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Subject: A brief History of the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1864 rss

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Larz Welo
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Spring 1861 – Kentucky Succeeds!

Jefferson Davis was ready for war. Secession would spread amongst all the slave states!

As the Federals constructed a fort at Harpers Ferry, VA and moved more forces down from the North, Confederate sympathies were rising rapidly in Kentucky. The capture of Port Royal enabled the first effects of the Blockade to be felt, but meanwhile, some war materiel came in from Europe for the CSA, helping them to equip more troops. Kentucky decided to join with the other slave states and President Davis was ecstatic.


Summer 1861 – Sparing in the West and East

The war was still not in full swing, but new troops were arriving. The Federals were building up in southern Illinois, and DC with many generals, and a minor buildup of forces in Pittsburg led by Halleck. The Confederacy moved a modicum of forces to Nashville under A.S. Johnston and some more to Manassas under Beauregard.

The Army of the Potomac (AoP) kicked off the season by marching into the Valley and overwhelming Joe Johnston’s small garrison there before marching on Manassas. Beauregard’s forces fought them to a standstill and the Federals had to draw back, losing the first battles of the war. President Davis couldn’t believe his luck. The CSA deployed more ordinance in order to support Beauregard’s position as well as shore up the West. But the Federals kept up the pressure by forming the Army of Missouri (AoM) under Pope in IL, so the Confederates responded with their own Army of Tennessee (AoT) in Nashville.

The USA build up their support for Amphibious Assaults while the Confederacy bred a bit of support in MO. The Confederates were just starting to breathe easily when the USA launched a Major Campaign! First the AoP drove Beau out of Manassas in a medium battle but didn’t press on to Richmond. Second, Halleck took his forces in Pittsburg and moved into West Virginia, effectively seizing control of that state. Third, Pope’s AoM swept down from Illinois and attacked the fortress at Columbus, KY, but was driven back to Paducah with heavy losses in fierce fighting. Then the AoT advanced to Paducah and drove the AoM back into Illinois. The Federals continued to build up riverine assault vessels while troops from Arkansas moved to reinforce the AoT. West Virginia was recognized as a state in the Union.


Fall 1861 – Fighting over Missouri

Because of errors in recruitment, no new forces arrived for either army, but some Confederate Generals did arrive, most notably Joe Johnston in Richmond. The Federals again started the campaigning season by moving the AoP deeper into Virginia, this time shattering Beauregard’s Corps at Fredericksburg, but then pulling back to Manassas. The Army of Northern Virginia (ANV) was formed in Richmond under J. Johnston with Bragg and Van Dorn as wing commanders.

The Federals fortified the entrance to West Virginia from the Shenandoah Valley while a Confederate Scientist was able to build up new forces. Despite his relative success, McDowell was relieved and Burnside placed in command of the AoP. CSA General Kirby Smith moved up from Arkansas into eastern Missouri and attacked St. Louis, but was driven back after a light engagement. The AoM marched out from Cairo to attack Smith’s forces, and drove him from the field and then took control of southeastern Missouri. President Davis expended a great deal of political effort to bring Northern and Western Missouri into a Confederate mindset.

AS. Johnston’s AoT marched from Dover, crossed the Mississippi at New Madrid, picked up the remnants of Smith’s forces, and attack the AoM in Ironton, routing them back to St. Louis with terrible losses. General Fremont was killed tried to rally the Federal troops. At the same time the AoP was trying to extend Union control over Northern Virginia but giving the ANV a wide berth. Van Dorn took his Wing and went from Richmond to Franklin WV and struck Halleck there, driving off his small garrison and taking Franklin. The Union was becoming tired of fighting what was starting to seem like a foolish war.


Spring 1862 – Missouri falls to the Confederacy

Union reinforcements poured into St. Louis and the AoP in Manassas, while the Confederates moved forces into Virginia and West Tennessee. General Curtis went to DC while McDowell and Halleck reinforced the AoM and Stoneman was placed in reserve in the East. Lee, Morgan, and Forrest arrived in Richmond while Beauregard and Wheeler took command of the forces in Western TN. The Confederacy seized the initiative after the winter by launching a campaign and moving Beauregard’s forces to overwhelm a Federal garrison at Springfield before joining A.S. Johnston’s AoT in Ironton, bringing that army back up to a decent strength, and at the same time Van Dorn’s Wing rejoined the ANV.

