All about leaders

Leaders are important to the performance of your units. With a bad leader, a unit may not move at all when ordered to do so; it will perform poorly in battle; and it will take longer to recover after battle.

The four ratings

Each leader has four ratings, as follows.

Rating Possible values Affects Changes during play
Inspiration Low, Average, High Training, combat, and rallying Rarely
Aggression Low, Average, High Willingness to attack No
Initiative Disorganized, Below Average, Average, Good, Excellent Movement, and maximum number of units Tends to increase
Combat Poor, Average, Good, Excellent Performance in combat Tends to increase

Inspiration affects training only in the case of army leaders (the only ones who can conduct training in this game).

Know your leaders

Here are the leaders available at the start of the game. I've given them an overall rating by combining their inspiration, initiative, and combat ratings.

Union leaders

Excellent Nathaniel Lyon, William T Sherman
Good William Rosecrans, George McClellan
Average Edwin Sumner, James Wadsworth, William Franklin, John Pope, Don Carlos Buell (A), Samuel Curtis, David Hunter, Erasmus Keyes, Irvin McDowell (A)
Poor Henry Halleck, Benjamin Butler, Daniel Tyler, Nathaniel Banks, Samuel Heintzelman
Useless John Fremont, Robert Patterson

Confederate leaders

Excellent Stonewall Jackson, Robert E Lee (A), James Longstreet
Good William Hardee, D H Hill, Pierre Beauregard, Jubal Early, Joseph Johnston
Average Richard Ewell, A S Johnston (A), Sterling Price, Earl van Dorn (C), Simon Buckner, John Magruder, Braxton Bragg, Leonidas Polk, E K Smith
Poor Ben Huger
Useless Gideon Pillow, Theophilus Holmes, Gustavus Smith

Historical or random

When you start a new game, you can choose whether your leaders will be rated according to their historical performance, or randomly. Each has some disadvantage.

I think both of these disadvantages are serious, but the second bothers me more, so I normally use historical ratings.

There is a way to eliminate both disadvantages simultaneously, but the game doesn't provide it. This would be to use historical ratings, but to conceal each leader's name when he comes into the game, displaying only a randomly-assigned number. When each leader has marched and fought enough to reveal his qualities, his true name (and historical rating) can be revealed to the player.