this was very close to authentic, about as close as we get in America. Then a Paul McCartney concert in Bossier City, just across the Red River from Shreveport. Best concert we've ever seen. Brought back a lot of memories with those songs. So all hail Europe! Now back to colonizing the American West.

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Post-war northern Alabama

Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:47 pm

Jan. 1, 1866

The four men in blue uniforms had come to John’s farm demanding food on behalf of the United States government. Now two of them lay dead in the light snow. Two more sat on the cold ground, bound and gagged.

The four men in blue had arrived in the morning on horseback and said they were from the town garrison. They were requisitioning rations for the garrison. Any opposition would be met with force. John met them in front of the house and said he would get them what they wanted. The first musket shot came from the barn. One of the men in blue fell off his horse. The second came from the second floor of the house itself, dropping another man. John produced his pistol from under his coat and told the other men there were dead if they moved.

John had learned they were coming a couple of days before when a man in ragged butternut had arrived at the farm, hands open, and asked to talk with John. He said he had been camping in the rough with four men dressed in blue uniforms and had taken part in a couple of raids on local farms. Then he heard they were coming to John’s farm.
So a couple of days earlier he had told the men in blue he was going to visit a woman he knew who lived near town and would be back in a few days with some food and whiskey. He had ridden straight to John’s farm.

John knew the man. He had deserted from John’s company a month before the end of the war. He wasn’t the only one. Many men had deserted near the end. Hat off, he had told his captain that he was sorry for deserting, but he just couldn't take it any longer since everyone knew the war was lost. John told him that was in the past. Then he had told John about the men in blue. They always did their raids in the morning. So John had given the man a musket, and John, his farm tenant, and the deserter had kept a watch.

On the third day the deserter had given the signal from the upstairs bedroom, and the ambush had been readied.
The men in blue were not soldiers. They were Confederate deserters, too, who had stolen blue Union uniforms and were roaming the countryside posing as soldiers and living off what they stole. They weren’t the only ones. Northern Alabama was alive with deserters and former soldiers of both sides who had taken to the woods as bandits. They numbered in the hundreds, and in the entire state perhaps in the thousands. Northern Alabama was virtually lawless except for scattered army garrisons. There was no state government. The entire state was under military control, but that control was tenuous at best.

It was a couple of hours before the small United States Army detachment from town showed up to take them into custody. John explained to the sergeant in charge what had happened. The sergeant said he would take the two survivors to justice and told John to bury the dead men since they had died on his farm and by his actions. John and the sergeant had talked several times since the detachment had arrived. John had filled the sergeant in on the situation in the area and had offered to provide information and serve as an intermediary in dealing with the citizens who wanted nothing to do with Union soldiers. They respected each other. The sergeant and his men didn't want to be there. They wanted to go back home to Michigan. They didn't want to risk their lives in the unofficial civil war going on in the area. But they would help where they could. And if good men took the law into their own hands for good reasons, they were willing to look the other way. Things were bad enough as it was.

The devastation in the state, the toll in property and lives, had been without precedent. No one knows with certainty, but out of perhaps 120,000 men from Alabama who served the Confederacy, as many as 35,000 had died. Another 20,000 to 30,000 had been wounded and were at least partially disabled. Some dispute these figures, but all agree the casualties were very high. There were perhaps 20,000 widows and 60,000 orphans. Additionally, two to three thousand northern Alabama men had joined the Union army. Those who survived and their families were ostracized by those who had fought for the South if they returned to Alabama.

There are no accurate numbers on the fate of the slave population of Alabama. There had been more than 400,000 slaves in the state. Now they were, at least nominally, free. There were large migrations into and out of the state by former slaves. Some left. Some stayed with their previous masters working now as tenants, some in a condition little better than slavery. Others, including those who had been conscripted into or joined the Union army, and the small existing population of free blacks, were taking part in the reorganization of the government as Freedmen. No one knows how many former slaves died during the war, though it appears that the dead numbered in the thousands.

Additionally, great amount of crops and livestock and property had been confiscated or destroyed. Railroads had been destroyed. Bridges had been burned. Telegraph lines had been destroyed.

Meanwhile, over the two years after the war a congressional plan for the Reconstruction of the South had been devised. Military control had grown stronger across the state, and a provisional state government was being formed, led by the Republican Party with Freedmen, Union sympathizers, and northerners who had settled in the state after the war and who were called carpetbaggers by the white native population of the state. Most former Confederate soldiers were temporarily barred from holding office.

John had returned to a ruined farm. Most of his livestock was gone. The crops were gone. The house and outbuildings had survived. His farm was safe. And so were his wife and children. Much of this had been done with the help of his father, Isaac. But with the safe return of his sons, Isaac decided two years after the end of the war to leave Alabama. He returned to his old home in Georgia and lived the rest of his days there, away from the bedlam of the northern Alabama hills. Isaac Junior had married and was talking about moving to Texas. Augustus had opened a new general store and was trying to get that business going.

It seemed almost miraculous that John, Augustus, and Isaac Junior had all survived the war without serious injury. They had fought in many skirmishes and on the edge of several major battles. One of the bloodiest had been in northern Florida just a month before the end of the war. They had taken part in hunting for deserters and partisans in the hills and woods of northern Alabama. They had seen many of their fellow soldiers and friends die. One of their close cousins had been wounded and captured in a battle in the East. He had returned disabled and lived the rest of his life on the charity of friends and relatives. Another cousin had died in the bloodiest battle of the war.

Yet life went on, and John was already considering how he could improve not only his own lot but the condition of his region and his state.


