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tripax (USA) vs FightingBuckeye (CSA): tripax's AAR

Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:53 am
by tripax
[I will try to write my side of this AAR as a if I have just discovered a notebook of newspaper clippings and occasional diary entries. Playing with formats is fun for me. If I write well enough, perhaps you will enjoy it, too. Mostly I will describe my moves and strategy in this format. I will sometimes put a note in my words in square brackets and italics. I will include screenshots occasionally. I apologize in advance for grammatical and spelling errors. Also, I apologize that I may be more inflammatory than usual in my writing. My first shot across the bow is from the "abolitionist newspaper" in the first sentence below. I will try not to get into lengthy discussion of these inflammatory bits here - this is an AAR not a flamewar or political philosophy debate - they are just a bit of extra fun for me since I generally try to be even handed in the main forum.]

In April 1861 the North joined the war of the South against itself. Quickly the war became politics by another means, habeus corpus was suspended along the Eastern Seaboard, men were fitted with guns to be sent to die, campaigns were designed in Washington with goals of glory and not of peace. In this column I will try to inform you, dear reader, what I can discover of the motives, the actions, and the consequences of those who make the decisions in this war. In this, early April of 1861, the Enslaved Blacks of the South and the US Government in the North are in a covert alliance against Southern Traitors. But the people still hold to a promise of a peaceful solution. It is clear in Washington that no peaceful solution will be possible. While it is still possible, I ask you to listen to the words of "An American Trilogy" [sung by Elvis Presley] together as a medley. The cacophony of civil war approaches.

Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:51 pm
by tripax
Late April, 1861:
I have been sent to Fremont's Department of the West, or that is what it is being called although the illustrious general is in Europe and has not been officially appointed. Major Zagonyi is here, and not many others. I have heard that Milroy and Wallace were sent to western Virginia and Hurlburt and Wood to Cincinnati. I believe there is an Army forming on the outskirts of DC, and I will be asked to help organize troops here. I do not believe this Army has a central head. And I will not write here my opinion of the goal or goals of this war. But I take comfort in the good sense of my new commander in chief, who wrote about my hero, Lajos Kossuth de Udvard et Kossuthfalva, "That we recognize in Governor Kossuth of Hungary the most worthy and distinguished representative of the cause of civil and religious liberty on the continent of Europe. A cause for which he and his nation struggled until they were overwhelmed by the armed intervention of a foreign despot, in violation of the more sacred principles of the laws of nature and of nations—principles held dear by the friends of freedom everywhere, and more especially by the people of these United States." [published January 9, 1852 in Springfield, known as The Hungarian Resolution] And thus I chose to fight against the despotism of the Southern planter and chose to call democracy the despotism of the central government against the individual states - I see more of my beloved socialism in the free labor policies of some northern politicians than the hierarchical feudalism of planter society in the south.
- Asbóth Sándor [this must be from a letter or diary entry of General Alexander Asboth]

[In honor of the foreigners including Hungarians, Poles, Germans, and French who were officers and soldiers in the war, please enjoy a version of Rákóczi March arranged by Hector Berlioz and performed by the Polish State Philharmonic. it appears Berlioz did not support the 1848 revolutions Asboth fought in, nor did he seem to have a position on the Civil War, he was quite popular at the time and incorporated the Hungarian song which was used by the revolutionaries, Rákóczi March, in his "La Damnation de Faust" a French opera/cantana based on the German story (by Faust).]

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 2:29 pm
by tripax
Early May, 1861: Norfolk has been overrun by mobs of Virginians. There seems to be no one to blame for this fiasco as no one was available to defend that city. President Lincoln has demanded of his generals to recapture of Federal property starting with Harper's Ferry, but has his sites set on other Federal properties. The government has also responded to the illogical blockade by the South of itself with a Northern blockade of southern ports. General Shields has been sent away from the morass of officers looking for commands in the immediate vicinity of General McDowell in the Army of the Potomac. Rumors in Washington are that he is to go to Fort Pickens to help the command there avoid a repeat of the tragedy at Fort Sumter.

Brigades have been called up in the west [Ohio and Michigan], and Zuaves regiments have begun to form in the East [3 in NY, 2 in PA] capturing the excitement of the early days of the war. Firefighters in New York have joined Ellsworth's acrobatic Zuaves and are now a part of the Army of the Potomac in the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Division [Chicago, the home of Elmer Ellsworth, gave us bluesman Johnny Temple and this entries song, "Fireman Blues"]. In Washington a further number of officers have gathered, medical corps are being trained and headquarters tents are appearing.

As all this goes on development of the west continues apace. This could be a sign of continued support by the government of the development of the West or it could be an attempt to grab the upper hand against any attempt by the Southern states to extend treason West into the territories. Southern sympathizers are agitating in cities in the north and the northern government has responded with counter-intelligence schemes. Lincoln has suspended Habeus Corpus in some places as well in an attempt to gain control of the escalating situation. [a letter with return address of the Willard Hotel] [One of the striking differences between playing a PBEM compared to Athena is Athena doesn't play these cards well so you don't have to worry so much about their effect and the potential for partisan activity that they pose.]

