Civilization 5 Civil War Scenario Strategy, Achievement Guide and Map

American Civil War Strategy Guide

Civil War Scenario – Setting

Civilization 5 American Civil War Scenario Map medium resolutionFor the American Civil War Scenario in Civilization 5 there are five Steam Achievements. In contrast to most of the other scenarios, these are fairly easy to get. Also, learning something about the American Civil War is a nice side effect.

First of all you might want to take a look at the map. I created it of screenshots of the strategic view, just like the Fall of Rome Map and only after that I realized: In this scenario you can see the entire map right from the start. Here it is anyway:

Although the Confederates start with 25 cities while the Union has only 20 the balancing is excellent. You can win with either side although if you’re going for the Deity achievement, choose the Union. It starts like any other scenario: You’re retreating. Garrison your units in defensible terrain. Build your army and turn the tides. If you play it right and you experiment on Emperor or below you should be good to go for the achievements:

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah! Steam AchievementWin the Civil War scenario playing as the Union.

Try this as your first game. Start on Emperor level or below to get familiar with the mechanics of the scenario. The two biggest innovations in this scenario are that every unit gets a unique promotion (named after a military commander of the actual Civil War) and the resource “manpower”, which is required for every infantry unit. Watch out: Not every promotion improves your units! Some really weaken them (like -20% attack on plains etc.). Don’t focus on the survival of these units! As soon as you’re out of manpower – sacrifice some of these weakened units for the greater good and produce a new instead.

The strategy is always very easy: Infantry defends, artillery advances and bombards enemy units and cities, cavalry flanks, takes out damaged units and pillages cities.

If you do this, pushing south for Richmond you should not fail.

Sheridan’s Valley Campaign

Sheridan's Valley Campaign Steam AchievementAs Union, control Winchester, Front Royal, Harrisonburg, Staunton and Lynchburg.

Check the map. You will find that Harrisonburg, Staunton and Lynchburg are way off to the west. On higher difficulties capturing these cities is a distraction and wastes precious time on your way to Richmond. If you do this in a separate attempt (where you’re not striving for victory) it is fairly easy. Just defend in the center and advance to the west.

Pickett’s Recharge

Pickett's Recharge Steam AchivementCapture Gettysburg with a Confederate Infantry unit possessing the George Pickett promotion.

This is the Confederates pendant to Sheridan’s Valley Campaign right above. It’s an easy Steam Achievement, but it’s a distraction from your goal. Because to make this achievement you’ll have to do several things that are strategic disadvantages:

  1. attack with unpromoted infantries, where you would normally use a promoted one
  2. disband promoted infantries when you’re out of manpower only to build new ones (because the promotions are granted randomly and you might not have a George Picket amongst your first troops)
  3. as soon as you have a George Picket anywhere on the battlefield, you’ll do everything to protect him, even sacrificing other units
  4. and finally you will bring Georgie all the way across the battlefield north to Gettysburg (along with some other troops) only to capture it

Civilization 5 American Civil War Scenario George Picket

Furthermore as you see George Picket is one of those weakened units, which you normally wouldn’t mind losing…

Standing like a Stone Wall

Standing like a Stone Wall Steam AchievementWin the Civil War scenario playing as the Confederates.

If you have played the scenario already three times (e.g. making the achievements above) then this one will be another lesson in US east coast geography. I think the Union has slight advantages which make Deity difficulty harder to achieve for the Confederates. So play the Confederates on a lower difficulty and get the achievement!

Civil War Deity Strategy

Red Badge of Courage

Red Badge of Courage Steam AchievementWin the Civil War scenario on Deity.

When I played this scenario on Deity I hadn’t even won a normal game of Civilization 5 on Deity. This scenario is definitely possible to make on Deity and I was surprised by how easy it was – meaning it wasn’t much harder than on Emperor.

Civilization 5 American Civil War Scenario Union Deity Win MenuAs said above: Choose the Union. Don’t be distracted or tempted by the west – head straight for Richmond. Advance until Front Royal and Culpeper, leave cities west of that alone. Head straight down to Richmond. Bring a good mix of Cannons (2 range) and Rifled Cannons (3 range) to lay siege on the capital. If you follow my research path (see “Research”) you should have some Engineers already. Build citadels right until Richmond. This way the artillery in the city gets 30 damage every turn, which means less damage to your siege units.