The United States had survived the war and was reunited, though it had much healing to do. Soldiers were stationed in many regions of the South and in some industrial regions of the Northeast where labor unrest had turned violent.
In early 1863 the Dakota (Sioux) Indians had been peacefully annexed into the US. The Dakotas (later North and South Dakota) and Wyoming were not US colonies. Only Montana and Idaho remained as protectorates. Only the Shoshone (New Perces) remained as independent native tribes, though their relations with the US were at 100 percent.
But things did not stay peaceful long. Rebel Sioux attacked a fort in western Iowa. An initial battle led to a defeat of a US mixed brigade and allied Sioux unit. Gen. Hooker was sent to respond. He assembled 17,000 men and in the fall totally defeated the rebellious Sioux, capturing all 800 of them. Hooker stayed in Iowa with his force, though some units were sent back to garrison duty in Southern states.


Lincoln won re-election. Nevada was admitted as the 36th state. Despite military occupation in many regions, the economy was doing well. Businessmen were building railroads and opening and upgrading factories and mines.


The year began with a news of a financial crisis in Prussia that soon spread to the US. The economy faltered. More regions required military occupation. But by the end of the year the crisis had ended. Inflation was back to zero in the US. Things were looking up again. John read that the US was interested in certain islands in the south Pacific. He did not understand why that was important with so many problems at home.


Early Jan 1866

NM 124. This is down from a high of 158 at the end of the war, a steady monthly drop.

PP 17,478. Britain 31,369. France 16,492. Russia 12,909.

I spent the time after the war adjusting my economy and working one building railroads to connect the nation and in dealing with the remaining Native American tribes. I also had to deal with the financial crisis of 1865.

I am dabbling in colonial affairs in the South Pacific with Samoa, Fiji, and the Solomons, without much success.
I am now wondering what to do next. Of course historically there is a clash with Spain, but it is many years in the future. I could move up the timetable or wait. I could consider action against Mexico, but to what end. I am waiting on an event I assume will trigger giving me the opportunity to buy Alaska from Russia in the next few years. So I am looking for ways now to make my game more interesting now that the Civil War is over. I think that I am going to continue with economic growth and dealing with the remaining Indians over the next five years and take a new look at things in 1870.


The event at the start is fictional, though things like this happened for several years throughout northern Alabama and many parts of the defeated South, though northern Alabama had a particular problem because of the deeply divided loyalties that often pitted neighbor against neighbor. John almost certainly had to deal in some form with these marauders, though I have no record of it. The statistics and information I gave on casualties and the government come from several sources.

I moved a few events up in time because the game war ended in 1862 instead of 1865. Isaac moved back to Georgia in 1867. He had relatives still living in Georgia, and in fact John had been born in Georgia. I have no record of Isaac after he returned to Georgia.

I will talk about Isaac Junior and Texas later.

Augustus did either take over the family store or build his own after the war.

Two first cousins of John fought in the East with Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. One was killed at Antietam. The other was wounded and captured at Gettysburg on July 2 while attacking Cemetery Ridge with Wilcox’s Brigade. He might have been captured in the famous charge of the 1st Minnesota, though that is just my speculation from looking at the battle.

The reorganization of the Alabama state government was a very complex event, and I gave a very simple version.

The fate of the former slaves is a particularly troubling part of the history of Alabama and all Southern states. It isn’t a direct part of my narrative concerning John, but I want to take a moment to say that many terrible things happened to the former slaves, and the promise of freedom and full participation in the government of southern states after the war was taken away after a brief period. The former slaves and their descendents continued to suffer under oppressive state laws sometimes backed up by the threat of violence or actual violence by radical groups of which the best known is the KKK. This continued until the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. I am old enough to remember as a child segregated drinking fountains and other aspects of segregation in Louisiana. I attended a segregated all white school until 1969, my 11th year of school, that is, my junior year of high school, when my school district in Louisiana was forced to integrate by federal court order with the consolidation of the black and white schools in the district. This was met by opposition and protests from some white, and acceptance by others, including my parents. My first black friends were team mates on the school cross country and track teams. But it was not until I joined the US Army in 1973 that I took part in a fully integrated society.

As for the one slave John owned in 1860, I don’t know his or her fate.
Last edited by JWW on Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:50 am

again, compelling stuff with the focus on both the very personal and the flow of the game.

as to what next - always worth thinking about what you can take and why. In general, you rarely can take territory directly from another organised power unless you have a claim. But after a major victory you can force it to release component parts as independent states (if you do this check that they emerge with the right provinces and you may need to give them a small at start army). This can really damage a hostile power. Other than that, the extraction of colonies is always a valid outcome.

To 'win' - and that is not really the point of PoN, you need to inflict severe prestige losses on Perfidious Albion. Assuming the underlying economic model has not changed, from about 1890 the US soars off as the emerging industrial power (it was scary watching its late game PP gains), so this, plus denting GB, will give you a good late game position.

But Spain is probably a good starting point?

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Reconstruction Begins

Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:42 pm

Jan. 1, 1870

John sat on his porch enjoying the cool evening in the hills of northern Alabama. The stars were out. He was thinking about the conversation he had earlier that evening with several other gentlemen from the county. They had come to him to discuss the future of the county and region and even the state.

Things were still in turmoil in Alabama. The federal government still controlled the state under the 1867 constitution, which granted universal suffrage and prohibited former Confederates from holding office. But there will still clashes between former rebels and unionists and deprivations by bandits who had allegiance to no one except themselves. There was also unrest regarding the newly freed slaves who demanded their rights and with white northerners who had moved into Alabama and other Southern states after the war. Native whites resented the “carpetbaggers” who descended on the South after the war to try to make money or take government positions and political offices. They also resented the “scalawags,” native Southern whites who collaborated with the carpetbaggers and the national government during Reconstruction. The situation remained tense with lingering hatreds on all sides.

