Okay, here goes a quick recap of the last few turns.
In the main theater, Banks held out in Harper's ferry much longer than I anticipated, but the complete uselessness of Sumner who retreated before battle every time I tried to help Banks break the siege, doomed the army. Freemont finally was able to attack, but not until after Banks had fought his last. Luckily for me, Freemont was pushed South rather than North or West, so I was able to make a short run down the valley tearing up track as I went before turning his force back to the North and around. This enabled me to slow any further offensive moves out of Harpers Ferry, which was crucial, since with the loss of Banks' force, I had no organized force to oppose the Rebs if they'd gotten frisky. Lee also finally crossed the river to besiege McClellan, and I then realized I made a pretty dumb error in entrenching Mac inside the town instead of outside. Luckily, it hasn't hurt me yet because he's very well supplied, and very well entrenched, so digging him out will be hard regardless.
I had to give up Hardeeville after a long struggle, because the CS brought down Joe Johnston and a solid force to oppose him. It would have been a much shorter struggle, but every time I tried to load onto the boats, I got attacked. One side effect of this was that Burnside beat Johnston every time, despite the pitiful condition of his force, so Burnside is now the #1 general in the Union army.
Not much going on elsewhere, so let's move on to this turn.
Here's the situation in the East. You can see Freemont to the west, loading up on his trains to rejoin the new army being built outside Baltimore, you can also see the rail lines he was able to tear up along the way, which should stall long enough to get the new force organized.
Mac is besieged, but as you can see, I was able to slip a corps in behind him to break that rail line. That forced him to detach a pretty significant force to stop them, which has weakened Lee a bit. Unfortunately, that force has suffered a bit, and I'm just hoping they make it back next turn. Don't want them destroyed. Meade, my newest corps commander, has taken over for McDowell, and is moving south from Alexandria to attempt to break the siege. I have a complete polyglot force headed down to take over the defense from Meade. I sincerely hope the Rebs don't move there this turn, since, while I think the city could hold out any force he moves in, I'm not positive, and losing that city would completely ruin the defense I have set up.
Near the top, you can see the forces gathering outside Baltimore. As of this moment, it's just a big mush of forces. Next turn, they'll be concentrated, and Grant will have finally arrived to take over for Little Mac, who will then head up there to take control of that area. Once the forces are organized, it will be a pretty powerful force. You can also see Burnside, who is headed to Memphis to take over out there.
Getting Grant in place is the key to this whole thing. Up until now, I've been massively hampered by the godawful effect Mac has on his corps commanders. I'm lucky if even one is active on any turn. This makes any thoughts of going on the offensive very difficult. With Grant in place, the boost he gives to the corps will mean that, while still not even close to their CSA counterparts, I'll at least be able to think a bit more offensively. I hate being forced to just react, I want to dictate the time and place of the fights.
So, on to my plans for the future. Once Mac is replaced, he's going to head to take command of the new force by Baltimore. They're almost all completely raw troops, and since he can train them up, that's just what he'll do. That force will be tasked with keeping Jackson and Longstreet busy. I don't need him to beat them, though he should be much more powerful, just keep them from rejoining the fight in Eastern Virginia. Grant, and the rest of the main army will do their damndest to push Lee back. I noticed that the force in Fredricksburg is no longer a corps formation, so unless he changes that, I should be able to dig them out there. The goal is to isolate and contain his valley forces because he has the great majority of his offensive power up there. The hope is to spread his forces far enough apart that I will be able to destroy one part, then worry about the other. That's the plan anyway, we'll see how it goes.
Just had to throw this in for a laugh.
There's Joe Johnston besieging the two supply wagons I had to leave behind in order to fit on the transports. They've held out for a turn. Wonder how long they'll last. Maybe he'll realize what's there, or they just fall apart from laughing so hard.
One last shot:
Ben Butler is being besieged by a force roughly double his size in New Orleans. We considered retreating, but at the moment, those forces aren't really needed, and the units he's occupying mean that we have been getting some very big and relatively easy wins in the West. So he stays for now. If he holds out a bit longer, he may get rescued from the North before too long, as the western campaigns seem to be going quite well.