The Union decided it needed another army in the East and so formed the Army of the Cumberland (AoC) in Washington, but their delay coupled with their general lack of success so far led a coalition of European Nations to intervene in favor of the Confederacy! Jeff Davis was thrilled, and the USA was thoroughly demoralized. But Lincoln didn’t waste time and sent Rosecrans and a small force to take the forts outside of New Orleans. In an attempt to contain the damage, Jeff Davis ordered the construction of a fort at the vital crossroads of Vicksburg. However, Admiral Farragut took Rosecran’s forces and dashed past the fort which was still ungarrisoned and the Federals arrived in Memphis and burned down the city. It was an outrage in Dixieland! The Federals increased the tension of the blockade by producing more warships in Brooklyn, and built a fort in Pittsburg while the CSA built a fort in New Orleans. AS Johnston’s AoT attempted to capture St. Louis, but poor leadership prevented a breakthrough and the Confederacy was driven back.

Butler tried to launch the Red River Campaign via a naval invasion from Fort Monroe, but was driven back by fire from the New Orleans Forts and returned home to much shame. In an attempt to restore some of their shattered armies, the CSA held a series of religious revivals, while the Union built a Fort in St. Louis, pretty much guaranteeing that it would remain in Federal hands. But, because of earlier political investment Missouri decided to side with the Confederacy!


Summer 1862 – Texas Sacked!

With their new forces, the AoM in St. Louis was brought up to an incredible strength and the AoP and the forces at Forts Phillip Jackson were reinforced as well. The Confederacy moved up forces to join Lee, garrison Vicksburg, and reinforce the ANV. Jackson arrived with Lee while Longstreet took command of new forces in northern Mississippi. But, before much could happen many new CSA troops with Lee deserted, uncertain of their General. The CSA recognized MO, KY, MD, and DE though, as fellow slave states and many new soldiers flocked to the banners of the AoT in Rolla, MO. However, the Federals claimed contraband of war by illegally freeing slaves which decreased the number of forces with Lee and on the Texas coast. However, there were still enough forces and so Lee formed up the Army of the West (AoW) in Gordonsville, VA, ready for battle.

Pope’s AoM came roaring out of St. Louis and almost drove the AoT out of Missouri with serious losses. The whole of the Confederacy was shaken by the defeat. Longstreet swept away the Federals who’d just sacked Memphis and then marched up to join his Corps with the AoT now in Greenville. The Federals once again used their naval supremecy to move Rosecrans and a strong force, this time to Texas. Because of Longstreet’s arrival, the AoM pulled back to St. Louis while the AoT pursued while retaking southern Missouri and charged into St. Louis, but once again poor leadership failed to breach the fort and the Confederates were driven back, again to the shock of the nation.

Franz Sigel showed up to bolster the forces in St. Louis while the Hunley was built in Fort Fisher, NC. Rosecrans marched up Texas, and burned Marshall to the ground. The threat to the rear was too much, so the AoT pulled back from MO and moved south through Arkansas and into Louisiana. But the damage was done, Texas was burned and no longer able to contribute to the success of the CSA.


Fall 1862 – The Liberation of Missouri

Jeff Davis knew he had to shut the back door through Texas, or the Federals could ship in enemies and harass him without mercy. The Federals brought up the AoP to maximum strength while the Confederacy greatly strengthened the AoT in Louisiana, and the AoW just enough to face off in the East. However, the Confederate railroads were degrading, which reduced the CSA’s capability for this turn. However, both Generals named Johnston led their men, the ANV moving west to block any Union drive into KY, while AS overran all the small Union garrisons scattered over Texas.

Unopposed, the AoM moved down into southern Missouri and swept it of Confederate influence. The ANV was moved up to lower KY to guard against any flanking maneuvers, but wasn’t quick enough as the AoM smashed Pemberton at the Fort in Columbus, KY. The Orphan Brigade reported in the ANV while the Federals entrenched Manassas (afraid of a drive north by Lee no doubt). Despite the earlier ravages to Texas, thanks to a supply route through Mexico many Texans were able to join up with the AoT, but were again troubled by railroad shortages, cutting down on strategic possibilities.