How far that change would go, no one knew. John wondered what this massive societal upheaval would lead to in Alabama. That was one reason the other men had come to John earlier in the day, all men who had fought for the South. Soon, they said, they would be able to hold office again. They needed to prepare for that, and they wanted John to be one of those men.

Meanwhile, change was happening to defeated Alabama, for better or worse, under the Republican state government, backed up by the power of the United States. The new state government had created the state’s first free public education system and other institutions such as public hospitals and orphanages. And other initiatives were undertaken to rebuild things destroyed or damaged in the war, such as the state’s railroad system.

And a new Conservative Party was rising in the state, led by native whites who opposed the new government and immigrant whites who had arrived as Republicans. The state election of 1870 would be the new coalition’s first test.
During and immediately after the war, John had found that a pistol was sometimes the best way to solve a problem. Some had taken this solution into Alabama’s politics, as several Republican politicians had been threatened or killed and as blacks exercising their new rights were experiencing violent attacks in some places in the state. But John also realized that the future was not in the gun but perhaps in the power of the pen and the voice, of an argument presented well. John had learned how to persuade men as an officer. He saw those skill might be useful in the coming years. He also was beginning to see the need for compromise for Alabama to succeed. Pitting one faction against another was not in the state’s best interests, though some might never agree with that.

Meanwhile John looked around at what was happening the nation and the world. He was amazed that despite fighting a major civil war with immense casualties and destruction, and despite the destruction of much of the South, that the nation had continued to expand with ease. Now the US owned the frozen wasteland of Alaska and various islands in the Pacific Ocean. John wasn’t sure of the use of these follies. He wondered at those who talked about America becoming a great world power while bandits and rebels were killing each other in his home county. Was the nation big enough to bring peace to his home county and still expand to new areas?


Congress passed a civil right bills providing theoretical equal rights for all. It stipulated that everyone born in the US regardless of race and color or former condition of servitude was a citizen. The real purpose was to put the stamp of federal law on the idea that former African slaves were now American citizens with full and equal rights.


The colonization of the American West continued. Oklahoma, Colorado, and Nevada became American national regions. Utah and Arizona became American non-national territories. Nebraska became the 37th state.

Overseas America was working to gain influence in several Pacific islands. Samoa became an American protectorate.
In a highly controversial move, the US purchased Alaska from cash-strapped Russia for $7.2 million. Russia needed the money and feared losing Alaska to Britain, which was well established in Canada. Sec. of State William Seward took serious criticism for what many called a waste of money. Seward’s Folly, the purchase was called.

Near the end of the year Congress passed a law giving freed slaves the right to vote.

Around the world a series of European wars started that would dominate rest of the decade in Europe. Britain went to war with Austria, France with Sardinia-Piedmont, and Russia with Sweden.

Additionally, an economic crisis started in Sardinia-Piedmont. Inflation jumped to 5 percent.


The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution was approved, requiring states to provide equal protection under the law to all persons within the US. This would include former slaves.

In a series of moves designed to lessen dissatisfaction, Congress passed laws authorizing trade unions and approving strikes. Laws were also passed instituting compulsory education in secondary and primary schools.

In Europe the general war spread. Prussia declared war on Czechoslovakia. Bavaria and Wurttemberg declared war against Britain. Sweden’s war with Russia ended, but Austria declared war on Russia.

Closer to home Cuban rebels revolted against Spain and asked for US annexation. The US declined.

In the Pacific, Samoa became a US colony and Fiji became a US protectorate. The US was playing a potentially dangerous game, competing against both France and Britain for these Pacific islands and some others.

At the end of the year, the newspapers said the economic crisis was ending, but inflation stayed at 5 percent.


The general European war continued with various nations going to peace and back to war. It seemed to change monthly.

The US implemented compulsory education professional schools.

In the Pacific Vanuatu became a US protectorate.

The US implemented compulsory education professional schools

The first trans continental railroad was completed, connecting California with the East.

Republican Ulysses S. Grant was elected president, defeating Democrat Horatio Seymour.

Indian raids occurred in the Northwest. Both the Nez Perces and Sioux conducted raids. The Sioux pillaged the Black Hills region. The 15th Cavalry Brigade was detached from Hooker's force shadowing the Nez Perces but was unable to intercept the Sioux.

But colonization continued. Idaho, New Mexico, Montana, and Wyoming were now US colonies.

Inflation eased to 3 percent and the satisfaction of the population increased to 78 percent, the highest since records began in 1850.


PP - GB 39736, US 26963, FR 19582, RU 14347

NM 112 - A steady drop since the end of the Civil War

Satisfaction 78% - highest of the game

Major wars of note:

Britain - Austria

Russia - Ottoman Empire

Prussia – Austria

Netherlands – Prussia

Japan – China

Smaller European nations seem to jump in and out of the major wars.

1. The 1868 election result was not announced via message until June 1869. That was when Grant succeeded Lincoln in the game. The election should have been in November 1868 and the inauguration in March 1869. Lincoln was not assassinated.

2. The transcontinental railroad event occurred in 1868, but I had already completed a transcontinental railroad by 1863.

3. I assume economic crises are working as designed now. Before applying the latest patch, a crisis would hit, inflation would jump to 5%, and the next turn it would drop to 1%. Then it would go away soon after. With this latest crisis, inflation stayed at 5% nearly a year. I finally got two sunrise messages in 1869, dropping inflation to 3%. Is this the way it is supposed to work? I never saw a sunrise message before 1869 despite several economic crises.

