I think that the basic reason for a CSA victory was in the excellent results in the Western theater.
In the East things did actually go fairly badly for the CSA right up until the end. As I had suspected Murtagks wrote that he wanted to push hard for Richmond in early 1862. He certainly surprised me by bringing Grant over with his stack. That was probably the moment of greatest danger for me. After the defeats of 1861 I had much less combat power in Virginia. Had Murtagks hurled Grant at Beauregard in January of 1862 he may have taken Richmond.
I can see now in the AAR that Murtagks originally planned to naval invade Norfolk too. I suspect that he felt in the end that he couldn't afford to pull troops away from the over-land route.
The 1862 Virginia campaign was probably a defeat for me in that I lost more men (including Jackson) but on the other hand Murtagks never really made much of an offensive against me despite having greater strength. I would move Jackson, he would move to encircle him and then I would get out again. Repeating this cycle just wasted time which was great for me as I had committed fewer forces to this area. Given the number of troops in Virginia that were drawn away from other areas he may have been better served by keeping Grant there and trying to use this great army under a good leader to crush me, but in the end the theater was not decisive even though it was going in his favour.
In the West on the other hand the CSA did well. Capturing St Louis in 1861 set me up extremely well for the rest of the game. The fact that I could raid supplies in Illinois and that I had another great city with loyal CSA citizens gave me a good start.
It also meant that Murtagks kept moving about 3000 power back and forth to deal with just two fairly bad divisions under JE Johnston. Keeping these away from Grant without having to fight them was fantastic.
This all laid the groundwork for Grant moving into Western Tennessee and slowly dying due to a lack of supply.
Murtagks said several times that he thought that I was too aggressive. This did sometimes work to prevent him from taking the initiative, but he is correct. I at times acted recklessly particularly in the East where I lost a lot of troops by attacking things I shouldn't have with Longstreet. I also invaded the Union in 1862 without any clear objectives and lost more men than Murtagks during this campaign. It was probably a mistake to undertake it.
On the other hand (in my opinion) Murtagks has the reverse problem; he is not aggressive enough. I think Murtagks constantly wants to concentrate overwhelming force against my units to completely crush one force at a time. This is not an intrinsically bad way of looking at things, but some of the game mechanics really punish him for it. The fact that I could often get out of the way, such as with JEJ, meant that sometimes I would not allow it to come to battle when the odds were too much in his favour so it was just a waste of time. Heavy entrenchment bonuses also offset numbers such as against Beauregard in Tennessee.
On the strategic level I think he may have had better luck if he opened more fronts against me. After Butler retreated from NO there were no naval invasions. This was fortunate as the rest of the CSA coast was completely undefended. Personally I like to open a lot of fronts when I play as the Union.
Murtagks also doesn't pay enough attention to supply lines. I exploited this rather ruthlessly in the West.
One of the most fun parts of the game for me is the narrative that gets built of each general so I will run through a few of my favourites from this game.
The MVP of the CSA was clearly Beauregard. I think that this battle with Grant marked the point where the war really started to turn in my favour.
Murtagks wrote that he thought the river crossing was what disadvantaged him, but I suspect it was probably the greater entrenchment that Beauregard received between Grant's two attacks.
An honorable mention should go the Early who became a Corps commander after this battle and charged around Tennessee keeping the Union back before meeting his sad end just before victory in Virginia. F.
Longstreet had a bad time through no fault of his own because I kept sending him to stupid places. Poor guy lost seniority for being blamed for it all. My bad...
Another honorable mention goes to Richard Taylor for taking and holding Cairo which was the final nail in the supply line for the Union's Tennessee armies.
The CSA starts with three good or great army commanders (and one mediocrity), but decent Corps commanders are really difficult to get. One doesn't want to rely on Polk. Getting Taylor and Early promoted seems to be one good way to cope, but there were many others in Virginia who didn't get a chance to shine until right at the end.
Lee only needed to crush McDowell when victory was almost certain, but he did strike the final blow by taking Washington.
Was a terrific game with my friend Murtagks. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope you enjoyed reading it.