The game starts with the map looking like this:
Starting situation in the 1861 Campaign Game for the U.S. Civil War by GMT Games
1861, Early Summer
The war started inauspiciously for the Confederacy. All the action was in the East.
McDowell left Washington relatively unguarded to enter Virginia. Thinking this was the chance to strike an early decisive blow, Jefferson Davis orders Beauregard to attack the capitol. The attack was repulsed, and McDowell, showing surprising strategic acumen, turned the Army of Northeastern Virigina around and annihilated Beauregard's bloodied force. McDowell then rendezvoused with Patterson to invade his original target of the Shenandoah valley, where they defeated Johnston's meager Army of Northern Virginia and captured both Strasburg and Staunton. Meanwhile McClellan successfully steamrolled over the militia of West Virginia, capturing Grafton and Charleston. Johnston moved his battered 10,000 men up to Strasburg in hopes of cutting the Union Army's supply.
Out in Missouri, after taking his good time to get his division in order, Price moved forward to Waynesville in the hopes of catching Lyons by surprise in Rolla.
Starting situation in Missouri
1861, Late Summer.
Lyons stepped on a rusty nail and died, and was replace by Curtis. Lincoln, apparently not trusting Curtis, sent 60,000 men to Missouri (a larger force than had entered Virginia earlier that summer) to face down Price's division of 15,000 soldiers and ordered the construction of two fortifications. The Confederacy did manage to pull together a new corps under Beauregard with J.E.B. Stuart leading the cavalry in Gordonsville. Lincoln, seeing that McDowell had ended up far from Richmond and out of supply demoted him, and put McClellan in charge of the Army of the Potomac in Washington D.C.
Out in Missouri, the Confederacy's luck continued. Price attempted to avoid the new army under Curtis and take Ironton, but Curtis caught him in the woods where he suffered stunning casualties defeat. Seeing the fort undefended, Price reformed his 5000 men into a single brigade in hopes of taking the unmanned fort, but the garrison was enough to slaughter his remaining men. Curtis then took his army to Springfield where the luck finally turned, and the Missouri militia managed what 15000 men under Price couldn't do - they defeated Curtis and held the town (sacrificing themselves in the process).
Situation at the end of Turn 2 in Missouri
Meanwhile, in Virginia, McDowell sent out Tyler's division to Covington to create a supply link through West Virginia. Meanwhile Burnside (or was it Patterson - they all look alike) took back Strasburg, and sent Johnston fleeing out of the valley. Beauregard headed north to route the small force bearing down on Fredericksburg, and then merged his forces with Johnston's rallied army. As Burnside attempted to hold Alexandria, the Army of Northern Virginia again saw success, and sent him fleeing back to Washington to lick his wounds and get a pep talk along with Patterson from McClellan. Meanwhile McDowell managed to read both the Iliad and the Odyssey while his (now inappropriately named) Army of Northeastern Virgina remained safe and supplied in Staunton.
Situation at the end of Turn 2 in Virginia
The Union Navy also got to see some action, as a Union division under Butler landed at Hatteras in North Carolina and pushed in to take Washington and then Goldsboro. Much to Davis’s chagrin, the Union troops managed to stay in supply, since the militia at New Bern was blocked from the Union supply bath by water features.
Situation at the end of Turn 2 in North Carolina
In a final moment of stupidity, Jefferson Davis ordered priority given to the completion of the ironclad Virginia located in Norfolk which is locked down under the guns of Ft. Monroe rather than the unhindered vessel being constructed in Georgia. It looks like the Virginia will have to run the guns if it wants to have any chance of contributing to the war effort, since the Union navy was nowhere in the vicinity.