4. I am curious about the Alaska purchase event. Was this hard coded and designed to happen no matter what? It triggered on schedule. I tried to maintain good relations with Russia in case that affected the event.

5. I decided to play the colonial game on a small scale in the Pacific islands and am having some success. I competed with France and Britain for Samoa, Fiji, and Vanuatu and got them, though I lost out on a couple of others. I found it takes time until things start to turn positive.

6. Satisfaction finally started rising and is now at a high point. It started rising after the new patch, so I’m wondering if it is a result of my actions or something in the patch. I am both buying and selling things and have no real shortages, though coffee, tea, silk, and opium are hard to get. I can grow a little sugar and have tried a couple of experiments with opening various agricultural enterprises in Caribbean or Central American nations. One is going well. The other was taken over.

7. Conflict with Spain will be necessary at some point. I am thinking of making that jump soon and trying to take Cuba as a start.

8. I lose track of John for about a dozen years after the Civil War. He is there in census records, but I have no other records of him for some time.

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War with Spain

Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:39 pm

January 1, 1871

John sat on his porch reading the letter from his younger brother, Isaac. Isaac had always had an eye for adventure. He had served through the Civil War with John but had been unhappy back home trying to be a farmer. He kept talking about going to Texas.

He and John had talked several times about the disorder in the region. Isaac had wanted to form a band of vigilantes to go after the deserters and others who roamed the hills and attacked farms and each other, a new county home guard. John had talked him out of it, but he knew Isaac had taken part in a few vigilante actions against Northern sympathizers anyway. Now, as things started to calm down, Isaac had become bored and restless.

During the diplomatic crisis with Mexico, Isaac had volunteered again for the army, this time wearing blue instead of gray, and he had been sent to Gen. Buell's command at Mobile, Alabama, where he had been made a company commander in the 14th Cavalry.

John hoped that Isaac might find himself in further military service, but he didn't really want Isaac to go into combat again.

And now the US was at war with Spain. It had started with a Cuban rebellion against Spain. But it had really started before that. The US believed it had claims on areas controlled by Spain and did not like the Spanish encroachment on those areas in the Pacific and Caribbean. Now, during the ongoing rebellion, the Cubans had asked for US annexation.

The US had refused at first, but as the war continued, President Grant had decided to get involved. The US had claimed Spanish harassment of US citizens and other similar affronts. The vote for war in the Senate had not been unanimous, but it had been nearly so. A war with a European power would show the world America had arrived as a great power.

The initial move, already being planned when war was declared in July, was the transport of Gen. Halleck's army from Charleston to the region of La Habana, which the Americans called Havana. It had started poorly. The first US corps to arrive was defeated in early August in its first battle. The Spanish army was bigger than anyone had anticipated.
But Halleck arrived with another corps, and in a key battle Halleck and 30,000 outnumbered US soldiers had defeated the Spanish army of 45,000. America had shown those Europeans who was boss.

Spain sued for peace, agreeing to pay a small amount of reparations. The US declined the officer.

More reinforcements arrived, and the Spanish were defeated again. Maneuvering continued in the tropical hills of Cuba, as the US sought to invest Havana and drive the one Spanish army in the field away.

In October Halleck sent Banks into central Cuba chasing the Spanish field army. It was pinned between the rebels to the east and the US forces closing from the west. Banks caught the Spanish at Cinfeugos and defeated and eliminated them. Meanwhile the siege of Havana began in earnest.

At the same time Gen. Buell's force was loaded on transports and sent to Puerto Rico. Isaac sent a letter just before departing, full of excitement at the prospect of going into battle against Spain. He said he had made a lot of friends from North and South and was eager to get the adventure under way.

In November, the force arrived off Puerto Rico, began disembarking, and Buell won the battle of San Juan, his force of 28,000 defeating a Spanish army of 10,000 easily. Isaac had taken part in the pursuit of the broken Spanish forces, right up to the fortifications of the city. He had been lightly wounded in the left arm, just a scratch really, he wrote.
The same month Halleck ordered an assault on Havana to exploit breaches in the fortifications. There were three assaults. The first failed, with Halleck himself killed. But the next two were successful under Banks. Havana fell. The Spanish army was captured. And the region was solidly under US control. Banks was lauded for his actions in the successful assault.

The latest letter from Isaac told of a desperate sea battle off the coast. The wooden ships of the US fleet off Puerto Rico had been attacked by a Spanish fleet of steel ships. The US had won the sea battle but not without loss. Transports carrying a cavalry brigade had been hit. The brigade had been severely damaged, and 2400 horses had gone to the bottom of the Central Caribbean Sea. The qualitative advantage of the Spanish ships was troubling, but the US fleet was much bigger.

The loss had not stopped the siege of San Juan, and the fall of the city, which did not have extensive fortifications, was expected at any time. Everyone expected Buell to order an assault, but he was strangely inactive, continuing the siege when it appeared he could easily take the city. Isaac had written about the grumbling in the ranks in his last letter, saying the officers and men were all wondering why Buell didn't just let them loose.

Meanwhile McClellan arrived to take charge of US troops in Cuba.

Spain sued for peace again, and the US again rejected the overture.

Less well noticed, US Marines had sailed from Hawaii and Samoa and easily taken Guam and the Marianas from the Spanish. The Spanish had not mounted a counterattack and were nowhere to be seen except for a brief attack on US commercial shipping in the Sea of Japan.

