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Thread: Look Away! Look Away! (Reboot)

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    Look Away! Look Away! (Reboot)

    AUTHOR'S NOTE: I started this AAR as a Victoria Revolutions story a few years back. I ended up getting bogged down with real life, and couldn't keep the story going. After buying Victoria II a few weeks ago, I started thinking about giving the story another try. I'll usesome of the stuff from the old story, but most of the content will be new. I'm going to be slightly more ambitious this time, and look at the war from the perspective of both a poor farm boy and the son of a plantation owner as they live through both the war and the peace. Even Lincoln, Lee, and Davis will make a few appearances.

    June, 1861
    Near Manassas, VA


    Virgil Biddle sat around the small campfire with his fellow soldiers in the 1st Richmond Rifles. The sun had gone down, and had caused some of the summer heat and humidity to dissipate. The ragtag group of volunteers looked nothing like a professional army. None of the men wore a full uniform. Virgil wore uniform pants and a kepi. Next to him, his father Josiah was identified as a soldier only by the fact that he was wearing a gray kepi.

    The men, and the entire Army of Northern Virginia, had been encamped near Manassas for several weeks. The rumor was that General Lee wanted to wait for the Union Army to come to him rather than moving toward them. There was also news that other regiments were being raised, and Lee was waiting for those regiments to make it toward Manassas before making any move.

    “You think we’ll ever make it into the fightin, pa?” Virgil asked.

    “It won’t be long before the Yankees come down here, I reckon,” Josiah said. “They’re gonna want to drive us back before those other regiments from the south show up."

    His 19 year old son took a bite of a hardtack biscuit and shook his head.

    “Hope it happens soon. I’m itchin’ to give it to the DamnYankees.”

    Josiah sighed. “I wouldn’t be so eager if I was you. I don’t love the Yankees either, but I don’t look forward to the day when the bullets start flyin. This is liable to be a bloody, tough war. I want to make it home to your ma, and your brother and sister. I don’t want to have to tell ‘em that we had to put you in the ground on some battlefield.”

    “Still,” Virgil said, “I’m ready for our first fight.”

    Later that evening, Virgil pulled out a quill and a piece of paper. His father was illiterate, so it fell on Virgil to write home to their family.

    Deer Ma,

    We hav been sittin near Manassas for a few weeks now. Marse Robert wants the yanks to come to us instead of the other way around. Pa says he don’t think it will be long before the yankees come down here to Stanton and try and drive us out. I look forward to the fight. Pa says hi to. Give owr luv to Billy and Mary.

    Yoor son,

    Virgil

    1st Richmond Rifles
    Army of Northern Virginia
    June 28, 1861
    Oakwood Plantation
    Jackson County, GA


    William Stanton sat under the shade of an old tree, and wiped the sweat from his brow. It was a hot day in North Georgia, and Will had been working since before sunrise. His friends and neighboring plantation owners often wondered why he went out every day and worked just as hard, if not harder, than his field hands. He was one of the richest landowners in Georgia. Why did he not just stay indoors, and let his stable of slaves do the heavy lifting?

    The answer was simple. Will had been pouring his blood and sweat into every inch of soil on his farm ever since he was a young man. Why should it be any different now that he had been blessed with enough money to have others help him with the work? Why should he ask anyone to do work that he wasn’t willing to do? That was Will’s philosophy. It was a philosophy that he tried to instill in his eldest son Jeffrey. One day, Jeffrey would own one-fifth of the land in Jackson County. Will wanted his son to realize that he would have to work hard to keep the land, and the sizable profits the land produced.

    Just then, Will looked up, and saw his son Jeffrey riding his horse up to his father. Jeff had gone into town earlier in the day for supplies, and to get the latest news on the ongoing war with the Union. As one of the state’s most prominent landowners, Will dabbled a little in politics. We had supported secession, and he was now doing what he could to support the war effort. He was anxious to hear of the latest developments.

    “Pa!” Jeff yelled as he rode up, and dismounted from his horse. “Big news! Mr. Witcher’s general store in Jefferson had a copy of the newspaper from Atlanta. There was a big story in there about General Stuart invading Kentucky. They’re calling it the first major offensive push of the war!”

    Will was surprised by the news. He thought Lee would be the first to invade the north.

    “How fares the invasion so far?” Will asked.

    “The paper talked about a big battle near some town called Paducah. They say ole’ JEB whipped the Yankees, and sent them retreatin’ with their tails between their legs.”

