The bombardment of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor continued. James Longstreet gave up his Confederate siege of Knoxville and returned to Virginia. Ulysses S. Grant began planning an invasion of Georgia as a new commander took over the Confederate Army of Tennessee. Northern focus began shifting to the 1864 elections.

The Mine Run Campaign Ends

1 Dec – Major General George G. Meade’s Federal Army of the Potomac ended its short-lived campaign in northern Virginia before it ever truly began.

Bragg Leaves the Army of Tennessee

2 Dec – General Braxton Bragg turned the Confederate Army of Tennessee over to Lieutenant General William Hardee, and President Jefferson Davis began looking for a permanent army commander.

From Frank Phelps, 10th Wisconsin

2 Dec – Letter from Sgt. Frank Phelps of the 10th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry from Chattanooga.

Sherman “Rescues” Burnside at Knoxville

4 Dec – Major General William T. Sherman’s Federals hurried from Chattanooga to aid the Federals at Knoxville, only to find that they were not in as desperate shape as anticipated.

The Confederate Congress Assembles

7 Dec – The fourth session of the First Confederate States Congress opened in Richmond.

16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln | Image Credit: histmag.org

Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Message to Congress

8 Dec – The first session of the Thirty-Eighth U.S. Congress assembled in Washington and received President Abraham Lincoln’s annual message.

The Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction

9 Dec – President Abraham Lincoln outlined a plan to bring the Confederate states back into the Union. This was part of his effort to exacerbate political dissension in the Confederacy while uniting the factions within his own Republican Party.

The Status Quo in Northern Virginia

12 Dec – The Federal Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia returned to their respective camps, as Major General George G. Meade waited to be removed from command.

The Bean’s Station Engagement

14 Dec – Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s Confederates attacked a Federal detachment in the hopes of gaining more foraging ground for winter.

Confederate General J.E. Johnston | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

The Army of Tennessee: A New Commander Appointed

16 Dec – President Jefferson Davis decided to appoint a bitter rival to command the demoralized Confederate Army of Tennessee at Dalton, Georgia.

Eastern Tennessee: Winter Sets In

19 Dec – Federal forces were reluctant to hunt down the Confederates in such horrible weather, and Lieutenant General James Longstreet looked to punish subordinates for the failed Knoxville campaign.

Western Virginia: Early Chases Averell

22 Dec – A new Confederate force moved into West Virginia to stop Federal raiding in the region, and endured freezing cold in the process.

The Army of Tennessee: Johnston Arrives

27 Dec – General Joseph E. Johnston arrived at Dalton, Georgia, to assume command of the demoralized Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Sherman’s Plans for Mississippi

29 Dec – Major General William T. Sherman shared his plan to clear the Confederates from Mississippi and its connecting waterways with his close friend Major General Ulysses S. Grant.

From Aden Cavins, 97th Indiana

30 Dec – Letter from Lt. Col. Aden Cavins of the 97th Indiana Volunteer Infantry to his wife.

The End of 1863

31 Dec –


Last Updated: 12/30/2018