Delaware, I am chucking with you. I too enjoyed the two tactical games, though I never tried to fire Jackson.
Both games are really solid treatments of the American Civil War. I would suggest CW2 as it has some refinements and features which are exceptionally nice but are not found in the original game. One is a more representative depiction of the war economy in a new production interface. In AACW I was so swamped in making bad economic decisions (in game terms) that it took a caring and informed player to point out that I should just forget building factories. The other major advancement is a much more accurate balance between the sides. This is especially true with the 1862, 1863 and 1864 starts. Both of the 1861 starts tend to provide too many resources to the CSA to recreate an historical game. However, the 1861 starts are really fun to play and close to historical, especially if you are a Johnny Reb.
Both games will take the same investment of time. The CW2 adds the Far West to the game which is a distraction to many players. While I initially agreed that it is a distraction, I have changed my mind. Resource allocation is a key factor in decision making, how much is the Far West worth.
I think of CW2 as a refined AACW. Many of the problems of AACW are gone. CW2 is much more playable and represents history in a more accurate manner.
I would be glad to explain in more detail if this would be useful.
As an armature Civil War buff myself I could not believe my great good fortune to find AACW. But with the release of CW2 I found the game I had been searching since the demise of Civil War Generals 2 as a viable pc game and the abandonment of Frank Hunter's American Civil War at the strategic level.