    “That’s good news,” Will said. “With any luck, this war could be won quicker than everyone predicts.” Will looked at his son. It looked like Jeff wanted to tell him something more.

    “What’s wrong, Jeffrey. It looks like you have something on your mind.”

    Jeff stared at his feet, and hesitated a bit. “Yes, sir…There is. You see, there was an army recruiter down in Jefferson when I got there. I talked to him a little, and…well…I volunteered.”

    The news hit Will like a ton of bricks. Despite his support of the war, he had no desire to send his son off to fight. His son was supposed to stay here, and learn the ropes of tending Oakwood Plantation. For the last 18 years, he had worked to prepare his son for the day when he would take over Oakwood. He had paid to have tutors come in and give Jeff a well-rounded education. He had planned to send him to the university in Athens in just a couple of months. His son was meant to be a gentleman farmer. Not a soldier.

    “Jeffrey,” Will responded. “There’s no need for you to fight…”

    Jeff cut him off. “Yes there is! This is my state. This is my country. I want to defend it. I want to do my part.”

    “But you might not come back,” Will said, quietly.

    “You said yourself that the war will probably be over quicker than everyone says it will. As it is, I might not even get a chance to fight before it all ends.” Jeff sounded almost disappointed by the prospect of missing his chance to go into battle.

    Will looked at his son. He had grown into a handsome young man. He was tall, and had grown muscular from working in the fields of Oakwood. He had a shock of red hair, and blue eyes that hid an above-average intellect behind them. Will hated to admit it, but he could see his son in a brand new gray military uniform.

    “I can’t dissuade you from this, can I?” Will asked, finally.

    “No, sir,” Jeff said. He could tell that his father was close to giving in.

    “Ok, then.” Will gave his son a tight smile, and held out his hand for Jeff to shake. “Go with my blessing. I do have one condition, though.”

    “What’s that?”

    “You’re the one who has to tell your mother about this.”

    July 1, 1861
    Near Manassas, VA



    “LOAD!” The corporal shouted.


    Virgil stood shoulder to shoulder with the other men of the 1st Richmond Rifles. As one, they reached into their ammo pouches, and loaded them into their rifles. In front of them, a column of Union soldiers advanced.

    “AIM!”


    Josiah stood immediately to his son’s left. He looked over at Virgil with a very solemn look on his face.

    “Good luck, boy,” Josiah said.

    “You too, Pa.”

    “Fire!”

    As one, the men of the 1st Richmond Rifles fired into the line of Union soldiers. Virgil’s gun kicked as he squeezed the trigger. Through the puff of smoke that rose from the barrel of his gun, he could see the Yankee soldier he aimed for clutch his stomach and fall. Yankees were falling all across the skirmish line.

    Just then, the Union boys responded by firing into the gray line. Men from Virgil’s regiment fell as the Yankee gunfire struck home.

    The men who remained standing prepared to fire again. Virgil’s hands shook a little as he tried to load his rifle. Despite it all, he managed to aim and fire again. Within minutes, the Union soldiers were obscured by the smoke from the dueling gunfire. Yet, Virgil continued to fire in the direction of the opposing soldiers. He heard a wet smacking sound, and the soldier on his right, Grady Sullivan, started to scream.

    “Awwww, damnit, they shot me! Gawdalmighty, they got me!” The soldier clutched at his chest as a dark red stain began to form on his tunic.

    “Biddle!” the corporal yelled. “Help Sullivan make it back to the rear so he can be taken care of.”

    “Come on, Grady,” Virgil said, and he put Sullivan’s arm around his shoulders, and helped him back toward the surgeon’s tent.

    They hadn’t gotten far from the front lines when the wounded soldier sank down to his knees, and started to cough. He spit frothy, bright red blood onto the grass.

    “Come on Grady,” Virgil urged. “Get up, so we can get you to the doctor.”

    Grady Sullivan was on his hands and knees whimpering. “I can’t walk no more. Oh, Gawd, it hurts.”

    Virgil grabbed the boy’s arm, and tried to pull him back up onto his feet. “Come on, Grady. The doctor’s tent is just over yonder. It ain’t far now. They can take fix you up.”

    Rather than stand up, Sullivan laid down on his back. The entire lower part of his tunic was stained crimson. He coughed again, and blood trickled out of the corner of his mouth.

    Sullivan’s eyes were closed. His breathing had become more shallow.