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 4:23 pm
by tripax
[Late May 1861 Newspaper headlines] EXTRA: Protests in Boston, Cairo, Colorado, San Francisco - Harper's Ferry held by the Traitors - The case of the missing HF garrison - Union forces under Milroy move in to Harper's Ferry - Patterson approaches from the West - New Forces arrive [by event] in Cincinnati and Saint Louis - So-called Confederate force gather in Missouri and Virginia - Short war expected by all.

[Southern sympathizers have begun protesting in Boston. I think if Boston's NM pops above 85% before the RGD finishes, it gets cancelled (the card might get returned to the pool, but the CSA have lost the money for good). Buckeye seems to have done the math and all this protesting is bad for me either way. In any case, the wait is almost over, but for now you may enjoy listening to Fugazi's "Waiting Room"]

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:07 pm
by Suidlander
Good tread sofar like the idea to write the report like you found a heap of old newspaper clippings. The latest book I'm reading on the second Anglo Boer war is also using this idea. It's a book about that war and the day to day struggles about the Boers and how they exsperienced it. Written like it's all old newspaper articles.

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:36 pm
by tripax
[Thanks, I'm not doing too well, but I think that is part of the fun. I'm posting my AAR one per day, so I have drafts of about 4 turns of posts saved up. I write something similar to what I'm posting whenever I PBEM (which isn't much) and play as Union and send it off with each turn. I'm adding a bit more strategy and such for your benefit, but do let me know if you want more information. I think FightingBuckeye's AAR is more up to date, so please excuse us if we aren't in sync. His previous AAR was very good and presented a lot of strategy and maps with circles and arrows. So far I've been very reactive, so I don't have much strategy, maps, or arrows to display. There have been other AARs that show how to play historically (use generals generally by seniority, build brigades in all states evenly rather than one state at a time, avoid river transportation, etc.), so I am not going into that too much. Thus so far there isn't much for me to say. What is the name of the book you are reading?]

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:02 pm
by tripax
[Scribblings found on the back of an envelope written in the handwriting of Halleck and dated early June 1861]: Horace Greeley's New York Tribune has begun calling for all sorts of unreasonable attacks, invade Richmond, grab New Orleans, etc. Right now all of the action is in western Virginia. There are calls for a secone seccession, the creation of a new state, "West Verginia". Loyal mountaineers have already picked out a state song, "Take Me Home Country Roads" by John Denver. Now they just need to take control of the area, The Confederates aren't opposing efforts to manouver Floyd southward and over the mountains. Patterson and Mansfield are the senior generals in the theater and must attack.

Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:56 am
by tripax
[Since the war is going quickly and I'm losing badly, I'm going to post slightly more often to "catch up" to what I assume is a relatively up to date AAR by FightingBuckeye. For an unrelated reason, this and last post are very short.]

[Newspaper clipping from Late June 1861]: The battle on the 12th at Harper's Ferry saw 10000 US soldiers under Milroy fight nearly 6000 under Winder. Two regiments in particular are now considered heroes, the 1st US Infantry and the USMC, neither of which took any losses and both of which were quite successful repelling the attack and taking negligible losses [gaining 1 and 2 levels respectively and taking no hits]. John Brown is avenged, and songs in his honor ring loud, including a beauty by Bob Dylan! Patterson will arrive soon and together with Milroy should follow up with a march down the valley!

Rumors have it that 10,000 spades have been delivered to Manassas [I see in a message that the CSA played the entrench RGD]. McDowell should bypass these cowards and march south immediately!

[I don't have an offensive strategy right now. I've been building brigades in a very distributed way and so far the CSA has been aggressive enough that it isn't worth making a plan until I can collect my forces. I usually re-enact the disaster at first Bull Run as a nod to history, but not only did the CSA march 6000 men to Harper's Ferry, they marched 7500 against a small volunteer/light infantry brigade in Leesburg. Casualties were light in this battle and my forces are retreating. To me I see a bit of an opportunity and am marching McDowell in that direction - leaving the barest of forces behind to garrison outside of Alexandria. Hopefully together with the Alexandria Garrison in the town this move will not backfire. Also, the CSA is digging at Manassas, so I don't expect an attack from that direction in the next turn.]