John had seen enough of war. He did not understand why the US felt the need to go to war with Spain. The continental United States was huge. The future of America was boundless. Why did we need foreign entanglements and overseas colonies? Why did Americans need to die in places like Cuba and Puerto Rico and Guam? He didn't even know where Guam was until he saw a map in a newspaper story about the capture of the island.

But the war went on, and his own brother was in the middle of it.

Other important events of 1870:

15th Amendment to the US Constitution passes, enfranchising former slaves.

Another economic crisis occurs, this one starting in Austria.

Fiji becomes a colony.

There is a major diplomatic crisis with Mexico after they insult the US ambassador. The US reacts passively, and Mexico wins the confrontation in world opinion. What the world doesn't know is that the US wanted to avoid war with Mexico at all costs, since troops and transports were gathering in the east for the upcoming invasion of Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Washington becomes an American national region, transitioning from a non-national region. (I'm not sure what the distinction really is.)

In the West, only New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana remain as colonies. All other regions are US national regions. Some have been named states. The Indians remain passive throughout the year with only one report of Indian raids


1. The events with Isaac are totally fictionalized, but they are setting the stage for a brief true story about Isaac.

2. I went to war with Spain for no specific reason. In the game I spent 1850-1861 waiting for the Civil War and colonizing the American West. I spent 1863-1869 working on colonization, economic and industrial development, and overall growth. That got a little boring, though it was also interesting. So I decided in 1870 that I would start a war and see how it went. I plan to take San Juan and then see what the war score is and decide what to do then.

3. I am wondering where my steel ships are. I still can't build them except for riverine ironclads while Spain appears to have steel warships.

Early January 1871, Cuba and Puerto Rico

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puerto rico.jpg
Puerto Rico
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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:08 pm

Think that going for Spain makes sense. The sugar from Puerto Rico and Cuba is potentially very valuable. If I recall the Azores is also treated as a colony and thus ripe to claim (and of course a very good naval base for European or African adventures).

Ships can be a bit misleading at this stage. Basically the first 3 generations of upgrades add steam (so they become steam/sail hybrids) and more armour/better guns. But the 1850 sail ships upgrade. I think it gets confusing as to the images that are displayed but I'd suspect the Spanish are not much better off than you - unless they have got a tech early and paid attention to refit.

The big change is around 1870+ when the first non sail all steam ships appear - I think this is level #4 on the upgrade system. Sail becomes obsolete but its expensive to scrap so best to redeploy to secondary theatres. From #4 to #7 (the second Dreadnought generation), ships don't upgrade so each time you need to build afresh - and take prestige hits for some scrapping. Its a neat reflection of the chaos for ship design that steam/steel brought, as expensive ships were obsolete almost as fast as they were launched.

One trick, if you have slots in a unit (say a couple of ships have been sunk), they will replace to the latest type. So if you have reached #4, then steel/steam ships will start to appear in your original sail squadrons - whether you want this is debateable.

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Gone to Texas

Sat Jul 29, 2017 4:33 am


The letter came to John in March. John knew that San Juan had finally fallen when a corps commander, tired of waiting for Buell to give the command, had ordered an assault on San Juan on his own initiative. The Spanish garison had quickly surrendered.

At this point the US held Puerto Rico, half of Cuba, Samoa, and a couple of other island chains. But a US squadron patrolling near Puerto Rico had been mauled by a Spanish fleet, so when Spain finally offered terms that included ceding Guam to the US, President Grant agreed that the war should end.

The US celebrated a great victory, but the president and military leaders were concerned about the prospects of continuing to prosecute the war at sea. So they accepted the Spanish terms and talked Congress into investing in research and development to modernize the navy.

The US began bringing its troops home.

Meanwhile John waited on word from Isaac, and it finally came in March. He was okay and would be on his way home soon. He had not taken part in the assault on San Juan, but he had watched it with his cavalry company.

Six weeks later Isaac was home, but not for long. He told John that he had talked to men from Texas during the expedition to Puerto Rico, and that the sky was the limit for a man in Texas. Isaac told John he was going to Texas. When John asked Isaac about his wife, Isaac said Mary Ann would stay with her father until he sent for her or came back for her.

John wasn't sure about Isaac's plan, but he could see Isaac was the happiest he had been in a long time. So he wished him well and watched as he rode away.

Other events:

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was founded, thus ensuring that at some point in the future there would be LSU football.

Britain and the US agreed to the Treaty of Birmingham, settling differencs in regard to the Confederate commerce raider Alabama, which had been built in Britain and had relentlessly harassed American commercial shipping until sunk off the coast of France by the USS Kearsarge.

The Great Chicago Fire had occurred Oct. 8-10. 300 people were killed, and 100,000 people, one third of the population, were left homeless.

Otherwise, the nation continued to grow economically, and more people were moving west.

In Europe, Austria was at war with Britain at the end of the year. Prussia was at war with Netherlands and Hannover. There were several other little wars going on, but the general European war was winding down.


NM 122

PP 28,122. Britain 44,344. France 20,709. Russia 15,459.


Buell would never activate, so I detached a corp from Buell's command, it activated, and I assaulted San Juan successfully with the single corps. Maybe that is gamey, or maybe it represents the initiative sometimes displayed by subordinate commanders in battle.

I also want to commend two paddlewheel riverboat squadrons that I pressed into service to help ferry troops to Havana and then back. I could have done the invasion without them, but I decided to experiment with them. I noticed that they suffered a lot of damage on each trip, but I never lost any ships or troops. I guess that is gamey, too, but the game let them float in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Chicago Fire and Treaty of Birmingham were pop up events that had no apparent game effect.