The AoT moved up to Vicksburg while the Union Blockade was strengthened again. Jeff Davis was crying out for more support from his European partners. It was also at this point that Nathaniel Lyon was able to kick the last of the Confederate influence out of MO, which then fell to the USA. It was a bleak day for the Confederacy. However, War Weariness continued to degrade the USA’s National morale.


Spring 1863 – Fighting in North and West Kentucky

Cincinnati received the bulk of Federal reinforcements as well as Generals Grant and Rosecrans. Most of the Confederate forces went to support the ANV in Bowling Green, KY, with a few going to VA and MS. The Union formed the Army of the Tennessee (AotT) under Grant’s command. However, President Lincoln was sick of the standoff in the East and demanded a move…so, General Banks threw out the plans on the major campaign he was working on and the AoC marched south. Lee’s AoW intercepted it and won a minor victory, the Federals had been lucky. However, Lee immediately followed up on his success and he closed with the weakened AoC and destroyed it utterly. The USA was terrified, one of their armies had been destroyed!

The Union responded by sending Grant’s AotT down into Kentucky. They easily bulled aside a small garrison at Falmouth with few losses and then swept into Northern KY. A Confederate advance into New Mexico forced Federal attentions out West but the AoM smashed into the Forts at Dover, claiming all the rivers north of Vicksburg, then it captured west Kentucky. The AoT moved up from Vicksburg into Western TN, in an attempt to thwart any new moves made by either army. So, it was the AoM, AoT, ANV and then AotT all facing off against each other between Grand Junction, TN and Lexington, KY.

Fredrick Douglas helped mobilize Black troops for the Union, but the Confederacy launched a campaign, with first the ANV moving north against Grant’s AotT, but getting intercepted and barely beaten back in a meeting engagement. However, the newspapers blew the stories out of proportion and it was felt as a great defeat for the south, this was the first time in the war where Federal Strategic Will was higher than Confederate. Then, Johnston’s AoT moved back to Dover to attempt to regain control of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. Butler was again sent on a naval invasion with a moderate force, this time he was able to seize Fort Morgan outside of Mobile, AL. However, Confederate will hardened against these recent incursions. And finally, Beauregard’s Corps, which had been left in Texas, marched from there towards Mobile to defend against any other movements Butler may make.


Summer 1863 – Emancipation over a tide of Blood

The Union built up the armies of the Potomac and Tennessee with reinforcements and brought in a lot of new generals into the Eastern Theatre. The Union Naval Blockade was devastatingly effective as only the barest trickle of supplies arrived in the South, however, the AoT, ANV, and AoW were all built up in some strength.

General Grant’s command began with an assault upon the ANV in Somerset. The AotT lost an incredible amount of forces to a heroic assault let by Confederate General Bragg, who was sadly killed while leading the victorious Confederates. It was a clear disaster for the Union in Kentucky. New CSA Forts were built over the ruins of Henry and Donelson while Sabine City was likewise fortified.

The Union advance continued with the AoM marching down from Missouri into Arkansas and tried to take Little Rock, but was barely repulsed back by the garrison there. General Stoneman was ambushed by Maryland Confederates, but escaped with his life. The Union built a fort in Cairo while their 90-Day Enlistments Expired, causing the AoP to be reduced quite a lot.

Once again General Grant advanced against J. Johnston’s ANV, this time he fought him to a draw and because of his superior level of manpower the ANV withdrew to Lebanon, KY. In response Jeff Davis ordered the Western Concentration Block, massing a large force with A.S. Johnston’s AoT by stripping other small commands throughout the West, and then the AoT advanced against the recently successful Grant. The Confederates outnumbered the Federals almost 2-to-1, but it was not enough. Another bloody draw, but this time Grant pulled back the AotT because of the threat posed by two Confederate Armies in the vicinity. However, before the news of this recent major defeat, President Lincoln published the Emancipation Proclamation, causing the European support to lag and the Confederate will to fight to degraded.

