October 1863 brought at bit of temporary relief to the Confederate nation. Its forces had successfully halted Union drives against Charlestown, South Carolina and East Texas and had won at Chickamauga, bottling up Rosecrans Union army at Chattanooga.
Yet the North was making a concerted effort to reinforce Rosecrans, and East Tennessee and the capital of Arkansas, Little Rock, were in Union hands. The relentless Union drive against the Confederacy had been blunted but not stopped. The South was simply too large an area to effectively defend with the armies available to the Confederate government.
Perhaps most troubling of all was the Eastern theatre of war. With both armies diverting troops to the West, no one knew what would next occur between George Meade and Robert E. Lee in Virginia.