[color="#008080"]Late September 1861: Turn 12[/color]
US National March, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urPMO-hXp2c
Union volunteers stand tall under Carson’s leadership in Santa Fe and Lyons defeats McCullough in battle and captures Springfield, MO! Sadly the populace doesn’t appreciate these victories as much as they should and NM remains unaffected by these battles. Still it appears that this is a turn for risky ventures throughout the Union. But war is itself a risky business and I think these risks are worth running. General Grant arrives just in time to lead an amphibious assault. A demonstration boils over in Golden, CO while others continue in three other regions out west and in the far west. Rangers burn down a stockade in eastern NM while enemy mounted troops destroy Ft Riley and besiege Ft Kearney. And finally, only a single brig unit remains in operation in the blockade boxes.
The muddy weather has moved south towards Arkansas and Louisiana. Rain reduces visibility along coastal regions.
McDowell railed to Leesburg as planned and was able to bring a single cavalry regiment to battle and proceeded to kill/capture the entire regiment. That’s 600 fewer cavalry troopers I’ll have to worry about. The cavalry units I sent to Falmouth pushed out the enemy cavalry regiment there without battle. Half my objective wasn’t accomplished as no casualties were inflicted, but I only see 1 militia unit in Culpepper with a battery en route to Manassas. In Fredericksburg the defenses are a little stronger with 2 volunteer brigades and the locked militia unit holding that crossing. It’s early and I’m assuming Arrow is doubling down on his defenses in Manassas in order to ensure my NM takes a hit. But Manassas is a little exposed, it could be easy to surround that position if Arrow’s deployment doesn’t change. I lack the strength and leaders to exploit it now, but I’ll be keeping my eye on his position.
Over 2K power is currently residing in Manassas. So taking that is definitely off the table and this was my last turn to take it, that NM should hit when I process the turn. The CSA forces there also pose a risk to both Leesburg and Alexandria. I’m going to take a risk and keep McDowell present in Leesburg. Additionally, I’m going to rail additional forces there where they’ll meet up with a single regiment I detached from McDowell’s army. A single regiment of marines will also rail to McDowell’s army bringing it up to the maximum CP without accruing any penalty. That’ll give me McDowell’s army and an independent force in Leesburg, both of which will enjoy good defensive ground and level 2 entrenchment.
My pattern with McDowell has been rail somewhere and then rail back out the next turn. If Arrow’s been paying attention to my movement with McDowell, he may choose to send a strong force to Leesburg in the anticipation that at most I might leave a token speed bump in his path. If he does send anything to Leesburg, even his entire army, I should be able to inflict a good number of casualties on him and maybe earn some experience for my units and sub-par leaders.
This decision is not without downside though, and it could potentially be a really bad one. Alexandria will be vulnerable if he has plans to move in that direction this turn. I could be wrong, but if he assumes I’ll rail out, the logical destination is back to Alexandria. I’m hoping he’ll assume that’s where McDowell will end up and will choose not to attack a strong defensive position. After all, who would choose to leave such an important position open when it’s right next to 2K power worth of CSA troops led brilliantly by the likes of Jackson, Longstreet, etc. I could be over thinking this though, so we’ll see what Straight Arrow does. To help lessen the risk, I’m bringing Hooker’s as of yet incomplete division as close as I can without any disloyal regions ferreting them out. Additionally, I’m pulling a couple units from Montgomery as it’s covered by McDowell’s presence at Leesburg; a couple more from my two positions opposite Harper’s Ferry; and most of the cavalry units I had covering the area north of the B&O railroad as that threat has lessened. Not including the locked garrison, that should give me around 17-18K soldiers and 90+ cannon there by the end of the turn. Those numbers along with the level 4 entrenchments should make any attack pay a heavy price for any real estate. Build in this theater are the usual transports, infantry regiments, support units, and an artillery battery.