The AoT once again advanced against its opposing Federal namesake in an attempt to destroy the army, but even though he was clearly beaten, Grant was able to keep his army intact and withdrawal across the Ohio River to safety, while the AoT reclaimed most of Kentucky that had been taken. The Federal blockade tightened again (to 3) and the AoT swapped some divisions and even a Corps with the ANV and moved down to Dover, TN.

A bloody season to declare emancipation, since approximately 125,000 Americans fell in two major engagements and 3 minor ones during the season.


Fall 1863 – Fighting in the Far West

All the Federal Armies were reinforced, but once again the Confederate Blockade Runners were completely unable to break through, resulting in widespread loss of moral. The AoT and Jackson’s command in GA were both brought up in strength.

Stoneman’s Cavalry joined with Grant’s AotT while A.S. Johnston’s AoT retook Western Tennessee, from Dover to Memphis. The AoM moved up to Gainsville and was going to proceed to Little Rock, but heavy rains turned the countryside to mud. The CSS Tennessee was completed and deployed to Memphis, allowing Confederate crossing of the Mississippi much farther north of Vicksburg. General Reynolds left Ft. Morgan with a small corps and took Fort Gadson, causing a further demoralizing effect. So, Jackson moved to thwart any movements up the Chattahoochee River.

The AoM was able to reduce the garrison at Little Rock, but before they could burn the factories there A.S. Johnston brought together forces from all across the theatre (again!) and moved to relieve Little Rock, however, even though losses were comparable, the Federals were unwilling to give up their hard earned victory and Johnston’s AoT pulled back. This defeat was quite demoralizing for the whole South. However, the AoM remained where it was, and so Johnston tried again, and this time he was able to mass his men very effectively and destroy the AoM because they lacked any route of retreat or supply…all before they had burned the factories in Little Rock. The city had been relieved with great loss to Federal prestige! However, the bold General Polk had been struck down in the heat of battle. Then the AoT moved back to Western Kentucky.

Grant’s AotT moved down into Central Kentucky, so the Confederates countered by moving Longstreet’s Corps from the AoT to the ANV. However, Wilson’s Raid was launched and Nashville was burned with an upswing in USA morale. Kentucky almost fell to USA control, but was retained by the Confederacy.


Spring 1864 – The Blockade Tightens

The Federals built up new Amphibious Assault formations under McDowell at Ft. Morgan, Scofield at Ft. Monroe, and Reynolds at Ft. Gadson. Halleck, Pope, McPherson, Sherman, and Pleasonton all arrived in Cairo along with a moderate body of reinforcements. The Confederacy built up their interior defenses, but once again they were completely unable to get past the blockade. The Southern People were really beginning to suffer being cut off from the rest of the world.

Grant once again moved into Central Kentucky, but was repulsed by Johnston’s heavily outnumbered ANV. New forces were brought up from the AoT to replace those loses. Butler and McDowell led an invasion of Florida via Jacksonville, but Jackson charged down from Macon and threw the Federals back into the sea. The ANV launched a minor campaign and retook much of central Kentucky. The Army of the Cumberland was formed in Cairo, IL, with Halleck in command.

McDowell moved from DC to Columbus, GA with a small corps. Jackson took his even smaller force and attempted to throw them back out of Georgia, but was unable to force a withdrawal. Reynolds was ordered from Ft. Gadsen to reinforce McDowell, but Jeff Davis again ordered a strategic concentration to support Jackson, reinforcing his command with troops from MS, TN, and AL. He moved his command forward again, but was unable to gain the advantage and was again repulsed in an exchange. The Federals built another fort in Maryland, and Beauregard, now without troops, left southern Mississippi to take charge of the garrison at New Orleans. The Federal High Command launched a minor campaign, where General Meade was tasked with taking a large corps into Virginia and taking control of the Valley and a string of counties to the west and south of Richmond. The AotT also moved from its newest base in Indiana and advanced into Western Kentucky.

However, Jeff Davis responded with a series of movements of his own. First, the AoT disengaged from Western Kentucky, moving to bolster the forces in Dover and then finally ending up in Corinth. Jackson once again took his comparable forces against the Yankees in Macon, this time driving them back to the sea, and forcing the US Navy to pull them out of the situation they were in.