Posted: Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:57 am
by tripax
[Dear Reader, at this point there appears to be a bit of disorganization in the clippings and the number of clippings becomes too great. From here I will endeavor to carry on with the narrative by synthesizing the various documents I find, occasionally focussing on a single clipping and usually focusing on a single theater. Please let me know if you are interested in any particular point of view and I can look to see if a related document is present]
In Early July McDowell's force has moved northwest to Leesburg, Virginia in Loudon County to oppose Beauregard's force in the area near the recent skirmish of Late June. The 2nd Maine led by Heinzelmen of the 3rd brigade 3rd provisional division, the 1st MD Mtd Vol., the 8th US Infantry, and the US Artillery (5th Artillery) performed commendable service. In the west, Fremont has still not arrived from Europe. Without the constraint of a district commander in Missouri, Lyon sought to extend control of Missouri into the southwest part of the state but was turned away by the masterful generalship of J.O. Shelby. There are some who question Lyon rashness, we shall see if he can stand and fight. Asboth's leadership of the 1st Kansas (Mounted Volunteers), a part of the Kansas Mounted Volunteers Brigade was the only bright spot. So far, disorganization at all levels has meant that no generals have recieved special commendation or censure from the war department [indeed, while the units mentioned in this post have gained a level, no generals have yet gained any experience - seniority movements will be mentioned as special commendation from Washington - either congress or the war department].
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Also, at about this time, Kentucky divided her loyalty, the cowardly governor has moved to Bowling Green and declared allegiance to the traitors. Cries of "Awnaw, Hell Naw" and "y'all gone up and done it" have rung out from Bowling Green loyalists including a group of partisans calling themselves Nappy Roots. The northern part of the state remains loyal and General Nelson is training a division of Loyal Kentuckians at Camp Dick Robinson near the still loyal capital city of Lexington. Forces in Washington have demanded US move on Paducah and take control of the confluence of the Mississippi and the Ohio, but there is not yet US force in the area and there is rumor of a force under Confederate traitor Zollicoffer in the area.

Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:52 am
by tripax
[Report from late July]In Early July, 1861, tragedy struck, report clippings from late July of that year. Early in the month Patterson had arrived in Harper's Ferry and succeeded at repelling another attack by Joe Johnston, Thomas Jackson, and the Army of the Shenandoah. The victory was wonderful, especially the 27th Pennsylvania of Morell's Washington Brigade, McCall's 5th brigade of the provisional division of northern Virginia, the 12th Pennsylvania Light Infantry of the 4th Pennsylvania Reserves Brigade, and the 1st US Infantry. The following day tragedy struck. Believing the enemy retreated, the entire force broke camp to meet two zuave regiments sent from Pennsylvania, the 72nd PA Fire Zuaves, and the 23rd PA Philadelphia. Johnston's force appeared suddenly, treating the zuaves roughly and sending them all the way back to Pennsylvania [destroyed, have to be rebuilt in PA - since regiments were rarely destroyed in the war, when a regiment is destroyed I often try to rebuild it immediately, imagining the regiment being reorganized after decimation of officers and men]. Having broken camp and then be demoralized at the slaughter of the zuave units, Patterson lost control of the force and it fled across the Shenandoah River to Leesburg. Patterson is likely to be dismissed over this catastrophe. 10 companies of zuaves are reported in enemy hands, with nearly as many on the field or wounded.

A yellowed, somewhat dirtier clipping seems to represent a traitorous source notes that General Winder led the initial attack on Harper's Ferry a month or so before the bulk of the Army of the Shenandoah arrived.

Three New York Zuaves regiments arrived to help man the defenses of Alexandria against an attack by General Longstreet, the 3rd NY (1st Albany Zuaves), the 5th NY (Zuave Gds), and the 6th NY (Wilson's Zuaves). The 6th charged bravely but futilely, with about 5 companies worth of men captured and most of the rest killed. Col Wilson has returned to New York with a skeleton force or less to attempt to reorganize the battered regiment, as Longstreet attacked forcing the forces under General Hamilton back into the works. Nearly wiped out itself, the 5th NY performed admirably. Sadly, General Keyes died in the engagement.

In Leesburgh another large battle between Beauregard and McDowell took place. McDowell's batteries were well placed and Beauregard's senseless attack was easily repulsed with little loss. The 1st Artillery (a light unit) of the 4th brigade of the 1st provisional division was especially effective, wiping out an enemy regiment. The War Department had sent observers to the area who witnessed the conflict and recommended Generals McDowell and Hunter for official commendation in the effort [D. Hunter gained seniority but no experience, oddly]. 1 company of about 100 prisoners was captured whole.

The 4th US cavalry has been besieging Confederate Rangers in Fort Whipple. The Rangers attempted a breakout this month which failed and the force retreated back into the fort.

As you might guess, dear reader, the newspapers have suddenly become expert generals, demanding Union forces march back into Harper's Ferry and Alexandria immediately. Oddly, the cabinet has also become expert generals, asking the same thing of Lincoln. Of course, this isn't so bad because Lincoln became an expert as well, demanding an effort to be made to the same end. All of this seems quite rash and I am having a hard time understanding what happened. It is clear that disorganization exists at every level in the Union war effort.

[While an anti-war song, with the chaos near DC this turn, please have a listen to DC son, Marvin Gaye's "What's Going on". Below you can see a bit of what happened.]