The casus belli for my war with Spain was Guam. The war was a test run on my part just to see how it would go. It went well. In a few years I will have another go at it with bigger targets in mind. I regularly get a casus belli for Havana, so I don't think I will have any trouble going to war if I want to. In fact I have one right now if I wanted to use it. (I'm not planing on using it at this time, but is there a penalty for going to war soon after a peace treaty, and is there a mandatory ban on going to war for a period of time after a treaty? I will have to look that up.)

When I returned my forces from Cuba and Puerto Rico, I put one force in Texas on the Mexican border. I don't want to invade Mexico, but after the crisis of 1870 I thought that perhaps having an army on their border might put me in a strong position. I also note Mexico regularly gets a casus belli for a region in the Southwestern US, so I decided stationing one of my main forces near the border might prevent Mexico from acting.

Thanks, Loki, for the information on ship upgrades. I am watching that very carefully. I lost considerably in my two major encounters with the Spanish fleet. I won one battle and lost the other, but I suffered considerably more damage than the Spanish in both encounters. I think the one I won was only because I had a great numerical advantage to begin with. The second one was between two squadrons of roughly equal numbers, and I was severely defeated. Fortunately that was the last action of the war.

Isaac did go to Texas in the 1870s according to a random family story that was written down at some point. The year is not given in the story. But the story is not over. More about Isaac later.

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Mon Jul 31, 2017 5:10 am


1872 had been a relatively calm year. The partisan fighting after the war had nearly died out. It had turned mainly to political fighting as factions fought for control in Alabama. The big planters against small farmers and workers. Freedmen fighting an increasingly difficult battle for their rights. The control of the federal troops becoming looser and looser. People continued to talk to John about entering politics, but he continued to resist, though he also continued to give advice when asked.

Around the country things had largely been calm. There were fewer demonstrations and strikes throughout the nation. Prosperity and confidence and satisfaction were improving.

There had been that Indian revolt in the far Northwest. The Nez Perces had gone off their reservation, a thousand of them. But Gen. Hooker and two cavalry brigades had defeated and killed or captured all of them in two battles along the Yellowstone River in northern Montana.

John had noticed that many of the major northern heroes of the Civil War had retired this year: Buell, Hooker, McClellan, Banks, and Halleck. Hooker had retired as a hero twice over after defeating the Nez Perces. They had been replaced by men John had never heard of: Schofield, Meade, and Gibbon. And Joseph Johnston, a man John had met, a former minor officer in the Army of the Confederacy, was now a general in the United States Army.

John also read that the US was building more transport ships and was organizing several US Marine units in California for duty in its Pacific territories or perhaps for more.

In Europe the illusion of peace had been shattered by a new general war, or rather a series of wars. Austria was at war with Russia and Britain. France was at war with Britain and Spain. Prussia vs Netherlands and Hannover. Asia was largely at peace. There were a few colonial wars going on. Spain continued a brutal war with Cuban nationals. Havana changed hands several times during the year. The US was looking closely at this conflict and considering intervening.

At home, brother Isaac sent for his wife to join him in October. John's son Isaac (III) escorted his uncle's wife on the long rail trip to Dallas. Young Isaac was 19 and had recently married a girl three years younger. Now she was pregnant. She moved back in with her father and mother until Isaac returned. But Isaac hadn't returned. Instead he had sent his young wife a letter saying how great things were in Texas. He said he would be coming back to bring her to Texas soon.


PP - GB 46807, USA 30119, France 21195, Russia 16190, Austria 14425

NM 128
SAT 79%

The idea was to pass the year in peace and look for a good opportunity to go to war with Spain again with a goal of taking Puerto Rico and possibly Cuba. It looks like I will have to fight the Cubans to ultimately take Cuba after defeating Spain. My fleet may be technologically inferior to Spain's, based on the last war. But I think I have a lot more ships. So I can try to avoid major sea battles while keeping supplies flowing to my troops on Puerto Rico and Cuba. And as a bonus, Spain is at war with France right now, so I think I will strike early in the year.

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Back to Texas, and Custer arrives

Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:22 am


John's son Isaac came back for his young wife in January. After going to see his wife at her father's house, he came to talk to his father.

"She refused to go with me," Isaac told John. "She said she isn't going to leave -- how did she put it -- 'the comfort of my father's house for life on the frontier with the Indians.' I tried to tell her that Ft. Worth and Dallas are not anywhere near the frontier and that I have a nice house on the ranch. But she refused. She told me I had to choose between her and Texas."

"So what did you do, son?" asked John.

"I gave her my horse, signed over our house and land to her, and told her goodbye. I'm going back to Texas, daddy," Isaac replied.

John sat on his porch and thought about the incident the night his son left for Texas. He wondered if he would see him again. He decided he needed to go visit Isaac's wife and her father to offer his help if she needed anything. He knew it would not be a pleasant visit, but he felt obligated.

Then he sat back and began reading the latest war news.

In Febuary, the US declared wara on Spain and invaded Cuba and Puerto Rico again. Units were also sent into the Pacific. This time none of John's relatives took part. A force under Gen. Meade easily captured San Juan and seized control of Puerto Rico in March.

Havana took a little longer, mainly due to logistics, but a force under Gen. Gibbon took Havana in May, and more troops poured in. Now the US was left in the awkward position of holding Havana and having troops in every region of Cuba. But what to do with the Cuban national army? They had been fighting a long war agianst Spain. Havana had changed hands several times during the war, but the Spanish were gone when Gibbon arrived to take control alongside a Cuban national army. Was the US going to have to fight the Cubans to take Cuba?

In May US Marines stormed the Carolinas and Marshalls.

In June, well, Grant was re-elected president. (Elections have gotten a little out of sequence here.)