Summer 1864: The Surrender of the South

The Union brought Grant’s AotT and Burnside’s AoP up to full strength, while the Confederacy brought up Lee’s AoW up to high strength and A.S. Johnston’s AoT to a moderate level. The blockade was again very effective and all blockade runners were captured except to southern Texas.

Jefferson Davis demanded action, and his generals delivered with a Major Campaign. First, the ANV moved down into Western Tennessee, then the AoT moved by them, dropping off Ewell and Hood’s Corps, and ending up in the fortifications in Dover. Finally, Lee’s AoW moved to sweep up the pesky Federal garrisons across Virginia. He swept away two of them, but then Meade realized what was happening and moved his small force to reinforce the final garrison. However, Meade’s move was poorly done, and he was slain and his whole force destroyed for few casualties on the AoW. Then, Lee finished by moving to Petersburg in order to support the Capitol against a possible Federal drive on Richmond.

General Grant moved his army down into Kentucky, and then to confront the ANV in West Tennessee. Johnston held his ground, and after a massive battle with terrible casualties, Johnston’s caution had him falling back, much to the shame of the Confederate people.

President Lincoln was fed up. Once again he decided to scrap a potential amphibious maneuver and instead sent an order to General Burnside and the AoP, “Forward, to Richmond!” Burnside had been waiting for the orders and his army swept down from Manassas, taking control of the central Virginia countryside. As they approached, couriers were sent to General Lee to ask him to quickly come from Petersburg to Richmond, but the destruction from Meade’s offensive made these messages late. Burnside swept aside the meager garrison in Richmond, burned the factories and munitions depots to the ground, raised the Union Flag over the Confederate capitol, and personally accepted the surrender of “Mr. Jefferson Davis”. The Confederate will to resist collapsed with the fall of the capitol, and the Civil War was over.

Personal Reflections

I was personally shocked I lost when I did. At the start of the turn I had 32 SW, but with the blockade, defeat in a major battle, and loss of my capitol, I was reduced to 0 in almost no time. The loss of Richmond was a terrible blow of -27, but my real loss in this game was the blockade. All in all, 15 of my blockade runner rolls were failures. Some of this was because he was able to isolate certain areas by controlling all the ports, but quite often I just rolled terribly, especially bad because his blockade was never above 3!

As a matter of fact, my lucky dice on ACTS were not so lucky this whole game. I lost many major engagements, often by a single pip of a die (either side), and drew many low value cards. My opponent was competent and capable, and may have won without my poor luck. It was funny, because at the beginning I was doing so well, at one point controlling both Missouri and Kentucky, but it all came crashing down very quickly at the end. A good game and one I’m looking forward to trying again!

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Bartman
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A very nice AAR. Thanks for sharing.

I have never played this game even though the ACW is one of my favorite periods in history.
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Larz Welo
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You can always play via ACTS/VASSAL, or some other PBEM. That was how this game was played, and it was quite enjoyable.
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Jon
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Fun read Lars. Thanks for sharing it with us. I have been fondling my copy of the game for a few days now as I too have not played it.

How long did it take you to play via PBEM in actual calendar time?

Also, is it a personal preference not to use the dice in VASSAL?

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Steven
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Great AAR! Thank you for sharing.
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Larz Welo
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Capt_S wrote:
Fun read Lars. Thanks for sharing it with us. I have been fondling my copy of the game for a few days now as I too have not played it.

How long did it take you to play via PBEM in actual calendar time?

Also, is it a personal preference not to use the dice in VASSAL?



Good questions.

Firstly, we didn't use VASSAL, I just used it to keep track of the moves. It was done purely via ACTS actually. Which lead to an occasional hickup, but very few really. When I'm playing in VASSAL I always just use the built in dice...which also hate me. It's ok, I'm insanely lucky in real life.

For calender time the game began on the 10th of July and ended on 21st of December. But, that was slower that could be. My opponent had the slows, then I went on vacation and played little of my PBEM commitments. Still, a 5 month game is quite a commitment.
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