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Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:22 pm
by tripax
Early August 1861:
McDowell marched under orders towards Alexandria. On the first day of the march a minor skirmish was won by McDowell against Beauregard's force. Beauregard, too, was marching towards Alexandria. 11 days later McDowell was approaching. General Hamilton was entrenched inside the city with orders to support an attack by McDowell. Seeing McDowell approach, Hamilton left his trenches to support. Confederate General Johnston was ready, however, and attacked Hamilton's forces, capturing the entire command of nearly 4,000 men, including capture of supplies and fort artillery. Infantry in Alexandria included the aforementioned 3rd and 5th NY infantry, both zuaves units, a light infantry brigade from Maryland and a small infantry brigade from New York. General Beauregard arrived two days later and combined with General Johnston and repelled a McDowell's force. In the attack, the 2nd Brigade, provisional 3rd division was destroyed, including the 11th New York zuaves, Ellsworth mighty regiment now under Lt. Collonel Farnham, a Michigan regiment, and an artillery regiment. Generals McDowell, Humphreys, and Hamilton were certainly at fault and the War Department has taken notice. It is rumored that at least Humphreys and Hamilton will be sent to lesser theaters, while General McDowell is unlikely to be allowed further offensive maneuvers in the immediate future.

There is some good news to report. Forces have consolidated in western Virginia under Lew Wallace. These forces are approaching Lewisburg and seek to control the Greenbriar line. They have found a guide, John Henry. Henry seems to know a couple men in the suttler train, one named Fred McDowell and another from Chicago who goes by Big Bill Broonzy. Henry promises to guide Wallace to the the big bend of that river [where in 1870 the same young man will dig a tunnel with his mighty hammer].

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Posted: Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:17 pm
by tripax
Late August 1861:
Samuel J. English was a Corporal in Company D of the Second Rhode Island Volunteers in the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd provisional division. Shortly after the battle he wrote his mother a letter describing his experience. We join his story in the early morning hours before the battle [The following is taken from the actual writings of Corporal English and can be found, among other places, at the website "Eyewitness to History"]:

"Sunday, the 1st of August about 2 o'clock the drums beat the assembly, and in ten minutes we were on our march for Alexandria Defenses [in reality this letter was about first Bull Run and refers to the 21st of July] having heard the enemy were waiting to receive us, our troops then numbering 25 or 30 thousand which were divided into three columns ours under Col Hunter taking the right through a thick woods. About eleven o'clock as our pickets were advancing through the woods a volley was poured in upon them from behind a fence thickly covered with brush; the pickets after returning the shots returned to our regiment and we advanced double quick time yelling like so many devils.

On our arrival into the open field I saw I should judge three or four thousand rebels retreating for a dense woods, firing as they retreated, while from another part of the woods a perfect hail storm of bullets, round shot and shell was poured upon us, tearing through our ranks and scattering death and confusion everywhere; but with a yell and a roar we charged upon them driving them again into the woods with fearful loss. In the mean time our battery came up to our support and commenced hurling destruction among the rebels.

Next, orders were given for us to fall back and protect our battery as the enemy were charging upon it from another quarter, and then we saw with dismay that the second R. I. regiment were the only troops in the fight; the others having lagged so far behind that we had to stand the fight alone for 30 minutes; 1100 against 7 or 8 thousand. It was afterwards ascertained from a prisoner that the rebels thought we numbered 20 or 30 thousand from the noise made by us while making the charge. While preparing to make our final effort to keep our battery out of their hands, the 1st R.I. regiment then came filing over the fence and poured a volley out to them that drove them under cover again; they were followed by the New York 71st and the Hampshire 2nd regiments, with 2,000 regulars bringing up the rear who pitched into the "Sechers" (Secessionists) most beautifully.

Our regiments were then ordered off the field and formed a line for a support to rally on in case the rebels over powered our troops. When the line had formed again I started off for the scene of action to see how the fight was progressing. As I emerged from the woods I saw a bomb shell strike a man in the breast and literally tear him to pieces. I passed the farm house which had been appropriated for a hospital and the groans of the wounded and dying were horrible.

I then descended the hill to the woods which had been occupied by the rebels at the place where the Elsworth zouaves made their charge; the bodies of the dead and dying were actually three and four deep, while in the woods where the desperate struggle had taken place between the U.S. Marines and the Louisiana zouaves, the trees were spattered with blood and the ground strewn with dead bodies. The shots flying pretty lively round me I thought best to join my regiment; as I gained the top of the hill I heard the shot and shell of our batteries had given out, not having but 130 shots for each gun during the whole engagement. As we had nothing but infantry to fight against their batteries, the command was given to retreat; our cavalry not being of much use, because the rebels would not come out of the woods.

The R.I. regiments, the New York 71st and the New Hampshire 2nd were drawn into a line to cover the retreat, but an officer galloped wildly into the column crying the enemy is upon us, and off they started like a flock of sheep every man for himself and the devil take the hindermost; while the rebels' shot and shell fell like rain among our exhausted troops.

