[color="#FFFF00"]Early July 1861
Harpers Ferry retaken. Union forces in full retreat. Beauregard and Longstreet the toast of Richmond[/color]
Well that's the good news and if I have embroidered the event somewhat.......why not.
Under the circumstances my attack went just about as well as I could have expected particularly as those pesky Union troops were well entrenched. It was a close run thing. The result actually shows a stalemate which in view of the casualties both sides suffered is about right. Given that I did manage to retake Harpers I consider the overall result as being satisfactory. As I've alluded to before I do not expect to be able to hang onto Harpers for long. I'm just hoping that it might make Banks ponder on what the heck my strategy is in the East.
The battle outcome goes to show just how important entrenchment, good commanders and no command penalties are. Although I had numerical superiority it was less than 2 to 1. On the credit side I had James Longstreet and Beauregards offensive ratings working in my favour. My greatest advantage however was that I suffered no command penalties whereas as you can see from the next image the Union force was under a huge handicap. Even with those two advantages I was still fortunate to carry the field that was because he was well entrenched and entrenched troops can be so hard to shift unless you have significant numbers on your side.
The problem I am wrestling with now is what to do next. Generally speaking all of my moves in the Eastern Theatre went exactly as I had hoped which in some respects has thrown me a wobbly as I expected Banks to have been more aggressive. Maybe he is waiting for me to show my hand or perhaps this turn?
Enough of my musing and onto the current position in the East. Looking at the map on the western edge I'm seeing Patterson with a power rating of 180. Another commander carrying a 35% command penalty. Then there is Stone at Harpers Ferry, also with a 35% penalty. The Union have also taken Leesburg but with only a small force. Next we come to McDowells large stack at Alexandria. OK so its showing power of 1291 but that's everything including the Alexandria garrison. Against that force I have Johnston at Manassas after his successful march. He is already starting to entrench. I've added to his command those spare units that Beauregard left behind. That makes Johnstons command a healthy 843 in power. Yes I know it shows 859 that's because the image figure includes the Manassas garrison (I do so detest the power alteration made to 1.03)
I must admit to currently being at a total loss to how Banks intends to play the next few moves in this theatre. As for me I will await developments. I remain extremely concerned about Fredericksburg. It is such a tempting target as I know from games of old when I played the Union side. Its easy to get to with a sidestep at Manassas. I only have Magruder and Ruggles there with a total power of 408 counting all units in the region. Even though I am entrenching its my CSA boys that have the 35% penalty and there is nothing I can do about it. I just have to keep my fingers crossed that Banks is not that ambitious.
I think I'm quite content with how things are around Winchester and Harpers Ferry, at least for this coming turn. Consequently the only moves I intend to make are to attempt to cut rail and (by taking a calculated risk) move G Smith and his small force at Winchester towards Norfolk. I'll explain why in a minute or two.
In West Virginia, my aim is unchanged. I will continue to fall back on Covington. The retreat has already started I just hope the Union do not persue too quickly. My reasoning for falling back on Covington is to put as much difficult terrain between my opponents supply sources and his front line troops as is possible. Certainly in winter he will be lucky if supply gets pushed more than two regions forward into West Virginia. That means he will either have to build intermediate depots or bring plenty of supply wagons with him. Another plus for me is that Covington lies in mountainous terrain which if I have to defend just suits me fine as offensive frontage will be so poor. OK so he can outflank the position but that's going to take time and time is what I need to keep ticking away.
Ah well back to Virginia and onto Norfolk. As you can see under Huger I continue to slowly build at Norfolk. I remain convinced it will be an early target for Banks. I'm alarmed to already see a couple of Transports close inshore. I pray they do not contain troops. If he can establish a Union bridgehead there it will severely compromise the Confederate position. I just have to assume he is coming. How I would love to have one......just one two star general I could appoint to the defense. My gut feeling is that an assault will come before October and the ability to create divisions arrives. The likelyhood therefore is that I shall have command deficiencies. Because I feel in my water the need to strengthen Norfolk I'm taking the risk of moving General Smith and his force from Winchester. It will take 19 days. I desperately hope that Banks does not come now. As was my original intention I remain committed to building a fortress at Norfolk but its taking time to gather the necessary parts (too much time). I shall continue regardless.
