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August 1847, Winfield Scott’s US Army was at the gates of Mexico City after a
string of victories over Santa Anna. However, Scott paused to negotiate. Both
sides used the delay to regroup, but when Scott heard a rumor that the Mexicans
were casting cannon (true) at Molino del Rey (false), he resolved to take the
place. The Mexicans saw it coming and prepared their defenses. The result was a
narrow but costly American win that left the city's defenses intact. A quicker
victory might have pushed into the city and ended the war.
After the Confederate victory at Second Bull Run in August 1862, Stonewall Jackson led his wing of the Confederate army to get behind the retreating Federals and finish the job. Mud and fatigue slowed him just enough to allow some hastily-collected Federal units to get in position to stop him. The result was a confused battle near Chantilly. At stake was the survival of an entire Union army, or of Jackson's isolated Confederates.
As the battle of Chancellorsville raged, a Union corps was dispatched to hit the vulnerable Confederate army from behind. The flanking column was delayed by a single Confederate brigade at Salem Church. The battle grew as Confederate arrived first to firm up the front, then to turn the tables on the Federals. The flankers became flanked, then had to fight for their lives.
In early 1864, Union Gen. Nathaniel Banks led a small army up Louisiana's Red River. His objective, in conjunction with an overland campaign through Arkansas, was the Confederate Trans-Mississippi capital at Shreveport. Poor coordination of the two columns enabled the Confederates to concentrate their slender resources against each in turn. Banks was first, and in early April his spearhead was hit near the crossroads of Mansfield. Historically, the Union forces, strung out on the march, were routed piecemeal, but the battle could have gone the other way.
In the months after Fort Sumter fell, Missouri was riven by a civil war within a civil war. Missouri rebels, organized as the Missouri State Guard under Sterling Price, had been joined by a Confederate force under Ben McCulloch the threaten Nathaniel Lyon's small but well-drilled Union army in the southwestern part of the state. Lyon, hoping to catch the Rebels off guard, attacked their scattered camps along Wilson's Creek. The initial Union assault went well before the battle devolved into a grueling firefight. Confederate numbers eventually prevailed, but Lyon's attack might have succeeded.
In the late summer of 1777, the British master plan to sever New England from the rest of the rebellious American colonies had come unhinged, leaving John Burgoyne's Northern Army dangerously isolated. In an attempt to break through American defenses to reach Albany, New York, Burgoyne launched his army at the American defenses on Bemis Heights. An American screen dispatched by Benedict Arnold clashed with the British advance in deep woods, triggering an afternoon-long fight fed by reinforcements for both sides. The battle ended in stalemate, as good as a defeat for Burgoyne, but might have tipped in his favor.
A British campaign in the late summer of 1777 had defeated George Washington's American army to capture Philadelphia. The British dispersed their strength to hold the city, reduce Colonial forts along the Delaware River, and watch the Americans, who hovered nearby. Washington saw an opportunity to attack the weakened British at Germantown. The complicated American plan fell apart in dense fog, but a few breaks going their way would have endangered the British position in eastern Pennsylvania.
In 1876 the US Army engaged
the Indians of the northern plains in a campaign that culminated in the
destruction of Custer and his command at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. This
is a two-player game of that entire Little Bighorn-Yellowstone campaign.
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