As we gained the cover of the woods the stampede became even more frightful, for the baggage wagons and ambulances became entangled with the artillery and rendered the scene even more dreadful than the battle, while the plunging of the horses broke the lines of our infantry, and prevented any successful formation out of the question. The rebels being so badly cut up supposed we had gone beyond the woods to form for a fresh attack and shelled the woods for full two hours, supposing we were there, thus saving the greater part of our forces, for if they had begun an immediate attack, nothing in heaven's name could have saved us. As we neared the bridge the rebels opened a very destructive fire upon us, mowing down our men like grass, and caused even greater confusion than before. Our artillery and baggage wagons became fouled with each other, completely blocking the bridge, while the bomb shells bursting on the bridge made it "rather unhealthy" to be around. As I crossed on my hands and knees, Capt. Smith who was crossing by my side at the same time was struck by a round shot at the same time and completely cut in two. After I crossed I started up the hill as fast as my legs could carry and passed through Centreville and continued on to Fairfax where we arrived about 10 o'clock halting about 15 minutes, then kept on to Washington where we arrived about 2 o'clock Monday noon more dead than alive, having been on our feet 36 hours without a mouthful to eat, and traveled a distance of 60 miles without twenty minutes halt.

The last five miles of that march was perfect misery, none of us having scarcely strength to put one foot before the other, but I tell you the cheers we rec'd going through the streets of Washington seemed to put new life into the men for they rallied and marched to our camps and every man dropped on the ground and in one moment the greater part of them were asleep. Our loss is estimated at 1,000, but I think it greater..."


So ends the disastrous northern Virginia campaign of Irvin McDowell. He is currently being sent west, and seems happy about it, whistling "I'm Gone" by Guy Davis. Scott has taken personal command of his army and there is rumor of a great General from the west who will join the army soon to lead it to victory.

Posted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 4:41 pm
by tripax
[From the diary of General Heintzelman encamped before Washington]Early September 1861:
The recent invasion of Maryland has been disastrous, but Northern and Army moral has held up so far. Our army has retreated to entrenched positions around the capital. A large naval body arrived last week to reduce the chances of a direct Confederate attack from Alexandria. While such a march will not now occur, I have seen with my own eyes at least 5 boats scuttled or sunk under Confederate bombardment, bombardment which occurred when Union guns captured in those heights were turned to the North by the traitors. Generals Burnside, Hooker, and Porter have recently been promoted and have arrived with our army, and over 50,000 troops are here, along with many support units, engineers, hospitals, and signal corps.

DC seems to have more generals and more support units than an army can sustain. While that seems to bee good news, we are currently surrounded: a southern force of about 30,000 marched on Annapolis under General Johnston and destroyed the garrison there, capturing more guns. A small force in Baltimore will be bolstered over the next few days with crack troops under General Meagher coming from New York. the disgraced General Humphries and a collection of other troops should arrive in that fair city and perhaps 10,000 troops will be there before Southern forces could possibly arrive. About 30,000 additional Confederate troops are in Montgomery, Maryland to our northwest under Beauregard and at least 10,000 more remain in Alexandria under the Comedian General, MacGruder.

In the meantime, an officer on picket duty has brought me the following report from a Confederate spy [FightingBuckeye has sent along an excerpt from his AAR with the purpose of advising me on how to avoid such a disaster in the future]:
I’ve looked at all the enemy forces I can see and I’m really starting to think there are some forces lurking somewhere in the fog of war. There should be more Union troops on the map somewhere and I’m also not seeing all the generals I’d expect to see. The losses on the Virginian front over the last two months could explain some of it and so could Union fighting with one arm tied, having ordered as many as 3 factory building options over the course of the war thus far. But until this month, I’ve taken losses comparable to the North and have still managed to add a significant amount of units to the front. I’m estimating there are 10-15K men under Gen Nelson outside Munfordville and there are probably another 10-15K under Lyon at Jefferson City or in the nearby region. Aside from locked garrison forces, there’s another brigade at StLo and there are unknown but significant number of forces at Cincinnati & Cairo, and an estimated couple thousand at Charleston, WV south of Morgantown. It’s likely most of Nelson’s forces in Kentucky were from the camp and not ordered. So the question remains where are the additional forces the Union should have and where are they?

Perhaps the North is building large naval forces that sucks up lots of money and WS, and is about to launch or already have launched a naval invasion, or if it is about to spring a large force on me in Mizzou, Kentucky, or Virginia/Maryland. I do think they should have a lot more units down on the map then I'm seeing along all the fronts and what my scouting and line of sight are picking up. Another 10-20K in Virginia would go a long way towards helping the North stabilize that front. They also got caught with large forces 'trapped' at Harper's Ferry and Leesburg without having enough men to secure Alexandria. We are happy to trade Harper's Ferry for Alexandria.


I, too, question the decision to attack everywhere and not focus on Northern and Eastern Virginia. Confederate intelligence is roughly correct, we are fighting with one arm tied behind our back, industrializing as if we are in peacetime. The union is focusing on conscript heavy infantry brigades and have plenty of cash and war supplies to spare, so has built all the industry possible. I believe the goal is that these be operable early next year and provide a boost to artillery and navy building capacity. I wonder if we shall even be a nation by that time.