    “Am I gonna die, Virgil?” he asked.

    “You’re gonna be fine, Grady,” Virgil lied. “We just need to get you to the doctor.”

    Vigril Biddle looked up desperately. He needed someone to help him drag Sullivan back to the surgeon. Around him, other wounded men were walking, and being carried toward the rear. He looked around; desperate to find someone to help him.

    “Will somebody help me?” Virgil yelled. “I got a wounded man here! I need somebody to help me carry him!”

    He looked back down, and Sullivan was no longer moving. No longer breathing.

    Deer Ma,

    We got our first taste of combat. The bluebellies came down from Maryland and tried to take Manassas. We gave em hell! I know that I keeled at least 6 or 7 my ownself. The Yankees retreated and we might chase after em and drive them out of the state compleetle. A man died in my arms to. My friend Grady Sulluvan. He got shot, and got keeled befoor we culd git him to a doctor. I heer that General Stuart and General Johnston have captured southern Kentuckee. Have you herd anything about it? Pa says hi. He wishes he new his letters so as he could write to you to. He keeled a hole mess of yankees too. Hows the farm? Hows Billy and Mary? Give em our love.

    Yoor son,

    Virgil

    1st Richmond Rifles
    Army of Northern Virginia

  2. #2
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  3. #3
    finally a csa aar! will there be actual gameplay though?

  4. #4
    gremlok: Much obliged
    red1:The original story is based on actual gameplay. In the long run, I think this will evolve into more of a fanfiction AAR, much like Jape's "News From Nowhere" (also a CSA AAR).

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  6. #6
    Excerpt From Richmond Dispatch
    March 7, 1862

    KENTUCKY SECEDES!

    Kentucky has voted to secede from the United States and become the 13th state of the Confederate States of America. The move comes after a Confederate military campaign in the commonwealth, led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest, in which CS troops were able to occupy the area's strategic points. The news has led to violence in areas of the commonwealth that support the Yankee cause....
    Excerpts of Letter From Abraham Lincoln To Senator Orville Browning (R-IL)
    I think to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game. ... We would as well consent to separation at once, including the surrender of the capital.
    March 10, 1862
    Richmond, VA


    General Robert E. Lee rode his horse, Traveler, through the streets of Richmond. The city had become a bustling center of power since being named the capital of the Confederacy a year before. Lee was proud that the seat of the Federal government was in his native state. Virginia was, by far, the most important state to the Confederacy. It was only natural that the capital be established in Virginia.

    Of course, it made for a few problems. As of now, the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate shared space with the Confederate House and Senate. The mansion known as the “Confederate White House” was being rented to the Federal government by the city of Richmond. Eventually, permanent homes for the legislative branch and the president would be needed.

    The Confederate White House was Lee’s destination on this particular afternoon. He would be meeting with President Davis and Secretary of War Judah Benjamin about the next phase of the Army of Northern Virginia’s campaign. Things had been going well for Lee and his army. By concentrating his forces and waiting for the Union general George McClellan to make the opening move of the war, he had been able to gain the upper hand. The first major battle in what had become known as the “Virginia Theatre” of battle had been a major Confederate victory. After the battle, Lee continued to press his army forward. As a result, McClellan had retreated back across the Maryland border. The next stage of Lee’s plan would, hopefully, end the war quickly.

    Minutes later, Lee was being led into the president’s private office. Jefferson Davis stood near the window as his general entered the room.

    “Mr. President, good afternoon,” Lee said.

    “And good afternoon to you, General,” Jefferson said as he turned to face Lee.

    “Will Secretary Benjamin be joining us for this meeting?”

    When he heard the question, the president’s mood seemed to cloud a little. “No, General, Mr. Benjamin will be attending to other matters.”

    Lee simply nodded. He had heard that Judah Benjamin’s judgment as secretary of war had been called into question by members of Congress. It seemed as if he had even managed to ruffle the feathers of the president, himself. Most people thought that Benjamin’s days as secretary of war were numbered. Lee had always thought Mr. Benjamin to be a good man, and an above average statesman. He hoped that the president would find a place for him elsewhere in the government.

    "Now General," Davis began as he sat behind his desk, "what of this secret strategy that you're so eager to inform me of?"

    Lee started to explain. Minutes later, the two men stood over a map of the Virginia Theatre that had been spread out on the president's desk.

    “Divisions are being pulled from General McClelland’s army to help stall the advances General’s Forrest and Johnston have made in the west,” Lee said to the president.

