President Abraham Lincoln continued arguing for emancipation, despite increased opposition from most northerners, Democrats, and conservative Republicans. Ulysses S. Grant continued his advance on Vicksburg despite issuing controversial orders. The armies in Tennessee prepared to clash, and the Federals suffered their worst defeat of the war.

Federals charge Marye’s Heights | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

President Lincoln’s 1862 Message to Congress

1 Dec – The second session of the lame duck Thirty-seventh U.S. Congress assembled at Washington and received President Abraham Lincoln’s annual message.

Fredericksburg: Confederates Strengthen Defenses

2 Dec – Major General Ambrose E. Burnside proposed a plan to move his Federal Army of the Potomac across the Rappahannock River, while General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia continued strengthening its defenses west of Fredericksburg.

Vicksburg: The Coffeeville Engagement

5 Dec – Federal Major General Ulysses S. Grant’s overland advance toward Vicksburg included a cavalry engagement in central Mississippi.

A Race in Northwestern Arkansas

6 Dec – Brigadier General James G. Blunt’s Federals were isolated in northwestern Arkansas, and the race was on to see whether reinforcements or the Confederates could reach him first.

The Battle of Prairie Grove

7 Dec – Major General Thomas C. Hindman’s Confederates attacked Brigadier General Francis J. Herron’s Federals about 12 miles southwest of Fayetteville, Arkansas, sparking a confusing but brutal 12-hour battle.

Jefferson Davis Travels to Tennessee

8 Dec – President Jefferson Davis planned to leave Richmond and inspect the Confederate military situation in Tennessee and Mississippi.

Forrest Raids Western Tennessee

10 Dec – Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest received orders to wreak havoc on Major General Ulysses S. Grant’s Federal supply lines in western Tennessee.

Fredericksburg: Federals Cross the Rappahannock

12 Dec – The Federal Army of the Potomac crossed pontoon bridges and looted Fredericksburg, while the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia awaited the enemy’s advance from the heights west of town.

The Battle of Fredericksburg

13 Dec – Major General Ambrose E. Burnside launched a doomed Federal assault on General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate defenses south and west of Fredericksburg.

The Battle of Fredericksburg: Aftermath

14 Dec – Major General Ambrose E. Burnside planned to renew the Federal attacks following yesterday’s terrible defeat, but his subordinates strongly objected.

Republican Dissension at Washington

16 Dec – Republican senators gathered in an extraordinary caucus to determine how to better manage the war effort after the terrible defeat at Fredericksburg.

Jefferson Davis Travels to Mississippi

16 Dec – President Jefferson Davis continued his tour of the Western Theater, moving from Tennessee to his home state of Mississippi.

The Jewish Exclusion Order

17 Dec – Major General Ulysses S. Grant issued a highly controversial order from his headquarters at Holly Springs, Mississippi.

Vicksburg: Grant’s Two-Pronged Advance

18 Dec – Confederate forces prepared to defend against Major General Ulysses S. Grant’s advance on Vicksburg from both water and land.

Lincoln Addresses Republican Dissension

19 Dec – President Abraham Lincoln met with the secret Senate Republican caucus committee and shrewdly arranged for the committee members and his cabinet to explain their differences face to face.

The Holly Springs Raid

20 Dec – Major General Earl Van Dorn led a Confederate cavalry raid that temporarily stopped Major General Ulysses S. Grant’s Federal drive on Vicksburg.

Morgan’s Third Kentucky Raid

21 Dec – Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan embarked on his third Kentucky raid after a successful operation and a marriage earlier this month.

Assigning Blame in the Army of the Potomac

22 Dec – President Abraham Lincoln sought to clarify responsibility for the defeat at Fredericksburg and console the Army of the Potomac.

Rosecrans Prepares to Advance on Murfreesboro

24 Dec – General Braxton Bragg’s Confederate Army of Tennessee remained stationed at Murfreesboro, while the Federal high command pushed Major General William S. Rosecrans to leave Nashville and confront them.

Vicksburg: The Chickasaw Bayou Campaign

28 Dec – Confederate forces hurried to defend Chickasaw Bluffs as Federal troops under Major General William T. Sherman struggled to reach them.

The Battle of Chickasaw Bayou

29 Dec – Major General William T. Sherman launched a costly attack on fortified Confederate defenses northeast of Vicksburg.

Federals Advance on Murfreesboro

30 Dec – Major General William S. Rosecrans’s Federal Army of the Cumberland advanced on the Confederate Army of Tennessee under General Braxton Bragg near Murfreesboro.

The End of the U.S.S. Monitor

30 Dec – The first Federal ironclad spent its last evening above water before foundering off the coast of North Carolina.

The Battle of Stones River: Day One

31 Dec – A major battle began near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, when General Braxton Bragg’s Confederates attacked the Federal Army of the Cumberland under Major General William S. Rosecrans.

The Battle of Parker’s Crossroads

31 Dec – After raiding Federal supply lines in western Tennessee, Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest discovered Federals blocking the way back to his base at an intersection between Nashville and Memphis.


Last Updated: 10/14/2018