My information is that this Confederate document is correct about the size of our forces under Nelson outside Munfordville but not their composition. It is also correct about forces under Lyon in Erie, Missouri. The Confederacy may underestimate our forces in St. Louis, I expect those forces to move on Cairo or Jefferson City soon. Their misunderstanding of the situation in Southern Illinois, Indiana, and Northern Kentucky is the best hope the Union has for good news before winter sets in. Hallek in the West has expressed a desire for these forces to combine outside of Bowling Greene in partisan John Prine's Muhlenberg County for a strike on or near that city in the next month or so. Perhaps this is unexpected by the traitors. There is rumor that a popular general named Grant has recently been promoted to lead this expedition, although there is no word on what victories he has won to deserve such laurels. In the meantime, Cairo is under-garrisoned and may become a target. Brigades from Wisconsin and Michigan will arrive in northern Missouri and Salem, Illinois with the goal of regaining control over those regions. If successful, these brigades may form the new garrisons of Cairo. Also, Confederate estimates of forces in the south of Western Virginia are more inline with what ought to be there, but are an underestimate of the forces I believe Wallace actually leads in that region.

The War Department faces too much pressure from Western states and Lincoln's faith in Kentucky Loyalists in the face of traitors in that state blind him to our needs in DC. While I am sure he sees them now through the parapets, I wonder if it is too late. Bowling Greene and Western Virginia are important targets, but being surrounded in DC has left our army quite exposed. The Confederate estimates are close to accurate, from what I have heard. I also have no expectations of a secret Union Army arriving, either nearby or in a distant Confederate stronghold - unless you count the buildup near Bowling Greene that I expect to strike in about one months time - hopefully before winter arrives.

Posted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:45 pm
by Suidlander
I'm a Southerner by heart but I do enjoy your thread. Maybe it's because the North is on the back foot? Or maybe it's because I like the newspaper clipping idea.

Posted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:51 pm
by Suidlander
The name of that book I'm reading about the Boer war is " The War Reporter" "The Anglo-Boer war through the eyes of the Burghers". Written by J.E.H. Grobler. Don't know if you can get it on the web. It's a borrowed book planning to get my own copy soon. I have read a lot of books about that war and this is probably one of the best if seen so far.

Posted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 8:27 pm
by tripax
[Thanks again. I'm a few turns behind our game, but hopefully FightingBuckeye's AAR is not too far ahead. In the big picture, things have been static for a few turns, so it probably doesn't matter. Hopefully FightingBuckeye's AAR gives a good overview of what is going on - I think it will. Without context from that, mine would be hard to understand, so I'm glad it makes sense to you and you like it.]

Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:34 am
by Suidlander
The eyewitness account of Samuel .J English brings the full horrors of war to light clearly. Makes one thing twice before just ordering your digital soldiers around.

Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:37 am
by Suidlander
The two compliments each other nicely. FightingBuckeye is a good opponent.

Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:37 pm
by tripax
[Dear reader, Little happened in late September 1861, but much happened. The spark of the Union in Missouri, Western Virginia, and Kentucky proved itself alive in late September 1861, reported papers in Early October 1861. But only just. Lew Wallace has been successful consolidating Western Virginia and has taken Covington and will march next on Lexington Virginia. Carl Schurz has taken Strasburg in the Shenandoah Valley and will next be asked to take New Market. In Missouri, Shelby is retreating and Fremont plans to join Lyon in Erie County. Grant has his medium size command in Muhlenberg County ready to march on Bowling Greene. Confederate forces in Bowling Greene are slightly smaller than Grant's but may be reinforced. For illustrative purposes, I have included a map of Virginia as well as of Western Kentucky.]
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[An important aspect of the war I have ignored takes place in the high seas (in honor of which my favorite singer of sea shanties - and one of my favorite singers of blues and folk - Dave van Ronk has a nice version of the shanty, Leave Her Johnny I recommend). Union shippers have put nearly 20 additional transports into the shipping lanes. Confederates have countered with a good deal of privateering. I have not looked closely at the clippings I have found for reports on these activities, but more than a few times have I seen headlines praising the great bravery of the men fighting the blockade runners. And, too, I have read in sadness the story of the Atlantic Fleet which served as an initial protection of Washington DC when a battered northern Army fled to its defences and when it was of great importance that the lower Potomac be closed to Confederates chasing her heals. In honor of the Dickensian nature of the first words of this post, I here attach a clipping from Charles Dickens' journal, All the Year Round, which about 13 July of 1861 included an article entitled Privateering. I do not know if Dickens wrote the article (Henry Morley wrote many articles about the Civil War in that journal, for instance, and Dickens was generally more pro-Southern than these words express), but perhaps he did.]
...But let me sketch the probable evils resulting from this determination of the South to let loose her privateering murderers. As soon as this news is telegraphed from the secession capital of Alabama, to the Southern seaports, that instant the worst of the bankrupt merchants, the rich "rowdies," and old slave dealers, will rake up every possible old schooner and raking clipper they can find to scour the seas, for rapine and plunder. They will buy some old guns, which they will get rifled; they will lay in grape-shot and round-shot; and then put up placards in the bar-rooms and dram-shops, and collect sailors. And whom will they get? The patriot—the honest—the merciful—the brave? No: the thieving drunkard—the homicide—the gang- driver—the slave-hunter—the runaway-convict—the swindler—the murderer,—the seven Deadly Sins for officers, all the Passions for crew, and Apollyon himself for sailing-master.