In August a new general arrived on the scene, George Armstrong Custer. (I wonder where to employ him.) An inconclusive sea battle occurred in the Western Europe Maritime Trade Zone. Two fleets both seeking to raid commerce encountered each other with light casualties on both sides.

Also the Marianas were under siege, with Marines having a hard time taking the island.

Meanwhile Spain appeared to be in trouble, with Carlist Spanish rebels solidly holding two provinces. Spain was now at war with Cuba, Carlist Spain, and the US. Spain offered peace, but the US rejected the offer of cash. American wanted land.

On top of everything else, France suffered a financial crisis

In September outnumbered US Marines won a battle against the Spanish garrison in the Marianas. 6500 Marines defeated 12,000 Spaniards. The fight for the Marianas continued, as the Marines reluctantly called for reinforcements.

In October a financial panic occurred in the US. Inflation jumped to 20 percent. The government managed to reduce it to 8 percent by the end of the year.

In December the US finally captured the Marianas. America massed 20,000 men and two squadrons of frigates and assaulted the Spanish position. The Spanish surrendered with a loss of 2000 casualties and 6500 prisoners. The Americans lost 1000 men.

Meanwhile an army under command of Gen. Custer massed in California with enough shipping to move it all at one time. Custer was going to the Philippines.

And President Grant and his advisors discussed what to do with Cuba.


NM 114

PP 32,046. Britain 48,789. France 21,690. Russia 16,861. Spain 10,830. This was Spain's first appearance on the list.

Inflation 8 percent.

National Satisfacton 78 percent.

The story about Isaac's wife refusing to go with him to Texas is recorded in the history of a family associated with mine. Several other ancestors moved to Texas at that time, some staying and some returning. The year is not mentioned in the story, just that it supposedly happened in the 1870s.

Okay, what next? I have an 18 war score. It appears I need 78 before the Spanish will give up Puerto Rico and 177 to get Havana. I am assuming that if I follow the historical course and take the Philippines maybe I will get that war score. If I don't I will have to rethink things again.

And what about Cuba? Will I have to declare war on Cuba and fight the Cuban army if I want to take Cuba? I've attached a map showing the current military situation in Cuba. Those are Cuban units, not Spanish.

I have enjoyed my summer vacation turning out reports in rapid succession, but things are going to slow down now. I'm a teacher, and next week I have to go back to work, so my game will go a lot slower. I do plan to continue though. If I can do a year a week I can be finished in 47 weeks.

I thought this game might become boring, and a couple of stretches did, though I think that just might be a necessary part of playing the US. Now I plan to play more aggressively as I continue, though I have also made the following decisions: (1) I will not confront Britain militarily, or any other major power. (2) I will take on Spain and possibly Mexico. (3) I am not going to get involved in Africa at all. (4) I haven't decided yet if I want to get involved in Asia, but I am leaning against it. (5) I might also look at some of the other independent Caribbean nations.

The most interesting part of the game is that there is a constantly evolving situation. It is really a remarkable game.

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Cuba early Jan. 1874
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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:31 am

The thing I find so immersive about PoN is the amount of planning, considering options, setting up long term prospects you need to do. There are periods of build/adjust trade click end turn, but I find I am very aware I am trying for a goal even at that stage.

For a peace remember that WS and NM work in tandem. A state with low NM will offer you a peace in excess of the WS (may not be exactly what you want but wait and a different offer will come up). You hit their NM primarily by taking away their objectives - during the Crimean War I was suffering a regular NM drop as long as the British held Sevastopol.

So with what you have + the Philippines, Spain is going to be hurting and getting into a worse position. But if you want to really force the issue, you may need to visit Europe.

I can't remember how to solve Cuba, there maybe a game event around the historic 1898 war - I took it in my old Italy game but that was in around 1912. If you pull out, I presume the Cuban army would dominate - can't see Spain reinvading - but not sure how that would affect the loyalties and ownership of the Island.

As ever, really enjoy the family strands to this - adds a layer of detail that is fascinating

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Joseph Johnston's Odyssey

Thu Aug 10, 2017 2:02 am

1874 was a momentous year in Alabama. After years of Republican control of the state government, the Democrats took back control of the state, electing a Democratic governor and a Democratic majority in the state legislature.

These were desperate times for the state. It was millions of dollars in debt. Violence still occasionally flared up across the state. There was a bitter divide between the Republicans, now made up almost entirely of former slaves and backed by the military, and the Democrats, who were led by former Confederates and big plantation owners, most of them white supremacists.

Military control of Alabama was fading, and the Democrats were already talking of writing a new state constitution that would wipe out the civil rights protections and other reforms of the post-war constitution written under Republican control.

John looked at all this with concern. He did not like the military garrisons. He did not like the Republicans who had controlled the state and put it an astonishing $25 million in debt with reforms that the state could just not afford. He didn't like the Democrats either, led by the big plantation owners. And caught between the Republicans and the Democrats were the people in the hill country, who still might harbor anger at each other over the war but were more and more caught in the middle in the political struggles of the state.

John had been at work in the county government, and more people were urging him to run for the state legislature, but John saw nothing in either the dying Republican Party or the Democratic Party that appealed to him. There needed to be another option, and there wasn't one.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Americans engaged in desperate battles.

The invasion of the Philippines began in February. It was a three-pronged attack planned by a supremely confident American high command.

Three US Marine brigades sailed from Samoa to Leyte. They quickly captured Leyte, 19,000 men defeating and capturing the 3600-man Spanish garrison. The goal was to strike fast, put the Spanish off balance, test their strength and response, and perhaps catch them unprepared for the real invasion.

