Gil and genie144,
Good points and in principle I do agree with genie144 that this outcome seems to lack plausibility. While Gil’s points do shed light on this subject by his two examples noted below, these results remind me a bit of the Battle of Chancellorsville where incompetent leadership was the basis of a USA defeat despite the fact that the Union had a better equipped, well-supplied, superior force (2:1) that had limited if any fatigue.
ORIGINAL: Gil R.
First, the reason that Hard Sarge is fighting defensive battles is that whichever side controls a province is the defender in detailed battles, and the nature of this game is that usually the CSA will be defending. Defenders, among other things, get a bonus. So if Hard Sarge had been fighting these same battles in USA provinces everything would have been very different.
Second, regarding the issue of the USA being a "paper tiger," I should point out that the battles in question are very early in the game, and we've deliberately programmed the USA to have low morale in the standard (= post-Bull Run) scenario. So, Hard Sarge is being helped by the fact that his troops have on average much higher morale, and that makes an enormous difference. As the war goes on, the USA's morale will have a chance to improve, and it will then be harder to beat. (We programmed it this way both to reflect the historical reality of the Union army's condition after its defeat, and because the game is better if the Union has an initial disadvantage that keeps it from using its superior numbers and resources to steamroller the Confederates right away.)
As such, the Battle of Chancellorsville brings to light another interesting possibility: Leadership! Gil, could this have also been a factor? Hard Sarge, just out of curiosity, who was in charge of the opposing forces or does the player even know the opponents he faces on the battlefield in this game?