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U.S. Civil War Turn 4 (Massacre of Munfordsville, liberation of Wilmington, fall of Mobile)

Winter 1862

In Missouri, the the newly in-command Van Dorn made a daring feint, as if to circumvent the Union forces and cut Curtis's lines of communication.

Curtis, eager to bring his superior numbers to bear, took the bait, and attempted to corner Van Dorn

- the wily Mississippian promptly counter-marched (entrenching along the way)

and took back Springfield without a fight, where he entrenched and waited for the Union forces to return.

In Kentucky Buell settled down in Columbus after his previous repulse from the Confederate fortifications guarding the father of rivers. Grant, in charge of the ambitiously named Army of the Cumberland, took advantage of the unusually dry weather and crossed the Ohio to take a position in Munfordsville, a few days march from A.S. Johnston's Army of Tennessee now in Bowling Green, which was newly reinforced with troops from Mobile, Alabama as well as new recruits from Kentucky. That evening, as Grant smoked his cigars looking over maps of the bluegrass state, he calculated that within two weeks time his army would reach the river for which it was named, and he would be celebrated as the first liberator of a Confederate state capitol.

Unfortunately for the brave soldiers in the Army of the Cumberland, Grant traded speed for safety, and before he could entrench, Morgan's cavalry had flanked him. With forces on both sides, a well executed assault by the Army of Tennessee under A.S. Johnston at Munfordsville routed Grant's army, which retreated with all haste back to the support of gunboats on the Ohio.

A speedy pursuit by Johnston caused the utter destruction of the briefly lived Army of the Cumberland. Grant "the butcher" himself narrowly escaped the same fate, as sharpshooters took out one of his orderlies on his rowboat which was forced to flee back across that same Ohio which his army had crossed only a few weeks earlier with hopes of bringing Kentucky back into the Union - hopes which Grant thought seemed more like the idle wishes of a schoolgirl than an achievable military objective at this point.

With Buell's army pinned down by the force in the fortifications along the Mississippi under Kirby Smith, and with Grant routed, Johnston wasted no time, and captured Loisville with his army while Morgan's cavalry pushed west to Henderton.

Things went better for the Union where the U.S. Navy was involved. Burnside in Jacksonville, Florida was reinforced, and he was dispatched to take Olustee, where Magruder had been ordered to hold the line.

While the Florida state militia fought bravely, they had no chance against Burnside's superior numbers, and lost the town. A Union amphibious assault under brigadier general Sumner on the Georgia coast then resulted in the capture of the town of Brunswick.

The navy wasn't done yet though. The governor of Alabama was furious when Johnston had ordered the garrison defending Mobile to head north for the liberation of Kentucky, and with good reason.

Leading a combined assault from the Union Army and Navy, Farragut took Fort Morgan before they had a chance to install any torpedoes.

General Thomas then marched his division into Mobile without facing any serious resistance, cutting one of two railroad lines connecting the east and west of the Confederacy, for which he would soon be promoted.

In North Carolina, Banks replaced Patterson just in time to run in fear from a small force dispatched away from the Army of Northern Virginia under Stonewall Jackson. The Union forces were forced back into Fort Johnson, and Wilmington was liberated with little loss of life.

Davis sent his astrologer off to a spa in order to free himself of her influence, and took the advice of Admiral Buchanan, who directed construction of an ironclad (the Pamlico) from a captured Union sloop in newly liberated Washington, NC. Seeing the danger this would pose to the outer banks, Farragut was sent with a number of ships to reinforce Hatteras, and a division under Sumner (still just a Brigadier at this point) was sent to capture the unguarded Roanoke Island.

The rains which missed Kentucky and the west didn't spare Virginia. With the roads turned into vast wastelands of mud, there wasn't much opportunity for advance, and the armies huddled down in winter quarters. Lincoln hoped to put the Army of Northeastern Virginia into motion finally, and so general Butler, following his successful North Carolina Campaign, was sent to relieve McDowell in Staunton. He detached a corps under Pope and sent it down to take Lynchburg.

Davis had Bragg recalled to improve the Richmond defenses, and J.E.B. Steward took his troopers on a deep raid through Maryland and into West Virginia, taking Grafton back for the Confederacy and recruiting those West Virginians who were eager to fight under the Stars and Bars.

Despite (or perhaps because of) incessant prodding, Joe Johnston would not move to attack, and with the prospect of both a large army amassing in D.C. under McClellan, and also the possibility of losing access to the vital grain grown in the Shenandoah for another season, Davis began to contemplate replacing old Joe with his more aggressive military advisor.



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