And what will they do first? These men are mere midnight murderers; they will steal up creeks, and float with muffled oars round harbours; they will seize free negroes, and send them to die in the rice swamps round Savannah River; they will cut brave men's throats in their sleep, and seize unsuspecting fishingboats, burn quiet seaside villages, seize outlying barks, do the devil's work in God's name, and go home and exult over their patriotic labours, and thank Heaven for making them other men than those proud Pharisees of the North.

The motive of a privateersman is plunder. He comes out to steal—to fight and steal—but not to fight if he cannot steal. The privateersman is the common enemy of mankind, as the pirate is, and he should be treated as such, and hanged by whomsoever can get a rope on his neck. The laws of God and man are against him.

Let us suppose for a moment that duel is a lawful combat, and that the most skilful shot could decide the right or redress a wrong. Because I, A., challenge B. for slandering and basely injuring me, is that any reason why all B.'s kinsmen should think themselves permitted to go about armed, looking for all my (A.'s) relations, in order to stab, rob, and pistol them? How much more, then, would it be insufferable, if not only B.'s friends, but all the scum and hangdogs of B.'s parish should arm themselves and sally out to burn my ricks and harry my stables; and this because some ridiculous parochial law existed, permitting anybody paying eighteenpence, and buying a stamped paper, to take up B.'s quarrel and injure and torment me, A.!

No! laws are not perfect, nor nations either; still the nation that encourages privateering is tolerating a wicked and unjust thing. There must be snakes, nature says; and even the mosquito may have its use in the vast circumference of things. But bad and useless as war is, it is not so bad and useless as privateering. It belongs to the day when religious disputants burnt each other, and generals plundered towns that had been absurd enough not to allow themselves to be taken without resistance. It belongs to the age that shut up Galileo for saying that the earth moved, and it belongs to that earlier age that stoned the prophets. It is a disgrace to the time, and is contrary to all the laws of humanity. We no longer employ Indians to scalp our enemies, nor do we cram our prisoners into great ogre images and then set them on fire. We have learnt to temper the horrors of war. But to encourage privateersmen is to let loose swarms of murderers to scourge the seas, and to render the commerce of every nation unsafe; to give the bad, privilege, under the protection of a flag, to commit every crime with impunity.

Privateering, whatever Grotius, Vattel, Puffendorf, or anybody else, may say, is legalised piracy. The nation that grants letters of marque, grants the right to speculate in human blood and human life. An age that has grown ashamed of pouring red-hot shot into defenceless towns; of ravaging unoffending territories; of carrying away poor harmless women into infamous captivity; of torturing prisoners; of poisoning springs; of robbing and slaying sacked towns, ought also to be ashamed of privateering.

Posted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:57 pm
by tripax
[DC musician John Fahey has written a tune, Desperate Man Blues, for the soldiers surrounded in the capital. At the same time, Early October 1861 was certainly the calm before the storm while both armies reorganized division structures to suit their needs and the seniority of the generals available. At the moment a surprising number of Union generals are on leave with injury and few excess generals are available in any theater. I have found a very interesting document, and account of 22 divisions of the Army written in Mid October, 1861 and related to the forces in the country at that time. The numbering goes up to the 25th division, I cannot make out the number on 3 divisions.]
1st Division - Washington defenses - Ambrose Burnside under George McClellan - 7000 Infantry, 1000 Cavalry, 4 Artillery batteries
2nd Division - Washington defenses - Joseph Hooker under George McClellan - 7000 Infantry, 1000 Cavalry, 3 Artillery batteries
3rd Division - Washington defenses - FitzJohn Porter under George McClellan - 6000 infantry, 1000 Cavalry, 2 Artillery batteries
15th Division (Artillery) - Washington defenses - Samuel Heintzelman under George McClellan - 8 Artillery batteries

4th Division (Reserve) - Washington defenses - CP Stone under Winfield Scott - 7000 Infantry, 1000 Cavalry
16th Division - Washington defenses - D Hunter under Winfield Scott - 5000 Infantry, 2 artillery batteries

8th Division - Baltimore defenses - A Humphries under N. Banks - 8000 Infantry, 500 Cavalry, 1 Artillery battery
Division - Baltimore defenses - Thomas Meagher under N. Banks - 9000 Infantry

9th Division - Outside Manassas - G McCall under Joseph Mansfield - 7000 Infantry, 500 Cavalry, 2 Artillery batteries

