Roger Masters
United States
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I began a solo game for the 1862 scenario, with an emphasis on Southern success (but still playing it smart as Union player).

Union troops under McDowell begin my assembling a strike force to take Fredericksburg. Troops converge at Aquia Landing and Falmouth. CSA responds by Johnston ordering his troops to defend Fredericksburg and Port Royal. Reserve units at Hanover Junction are brought up as reinforcements. A lone CSA cavalry unit monitors the Wilderness around Chancellorsville.

In the Valley, General Banks takes New Market virtually unopposed, and consolidates his position. General Jackson responds by withdrawing to Staunton, in order to refit his weakened units, before making an attack.

The next turn sees the CSA taking the initiative, and making a bold attack against the Union army at Aquia Landing. CSA artillery smash the Union right, and Confederate infantry pours in. The lone Union infantry fails his morale check, and sends the whole Union army in retreat to Falmouth. General McDowell, in the face of a superior army, withdraws his army in Falmouth back to Manassas. Johnston quickly capitalizes on the situation by sending his army to occupy Dumfries and Elk Run. Two CSA calvary units gallop around the Union army and occupy Centreville. The noose is being tightened around McDowell's army.

The quarter ends with a desparate situation for the Union at Manassas, a draw in the Valley, and McClellans huge army stagnant at Fort Monroe.

The spring quarter begins with dry weather, exactly what McClellan was waiting for. The action begins with a bold push by his army into Yorktown. Unfortunately, Magruber, hoping for more mud, didn't call for additional reinforcements in Yorktown, and the battle began with the odds painfully in the Union's favor. CSA infantry occupied the flanks, while Magruber himself took the center. Union artillery fire at the CSA right. However, they missed their mark, and the CSA infantry awaited the charging infantry. The charge, though, came from the center. Realizing the futility of the situation, Magruber ordered his infantry to retreat, where he himself then retreated, thereby losing one step. It was a painless victory for the Union. Magruber's army now holds Williamsburg, but for how long? McClellan regroups by fortifying Yorktown with the rest of his army.

In the Valley, Jackson, now with a refitted army, pushes northward and retakes New Market in a skirmish, which was only defended by two weak Union infantry units. Jackson's army easily pushed them aside. Banks now becomes cautious, and retreats further back to Strasburg so he can wait upon the three Union infantry units that are slowly making their way from the southern branch of the Potomac. Will they arrive in time before Jackson makes his assault and takes Winchester?

To make matters worse for the Union, Johnson finally strikes at Manassas. All but two Union units are annhilated in the bloodbath. McDowell is among the dead. Manassas is firmly in CSA hands. In an act of definace, Lincoln sends a lone calvary unit to cut the railroad lines at Culpepper. Johnston's army finds itself without a supply line, but there is no immediate danger, as the dry spring allows excellent opportunity for foraging. In all, only one CSA infantry unit lost a step.

McClellan pushes again the Magruber's army, and this time he makes no mistakes; he engages all positions in the early dawn hours of the battle. The fighting is brutal. Melee combat is the norm, and canister shot fills the air. The CSA infantry makes a bold stand, as well as Magruber. Heavy losses are inflicted against the Union before they can finally silence the rebel guns. The only rebel unit to escape a shallow grave is the artillery, which made it into White House. Magruber does not survive the battle.

The quarter ends with both McClellan and Jackson both being fired. Their respective administrations had hoped for a more aggressive campaign, but McClellan's failure to take West Point denied his army the vital supply line they needed for a summer advance into Richomond, and Jackson's failure to re-take the Valley allowed the Union to send most of it's reinforcements to Peninsula and DC area. General Meade takes over McClellan's army, while his CSA counterpart is General Ewell. Mcdowell is replaced by Sigel. Jackons is replaced by AP Hill. Several garrisons pop up in and around Richmond, while Alexandria becomes heavily fortified with Union reinforcements.

Time is running out for both sides. The CSA either needs to send troops from its well-equipped army around Manassas to Richmond to face George Meade, or it needs to make a quick death-blow against Alexandria, before it can become totally impregnable. The Union must take West Point at all costs, or the Penisula campaign will turn into a stalemate. DC is safe for now, but if Alexandria falls, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to take back from its likely stubborn rebel defenders.

The Valley has now become a side-show operation. Minimal reinforcements will reach this area in the coming Fall season. Emancipation will probably be announced once West Point is taken, which will only drag out this bloody war. A CSA victory (who currently have two points), seems almost certain if they can prevent West Point from falling.

To be continued!

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Andrew Rohland
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"MacGruber, the guy's a freakin genius, MacGruber!"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_B._Magruder
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