[color="#FFFF00"]Late August 1861
Before I get to individual theatres a few general points. At last I've managed to torch a couple of forts in the extreme west. Its my first successes. As I said in response to Ace's post above I know full well it takes 16 days rather than a single turn to torch a fort but I've not been able to do it before now. Methinks my Southern boys have invented matches.
The Union as you can see went with a total blockade which set FI back 15. The upshot is that I cannot expect either Britain or France to join on my side in this game.......which is what I prefer.
The 1st Bull Run at Manassas was good for the Confederate cause on several fronts. In addition to the victory Johnston and Jackson both advanced in seniority and I had a nice lift in NM and that's not ignoring the captured weapons which gave my WS a slight boost.
The only OUCH factor of the turn were those two hits I took to Wise's Brigade. They were being transported by rail as well which makes it a double OUCH. Just goes to show that you have to keep those replacements up when you are playing with historical attrition.
Having dealt with the general time to get to the specifics.
What the heck was Beauregard doing? I send him against Pattersons boys (Patterson now having departed so his troops have no command structure) and damned if he does not decide to stick two fingers up at me and go inactive. He must have gone inactive for I'd set him to assault and all he and his command is doing is facing up to the Union troops without issuing a single shot. If I could demote him I would.......grrr. Well I must hope for better from him this time although I'm not counting my chickens. My thought process is going as follows. With the heavy Union defeat at Manassas my adversary must take some time out with McDowells force to replace losses and recover cohesion. There was no medical unit with those Blue Bellies so its going to take a turn or two. What makes it even worse for the North is that McDowell has not retreated thus there is a chance he will have to fight again. Bearing all this in mind I reckon I have a narrow window to really attack the soft underbelly of the Union. My aim therefore is to send Beauregard, with assault orders, heading towards Baltimore and Annapolis. I'm deliberately staying away from Washington. Firstly there is the Washington garrison and then Stone and his merry men can be seen entrenching.....that's a sizeable force. Too big for Beauregard to take on. My problems are .......'what if Beauregard remains inactive' and 'what if bad weather sets in early'. I'd hate to be on the receiving end of what I did to Banks in our first game (although in that game the MC rules were somewhat different so I was able to prevent him from retreating) Ah well its worth a try.
In the event that Beauregard does remain inactive I'm ordering an uncommanded brigade from Winchester to Fredericktown with assault orders. Additionally a forward screen of cavalry is being deployed for scouting purposes ahead of Beauregards line of march.
Whiting is being commanded to move to Winchester and now that Pattersons troops have retreated the CSA force that I had deployed to New Market has been instructed to march to Strasburg.
The Army of the Shenandoah has been ordered to remain in situ. I could elect to try to attack McDowells Northern Army of Virginia but IMHO that would be foolish. Although it looks attractive to achieve it I'd have to leave those lovely defensive entrenchments I've constructed......not a wise move. So no I'll sit tight and hope that Athena works in my favour and makes McDowell attack me again. If not he will retreat unmolested. I can live with that after all its another turn out of the way.
You will see that once again I'm trying to cut rail with my cavalry. No success again this time. It really is frustrating. I shall just keep my fingers and everything else crossed
In addition to the major battle there was one small cavalry skirmish. It resulted in a stalemate but as I outnumbered the enemy by 3 to 1 I was disappointed to see that I'd lost more troops in the action. Not surprising really as my stance was green/green. Irritating none the less. Far more bitter was that with the stance I'd adopted my boys retreated out of the region. Ah well it was me that ordered them to run away if threatened with action and all they did was obey my orders.
Onto the peninsula. Nothing of note has happened. I managed to get Smith into position at Williamsburg and he has a decent sized force under his command. My only regret is that he commands alone. I have no one spare to assist him. At last I've managed to assemble the right ingredients at Norfolk to begin constructing that fort that I reckon is going to be invaluable. The one item exercising my brain cells is what the heck has Banks done with Butler? What devious plan has he in store. Last time he was in command of the Union forces in the peninsula but now he has disappeared.....where to and with what aim? Whatever and where ever its certainly not going to be anything that I like. Seaborne invasion springs to mind.
Oh....Oh.....Oh......Oh. Banks has really caught me hopping in this region. Just look at the size of that Union build up at Cairo. Geeze but I shall have to invest in reinforcements for this theatre. Now Freemont has been added into the mix that's a 3 star and a 2 star at Cairo. I strongly suspect that Banks will create an Army with Freemont. That will get rid of any CP problems he might have. With that force he can really put me between a rock and a hard place. All I can say is good move you wiley devil. I will react as best I can and strengthen Polk. I'm going to try to keep hold of the vital river crossing at least for this turn......longer if I can manage it. I need to buy time to recruit in the region so I have to attempt to hold Charleston and New Madrid for as long as possible. If I'm lucky I should swell Polks force to 10,000 plus by early September. Being able to create divisions cannot come soon enough.
Ive given up on Missouri but in Arkansas am digging in at Fayetteville and intend to hold that fair city and Springfield for as long as possible. I'm not totally sure but I suspect that I do not have too much to worry about for 61. The Union forces seem very dispersed and I think that by the time they join together the bad weather will be upon us. It always seems to come early in this neck of the woods. Anyway I'm banking on it. Beacause of the growing threat of bad weather its time for me to bring my outlying cavalry to safety. There is no way I want to lose them to attrition because they are out of supply.
Although I had a couple of successes with destroying forts this time there are still one or two locations that are eluding me. One is Fort Gibson. I'm giving it another crack this time around.
Missouri witnessed the only other minor action of the turn. Sumner attacked my static Ft Smith Militia garrison. Somehow my good fellas held firm. Not for long I suspect but I can imagine Banks being somewhat peeved that he failed to take it with the first assault. I know I would be were the rolls reversed.
As if to confirm my fears about the impending weather changes would you just look at the sea of mud that's appeared. Definitely time to run for safety where I can.
That just leaves the bits and pieces
On the NM front its 111 to CSA versus 90 to USA so that's pleasing. Mind you I hate the auto balancing of NM which was not present in AACW. I'll just have to hope I can make best use of the advantage whilst I have it.
As far as VP's are concerned what with the changes in v1.03 I'm not only holding my initial advantage but increasing it by 11 per turn. Unless Banks makes some quick inroads by the start of the 62 campaign season I should have a healthy lead.
Losses seem to be 2-1 in my favour .....thanks to Manassas. Can I maintain it that's the question.
Having enough recruits has enabled me to commence a substantial build program. At present I have sufficient money and conscripts....its WS I'm lacking. As it was Jacksons elite Virginians that bore the brunt of the losses on the CSA side at Manassas I've had to invest in additional elite infantry replacements.
Well good folks that's it for another turn. At this stage I have to say it may be the last turn. I have not have Bank's end of August orders so once again I'm posting my moves in advance of processing. In itself this is not a problem as Banks is an honourable player and I know he will not look at this AAR thread before we are done. No the real issue for me is the slowness of the turns. My move has been ready for the last 5 days.
As I've said before I did think that once he decided to stop producing his AAR that turn around would improve. Truth is it hasn't. Roughly a week per turn is too infrequent for me. If the game were to go anywhere near its full length then allowing for holidays, illness etc we could still be playing in 3 years time. That's far too long for me. I don't blame my opponent RL does have a habit of getting in the way of gaming. If I get orders from him later tonight I might give it another turn or two. If I don't then likelihood is I'll contact him and tell him to call it a day.