Civilization 5 American Civil War Scenario Union Deity Win


Unlike some other scenarios research is not disabled in the Civil War scenario. And it does make a difference. Here’s what I researched both while playing the Union and the Confederates on Deity (and winning 😉 )

Civilization 5 American Civil War Scenario Research Turn 19

  1. Military Science – Compared to Infantry Divisions (8) the Infantry Corps (18) are so much stronger!
  2. Cavalry Raids – Allows your Cavalry to pillage improvements. As Union – send some to the west and pillage around the Confederate cities you won’t capture anyway. As Confederates – send them to the NE, where the Unions industrial centers are.
  3. Field Hospitals – Garrisoned units heal +100%.
  4. Engineering – Build some engineers in cities that otherwise can’t build anything. One more bridge here and there comes handy. Also you’ll need those citadels later.
  5. Entrenchment – Now Fortification grants a +100% defense bonus! Together with Field Hospitals garrisoned units are impregnable.
  6. Rifled Artillery – Cannons (12, 2 range) create more damage, but Rifled Cannons (10, 3 range) can stay out of city range. You’ll need these only later in the game when storming the enemy capital.
  7. Repeating Rifles – Gives you the advanced cavalry, but anything beyond that point shouldn’t make a difference anymore…


The American Civil War scenario for Civilization 5 is not as good as some other scenarios. Obviously there’s no diplomacy and the only focus is warfare. Nonetheless it’s fun playing and helping either side to victory is challenging and fun. The Steam Achievements are doable though not too hard. If you’re looking for a challenge: Try the side quests (George Picket / Sheridan’s Valley) on Deity while winning!

7 thoughts on “Civilization 5 Civil War Scenario Strategy, Achievement Guide and Map”

  1. Did they fix the balance of the scenario? I did, what you said: rushing all my troops down to Richmond. All the way enemy troops blocked my way, so that in the end, near Richmond, I had 1 cannon and 2 other troops, impossible to capture. On the other hand, CSA captured 4 cities and had a huge army just south and wets of Washington…

    1. Well… It’s hard to tell remotely… Some questions though:

      Did you follow the research path as mentioned above?
      Both the improved infantry and the passive abilities for +healing and +fortification bonus are of tremendous help.

      I’m not really sure anymore, because it’s SO long ago, but: Usually with rushing I mean “not losing time”, but also paying attention to enemy troops along the way. Try to lose as few units as possible, again using fortification and healing. In scenarios like this I only attack once – then fortify and heal the unit, and let the enemy “bounce off it”.

  2. Actually, Pickett’s recharge is easier than that, because you can keep on attacking and reloading the same save until you get Pickett. It solves most issues with getting that achievement.

    1. Struggled a bit getting the Pickett reward. I had the impression the order of promotions is fixed, save, attack and reload didn’t work.

      What worked for me (on lower difficulty):
      – Rifled Artillery and Engineering first, you don’t want Infantry Corps yet because it consumes to much manpower (research later and build only a few)
      – get alexandria and just defend the bridge/river to washington. You get the chance to kill lots of enemy units with just one cannon shot.
      – defend to kill enemy units, but capture harper’s ferry. Defend with rifled cannons and citadels and lots of infantry. Later expand to cumberland for the iron.
      – couple of rifled cannons near norfolk and williamsburg to keep your sea route open, in richmond and norfolk build ships for money to quickly buy new infantry units in winchester, harper’s ferry,…
      – later on capture hagerstown, chambersburg and frederick
      – when defense is stable: disband all unnecessary units (decrease unit maintenance and you get some extra money), except 1-2 cavalry units for pillaging, disband when pillaging is done
      – use your engineers to build railroads to the gettysburg region and westminster. With citadels expand your land to the city center of enemy city (westminster), with a direct railroad you can attack with infrantry units in 1-2 turns from winchester, harper’s ferry, federick… and immediately disband your unit the turn after the attack (for money).
      Already weaken gettysburg with cannons, when you finally get your picket promotion in westminster, upgrade it to Infantry Corps to keep it safe, heal a turn, and just walk in to gettysburg.

  3. I also found that if you move an embarked unit onto a pontoon bridge, the unit glitches into having 5/2 movement points and you can mount a Richmond assault even faster

  4. I agree that this scenario can be a bit too easy, even on deity – as the combat strength of Richmond increases each turn and the AI isnt smart enough to bee-line for Washington I was able get 7 Infantry Corps and 7 cannons to Richmond at approx turn 16 (I met no resistance at Fredericksburg or at Ashland) and could take it down on turn 19 whilst its strength was still only 28. In this time the Confederates had still achieved very little advancing on Washington and had a crippled army barely able to take Fairfax.

    1. Hey James, thanks for that! Maybe others also try to rush for Richmond and post their experience here. I might give it another try once I’m done with all other Steam Achievements. But yeah, sadly, the American Civil War is too easy a scenario. Before doing this I actually had huge respect of playing on Deity. Now… Not so much 😉

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