When the commander’s initiative is on, or the group has been given a stance, the unit will move according to orders it has received but will interrupt its movement if the unit comes into contact with enemy troops. Without a stance, the unit will stop and deploy to face the enemy, but after this, it will only inform you of the situation, and otherwise, will not take any further action.
Once the group has a stance, the AI commander will start acting according to his orders, i.e., assault, attack, defend, or screen once deployed.
In the example below, a division with an attack stance is ordered to move beyond McGee’s farm. The unit starts movement in the column along the road.
While on the move, well before reaching McGee’s (the houses shown in the above image), the division’s lead unit spots an enemy unit moving toward it and deploys into line. Note that deploying into line does not mean deploying into a single line, which, in the game, is a different formation. The division commander, in this case, General Richard Anderson, interrupts the movement order and begins to deploy his command for battle, informing you, his commander, via a dispatch about his intentions.
Once the division is ready, the AI, General Anderson, will give orders to his brigades to attack the enemy in front of him.
In the above image, you see Anderson’s brigades moving to engage the enemy, preceded by a screen of skirmishers. The AI will continue to dispatch orders to its units, even if you intervene and give overriding commands to individual brigades. Your orders will also be carried out, but this may cause some confusion with the AI’s battle plan.
The AI commander will continue to fight for a long as their unit is engaged. If the unit loses contact with the enemy, it will continue movement according to your original orders – in this case, to march past McGee’s farm.
The AI used with stances is the same as that of the opposing army. By this, we mean that, in essence, your AI will behave the same way as enemy AI (though this may not always seem to be the case).