With the expected attack into Tennessee, I will be creating a new theater. This theater will include operations along the Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky when that state joins the war. Lyons will be highlighted in the next theater. I’ve been gathering a force in Cairo and the arrival of General Grant comes at a fortuitous time. Earlier I’d sent some ships down to scout out Donelson and Island 10 and there is some very intriguing intelligence on those positions.
As you can see, there are 4 batteries with just a single brigade to provide close-in defense of those batteries. I have no idea of where Arrow’s forces in Tennessee are hiding or what their strength is. But I hear the siren call of those batteries just begging to be captured. I could be assaulting into a slaughterhouse, and as much as I’d like to go to Donelson I just can’t risk it without having better intel. Also playing a part in my decision is that I had a timberclad there two turns ago and it spotted the 1st Alabama and the Donelson garrison inside the fort with no forces outside. So these units just showed up this past turn and I can’t risk Arrow railing additional forces in before Grant & Co land. So I’ll instead attack Island 10. It’s not as big of a payoff as taking Donelson would really slow split Arrow’s forces between eastern and central Tennessee. But this way I don’t risk losing 10K+ with little to show for it. Builds were an ironclad, infantry, and a couple of batteries.
General Lyon and his overwhelming forces were able to capture Springfield after a short stiff fight. This removes all the Missouri forces from Arrow’s force pool, hopefully for the rest of the game. I don’t think he was able to recruit too many of those forces either before he was pushed out. Additionally, with Springfield in my hands, it’ll be harder for CSA raiders to go after northern Missouri targets. After the battle with McCullough, Lyon's stack easily overwhelmed the militia garrison to add to Arrow's losses this turn.
I’ve decided to push on immediately towards Fayetteville. And this is where the risky business for this theater comes into play. Without the divisional formation available yet, Gen Lyon & company are greatly over CP, which is slowing him down to the point I can’t move the whole stack to Cass, MO (the region between Springfield & Fayetteville) in one turn. I will be breaking the force apart in order to reduce the over CP penalty enough to get them all there in one turn. However, two CSA brigades are present in that region and Arrow could decide to consolidate his forces into a blocking position there. McCullough’s stack was pushed west of Springfield and I think they’ll march directly south or southwest to get to Fayetteville. The two brigades already in Cass, MO were actually already moving towards Fayetteville when Springfield fell, so I’m going to hope they continue moving southwest to consolidate in Fayetteville. Otherwise Arrow could meet and defeat portions of my forces in detail.
Still, it’s not a huge risk as his greatest concentration of forces has already been mauled and won’t have much cohesion or as much strength as it otherwise might’ve had. By pressing on immediately, I hope to get Arrow focused on thinking about what I might do to him and not worry about what he can do to me. I know from reading the forums that Arrow likes to do some raiding and I want to cut that $#!+ out before it really gets going. If I can get Fayetteville, he’ll start running out of bases for his raiders to resupply and refit.
Arrow somewhat surprised me as he was able to get his force to Santa Fe by moving through the region south of Santa Fe first. I’d forgotten that Shelby has the fast mover trait and so I didn’t enjoy the advantage of defending against a river crossing. Still, my militia gave a good account for themselves even without enjoying the river malus Arrow avoided. The casualties were slightly in his favor, 584 Union dead to 522 CSA dead. But comparatively, I only lost a little over 10% of my force while Arrow’s losses account for close to 20% of his force. The battle was a stalemate however and I expect it’ll pick up again next turn.
I’ll finally have marched an experienced infantry regiment all the way from Denver, CO and that’ll be reinforcing next turn. I’ve also decided to detach the worst hit ranger unit and sweep in behind Shelby’s force and retake Valencia and Albuquerque. Weakening my defensive force when it relies so much on brute strength could be a mistake, but our power is about equal after his losses and I should hopefully hold behind my defensive works. No builds in the Far West.
Losses mount on each side with a combined total topping the 10K mark for the first time.