I can't keep the Union anywhere near 950 or 1000.
After Scott dies, should I make McClellan a theater commander? Move Halleck east and make Grant a theater commander?
I can't figure out how valuable theater commanders are versus Army commanders. I know that a 2 star theater commander isn't going to trigger initiative nearly as often as a 3 star so that means that my only real theater commander options are Halleck, McClellan, and Grant.
I hadn't really considered using Butler.
IMHO you need your best candidates at AC; these are the guys that gain initiative and pass it on to your troops.
The formula at page 76 suggests that the multipliers are modified attack rating plus the "home"/depot plus the help from the TC (range one to 5) divided by the denominator, which itself varies by year and season.
Attack rating: speaks for itself and you have few with "3" when the game starts beyond Lyons, so early war efforts may need maximize his use (remember, he died in the war). Grant is at "4", but not enough CR to be an AC. He exemplifies what you need to do: groom leaders with combat and training successes so their CR increases. He gets an automatic promotion too, which helps.
The "home"/depot factor is basically this for the Union: they had better not be on "home" territory. Union focuses on depots. If, after CSA cavalry raids, you still have a depot with 20 supply during your initiative phase, that will add "5". if you have a second full depot, that will add "1" more for a maximum of 6. You must, must, must build depots to the skies. On the Ohio, CSA cavalry can't reach them, so you can get initiative to capture Kentucky. In the EAst, your depots will be savaged.
TC "help" is based on the TC getting initiative, discussed in previous post.
After the manual was written "time" was added and is discussed in the errata. Depending on the year a newly arrived AC will have either -2 or -1 factored to initiative. This increases +1 each month. The rule promotes inactivity on a Rosecrans Syndrome scale.
An available tactic is to occupy a region and build 2 to 4 depots immediately. If you gain initiative notwithstanding the "time" rule, you may get to advance and capture the next region. If not, you at least know that your chances improve each turn.
Grant should always be an AC, never a TC. Halleck is fine for TC but not McClellan because of that "3" infantry modifier for movement and getting troops committed. Basically Union leadership is poor until mid 1862 so develop a strategy to cope with it. An option is to put your "A" team of TC and 2 AC in one theatre and do the best you can.
Without knowing the particulars I have no suggestions on why your PPs are so low. Are you playing the AI or pbem?
Consider promoting "political" generals with a "4" rating early on. Fremont is a slug, but DC loves him. Butler is not much better, but is likewise a 4. Banks is well liked too. Consider a cost benefit analysis of those generals; how long do you need to keep them before the benefit exceeds the opportunity cost of having them in command and the PP cost of removing them.
Presumably you invaded Kentucky, lost some PPs and gained some more. Seize the offshore islands to help the blockade and gain 2 pps each. Well, these are all pretty obvious. Good luck as you develop.
Groom your other candidates. Pope is good. In my current game he led small armies and gained many training successes. Now he is 3 stars and a CR of 24 and led the advance from Murfeesboro through Atlanta to South Carolina.
"L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace."