Early in December 1862 both the Union and Confederate armies clashed in a series of skirmishes in the East. In Tennessee forces of Rosecrans* and Bragg skirmished at Nolensville. Grant in Mississippi attacked Oxford, Hudsonville, and Mitchell’s Cross Roads on his relentless drive toward Confederate held Vicksburg.
In West Virginia there was a skirmish at Romney and a ten-day Union expedition toward Logan Court House. In Virginia there was fighting at Beaver Dam Church and at Hartswood and a Federal expedition to Westmoreland County. But the real focus was in the Fredericksburg, Virginia vicinity, where Stonewall Jackson’s corps after a forced march from the Shenandoah Valley assumed the right flank of Robert Lee’s Confederates who awaited Ambrose Burnside’s Federals. Most observers expected Burnside to attack within days.