Meanwhile a force of 90,000 men under Gen. Custer sailed from San Francisco, with a goal of landing north of Manila and threatening the city. They would not arrive until March.

Finally, and most audaciously, a third force under Gen. Johnston sailed direct from Havana, planning to sail around the Cape of Good Hope non-stop to Manila, a sea journey of more than 13,000 nautical miles. This would serve as a display of the new power of the United States.

Schofield with more than 100,000 men remained in Cuba while Meade with 50,000 occupied Puerto Rico.

Spain offered peace and reparations, but the US declined.

In March Custer's force arrived in Luzon region and besieged Baguio, capturing it from the tiny garrison with a quick assault. The 4th Marine Brigade in the south took the island of Iliolo. Custer decided not to wait for Johnston, but brashly advanced directly on Manila. The main Spanish army retreated to Legazpi, and Custer took Manila under siege.

Custer arrives in the north, the Marines operate in the south, and Johnston is en route.

Late March 1874.jpg
Late March 1874
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Meanwhile, Johnston's force was facing possible destruction. In the Strait of Malacca they were nearly out of coal and becalmed. In desperation, Johnston sent the warships ahead and waited for relief. The relief cam a month later in the form of the transports that had taken Custer across the Pacific. Johnston's desperate force began to move again, and after an arduous sea journey that would be forever remembered, Johnston's force reached Manila in July, losing many ships in Manila Bay in a fight with the Spanish Navy and shore batteries at Manila. Johnston took overall command and the siege continued.

In September the main Spanish army marched from Legazpi. In a series of battles lasting two weeks, 119,000 US soldiers faced off against 50,000 Spanish troops. The US took Manila and destroyed the bulk of the Spanish forces. But it was costly. The US suffered 46,000 casualties, but the Spanish army was destroyed. A small Spanish force still operated around Manila, but the main force was decimated.

In November Custer captured Legazpi. Only the southern islands remained under Spanish control, and in December the Marines captured Davao in the south.

Spain twice more offered peace, and this time they offered the Marshall Islands, but the US refused the Spanish offer.

The situation in early January 1875. Though it may not be obvious, Manila is under US control, and the Spanish force is small.

Early January 1875.jpg
Early January 1875
Early January 1875.jpg (288.52 KiB) Viewed 4396 times


NM 112.

PP 34570. Britain 51105. France 22449. Russia 17940. Spain 10932. Sardinia-Piedmont 10427.

Satisfaction 78 percent.

Johnston's sea journey from Havana to Manila was an Odyssey. The fleet stalled in the Malacca Strait and would move no further. I detached the warships and sent them on, while the transports refused to move. So I sent a relief fleet of transports to join them, enough to move all of Johnston's weight. They joined the stalled fleet, and the ships started moving again and Johnston made it to Manila. So what was the mechanism here? Did I send my transports beyond their range? Was it that simple? I thought I might lose an entire army, but I knew there was a risk when I made the decision.

Also I lost a lot of ships at Manila when Johnston unloaded. What was that from? There was a small Spanish naval force there, but there was no battle report. Was it shore batteries? What happened?

Anyway, it was an entertaining move that put some excitement into the game.

My current war score is 33 and seems to grow a point a turn. The United States is not going to settle for some islands after committing such large forces to the war and sailing them halfway across the sea. I want more. I will finish the conquest of the Philippines and see how things stand then. As Loki suggested in an earlier post, I might just have to invade Spain to bring the war to a suitable conclusion.

I am wondering if something will trigger now that I seem to own most of what the US took in the Spanish-American War. But maybe I am too early.

As for the situation in Alabama, this general situation was being repeated all across the occupied South as Reconstruction neared its end. John still has an important role to play, but it will be several years before that happens. The $25 million debt of Alabama is astounding. An inflation calculator I used shows that would be more than $500,000,000 in 2016 dollars. The new Democratic government simply wrote off $10 million of debt but still assumed $15 million of the debt.

Once again, the game will go slower now. Among other things, as a high school teacher (grades 11-12, the last two years of the American secondary school system) I am polishing a literary unit for Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, during which I will be formally observed twice.

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Re: Stars Fell on Alabama - An America AAR

Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:53 am

Your at sea problem I'd suspect happened if your transports are all steam (ie not a sail/steam hybrid), these do have a limit based on the coal they carry. Historically it was one reason why the various European powers started to grab bases off West Africa in this period as they needed intemediate coaling stations to move fleets between the main ocean basins - also why the British grabbed and kept all those isolated islands in the southern Atlantic.

Your solution was a good one - transports carry far more supplies than they need/normally use, so can be used to average out the supply of an at sea fleet or as mobile supply depots for a land operation - just send an empty supply wagon out to the fleet, it will fill out and then you can return it. Incredibly helpful for colonial operations and a standard tactic in a lot of AJE scenarios.

Your losses at Manila I'd guess were to shore based batteries. In the turn log, you may have a lot of ship x looses y, at its worst you can sink your fleet - I still shudder at the disaster I made of trying to use the Italian fleet to force the Dardanelles in a war with the Ottomans. You *might* have been more vulnerable if you were already low on cohesion.

Basically (and I think realistically) the 1870s/1880s are a real challenge for either inter-continental or inter-ocean naval operations. Coal has really improved the average performance of sail ships, but they still lack the size and capacity of the first generation of all coal/steel ships. Its not really till you start to trigger the 1890 techs does this improve (there are quite a few in that period that do wonders for your fleet cohesion so you can sail further/longer and still have some combat capacity).

Also ... really enjoying the Alabama snippets

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