17th Division - Harper's Ferry defenses - C Griffen under R Milroy - 6000 Infantry, 1 artillery battery
18th Division - Harper's Ferry defenses - A Howe under R Milroy - 5000 Infantry, 1 artillery batteries

19th Division - Advancing on Staunton from New Market - C Schurz under G Morell - 5000 Infantry, 500 Cavalry, 2 artillery batteries

Division - Advancing on Staunton from Lexington, VA - L Blenker under Lew Wallace - 5000 Infantry, 1 artillery batteries

13th Division - Outside Bowling Green - John McClernand under Ulysses Grant - 6000 Infantry, 2000 Cavalry, 2 Artillery batteries
14th Division - Outside Bowling Green - W Nelson under Ulysses Grant - 5000 Infantry, 1000 Cavalry
22nd Division (Provisional Artillery under newly promoted general while awaiting new subordinate) - Outside Bowling Green - Ulysses Grant - 2 Artillery batteries

21st Division - Cairo Defenses - T Wood under Henry Halleck - 6000 Infantry, 2000 Cavalry, 1 Artillery battery

10th Division - Erie County, Missouri - Nathaniel Lyon under John Fremont - 6000 Infantry, 1000 Cavalry, 1 Artillery battery
20th Division - Erie County, Missouri - S Hurlburt under John Fremont - 3500 Infantry, 1500 Cavalry, 1 Artillery battery
Division - Erie County, Missouri - A Asboth under John Fremont - 2000 Infantry, 500 Cavalry

24th Division - Southeastern California - J Carleton - 1500 Infantry, 1500 Cavalry, 3 Artillery Batteries
25th Division (forming up in the Far West) - South Sante Fe, NM - C Carson - 1000 Cavalry

Loose regiments garrison Western Territorial areas.
Loose regiments garrison all of Northern and Central Missouri but the Southern edge.
Loose regiments garrison all of Eastern Kentucky and are ranging through the countryside to reduce the ability of the traitors to spy on those regions.
Loose regiments and brigades garrison Western Virginia including the Shenandoah Valley and along with cavalry regiments are ranging through the countryside to reduce the ability of the traitors to spy on those regions.
A group of 3 general officers and 3 support units (medical corps, signal corps, and engineering corps) attempted a breakout of Washington DC last turn but were denied. The general officers are in nearby towns recovering from wounds and two of the support units returned to the Army in the capital intact. The supplies of the medical corps unit were captured or destroyed and the men are missing. The unit has been recommissioned in the capital.
Garrison units remain in many cities throughout the Union.

Scouts report that as many as 21 Confederate divisions exist, as Edmund Kirby Smith leads a small force [power of 86/86] under Beauregard in Montgomery County that claim that name. This may be a cavalry or artillery division that is still forming up. By counting I see 12 divisions in Virginia (one in Manassas, the rest in Maryland), 4 divisions in Kentucky and Clarksville, TN (2 in Bowling Greene), 3 in Missouri. That leaves one in New Orleans and one perhaps on the eastern sea board.

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 3:48 pm
by tripax
[In late October 1861 the invading Confederates finally attacked the capital. In early November, 1861, papers reported that the forces in Washington fought bravely in Late October, 1861 against an attack under Johnston, particularly Heintzelmen's artillery division. Hooker took the brunt of the attack losing approximately one third of his force. There are comparisons to the victory of the Russians at the Great Redan at Sevastopol, although many claim this siege is greater and all are sure will end more favorably for the encircled - although it is not a siege in every sense of the word it is certainly dire. Elizabeth Cotton has joined the camps and is playing Ohio musician Henry Worall's Vestopol - one of my favorites - for the soldiers, although there is great belief the the Union in their battles will outperform the Russians and the song counter-intuitively has bread optimism. The following is a clipping about other theaters.]

Winter is fast approaching and Union forces are aware that their success in taking control of cities and towns in Northern Missouri, Eastern Kentucky, and Western Virginia will have less value if the countryside does not support them. This is especially the case given the increasing pressure by fast cavalry heavy strike forces such as that under JO Shelby which committed such depredations in the past months in Bloomington, Missouri and elsewhere as well as the force threatening Madisonville, Kentucky under Polk. State militia are roving the countryside of those states bringing the population under control in an attempt to minimize the violence threatened by whatever future partisan and cavalry leaders may arrive in those areas. The black brigade of free blacks and escaped slaves has arrived outside of Cincinnati [contrabands arrived in Baltimore and have been sent west as they do little good for me in the east but do have patrol value] and is playing a role in securing the countryside. Winter is beginning to set in and supply lines are strained by the mud, sleet, and snow. Additional depots are being built or planned in various areas and additional wagon trains are being sent wherever large armies remain in the field.

Additionally, General Morell is being sent in secret to Alexandria to attempt to extricate 5 brigades of volunteers mistakenly being sent there in spite of Confederate control of that side of the Potomac. These troops are likely to arrive in the next few weeks and over the successive weeks it will attempt to extricate itself. This may be a forlorn hope, even if Confederate attacks on DC fail.