As promised here are my thoughts on the [color="#FFFF00"]TRANS-MISSISSIPPI and FAR WEST
I've done several images just because of the scale. Starting with the key area where the South locks horns with the North we have the following startup
My problem is that the three key cities (in white) produce not a single unit between them. Oh sure I can build at them but with the exception of Springfield they are just too close to the enemy to do so and the earliest opportunity I get to start building forces in Missouri is Late May. Set against this is that the Union, in Late April get the Western Volunteers ( a three regiment) brigade and the Kansas Mounted (a two regiment cavalry unit). Both of these appear at St Louis. At Levenworth (not shown on this map but just west of Lexington) they receive the 2nd US Cavalry also locked for 3 turns. In early May at St Louis they get the 2nd US (a single regiment of infantry) and the 4th Artillery (a 12lb battery) both of these are locked for 2 turns so are also able to commencing moving Late June.
This means that I cannot beat the Union to the punch in this arena for in the same way that I know when the Union placed units will arrive and when they become active as sure as eggs are eggs Banks knows the same about my placed units. So he will know that my first units appear at Little Rock with McCulloch and the Army of the West but thats not until Early June. And Little Rock is so so far away from Springfield, let alone Rolla or Jefferson City. Add into that mix mainly wooded terrain and movement restrictions because of command penalties and its then self evident that the Army of the West will be of little use in the early game in any offensive capacity.
In early June I do also get a militia unit, AR Northwest (1 regiment) at Fayetteville which can be moved. I could send it to Rolla but that would be suicide.
Therefore my first decision is almost a no brainer - build a cavalry regiment ASAP in Missouri and send it post haste to Rolla to destroy the depot. If it can then hang about and cut up rail till support arrives all well and good. Of course Banks may have other ideas and it might be possible for him to get a cavalry unit to Rolla at about the same time as I can. If that happens 'you pays your money and takes your choice' as to who wins.
My pessimistic view automatically leads me to the conclusion that I shall have to conduct a guerrilla cavalry, partisan and indian war in Missouri to keep Banks from advancing to swiftly. I must make extended lines of supply a real issue for him. Operating in my favour will be some exceptional mounted leaders. I've already said that MJ Thompson will transfer immediately from the East. Together with Shelby, Van Dorn, Watie etc and by the purchase of several Rangers I might be able to do it. I'm also toying with the idea of transferring the Laurel Brigade from the East to the West when it arrives but will wait and see on that one.
Having then given up so to speak on Jefferson and Rolla even before a shot is fired in anger my next decision is to stand at Springfield (at least thats the hope) As I said at the start long term my aim is to hold a defensive line on the Southern banks of the Arkansas river but that will take time. I shall therefore (Banks allowing) move the Army of the West to Springfield along with Prices force from Fayetteville. I intend as well to build one Infantry Brigade as soon as I can at Springfield. It should be built before the Union can get any troops to the city. I shall also build a second brigade at Fayetteville just to ensure that if it appears as if the Union forces are starting tooutflank me at Springfield that I'm not presenting him with an easy target.
If the going begins to look like it might get too hot at Springfield I'll attempt to pull back.
I've put the next two images in just to complete the picture showing where troops begin and the distances involved.
Well good people that leaves very little else to say except that I shall attempt to destroy every Union fort that I can in the extreme far West, just to slow down supply. My only real target in this area of operation is the one I'm next showing
Its quite possible for me to get a Cavalry force to the Golden City quite early on. Its ripe for hitting. The North can counter it easily but its equally possible for the North to overlook the threat. Its certainly a juicy enough target and one that I'm going to have a shot at (all things being equal)
Thats about it. In many respects quite a negative strategy from me. But then its not a theatre where I see the war being either lost or won. I hope I do not get dragged into having to pour resources into the area. I could if Banks makes too much headway too soon. If I can bog him down in 61 and still hold Springfield by early 62 I shall be well satisfied.