Until Kentucky decides which way to jump I suspect that in 61 Banks and I will spar for position in this theatre. The 1st TN Brigade duly made it to Charleston. Sadly the Union force retired without offering a defence. As expected General Winder failed to catch up the the Tennessee boys (he is currently at island 10) but he should join his command this time around. General Polk who has reported for duty at Memphis is to assume overall command of the Charleston force.
As the gloves are now off between the pair of us I've ordered my combined fleets under Hollins to attack Footes force and if successful move to Cape Girardeau. Any chance I have of slowing down the Union advance I will take.
Together with Polks move to Charleston hopefully I will be able to attempt to exert some pressure on Cairo.
As anticipated the Union have captured Rolla. At least I destroyed the depot. I expect that Lyons will take Jefferson City this time. Price is residing comfortably in Springfield. Once again its that darned command penalty. With all of his troops under his command he manages a measly 208 power. By splitting his forces away I can raise it to 230 (a 10% increase) October and the ability to create divisions cannot come soon enough for the South
I intend to do little to provoke my enemy and will just console myself by gathering my troops a trifle closer and adding one or two of my outlying cavalry units.
Do you know I think we might have a wee bit of fun in this out of the way area in the coming months. I do hope so. This is the extent of my Northern advance. I've ringed all of the tempting Kansas targets. My heart tells me to go for them. With Selby in command and a decent cavalry force behind him I know I have a real chance of doing some damage. My head tells me that any damage would be short lived. Already mud is arriving in the region. Its so so easy to advance cavalry well beyond their supply lines then find them starving to death. I'm pretty certain that if I let my heart rule my head that's what would happen so I'm going to do the sensible thing and move them back to Springfield.
Honing in closer I'm quietly confident that the Union force commanded by Sumner near Mound City will head for Lawrence. I'm pretty sure that Banks cannot afford to let Shelby have a run at Lawrence and perhaps Leavenworth. I hope I'm calling it right as my actual move is to attempt to retake Fort Scott. If I can also engage that 2nd US cavalry unit all the better.
Further South my Rangers are heading for Forts Dodge, Larned and Zarah. There is only the single US cavalry unit at Tallasi that I'm not too concerned about.
Well that's about it except to explain a little bit about my intended spending/purchases for next turn. Currently I have 262 thousand dollars in the treasury. I'm raising taxes this turn to generate a further 400,000. If you add into that my expected city income of 184,000 then for late July I should have around 825,000 in the bank. That's what I'm aiming for. Why you might ask? Well we now have the 'Call for Volunteers' The options are pay no bounty. Pay 1 dollar. Pay 1.5 dollars or pay 2 dollars.
Sadly I have no love of how this works as its affected by dice rolls and with the 1 and 1.5 dollar options you can (if you are unlucky) raise less volunteers than you would get by paying no bounty at all .....and it costs to boot. The only sensible option is to pay the 2 dollar bounty if you can afford it. If you do the amount of volunteers that gather to the colours is fixed. In the case of the South that number is 375. Now for 375 volunteers to answer the call to the colours you need 750,000 in the treasury. 375 x 2 That amount needs to be sitting in the treasury when you elect to pay the bounty as paying for volunteers comes after city income is added but before treasury actions like raising taxes.
Thus if I attempted to pay the 2 dollar bounty with only 262,000 in my treasury I would end up not being able to fund the bounty for 375 volunteers. The upshot would be that I'd only be able to raise around 200 and that would cost me 400,000. Whereas if I'd elected to pay no bounty at all I'd probably recruit 180 conscripts. So you could say that the way the game is coded......if I did not know better I'd likely end up paying 400,000 for around 20 conscripts.....not a wise choice.
Consequently I'll raise the cash this turn and call for volunteers next. I cannot really afford to lose 14 days but I have no option.