    Jeff Davis’s face creased into a smile. “It really is remarkable what those two have been able to do in Kentucky. Forrest is trying to pressure me into letting him cross the river and invade Southern Ohio. If troops are being sent out west like you say, it may be fool hardy to venture into Ohio. We could be biting off more than we can chew.”

    “Indeed, sir,” Lee replied. I think we would have a better chance of crossing the Potomac and going at the newly diminished Army of the Potomac.”

    Davis let his jaw drop noticeably. “You mean make a headlong run for Washington City?’

    “Yes, sir. At this point, the Army of Northern Virginia has the Army of the Potomac outnumbered. My plan is to send General Jackson into Maryland’s panhandle and take Fredrick to protect my western flank. At the same time, my men and I would run straight at McClelland and see what comes of it.”

    Davis stroked his whiskered chin as he considered his general’s proposal. Lee, looking resplendent in his gray uniform, waited patiently for the commander-in-chief of the Confederate military.

    “You’re confident you can beat the Federal fortifications?’

    “I am, sir.”

    “General, I give you credit for your boldness. If anyone can take Washington City, it’s you and your men. You have my approval and my blessing. Good luck.”

    March 18, 1862
    Washington, DC


    Abraham Lincoln peered out from behind the curtain in his office, and out the window. Darkness had already reached Washington City, but the horizon flashed with light as if an electrical storm raged. The Army of Northern Virginia was within ten miles of the city limits. The fighting outside the city was turning into a meat grinder for both sides. All of the experts had told Lincoln that the longer the fighting for the city raged, the easier it would be to drive the rebels back. The Union had a far superior force. Eventually, the Army of Northern Virginia would break.

    The experts had been wrong. It was McClellan and the Union army that was falling back. It was Lee that was advancing. The Confederate attack had caught McClellan off guard. For the last two days, civilians had been evacuating the city. Earlier that afternoon, Lincoln had big farewell to his wife and son as they boarded a train for Baltimore. Mary, already reeling from the recent death of their son Willie, was near hysterical as she begged her husband to evacuate with them.

    Now aides and the army were forcing Lincoln to evacuate as well. He had wanted to stay, because he thought it would damage the morale of soldiers in Washington to see their president run away. However, it became apparent that it would be foolhardy to remain in a city being invaded by a foreign army.

    The president glanced toward his desk. When the attack on Washington had commenced, Lincoln had the idea of issuing a proclamation that would free the slaves in the states that former the Confederacy. He had decided to pen the proclamation after the Union had repelled the rebels from Washington City. However, as Lee's army advanced, Lincoln realized that he would seem desperate if he issued his emancipation order now. Still, he couldn't help but wonder what might have been. How different could things have been if he had been able to issue his proclamation? If he had dismissed McClellan, and appointed another general to head the Army of the Potomac?


    “Mr. President.”

    Lincoln turned to see a young colonel standing in the doorway.The soldier looked no more than 20 years old.

    “We must go now, sir.”

    The president somberly nodded. “Your men have made sure that we have room for the staff?" Lincoln was talking about the handful of black butlers and maids who kept the White House ticking. None of them wanted to be in town if the Rebs captured it. Lincoln had insisted that he would only evacuate if the house staff went with him.

    “Yes, sir, the staff is ready to go.”

    The president of the United States grabbed his stovepipe hat and followed the colonel downstairs to the waiting carriage.

    “Tell me, young man,” Lincoln said. “Do you think our armies and our forts will keep General Lee’s army out of the city?"

    The soldier sighed. “I hope to hel…Sorry, sir. I sure hope so.”

    Lincoln’s face turned up into a melancholy smile. “I didn’t ask if you hoped we would hold the city. I asked if you think we will.”

    The young colonel looked down at his boots and sighed. “I just don’t know, sir.”

    On the north lawn of the White House soldiers dug a makeshift fortification that would be used to defend the White House. The army was determined not to let the Capital and the president's house burn as they had in 1814.

    Lincoln folded his gangly frame into the carriage that waited for him. As he did, one of the large guns in one of several forts around Washington opened up. That was a sure sign that the Confederate army was getting closer to the city.

    “I did everything I could to keep this nation together,” Lincoln said sadly. “In the end…Everything was not enough.” He lowered his head, his eyes wet with tears, as the carriage began to move

  7. #7
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    Outstanding. Always good to see the Yankees put in their place!! I certainly be following this AAR.

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