December 1862 revealed a military picture quite different than the year before. While the Confederacy had prevailed on the Peninsula, at Second Manassas, and at Antietam, the long-term outlook for the Confederacy was not bright. Everywhere Confederate forces were on the defensive—at Fredericksburg in the East and Vicksburg in the West, in mid-Tennessee near Murfreesboro, etc.
The Confederate coastline continued to be plagued by mobile but destructive Union forces. President Abraham Lincoln faced negative reaction to the Emancipation Proclamation and was distressed with the lack of Union military success, while in the South Jefferson Davis was overwhelmed attempting to maintain a national government while dealing with the individual southern states and their governors. In truth, ultimate victory was yet to be determined in the American Civil War.